Windows 8 on the Zenbook Prime
Out of the box, our clean installation of Microsoft's latest operating system correctly applied a 125% scaling setting on the Zenbook Prime. In the desktop mode, Windows 8 looked... well, pretty much just like Windows 7 at the same setting. The desktop version of Internet Explorer 10, the default bundled browser, responded similarly to its forebear, scaling pages up automatically:
It responded too similarly, though. Take a look:
Note the closeups above. IE10 running under Windows 8 exhibits the exact same scaling artifacts as IE9 in Windows 7. Microsoft has apparently overlooked that particular problem.
But perhaps that's only because Microsoft focused its high-PPI compatibility efforts on the Metro interface. After all, Metro is what tablet users are going to run most of the time, and high-density displays are already widespread among today's tablets—much more so than on laptops. Surely, then, the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 will handle itself better.
Nope. The latest, most state-of-the-art version of IE, which is undoubtedly going to run on high-PPI tablets, still can't scale pages properly without ugly visual screw-ups. And the problems are hardly exclusive to TR. We also noticed artifacts on Engadget:
...and Shacknews, among other sites:
Perhaps it will be up to web designers, then, to rework their sites in order to minimize artifacting on IE10. I don't think it's realistic to expect most major websites to make the requisite changes soon after Windows 8 arrives next month, however.
That's not even the worst part, though. While studying IE10's scaling flaws, we came across another, more worrying issue: it turns out that the Metro Start screen, and even default Metro apps, aren't as comfortable on a high-PPI panel like the Zenbook Prime's as we had anticipated.
Here's the Start screen, which looks the same at 1920x1080 regardless of the PPI setting chosen in the desktop control panel. On the Zenbook Prime, that means text labels are tiny, and tiles are much smaller than they would appear on a larger desktop monitor with the same resolution.
Metro's apparent lack of PPI awareness is especially obvious in the bundled news app. The screenshot above may not do it justice, but trust me: the text is much too small to read comfortably on a 13" screen. As far as I could tell, there was no setting in the app to increase the font size, either. I was completely stuck at the default setting.
Well, that is, until I navigated to the "PC Settings" control panel and found the "Make everything on your screen bigger" setting...
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