Display expert refutes Microsoft claim that Surface RT display is "sharper" than iPad

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A display expert on Thursday compared the technology powering Microsoft's upcoming Surface RT with the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad's displays, seemingly debunking previous claims made by Microsoft that claimed its new tablet would be "sharper" than competing Apple products.

Surface RT
Microsoft's Surface RT uses a 768p ClearType display. | Source: Microsoft


In a brief device shootout, President of DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira pitted Apple's iPad 2 and New iPad against what he believes to be a device comparable to the as-yet-unreleased Surface RT, an ASUS netbook.

"The Windows ClearType 768p display on the Asus Netbook was significantly sharper than the iPad 2 768p display but also significantly less sharp than the new iPad 3 1536p display," Soneira wrote. "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."

For the test, Soneira ran the New York Times website in Safari on all three displays, comparing and contrasting each screen's reproduction of the publication's small text.

"All 3 displays have the same 5.9 inch screen height in Landscape mode, so it was an excellent and very fair comparison.," Soneira said.

At issue is the perceived sharpness of on-screen images and text as presented by two different display technologies. Microsoft's Surface uses sub-pixel rendering, dubbed "ClearType," while Apple uses standard pixel rendering across its iPad line.

iPad Retina Display
Comparison of Apple's iPad 2 and New iPad displays. | Source: Apple


Soneira explained that sub-pixel rendering treats red, green and blue sub-pixels as independent addressable image elements not "bound together into specific pixels." He adds that in some cases, sub-pixel rendering can "make the screen appear to have up to 3 times the resolution" as a display using normal pixel rendering.

Earlier this week, CNET reported that Microsoft engineer Steven Bathiche told Reddit users in a IamA sesson that the 1,366-by-768-pixel, 148 pixel-per-inch display used in the new Surface RT outperforms that of Apple's third-generation iPad, which boasts a resolution of 2,048-by-1,536 pixels at 264 pixels per inch. Bathiche pointed to a measurement called Modulation Transfer Function, which combines contrast and resolution qualities to form an equivalent reading.

"Doing a side by side with the new iPad in a consistently lit room, we have had many people see more detail on Surface RT than on the Ipad [sic] with more resolution," Bathiche said.

As for Microsoft's Windows 8-powered Surface Pro tablet, which will have a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel, 208-pixel-per-inch screen using the same ClearType technology as its stripped-down sibling, Soneira thinks the device may level the playing field.

"It will be really interesting to compare them all... including the displays on Windows Tablets from other manufacturers, who might provide better displays than the Microsoft Surface...," Soneira said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71


  • Reply 2 of 71
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Well you don't say eh? I was certain I could fit three gallons of water that two gallon jug!
  • Reply 3 of 71
    Steven Bathiche's other claims:

    "The Surface will make you jump higher, lose weight faster, grow a thicker head of hair, all while making you more veracious in the sack. Trust me. I'm an engineer."
  • Reply 4 of 71
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,354member
    It was a stupid thing for Soneira to say in the first place now he's got himself in a binder ... er I mean bind.
  • Reply 5 of 71
    It was a stupid thing for Soneira to say in the first place now he's got himself in a binder ... er I mean bind.

    Careful… Pay attention to your own sig!
  • Reply 6 of 71
    Couldn't he have waited a week when he has the actual device in hand? There's such a thing as jumping the gun.
  • Reply 7 of 71
    gustavgustav Posts: 824member
    Subpixel rendering will also become useless as soon as you rotate the display 90 degrees - a common use case on a tablet.
  • Reply 8 of 71
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gustav wrote: »
    Subpixel rendering will also become useless as soon as you rotate the display 90 degrees - a common use case on a tablet.

    It's my understanding that is why Apple doesn't use it on their iOS devices but use it on their Macs.
  • Reply 9 of 71
    If the Surface screen isn't better, you're holding it wrong.
  • Reply 10 of 71
    interesting point...
    so Surface is for horizontal usage.
  • Reply 11 of 71
    davegee wrote: »
    Well you don't say eh? I was certain I could fit three gallons of water that two gallon jug!

    This brings it really to the point!

    How stupid does MSFT think their consumers are?
  • Reply 12 of 71

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post



    Couldn't he have waited a week when he has the actual device in hand? There's such a thing as jumping the gun.


     


    But that is not the way the game is played. Everyone has their own crystal ball, or chicken guts, or rune stones, or… well you get the picture then posts their expert opinion by flinging dung against the wall and then wait to see whose drys and stills sticks and who's is just a wet fart. It has nothing to do with reality.


     


    "That would be telling…"

  • Reply 13 of 71

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post



    ...

    How stupid does MSFT think their consumers are?


     


    Now that is funny!!

  • Reply 14 of 71

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post



    Subpixel rendering will also become useless as soon as you rotate the display 90 degrees - a common use case on a tablet.


    Now that, I don't quite get. Would it really be impossible to keep subpixel rendering independent of the screen orientation?

  • Reply 15 of 71
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:


    Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post

     



     



     


    Fixed that for you.

  • Reply 16 of 71
    neo42neo42 Posts: 287member
    So comparing a similar, but lower resolution display as a benchmark stand in for a device that has yet to be released? The MS claim along with this premature comparison/judgement are both retarded.
  • Reply 17 of 71
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member


    The claim has been removed from the blog. Because as usual, MS doesn't get it. 


     


    But this was done quite deliberately. MS knew that the claim itself will generate much bigger headlines than the refutation thereof. In fact, the refutation would simply be added after the fact, after the initial effect (which *might have* impressed some consumers.)


     


    MS knows that in light of the iPad, they might have a dud, so they'll make wild claims in order to at least win some consumer attention and interest.

  • Reply 18 of 71
    refute surface is better by using something that isnt the surface...

    Sure its similar, but he couldnt wait until release to thrash it, or was he advertising?
  • Reply 19 of 71
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gustav View Post



    Subpixel rendering will also become useless as soon as you rotate the display 90 degrees - a common use case on a tablet.


    This is probably why the Surface does not work well in portrait.

  • Reply 20 of 71
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,475member


    Let's get the story straight, shall we? The Microsoftie said the Surface would be easier to read than the iPad 3 when both tablets are oriented so as to reflect sunlight directly into the user's eyes. MS gathered data to support this.

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