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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  • 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.
  • Back to my Fire. Maybe a Fire HD hack to run Windows 8 RT.
  • katfishgr
    Is this another "you're holding it wrong" argument?? LoL

    Depending on which angle you hold it, and how the light is reflected ... will Apple sue for iPad defamation?
  • amdwilliam1985
    Comparing to the majority of laptops out there now, surface has a very decent resolution at its display size.
    With it's productivity app(such as office), it'll thrive.

    Actually, tbh, I'm rooting for anyone who does not have a fruit logo.
    And yes, I'm an Apple hater and a proud sSheep(owner of SGS2, SGS3 and Nexus 7).
  • ittimjones
    I think this is where all personal computing is heading. (with a USB port and A/V out)

    But it'll be years before widespread adoption.
  • alchemy69
    "Surface Display Quality Bests iPad, Says Microsoft"

    To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies, "Well, they would, wouldn't they?"
  • COLGeek
    ....well, of course, according to MS, it will be better than the iPad. Duh....

    How is this remotely useful info?
  • jkflipflop98
    ittimjonesI think this is where all personal computing is heading. (with a USB port and A/V out)But it'll be years before widespread adoption.
    Nope. There will always be room for the bigboy desktop PC. It will always be exponentially faster at many tasks than your tablet. Sure, its big, heavy, and kind of loud when you've got crysis at full tilt - but tablets aren't going to be encoding 4K videos or playing Star Citizen any time soon.
  • d_kuhn
    1366x768 is pretty disappointing... $200 mp3 players have comparable resolutions. Hopefully the win8 version has at least 1920x1080.