As Expected, iPad’s Retina Display Offers Better Color, Sharper Text Than Microsoft Surface RT

As Expected, iPad’s Retina Display Offers Better Color, Sharper Text Than Microsoft Surface RT

We had a feeling Microsoft was a little optimistic about the Surface RT’s display.

Shortly before Microsoft began shipping the Surface RT tablet, the company claimed its ClearType display was superior to the third-generation iPad’s Retina display. We had our doubts, and now Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies has confirmed we were right to dismiss Microsoft’s claims.

In a display comparison between the third-generation iPad, the Surface RT, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Soneira found that Apple’s device offers significantly better color saturation and color accuracy, and sharper text. 

While the Surface display does outperform the iPad 2’s 1024×768 display “across the board,” it has a hard time competing with the third-generation iPad’s 2048×1536 Retina display. Its lower 1366×1080-pixel resolution means that text isn’t quite as sharp — despite employing Microsoft’s ClearType technology — while it doesn’t come close to offering the same color gamut:

The iPad 3 has a much higher resolution of 2048×1536 and a much larger 99 percent Color Gamut. In terms of visual sharpness, the Surface RT with ClearType Sub-Pixel Rendering improves text sharpness significantly so that it is significantly sharper than the iPad 2, but not as sharp as the iPad 3. In terms of the Color Gamut, the new iPad 3 has significantly better color saturation and color accuracy.

Even the iPad 2’s aging display, while not as sharp as the Surface RT’s, offer’s better color, according to Soneria:

While the Surface RT Color Gamut is similar to the iPad 2, the iPad 2 has somewhat better color saturation because of its steeper Intensity Scale and Gamma

Overall, while the Surface RT is capable of competing with the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 — both of which have been around for more than a year — it cannot match the quality of the third-generation iPad’s Retina display. Having said that, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet will offer a better 1920×1080 display, which should provide better results. Soneira says he will do the comparison again when the Surface Pro launches.

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  • Brainze

    The Surface might not be as good as iPad but when people are making videos like this showing little frustrations and problems with even new iPad 4 and buying Surface to replace it, then it bothers me as a fan as Surface is a first generation product

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiolJnIDEDQ

  • ac1dra1n

    The Surface might not be as good as iPad but when people are making videos like this showing little frustrations and problems with even new iPad 4 and buying Surface to replace it, then it bothers me as a fan as Surface is a first generation product

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiolJnIDEDQ

    I don’t see a real issue besides the keyboard. Printing is based on AirPrint. Any issues can be fixed with an update.

  • Harvey Lubin

    but when people are making videos like this showing little frustrations and problems

    This video clearly shows that person is a moron. Of course search is all the way to the left when you scroll… it’s supposed to be that way. Only a moron like that would show one of the features of iOS, and complain that he is confused by it.

    And saying that the iPad 4 (or 3) is “slow” is beyond ridiculous, especially when it has been benchmarked as much faster than any competing tablet!

    This only shows how good the iPad really is, if someone has to try this hard to make up insane, ludicrous videos like this.

  • Aaron

    The resolution is 1366×768, just like about every sh*tty PC laptop out there. Of course it will look worse than the iPad 3/4. (Please correct the resolution in the article. It is NOT 1366×1080.)

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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