That looks about right for most 17" LCDs and is a downside with these. Generally you need to go with what is called the "native resolution" for best image quality. If your manual says 1280 X 1024, that's as good as it gets. Strangely, 19" monitors offer the same so your icons would be larger on these. 17s are becoming attactively priced while good 19s are still pricy. If the monitor is uncomfortable, you may do well to return it but some web pages will about fill up that whole screen. You are right. It does take getting used to. Sorry if the news isn't better.
I have just installed a new 17" LCD monitor. I have selected 1280 x 1024 for best resolution. However, everything is so small. I have checked largest font and largest icons. Web pages only fill up a portion of the screen. Am I missing an adjustment somewhere? When I decrease the resolution, the clarity is remarkably worse. Thanks for the help.