An Expert Proves That The iPad Has A Better Display Than Microsoft's Surface

microsoft surface tablet

Photo: Microsoft

UPDATE: Mr. Soneira has updated his comments and they appear below:ClearType significantly improves screen sharpness so that a 768p Windows ClearType display is significantly sharper than the iPad 2 768p display, but that it is not sharper than the new iPad 3 1536p display. I regard that as a significant plus for ClearType. I also state that the Surface Pro 1080p display with ClearType might be sharper the new iPad 3 1536p display.

What was demoed by Microsoft at their event were the displays viewed under significant ambient lighting. Under ambient lighting the screen Reflectance reduces image contrast and therefore perceived visual sharpness and screen readability. Microsoft has indicated that their Surface RT Tablet has much lower Reflectance than the new iPad 3 (they quote my iPad Reflectance measurements). Lowering screen Reflectance is an issue that I have been pushing since 2005 when I began publishing my Reflectance measurements. Manufacturers are now starting to listen…

So together with ClearType AND high ambient lighting the attendees at the Microsoft event concluded that the Surface RT was visually sharper than the iPad 3. That seems very plausible.

PREVIOUSLY: A bold claim by Microsoft about its new hardware isn’t checking out, reports PCWorld..

Panos Panay, the general manager of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet line, recently claimed on social news site Reddit┬áthat “Microsoft has the best pixel rendering technology in the industry.”

“We have had many people see more detail on Surface RT than on the iPad with more resolution,” Panay wrote. (RT is a reference to the Windows RT software Surface runs.)

Basically, Panay claims that despite the iPad’s higher-resolution screen, Microsoft’s use of ClearType, a pixel-rendering technology, means people see more detail in images on the Surface.

Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technology decided to check this out for himself. While his test wasn’t conclusive, it raised questions about Panay’s claim.

He conducted experiments using an iPad 2, an older Apple tablet; the latest iPad model; and an Asus Netbook that uses the same pixel-rendering technology as the Surface. While the Asus did way better on sharpness than the iPad 2, it got crushed by the current iPad.

Soneira qualifies this a bit: “It is certainly possible that the Microsoft Surface RT Tablet will perform better than the Asus Netbook, but it is very unlikely that it will turn out to be visually sharper than the new iPad 3.”

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