Originally Posted by tgm1024
An object split over a "partial" pixel boundary is far too obvious for normal displays. I turn AA off whenever I can for text: I'd rather see everything slanted or curved as a staircase than an out-of-focus smudge.
Well it depends on the rendering, how far you sit from your display, the font size, and the resolution of your display.
I really like Firefox on Windows, because it's completely customizable as far as font rendering is concerned, via the gfx.font_rendering
settings in about:config.
You can change it between GDI and ClearType, adjust the level of saturation used (to reduce or eliminate color fringing) and adjust gamma & contrast. Fully tweaked, I really like how text looks in it.
I actually find the wispy thin text you get when anti-aliasing is disabled rather difficult to read these days compared to properly anti-aliased and kerned text - especially at larger sizes.
A lot of websites are now using custom fonts rather than system fonts, which were often designed for print rather than screen rendering, and those fonts look particularly bad without anti-aliasing.
But I also find text difficult to read when it has been fully justified
due to the large, variable, spacing between words. Some people may be able to "filter out" things like that a lot easier - I suppose in the way that I'm able to overlook some pixel-level sharpness to gain, in my opinion, far more legible text.
- No AA - thin wispy text that looks nothing like the font. Weird character rendering and spacing due to being snapped to the pixel grid.
- GDI rendering - a better representation of the font, but it's still snapped to the pixel grid. Saturation is far too high resulting in color fringing.
- Tweaked ClearType Values - the best representation of the fonts with minimal color fringing. Perhaps a little soft, but much smoother and using proper kerning (character spacing) makes it easier to read in my opinion. This is tweaked to look correct on my screen though, it may not be ideal for yours. I'm just illustrating that there are different levels of anti-aliasing available.
I do find OS X font rendering difficult to read on low DPI displays though. It's designed to render as if the fonts were printed, completely ignoring the fact that they're being displayed on a screen.
This means the text is a good representation of how the font actually
looks (better than ClearType on Windows) but it only looks good on a high DPI display. It's really
fuzzy unless you're looking at it on a Retina display.
If you do a direct comparison between Windows and OS X on a retina display, OS X still looks a bit fuzzy, but taken on its own it looks fine. You would still call text on a retina display "sharp" in OS X.