Surface Display Quality Bests iPad, Says Microsoft

Despite featuring a lower resolution on its Surface tablet, a Microsoft engineer has offered his take on why the device's display beats the iPad's resolution.

With Microsoft due to release Windows 8 and the tablet next week, several engineers from the firm conducted a Reddit IamA recently. One user asked what consumers think of Surface vs the iPad's different screen resolution.

Surface for Windows RT delivers a resolution of 1366x768, with the third-generation iPad boasting a resolution of 2048x1536. Steven Bathiche, the director of research for the firm's Applied Sciences division, referred to Surface's Modulation Transfer Function, which combines both contrast and resolution. "Without good contrast, resolution decreases," he said.

"The amount of light in a room and the reflections off the screen have a huge effect on the contrast of the display," Bathiche explained. "In fact, a small amount of reflection can greatly reduce contrast and thus the perceived resolution of the display. With the ClearType Display technology we took a 3 pronged approach to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness."

Bathiche continued on to say how the light reflected off Surface was measured at around 5.5 percent to 6.2 percent, while the light reflected off the iPad 3 is measured at 9.9 percent.

Meanwhile, another user posed the question of why Microsoft implemented a higher resolution for the tablet's Pro version. Bathiche seemingly struggled to provide an adequate response, with the director suggesting Microsoft may not be as concerned in regards to preserving battery power. He also said that since the Pro version has predominately been designed for a "professional environment," the extra screen space could be required to deliver presentations.

Surface, which launches on October 26, will compete against the imminent arrival of the iPad Mini, a device that is said to outshine the current generation iPad's design.


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    Top Comments
  • shortyg83
    I feel like most people with negative comments on this are either not reading or not actually thinking about this.
    1. People saying 500 is a big gamble.- It is already sold out.
    2. Resolution. There is literally nothing about ipads resolution that makes it usable besides picture viewing and reading. and considering in side by side test every tech company that was allowed to view these stated that surface looked better, I would say that resolution doesn't matter.
    3. The product looks great, was well thought out, and done correctly. No other company has put this kind of time into a product outside of apple.
  • chomlee
    personally I think they are taking a big gamble at $500. The only way this will take off is if it is extraordinary. Soon we shall see.
  • Other Comments
  • chomlee
    personally I think they are taking a big gamble at $500. The only way this will take off is if it is extraordinary. Soon we shall see.
  • igot1forya
    Surface Display Quality Bests iPad, Says Microsoft

    Yeah, pretty sure any company who makes a product is going to promote it. Although, I wish MS would promote a higher res screen - makes it more believable. Then again, it's RT - hope the next model up supports something better.
  • Anonymous
    Back to my Fire. Maybe a Fire HD hack to run Windows 8 RT.