FontSmoother 1.75 Review

by Reads (13,222)

FontSmoother is an application designed to enhance the readability of fonts on Palm OS handhelds.

The basic Palm OS has no means to smooth fonts, and as a result, they can look jagged and blocky, dependent on what size the font is on your screen.

FontSmoother offers anti-aliasing of fonts, which adds intermediate colors to give each character a softer feel when viewed at normal distances. If you were to look at a regular letter and an anti-aliased letter up close, you would see they take up the same number of pixels.

Installation

My test device is a Tungsten E. FontSmoother requires Palm OS 5 and higher and a minimum screen resolution of 320×320. Sorry, the Palm Zire 21, Zire 31, and Z22 are not supported because their screen resolution is only 160×160.

FontSmoother is not your standard stand-alone application. It is a system hack and requires a hackmaster in order to be configured and run. Per the included instructions, you need to use YAHM (Yet Another HackMaster), and not TealMaster to make FontSmoother work. You may use YAHM in conjunction with TealMaster, but YAHM must be the controlling hackmaster for FontSmoother.

 

Within the setup for FontSmoother, you can assign global defaults for all applications, including Default Font, Font Darkness, eBook Mode, Smart Highlight, Smart Lists, and Force 16-bit display mode.

Default Font: Font used in all applications, unless you either specify a font or disable FontSmoother for an application.

Font Darkness: Adjustable font saturation — adjust how light the edges of letters are. Too dark, and they look blocky, too light, and they look fuzzy and are hard to read. Small tweaking recommended at most.

eBook Mode: Some programs have specified areas that text is set to appear in. If you are using a font of a different size, you may notice letters or words getting cut off. eBook Mode tries to compensate for this. Results may vary. You may or may not need this, dependent on what font you choose to use.

Smart Highlight: Aliased fonts have larger spacing between letters, than standard letters do. Smart Highlight tries to ensure that highlighting flows evenly from letter to letter when highlighting text that uses anti-aliasing.

Smart Lists: Drop-down lists can have predetermined vertical lengths built in, based on the default Palm OS font. If you choose to use a font of a different height, these menus will show dead space at the bottom of the menu. Enabling Smart Lists removes the dead space in drop-down lists.

Force 16-bit Display Mode: Not recommended for default settings. Some applications will malfunction in 16-bit mode and the screen output will look irregular, or the program may crash. This should be used on a case-by-case basis only.

Results

I chose a font with a different height and width than the Palm OS default font. With Smart Lists, eBook mode, and Smart Highlight, I’ve had very favorable results.

Text on white backgrounds as well as colored backgrounds work very well.

Below is a side by side comparison. Both are using the same font, same size. The left image is using anti-aliasing, the right image is not.

 

I did encounter a quirk that could not be directly resolved within FontSmoother related to highlighting. Regardless of whether I had Smart Highlighting on or off as well as Force 16-bit, I would get irregular highlighting within my memo application (PSMemo). I found that it worked best for me to just use another font and not worry about anti-aliasing for PSMemo.

If you find incompatible programs, drop the author a note. He has been very responsive to suggestions and bug reports.

 

You should also take note that anti-aliased fonts do not work well when the font is very tiny. Fonts can become blurry and unreadable. Notice the calendar plug-in in Zlauncher.

 

Conclusion

For the RAM used, the effects are well worth the purchase. Hard-to-read screens are now a thing of the past. You have the ability to choose nearly any font that you like, whether it be an included font, or a font from your own computer that you converted (font converter provided in software package).

Most applications work with FontSmoother. There will always be an exception here or there, such as HandyShopper, which uses its own built in font. The additional tools and tweaks within FontSmoother allow for highly customized default, and individual program settings.

Pros

Works with multiple fonts, including fonts from Fonts4OS5, FontHack V, MobiPocket, and FontHack 123.

Works in conjunction with Fonts4OS5.

Ability to set global, as well as individual preferences, and fully disable for problem applications.

Cons

Requires a hack manager, rather than being a stand alone application like Fonts4OS5.

You can get FontSmoother from the Brighthand Software Store. It sells for $12.95.

 


LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.