I have recently bought a Dell XPS 13 laptop with built-in Win 8.1. Generally, It gets good quality of pictures particularly with Win 8.1 apps and big font size texts. But texts in regular windows shows poorly (fuzzy). The following picture compares Firefox (good appearance), Device Manager (poor) and Driver Property (very poor) windows.
This situation gets worse when I add a second screen to my laptop. Appearance of texts (even in an application like FireFox) in second screen is terrible that you can't look at the monitor for more than a couple of minutes. The following pic is from second screen.
I tried latest driver of display adapter both in Dell website and Intel. Also I installed latest driver of second screen. I have to point out that I tested the screen with an 4 years worked laptop and it works properly. In addition, I tested my laptop with another screen and it had a same problem. I attached dxdiag result to provide more clarification.
Do you have Microsoft* Clear Type enabled and adjusted on your system? You can find details on how to do this here: http://www.insideris.com/windows-8-tips-enable-cleartype-optimization/ Windows 8 Tips: Enable ClearType Optimization
Please check to make sure you are running your external display at its native resolution so that you don't have blurriness from scaling the image up or down.
For the local display - what is the native display resolution? if it is high resolution display (say 1920x1080 or higher), then what you are seeing may be a consequence of applications that are not designed for high res displays being "scaled up" by the operating system.
There are known issues with some legacy applications that were not written to be "Hi DPI aware" - these applications assumed they would be run on a certain resolution screen and thus the icons, text layout, etc are all tuned for that resolution (fixed number of pixels). If they were rendered at their native size in pixels, icons and stuff would look tiny; maybe pages wouldn't lay out correctly - so Microsoft offers a "fudge factor" to upscale these old apps... But that doesn't always work and it may make things blurry.
See these article for more information:
http://techreport.com/review/23631/how-windows-8-scaling-fails-on-high-ppi-displays How Windows 8 scaling fails on high-PPI displays - The Tech Report - Page 1
http://techreport.com/blog/25797/high-ppi-support-in-windows-8-1-still-not-so-great High-PPI support in Windows 8.1: still not so great - The Tech Report
Sadly, the really nice hi res display that looks so great in Firefox or Internet Explorer and while editing photos... doesn't look so nice when fixed DPI apps wind up scaled up to a blurry mess.
Here is an article on how to check your DPI settings in Win 8.1:
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/28310-dpi-scaling-size-change-displays-windows-8-1-a.html DPI Scaling Size - Change for Displays in Windows 8.1
First, I used native resolution of both displays (1920*1080 for the main and 1680*1050 for the second). Also, I had checked second display with another laptop did not have any problem.
Second, I got your point about automatically scaling up in Windows 8.1. I think it is ridiculous because device manager is not third-part application; it is a Windows built-in application!! Actually, I scaled down it and then got a better image for device manager but other problems (mouse problem, other apps not fitting and so on) occurred that I inclined to ignore it. However, all of this story is about main screen and scaling up or down did not affect second screen.
Thanks for your reply.