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Reduce LCD Density Setting in Build.Prop For Higher Res Look

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jdsemler

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2007
264
22
Austin
Update: I installed Spare Parts, as mentioned by appelflap later in this thread, disabled compatibility mode, then followed the directions in this post, and I have a working status bar, good resolution, and in a better place in most cases. :)

Update: Check out appelflap's APK that makes this whole process a lot easier. Note that some users are reporting a black screen after using the file, so be prepared in case you have to use adb shell to put your original build.prop file in place. If you do not want to risk it, Notepad++ makes for an easy edit once you pull the file to your PC. If you have fallen prey to the black screen problem, lpsi2000 found a solution that uses an update.zip approach.


In the /system/build.prop file, I changed this line:

ro.sf.lcd_density=240

to this:

ro.sf.lcd_density=160

This is a setting that Google normally recommends if you have a larger screen (like Dell's Streak), but the side effect of using it on the 800x480 screen of the captivate is that everything is smaller.

With this, menus have smaller text (more options on screen), in-app buttons are smaller, and it just has the same feeling of being on a PC and moving from a low resolution LCD monitor to a high resolution LCD monitor.

There are a couple of glitches so far. It appears that some apps want to render in the previous resolution. For example, Skyfire and Root Explorer would not render in full screen, Android Market renders full screen but the search is in the old resolution, and the status bar is slightly garbled but still usable. Also, the dial pad is smaller (as you would expect showing a picture made for a low res display on a high res display) but the rest of the phone app is fine. The camera app fills the screen just like it did before.

With this setting, I really feel like I'm getting some use out of the high resolution display on this phone.

The apps that are rending in the low res mode of the original setting seem to be pulling their setting from somewhere else. Does anybody have an idea where that setting may be? After trying this, I can't imagine going back to what almost seems like an "accessibility mode".

I've only used LauncherPro with this setting, so no idea how the Samsung launcher looks. I attached screenshots of what some things look like. I can put some game screenshots in another post if anybody is interested. 3D games look sharper to me in this mode, but I have no scientific way of testing if it is because it is rendering in higher res or if my own excitement is clouding my vision. :)

Update: I suspect the missing setting is found in the /system.prop file. It has the ro.sf.lcd_density=240 setting. I tried changing it to 160, but it keeps going back to 240 after a reboot of the phone. Any ideas how to make this stick?

Warning:: TWLauncher does not play well with these changes. Make sure to have LauncherPro set up as your default launcher before trying this.
 
Last edited:

jdsemler

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2007
264
22
Austin
The way that I pulled it out to edit on my PC was with this:

adb pull /system/build.prop

You will need root access in order to put the changed file back. What I did was

adb push build.prop /sdcard

I then used Root Explorer to copy the build.prop from /sdcard to /system. I didn't change any permissions other than just copying the file and rebooting.
 
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Clienterror

Senior Member
Jun 21, 2010
2,093
361
Quad Cities, Illinois
Wow man that's pretty cool, it's got a few little glitches but nothing serious. One of the things I wish I could so though is make my Beautiful widgets clock go all the way across the top. I'm not sure if this is a placebo effect (I donno if that's possible since this should have nothing to do with it) but it seems like my soft buttons respond more often....I'm prolly nuts but it doesn't seem like I need to push....push...%$^&*^ PUSH.....and back to home.
 

jdsemler

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2007
264
22
Austin
I'm hoping someone will have a great idea on how to keep the /system.prop file from updating itself on boot. I'm thinking that if we can get the ro.sf.lcd_density=240 setting to stick to 160 after a reboot, that might fix the few instances where an app won't render full screen. :)

I've tried chmod 666 system.prop and chown root.root system.prop but it still gets returned to normal after rebooting.
 
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darkfalz

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2010
119
10
Lower resolution works as well. Here are some comparisons. 160, 240, 320. 200, since someone asked.
 

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jdsemler

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2007
264
22
Austin
Also out of curiosity, have you tried any other DPI like 200? Our does it need to be either or to keep it proportional?

No, the only reason I chose 160 was because it is listed as "MDPI" in the Android SDK. (We were using "HDPI" with 240.)

I only figured it was a "supported" number, so I started there, but most any number will do. You can see a chart where it recommends certain numbers based on resolution or screen size, but I think these recommendations are to cover everybody, which includes folks who can't (easily) see small text or icons.

The chart that shows Google's recommendations is here.
 

xan

Retired Recognized Developer
May 21, 2006
1,407
455
Crack-ow
Using this on SGS made:
- notification bar unreadable (kindof text overlap@240160 setting).
- Launcher pro works.
- Market scales nice.
- big list's buttons are now nice

//edit: changed to 200 - seems to be great compromise.

