A display expert has refuted Microsoft’s claim that the Surface RT display is sharper than the iPad. This denouncement comes after Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies, compared the technology used by the two devices. According to him, it is “very unlikely that [the Surface] will turn out to be visually sharper than the new iPad 3.”
The comparison was made using an Asus netbook that uses a ClearType 768p display, which Soneira feels is comparable to the upcoming Surface’s display, and the iPad 2 and 3. The results? The Windows ClearType display in the netbook was “significantly sharper” than the iPad 2′s display, but “significantly less sharp” than the iPad 3′s.
The comparison was performed by displaying the New York Times website on the iPad 2, iPad 3, and Asus netbook. The text on each display was then compared and contrasted. Each display had the same height, reducing any edge one display may have had over another. Soneira acknowledged that the Surface’s display could end up being sharper than the Asus display used in the comparison.
Microsoft’s ClearType display utilizes sub-pixel rendering, while the iPad display uses standard pixel rendering. Says Soneira, red, green, and blue pixels are treated as independent image elements in sub-pixel rendering, rather than being smooshed together into specific pixels in standard rendering. Sub-pixel rendering can “make the screen appear to have up to 3 times the resolution” in comparison with standard rendering.
This comes after a claim by Microsoft engineer Steven Bathiche that the Surface RT’s display, which has a 148ppi 1366×768 display, is sharper than the iPad 3′s 264ppi 2048×1536 display. Said Bathiche, “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 with more resolution.” While Soneira doubts that the Surface RT’s display will trump the iPad 3, he says that the Surface Pro, with a 208ppi 1920×1080 ClearType display, might have a shot.