I connect my Dell xps 13 laptop with a native resolution of 3200 x 1800 to an external full hd (1920 x 1080) monitor. The problem is that the external monitor shows that it is set to its maximum resolution but actually it does not look like full hd. The laptop seems ok but only the external display.

What do I do?

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  • The control, size of text and everything seems so big in the external display. – Kaka Awira Mar 14 '17 at 4:14
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    You have the "Display with largest controls..." setting and that is what you should expect. That setting is fine for the internal one and typical for HiDPI screens but not for the 1080P monitor because it makes "size of text and everything seems so big". – user589808 Mar 14 '17 at 18:03

What do you do?

Start by understanding the problem.

Your internal display has more pixels per inch than your external display this means that a say 64x64 pixel image (like an icon you might find on the launcher) will cover a lot more visable space on the 24" diagonal 1920x1080 (FHD) monitor which displays ~2 million pixels than on the 13" (QHD+) Display on your laptop which packs 5.7 million pixels into a 13" diagonal screen. This is to be expected. The higher the resolution (dots per inch) the smaller an image of a specific size in pixels will appear. The reverse is also true. The lower resolution makes the same image appear larger.

What can you do to resolve it?

Not much.

There's no way to make a FHD monitor display as many pixels as a QHD+ screen. Even if you were to purchase a QHD+ External monitor with the same resolution (provided you could find one) it would likely be physically larger and still have fewer pixels per square inch than your laptop screen.

You can play with the Scale options for the displays in an attempt to normalize size at the expense of clarity, but as your laptop display has almost 3X as many pixels in ~54% of the space, I doubt you'll find it to be exceptionally effective. You might however arrive at a combination of settings that you consider suitable.


The external looks just fine according to your screenshot. You'll notice that your Build-In Display seems so much larger in the settings only because its native resolution of 3200x1800 is about 1.5x larger than the native resolution of the external monitor you've connected.

  • what do you mean.? so my laptop cannot work well with the external display because of the difference in resolution.? – Kaka Awira Mar 14 '17 at 5:31
  • @KakaAwira Not at all! I merely mean that it looks okay in the settings screen based on the fact that it is 1920x1080, which is smaller than your 3200x1800 resolution laptop (based on resolution, not physical size). I'm noting that although you fear it may not be at max resolution, it seems to be according to the settings, and without a screenshot of the external monitor's output to compare, that's all I have to judge it on. – Aargonian Mar 14 '17 at 5:38

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