3 years ago I opened-up about an intimate, and controversial subject: the font I use with my terminal and text-editor, the superb Terminus.

My old monitor was a 24” 1080p monitor with a pixel pitch of 0.2715mm, it had fat pixels. Terminus looked sharper on it than outline fonts because the monitor’s pixels were so big, I liked how Terminus popped out with its sharp edges. I tried to use outline fonts like Source Code Pro, but they didn’t look as sharp and defined either under Linux and Windows. I played with the font hinting but it didn’t improve the outline fonts’ look enough to match the good old Terminus’ sharpness. I have stuck with my bitmap font of choice for over a decade.

A year ago I got a bigger 27” monitor with a 2560 × 1440 resolution and a pixel pitch of 0.233mm. The pixels on it are 15% smaller than on my old monitor, and it’s noticeable, everything looks smaller and sharper on this screen.

I tried outline fonts again to see if the finer pixels meant I could ditch my bitmap font and use a smoother outline font. I tried Source Code Pro and Deja Vu Mono. They looked better than on my old monitor: the smaller pitch helped of course, and the new screen is generally better so the fonts didn’t ‘bleed’ as much. The improvement wasn’t enough for me to stick with outline font with the new monitor: Terminus still looked sharper compared side by side. I eventually switched back to Terminus, it is still the font that looks the best to me on that new screen.

When I get a monitor with a pixel pitch below 0.2mm I may give outline fonts another try, but for now I’ll stick with my favorite bitmap font as I did for the past 10 years.