Microsoft: Surface screen outperforms the iPad Retina display

By , Oct 17, 2012

Microsoft is nothing if not an expert when it comes to spinning technology. Take for instance the software giant’s latest comments that its Surface tablet actually outperforms the iPad’s Retina display. You remember the Retina, the display with 3.9 million pixels and described by some as the best display ever for a mobile device?

Well, turns out the Surface’s 1,366-by-768 display is even better at something called “perceived resolution.” Microsoft engineer Steve Bathiche told a Reddit audience this week that the tablet’s ClearType technology can reduce the glare from reflected light. The Surface’s display reflects between 5.5 percent and 6.2 percent of light, compared to 9.9 for the iPad, according to the engineer…

“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 wrote.

This argument sounds extremely close to the initial marketing from Amazon promoting the Kindle over the iPad. Remember the ads showing a Kindle owner at the beach happily reading his or her e-book while the iPad user shades his eyes?

As Amazon learned, consumers weren’t all that interested in the glare argument. After all, most people read their tablet indoors, often in the muted light of a bedroom. More important is such items as battery life, speed, or game operation.

What do you think? How high up is display glare on your list of tablet questions?

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  • CollegiateLad

    You don’t expect them to say their screen is inferior, do you? Even if the screen isn’t as glossy, the resolution is still substandard to the competition.

  • http://twitter.com/Jon889 Jonathan

    I’ll go for high DPI (note: not necessarily an apple “retina” display) over battery life, weight or thinness. I’ll need a tablet even more in the next few years, I currently share an iPad 2. I would’ve bought a Surface except for the display, after using my iPhone 4. (that and how xbox music sounded amazing at first, but then the detail meant you could only do certain things on certain platforms, I really hate fragmentation)

    • soccerkrzy

      It’s amazing to me how the “I NEED MORE DPI” mentality has suddenly taken off since Apple released their “retina” display in the iPhone 4.

      Then why did everyone lay dead while monitor manufacturer’s cut monitor resolutions from 16:10 (1920×1200) to 16:9 (1920×1080)!? We lost 120 vertical pixels, which are VERY important in applications such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, SolidWorks, etc., just so monitor manufacturers can cut corners. Also because of the stupid people complaining about the horizontal bars when watching 16:9 shows on their 16:10 monitor.

      • http://twitter.com/adampaulik Adam Paulik

        Thats why I dont understand that iPhone 5 has to have 16:9 bc of wathing movies. The original display was the best. Isnt it better to watch movies on TV :P?

      • jdshorrock

        16:9 is more natural for your eyes than 4:3

      • http://twitter.com/adampaulik Adam Paulik

        Thrats true but iphone isnt device to watch someting for a long time. Its phone. Or if I watch wesite 4:3 is more nature for me… But noone has true and itl all about opinion.

      • Dave Granger

        The old iphone was 3:2, not 4:3

      • soccerkrzy

        17 downvotes? I swear, iDB readers are mentally challenged or something.

      • http://twitter.com/Jon889 Jonathan

        I fail to see the point in widescreen. I yes I want a TV/screen that is wider than old square screens, but the new 21:9 ratio is ridiculous I don’t see why they can’t film the bits above and below the current screen ratios. But the aspect ratio is independent of PPI, so I don’t see how you comment works. I only care about PPI since using the iPhone 4 because it was the first hi PPI device I used, had the first been a Samsung phone or computer screen, then it would have had the same affect of making other screens look bad. The fact that it is made by Apple is irrelevant.

        120 vertical pixels maybe important to high-end professional applications, but the iPhone 4 made PPI an issue for everyday consumer use. One of the other phone manufacturers could easily have been the first major device to such a high PPI, but they either weren’t in a position to advertise it as well, or just didn’t bother.

  • http://twitter.com/i3dev Saif Fersi

    I personnaly think microsoft tablet rt isnt worth a cent the tablet worth claim is the one running under windows 8 pro

  • http://twitter.com/franklylife Frank Anthony

    I have said it before and am saying it again, Apple should get ready, Surface might not just be a competitor but most likely a take-over! Next week will be such an interesting battle! Can’t wait to see who’s gonna take over the lead. Microsoft vs Apple, Google perhaps.?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Childs/1067107105 Matthew Childs

      the iPad is under NO threat from the Surface, especially not the RT version. there is no software for it and you can’t use regular windows programs. remember HP and their touch pad? yeah that lasted how long? a month before they abandoned it and marked them down to $99? MS won’t be besting Apple in the tablet arena, not with the Surface.

      • cyl2002

        I thought software is the last thing that you worry about when you have Microsoft behind it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-H-Alvarez/100000031533460 Luis H. Alvarez

        Apple wont last for ever up in the trown every superpower thing is brought down by something else, maybe not by MS maybe by google, maybe not this year or the following or maybe yes. MS is more of PC why do you think theres more PCs than MACs at homes? Microsoft Dominates in the PC area they are a bit late in the race with Pads and New tech Smart Phones but they will catch up and overpass the other racers who have been in the race, Maybe not with the RT but I see something that something is good is coming from MS.

  • chjode

    It’s clearly the new math. 1366×768 is better than 2048×1536! Nevermind the iPad has 264 dpi vs. the Surface RT’s 148 dpi.

    • CollegiateLad

      They are right in highlighting the advantages of this screen because it is clearly inferior to the competition. They are attempting preemptive damage control because this tablet is gonna catch serious flack due to its inferior resolution.

      • http://twitter.com/desaintpreux Highlander

        So the iPad 2 is an absolute piece of shit by those standards… right?

        Don’t be ridiculous.

        Besides the Pro is 1080p. What more can you want? The more resolution the more power it needs to drive it and the iPad 3 is not stellar in performance. Give it a break.

    • Yujin

      Their math is done by republicans. Hahaha

      • Kurt

        Maybe by Obama who thinks $4.50 for gas is better than $1.83 when he came in. Or 47 million collecting food stamps. Ow is better than 20 million when Obama came into office. Hey but what are facts when your presidents lies each minute of the day?

      • Yujin

        Presidents can’t control gas prices. Only man that can is a bearded old guy that rules Saudi Arabia.

      • Kurt

        Presidents have multiple ways to reduce the price. Release oil from the vast reserves we have (stored in salt caves). Lower taxes. If John Kerry was elected he would have raised it 50cents a gallon. Liberals are such idiots. Which is why poverty increases under Obama, Putin, Chavez…

      • CollegiateLad

        What a fool.

      • Kurt

        obama is a fool. A stuttering fool. Can he say a sentence without stuttering haha

      • 4p0c4lyps3

        Pfff… STFU…haha.

      • Kurt

        obama is still going to lose the election. whoo hoo! goodbye to the racist!

      • clay113

        You sound like such a tool

      • Kurt

        do i care what a kiddy thinks of me, no. do i care that obama is going to lose the election. hell yes!

      • Carlos Archundia

        Lol

      • Carlos Archundia

        Lol.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      exactly….. i am mad that i even red this silly lame article..

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    I’m still waiting for actual reviewers and regular people to try the surface and give their thoughts. I wont believe a word Microsoft says until several people can vouch for it, not some Microsoft “Yes Man”.

  • farhat

    iphone call change voice apps name send please

  • Adrian Jones

    To honest a billion pixels will never make up for Windows. What windows needs to run properly is about 84 gig of ram and a network connection that never dips. Not exactly tablet friendly. I used tobe a windows fan. But after using a BSD based OS don’t ever want to go back to grey inactive windows, crashes viruses malware and reinstalling every 3 months.

    • CollegiateLad

      lol…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Childs/1067107105 Matthew Childs

      such an accurate account of windows use and a huge reminder why i jumped ship 2 years ago to Apple and i will NEVER look back! Windows is such garbage and i hate that i am forced to use Office on my Mac for school. sorry to be a total fanboy but Apple is just better…i don’t get crashes or viruses or anything…everything “just works” and i friggen love it!

      • Jay Kay

        Thats 100% my story, when you steal it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-H-Alvarez/100000031533460 Luis H. Alvarez

        typical hipster “Inovating” Kid in college….
        Maybe you MS OS is to much of a challnge to you.
        you know apple wont always be in top ? it will go down like everything does in the world. but ok fan boy

    • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

      I have none of these issues on my windows laptop… You have to be smart to use windows tbh. My dream is to get a Mac, but dual boot (boot camp?) with windows 8 because windows has more programs and support and you you can customize it more, but I LOVE Mac too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Childs/1067107105 Matthew Childs

        i spent 12 years with Windows and i don’t care what you say, windows is, and has always been, a mess. there is too much fragmentation, just like with Android, because there are too many oem’s. Windows can’t write code for sh*t. it’s buggy, laggy, crashy, riddled with spyware, malware, adware, viruses, trojans, worms….yeah it’s a mess. i will concede that windows 7 was a huge step forward but it’s still Windows. the whole metro ui…hideous. btw i am capable of building a pc, repairing a pc, diagnosing problems and resolving them…i’m far from a noob or unintelligent, so try someone else with the “you have to be smart” crap.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

        Seriously though, a dumb person can use a Mac. It’s simple and to the point. My main thing is the support windows has because it is the most popular desktop OS. I guess it’s a matter of opinion, cause I think Metro looks really cool. I’m not bashing Mac, I just want to defend windows, cause you are giving crazy situations that most normal users don’t run into.

      • Jay Kay

        I hate the word customization, why ppl are so into customization thing, Android taught you that customization word, its not everything, specially when we talk about serious computing and professional usage.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

        Yeah I suppose, but I don’t know why windows is bashed so much. Windows is an outstanding os. Same with Mac. Why can’t everyone see that each have their pros and cons.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-H-Alvarez/100000031533460 Luis H. Alvarez

      the only reason that happens is because of the USER!
      People complain how MS OS gets virus the fuck are you doing?
      downloading illegal shit? DO IT RIGHT!
      PORN! I have been to dozens of porn websites and not a single virus, hey SHOCKING dont click on the ADS!
      Crashes? Do you maintain your Computer?
      I have had my windows 7 since it came out, with no antivirus but the Windows defender it as, and have had not a single virus or a crash or malware. 1. Norton and all the other antivirus are full of shit system drainers, expensive. 2. I know what I do in my PC, and no not just facebook, I enjoy playing High End games, overclocking my PC, School work, I been all over the Internet. .
      Dont blame the OS, blame your self

  • mervynraj

    its funny how u guys praise apple when they brought out retina display… but when someone brings something better than apple u say “consumers weren’t all that interested in the glare argument”!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Childs/1067107105 Matthew Childs

      but they haven’t brought something better. it has lower resolution, and from reading the article, they are simply using clear type, which has been a setting in windows for like….EVER! most people have a life and don’t use computers or tablets in the sun….being outside is for enjoyment and MOVING! geeks, losers, nerds, workers, and me….we use electronics INSIDE where they are supposed to be. =)

      • http://twitter.com/zerkerxx Ali Alsarraf

        I agree with you

  • notewar

    I’d be surprised if it doesnt out performed old tech..

  • Yujin

    I say no matter if surface comes with a 4k screen and wrapped in titanium. It is DOA without good apps. And apps is what mobile is about.

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    Screen glare is fairly high up in my list of things that make a tablet good. This is mainly because of how often I use my tablet outside.

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    At least the better model what ever its called is a replacement for a netbook .. Unlike the iPad which will never be.. But should be..

  • http://twitter.com/ricardohakr97 Ricardo Monterrubio

    I think that is a good argument I notice a high reflection in outdoors with my ipad but must of the time I us it in indoors so I do care so much

  • William Worlde

    I am relatively new to this rag and was wondering if it is biased towards all things Apple or if it was in the business of providing cutting-edge technology information. So far, it seems to be the former and if so I’d rather not waste my time here and get REAL technology information from techradar (or Endgaget to some degree).

    You see, I have no alliance to any company. They simply must serve my needs in all ways that I demand. That’s why I multi-shifted between Linksys and D-Link routers and settled on the latter – until they screw up! As an IT support professional, Microsoft indirectly provided me with a decent living. I love my Samsung LCD TV. Can’t live without my IBM & Lenovo laptops. For years I would only provide Logitech keyboards and mice, but as MS got better I started using those too. My first – and still current – smartphone is a 3GS, but soon I will be moving to Android. This is simply because I have done the research and it has the better technology – and way cheaper.

    Next, is a productivity tablet. A Windows device is a no-brainer for me! The first iteration will likely be bug-ridden so I may wait for version 2. May. Ever since I saw the iPad I wanted one, but the price and lack of, or astronomical expense of, productivity tools have been prohibitive. And, very likely, it will come from Asus, not Microsoft.

    Thanks for your time; goodbye.

  • Dave_Lui

    I like the way every Apple line-up gets compared to every new device that floats in tech space.

  • http://twitter.com/piyushr41 Piyush Rathod

    when you use non retina display apps on new ipad u wil see the big difference how retina display is best for us specially gaming side.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-H-Alvarez/100000031533460 Luis H. Alvarez

      AHAHAHA Gaming on a fuken idevice, Lord this is bullshit a real gamer dosent game a fuken Ipod or Iphone neither less a fuken console boy get your ass and learn about PC Gaming, learn about building a Gaming PC , get those quad core with GHz of 3.00 and above, DDR3 RAM, A dam Graphics Card that will run Crysis. GTA4, F1 at no Issue or pixel tear, learn to overclock to get the most of your hardware. ipod retina display yea those are some high end graphical graphics for a game! and dont say hay Im a real gamer and I play PC games cuz a REAL gamer dosent consider a iDevice a real gamer. Stupid Kids these days with what they think is gaming in a stupid Restina display.

  • http://twitter.com/alexx1291 Cazz

    was this the same tablet that microsoft announced awhile back, that failed to launch IE at the conference?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    I love this site, but sometimes people get to excited about apple. Windows isn’t THAT horrible and I hope the surface kicks off. Apple needs more competition to lead devices in what consumers want rather than what apple wants.