Microsoft science says iPad resolution is too high, Surface is better

Microsoft science says iPad resolution is too high, Surface is better
Depending on who you're talking to, pure numbers will always win out, no matter what the truth actually is. It doesn't matter how well optimized the software is, some people will say that the faster processor is always better. The only tablet we've heard of that compares to the new iPad is the rumored Samsung/Google Nexus tablet, but Microsoft wants to explain why that high resolution isn't actually as good as what the Surface offers.

According to Microsoft’s applied sciences department manager, Stevie Bathich, the 2048x1536 “Retina” display of the new iPad actually hinders readability, and the Surface's 1366x768 display is better. The logic goes that we've simply been paying attention to the wrong spec. Rather than display
Microsoft science says iPad resolution is too high, Surface is better
resolution, we should be looking at Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), which is the combination of both contrast and resolution. This makes sense to anyone who has tested out different devices (and why we here at PA tend to do articles comparing displays), because resolution is only part of the issue, and beyond that there are questions of view angles, color depth, and contrast (aka how black is black). 

Bathich explains that at a certain point, as resolution increases, the eye's sensitivity actually decreases, and contrast helps the eye to distinguish pixels from each other, which makes things easier to read. So, Microsoft aimed for a "3 pronged approach", which focused on: 1) pixel rendering (ClearType technology), 2) a high-contrast, wide-angle display, and 3) optically bonding the screen "with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market". 

The science all sounds interesting, but of course a simple eye test is usually what any consumer will consider. And, we'll definitely be offering a comparative of the screens when the Surface is released.

Related phones

Surface RT
  • Display 10.6" 1366 x 768 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
Surface Pro
  • Display 10.6" 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 1 megapixel
  • Processor Intel Core i5, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB



1. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Anybody else sick of tablets in general? I've been through iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3, Acer, Samsung and Google tablets. I'm typing this right now on my computer (with dual screens) while watching the presidential debates. Can't really do that with a tablet. I'm just not interested anymore especially if my next phone is a Galaxy Note 2.

2. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

im more disturbed by these "phablets" than i am tablets bro.....

5. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Yes, phablets; they have much love in the consumer's mind but I think they are monstrosities. They are pure power, but the way they look and feel to me is just... Bleh. I never really liked tablets, either. Give me a 15" Windows 8 tablet and I'll be happy, though that would practically be a laptop with a touchscreen.

9. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

hahaha yea I was gonna say well you might as well get a laptop then bro lol......but Im looking to get a sony tablet s if I ever do get a tablet looks good and will have enough power and customization for almost anything....

15. CWBAlfredo

Posts: 28; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

I'm right with you. I like my computers large and my phones small (or at least small enough to be portable).

10. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

This will be my first "phablet" so I'm not tired of it yet. Ask me again in 2 years. I guess my point is I don't want to have 2 devices. Anyway you cut it I still have to carry a phone. I just don't want to carry a tablet or keep it at home collecting dust. Why not make it a "phablet" that is still pocketable and replaces 2 devices with 1. I honestly believe that "phablets" will do good for a long time.

18. dmckay12

Posts: 243; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I get it, but I have a different issue that I think window 8 can solve. I am a college student and I generally have to keep my phone with me wherever I go (my parents say "If I pay for it, you better pick up"). I also have to carry my heavy laptop (which I need for running complex programs for boring things). I am also looking for a tablet to read books, watch movies, and play games on while I am on the move. I think that a Surface/Windows 8 tablet could combine the Laptop and tablet for carrying to class.

13. MeoCao unregistered

Other tablets are for moms and dads and grand moms and grand dads. N7 is ideal for young people.

21. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

I'm typing this on the Asus Transformer with keyboard dock. I can't stand touch screen keyboards, so I got the Transformer. I'm typing this while watching The Interpreter on TV.

26. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I think a setup like the Transformer Infinity is what I've been waiting for in a tablet. It's light, well built, a good size, full HD display, and the keyboard dock turns it into a netbook. I feel I'd be more comfortable going from a Windows laptop to Android 4.1 tablet than I would going to a Windows 8 tablet.

23. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I'm tired of mobile-based tablets. They're just larger versions of their media-player brethren (ipod, Galaxy Player), and while they have some use, they're not as capable as most people probably really really want, which is why the "post-PC" era isn't here yet. The Surface (and Windows8 Pro tablets) allows for computer functionality, easier-than-laptop portability, with ease-of-use of a touchscreen with the intuitive responses of a mobile OS, a great combination of the goodies from each ecosystem. I hope to get a Surface or simliar Windows8 tablet, since it does everything I use my phone for (except phone calls) and what I usually use my computers for, but can do so without cords or having to set up a different computer area each time

3. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

I think that phones are getting so big that soon we won't need tablets lol.

4. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Lol Microsoft, that's just not right.

6. GoBears

Posts: 456; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

My 4yr old uses my tablets far more than I do lol.

24. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Great profile image!

7. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

SCIENCE! Haha, Apple can't refute science, except with more science. Show us more science, Apple, then I will agree with your "resolutionary" marketing. Until then, I call shenanigans on you and your graphics-killing displays.

8. twens

Posts: 1163; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I have always observed and notice this with my naked eyes.when ever I read an article thats states that iphone screens are better than samsung amoleds I just get confused.vos when I compare or look at both with my naked eyes, I find amoled screens way shaper and note 2 screen is way more sharper and vibrant than any iphone screen I have seen so far.

11. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

well for one maybe its cuz ur looking at a 4.8 inch screen as opposed to a 4 inch screen........The whites on amoled are hella dim and blueish making it not nearly as clear and visible as the screen on the iphone.....But if you really want a "sharp" screen then there is no doubt in my mind to go with the HTC's One X and The Evo 4g lte...

19. FireDragon

Posts: 117; Member since: Nov 13, 2009

An interesting fact about viewing, eyes and brain adjusts to what you are looking at. If you are using a high density screen, a low density screen will look very bad for sometime but when you continue to use that low density screen, eyes will adjust to it and you will see it clearly as good as any high density screen unless until you switch back. Side by side test, of course high density will look sharp but for practical use, if it is average, it is doable. If it is really bad then it is bad but still it will do just fine.

12. techguy22

Posts: 227; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

lmfaooo. yeah we gonna buy surface because you told us to buy it MS.

14. Hemlocke unregistered

Wow, desperate. Our WXGA screen is better than the QXGA screen of the iPad. Uh-huh.

25. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Resolution isn't everything, obviously. But obviously you don't get that

27. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Resolution isn't everything, but it something. They might be better off making the point that the Retina display is overkill on a tablet, but perhaps something in between (like the 1920x1200 Asus Infinity) is ideal.

16. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

I think resolution still matters, but not as much as we make it rightnow. kudos to apple for making up new words, resolutionary.

17. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

They're only giving you half the story. People use tablets for more than reading text, they also look at pictures, watch video and play games. So even if their display is better with text (I remain skeptical), iPad's higher resolution will kick Surface's butt on games and media.

20. Reverence

Posts: 224; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

when microsoft will hav such displays then they will say, high resolutions are must!

22. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

he;s actually true... high pixel density hurts my eyes..but low pixel hurts my eyes too!! and microsoft's is just on normal! :)

28. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

Now that they mentioned this, my iPad's display seems, umm ah, unusual. (dun dun duhh!!!)

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