A display expert on Thursday has refuted Microsoft’s earlier claims that the Surface RT features a sharper display than the 3rd generation iPad.
Microsoft engineer Stephen Bathiche told Reddit users in an IAmA session that the 148ppi (1,366 x 768 px) display found on the new Surface RT is sharper than the current iPad’s 264ppi (2048 x 1536 px) display because of its unique ClearType technology. ClearType enables sub-pixel rendering where red, blue, and green sub-pixels are treated as independent elements, allowing the screen to appear higher in resolution.
“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,”
However, Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies pitted the third generation iPad against a product he believes to be comparable to the Surface RT, an ASUS Netbook with the same pixels-per-inch and ClearType technology. Soneira claims that ClearType technology with sub-pixel rendering can make a display appear as if it has up to three times its actual resolution, but he has concluded that the Surface RT likely will not be sharper than the iPad. Soneira tested the devices by opening the New York Times website on all three, and comparing the reproduction of small text on each display.
“All 3 displays have the same 5.9 inch screen height in Landscape mode, so it was an excellent and very fair comparison … 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, … 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.”
Microsoft will also be releasing a 208ppi (1920 x 1080 px) Surface Pro, using the same ClearType sub-pixel rendering technology, and Soneira believes that device may match the current iPad’s sharpness.
“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…,”
Personally, I’m very interested to see what all of the Surface devices look like up close and personal, but I don’t think you can simulate a higher resolution with sub-pixel rendering. It might be great for smoothing out text, but for high resolution photos and videos, I don’t think it will stack up very well to the iPad.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments!