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Expert Debunks Microsoft Claim: RT Display Not Sharper Than iPad

Microsoft Surface RT

Image Source: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT | Wikipedia

Last Thursday, DisplayMate Technologies President Raymond Soneira pitted the technology powering Microsoft Surface RT’s display against the iPad 2 and the new iPad. It appears that the comparison debunked the software tech giant’s previous claims that its new tablet would be “sharper” than Apple products.

Device Shootout: Microsoft Surface RT vs. Apple iPad 2 and new iPad

Soneira made a device shootout between Apple’s iPad 2 and new iPad versus the ASUS netbook. The display expert believes that the ASUS netbook has a display that is comparable to the yet-to-be-released Windows Surface RT.

The Windows ClearType 768p display on the ASUS netbook was significantly sharper than the iPad 2768p display, but also significantly less sharp than the new iPad 3 1536p display. It is certainly possible that the 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.

Soneira ran the New Your Times website on Safari while testing all devices, comparing and contrasting each screen’s reproduction of the publication’s small text. He said that all three displays have the same 5.9-inch screen height in Landscape mode, making it an excellent and very fair comparison.

In relation to this, Soneira found out that Microsoft’s tablet uses sub-pixel rendering called “ClearType,” while Apple devices were using the standard pixel rendering. He explained that the sub-pixel rendering treats red, green, and blue sub-pixels as independent addressable image elements. As a result, all three images elements are not treated as “bound together into specific pixels,” and it can even “make the screen appear to have up to three times the resolution” compared to a normal pixel rendering.

ClearType’s “Perceived Resolution”

Earlier this week, it was reported that Microsoft Engineer Steven Bathiche told Reddit users in an IamA session that the Surface RT’s 1366 x 768-pixel resolution display can outdo Apple’s third-generation iPad. He even pointed out that the tablet’s ClearType feature maximizes the “perceived resolution” found on the screen.

The amount of light in a room and the reflections of the screen have a huge effect on contrast of the display. In fact, a small amount of reflection can greatly reduce contrast and thus perceive resolution of the display.

With ClearType display technology, we took a three-pronged approached to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness.

But once every configuration of Microsoft Surfacr tablet is out, Soneira believes that it will be very interesting to compare them all in order to see which device may level the playing field.

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