@up
Bad practice. U shouldnt have edited ur build.prop.bak file, becouse it is actually a backup of original build.prop, made by RootExplorer (guess). In case u want to revert to original content, u just delete edited file and delete .bak from this one.
 
Last edited:

sl8125

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2006
953
17
Using this on SGS made:
- notification bar unreadable (kindof text [email protected] setting).
- Launcher pro works.
- Market scales nice.
- big list's buttons are now nice

//edit: changed to 200 - seems to be great compromise.

@up
Bad practice. U shouldnt have edited ur build.prop.bak file, becouse it is actually a backup of original build.prop, made by RootExplorer (guess). In case u want to revert to original content, u just delete edited file and delete .bak from this one.
Any pics? Love to see the difference.


Sent from my Nexus One using XDA App
 

xan

Retired Recognized Developer
May 21, 2006
1,407
455
Crack-ow
Here they are.
 

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magicdanw

Senior Member
Jun 6, 2010
57
0
I'm trying to figure out how to make those other applications also use the full screen when at a different resolution. I tried the method here

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=739647

to run a script that rewrites the /system.prop file, and it didn't fix anything, so either that is not where the applications are getting the property from, or we need to rewrite the file earlier in the boot process. :(
 

nbs11

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2010
515
148
Chicago
Are you sure those apps are graphically able to scale? Maybe touchwiz does not take scaling into account (at least with native apps) because the screens are all 4 inches.
 

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  • 2
    Update: I installed Spare Parts, as mentioned by appelflap later in this thread, disabled compatibility mode, then followed the directions in this post, and I have a working status bar, good resolution, and in a better place in most cases. :)

    Update: Check out appelflap's APK that makes this whole process a lot easier. Note that some users are reporting a black screen after using the file, so be prepared in case you have to use adb shell to put your original build.prop file in place. If you do not want to risk it, Notepad++ makes for an easy edit once you pull the file to your PC. If you have fallen prey to the black screen problem, lpsi2000 found a solution that uses an update.zip approach.


    In the /system/build.prop file, I changed this line:

    ro.sf.lcd_density=240

    to this:

    ro.sf.lcd_density=160

    This is a setting that Google normally recommends if you have a larger screen (like Dell's Streak), but the side effect of using it on the 800x480 screen of the captivate is that everything is smaller.

    With this, menus have smaller text (more options on screen), in-app buttons are smaller, and it just has the same feeling of being on a PC and moving from a low resolution LCD monitor to a high resolution LCD monitor.

    There are a couple of glitches so far. It appears that some apps want to render in the previous resolution. For example, Skyfire and Root Explorer would not render in full screen, Android Market renders full screen but the search is in the old resolution, and the status bar is slightly garbled but still usable. Also, the dial pad is smaller (as you would expect showing a picture made for a low res display on a high res display) but the rest of the phone app is fine. The camera app fills the screen just like it did before.

    With this setting, I really feel like I'm getting some use out of the high resolution display on this phone.

    The apps that are rending in the low res mode of the original setting seem to be pulling their setting from somewhere else. Does anybody have an idea where that setting may be? After trying this, I can't imagine going back to what almost seems like an "accessibility mode".

    I've only used LauncherPro with this setting, so no idea how the Samsung launcher looks. I attached screenshots of what some things look like. I can put some game screenshots in another post if anybody is interested. 3D games look sharper to me in this mode, but I have no scientific way of testing if it is because it is rendering in higher res or if my own excitement is clouding my vision. :)

    Update: I suspect the missing setting is found in the /system.prop file. It has the ro.sf.lcd_density=240 setting. I tried changing it to 160, but it keeps going back to 240 after a reboot of the phone. Any ideas how to make this stick?

    Warning:: TWLauncher does not play well with these changes. Make sure to have LauncherPro set up as your default launcher before trying this.
    1
    The way that I pulled it out to edit on my PC was with this:

    adb pull /system/build.prop

    You will need root access in order to put the changed file back. What I did was

    adb push build.prop /sdcard

    I then used Root Explorer to copy the build.prop from /sdcard to /system. I didn't change any permissions other than just copying the file and rebooting.
    1
    I'm hoping someone will have a great idea on how to keep the /system.prop file from updating itself on boot. I'm thinking that if we can get the ro.sf.lcd_density=240 setting to stick to 160 after a reboot, that might fix the few instances where an app won't render full screen. :)

    I've tried chmod 666 system.prop and chown root.root system.prop but it still gets returned to normal after rebooting.
    1
    Wow I'm excited to test this out. Couldn't we get someone to code this into the startup script theoretically?

    Edit: Tried it out. Really really nice. If only we could get the rest of the apps to work the right way... right res.
    1
    One thing also that's cool is in launcherpro you can add more columns to the drawer so you can fit an insane amount of apps on screen.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk