I used this simple code to set a Notification in Android 4.1 or higher.
It works well, but my problem comes with SmallIcon and LargeIcon.
I understand that SmallIcon is shown in the status bar and the LargeIcon is shown in the dropdown list.
NotificationCompat.Builder builder = new NotificationCompat.Builder(this);
Bitmap bm = BitmapFactory.decodeResource(getResources(), R.drawable.my_96px_large_icon);
NotificationManager nm = (NotificationManager) getSystemService(NOTIFICATION_SERVICE);
nm.notify("direct_tag", NOTIF_ALERTA_ID, builder.build());
In my application I provide large (128x128 px) PNG drawable as small icon, and it shows scaled and without cropping. Is your drawable defined in bitmap file or maybe as XML resource? In XML you can specify several aspects of display (e.g. cropping). Double check your XML or use just PNG/JPG.
As Android API documentation on Notification.setSmallIcon() clearly states:
Set the small icon resource, which will be used to represent the notification in the status bar. The platform template for the expanded view will draw this icon in the left, unless a large icon has also been specified, in which case the small icon will be moved to the right-hand side.
AFAIK there's no way you can override the behaviour, unless you provide your own notification template (via Notification.setContent()