Microsoft science guy claims Surface RT 1366×768 display has better perceived resolution than iPad Retina display

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imageMicrosoft has been keeping very quite about the resolution of the Surface RT display, but today finally revealed it was 1366×768  pixels.

In the days of the iPad’s 2048×1536 “Retina” display which is supposed to make pixels imperceptible at arms length , 1366×768  seems downright low resolution.

Microsoft’s applied sciences department manager Stevie Bathich however explained things are not as clear-cut as it seems, and that the iPad’s high resolution display may in fact hurt readability.

He writes:

Hey I tried to answer this resolution question for another post, but it got stuck.. So I will try here:

Hey this is Stevie. Screen resolution is one component of perceived detail. The true measure of resolvability of a screen called Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), not Pixels. MTF is a combination of both contrast and resolution. There are over a dozen subsystems that effect this MTF number.. Most folks just focus on one number out of dozens that effect perceived detail. Without good contrast resolution decreases. Check out contrast sensitivity of the human eye graph (http://www.telescope-optics.net/images/eye_contrast.PNG) and if you want more see the links below. Basically, as resolution/DPI increases the eye has becomes less sensitive. So as a result, the amount of light in a room and the reflections off the screen have a huge effect on the contrast of the display. In fact, a small amount of reflection can greatly reduce contrast and thus the perceived resolution of the display. With the ClearType Display technology we took a 3 pronged approach to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness. First prong, Microsoft has the best pixel rendering technology in the industry (cleartype 1.0 and 2.0) .. these are exclusive and unique to Windows, it smooths text regardless of pixel count. Second, we designed a custom 10.6” high-contrast wide-angle screen LCD screen. Lastly we optically bonded the screen with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market.. something which is more commonly done on phones we are doing on Surface. While this is not official, our current Cleartype measurements on the amount of light reflected off the screen is around 5.5%-6.2%, the new IPad has a measurement of 9.9% mirror reflections (see the displaymate link: http://www.displaymate.com/iPad_ShootOut_1.htm). 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.

Some more links to share if you want to know more… (http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF.html)… Also This is a great book to read if you really want to get into it: http://www.amazon.com/Contrast-Sensitivity-Effects-Quality-Monograph/dp/0819434965 or more here http://alexandria.tue.nl/extra2/9901043.pdf

The point appears to be that the high resolution display reduces contrast, which is also an essential element in distinguishing two pixels from one another, and therefore make it more difficult to read more features on the screen on a very high resolution, but otherwise less optimal display.

Personally I am somewhat glad Microsoft chose not to pursue Apple’s helter-skelter specs race, which they pursued for resolution and now for processor speed, with little reflection for what it is actually good for. If 1366×768 is good enough for this laptop I am typing on, its good enough for my tablet.

Do our readers agree? Let us know below.



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  • Sunovavic

    I can’t wait to see it!

  • Sunovavic

    I can’t wait to see it!

  • Meekermoloko

    So, by those standards… would the Surface Pro have a worse screen than the Surface RT? Or is the 1920 x 1080 the optimal resolution? Bah!

  • Meekermoloko

    So, by those standards… would the Surface Pro have a worse screen than the Surface RT? Or is the 1920 x 1080 the optimal resolution? Bah!

    • redtidal

      But you also read he said there is more than resolution to a good display?

      The Pro also has clear type and thin screen binding, adding that to a high dpi screen.

      If 1366×768 can be perceived visually as good as “Retina,” then Pro will have even a better visual perception to actual users in real environment.

      His point is, increasing dpi numbers alone doesn’t make a good screen display, there are other factors to consider and adjust.

      • Meekermoloko

        I get that… It just makes it impossible to try and convince an average consumer (or especially Apple people) that 1366×768 is better than 2048×1536… whether or not it’s true. It’s the “we don’t need dual-core processors for Windows Phone” all over again.

        • juwagn

          Convincing ist that easy… you let them compare them the ipad and the surface side-by-side :) and if the surface has such a brilliant screen, the average consumer take the better looking one.

        • redtidal

          Your last point is actually a good one.

          I agree, although everyone saying “spec is died,” but for average non-technical consumers, numbers seems all that matter.

          I mean, we are here, read, learn, and debate about the technology behind it. But how many people will ever see this article?

          From marketing point of view, this low number makes a hard sell.

          Or, Microsoft needs come up a more catch name for their display technology than the stupid “Retina.”

        • skruis

          Its the same argument as the megapixel mystery…there’s more to the quality of the image than the raw specs. People are starting to understand that argument.

          • Ironic77

            Exactly. 98% of the time, you’ll get a much better picture from a 12 MP DSLR than you will from a 42 MP smartphone camera. The 42 MP smartphone is a waste of storage and processing, while completely ignoring aperture, focus, etc.
            And while, generally speaking, an 18MP DSLR will be considered better than the 12MP version with the same lens, there are many other factors, not the least of which is composition, lighting, etc.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gavin-Tom/100001144097567 Gavin Tom

            I like the camera camparison, It’s not really the megapixels it actually is the sensor and the software that is interpreting the image. I’m really interested to see how the screen is, I’m gonna take my surface into a apple store to compare.

          • http://twitter.com/fearandil Fearandil

            No way, a 250dpi print is better than a 180dpi print. More pixel = less antialias = more sharpness.

        • Bugbog

          I think we’ve reached the point where we can ‘Romney-ise’ the issue and forget about that whole percentage of Apple customers altogether. This need to be marketed at the unbiased and Neutral! :)

      • John

        Come on. So only Surface’s high resolution is a good resolution while IPad’s high resolution is a bad one??? Everybody knows that Apple is always the best when it comes to graphic. Is there any graphic designer out there using anything but Mac? Even I am not apple fan boy and a PC user all my life, but I think we have to be honest and give the credit where it’s due. Please stop this kind of non-sense. It’s insulting reader.

        • redtidal

          I was referring to what the post claims: that there are more factors than high dpi to a good display. And according to the post, the perception to the eyes of a lower dpi screen when made with right technology is just as good as a high dpi screen.

          Anyway, it is kind of pointless for us to argue on this.

          Only a side by side comparison under real lighting environment would tell if his claim can hold up any water.

        • GGlazer

          I’ve worked IT in post production for for over a decade now and I rarely ever see or have to support MAC. I’m sure there are lots who use it out there but on a professional broadcast level it’s almost non existent. If I tried to switch our 3D or 2D, comp or edit teams over to it i’d have a bloody mutiny. And now that Apple has turned their back to Final Cut it’s almost all but gone from our industry.

        • Raygun

          Graphic Designer here. PC’s are just as good as macs for design. There WAS a point in time when apple was better, but that was like…I dunna 20 something years ago.

          Apple was the first to stress the importance of type, but windows followed soon there after.

          However, PC’s actually run any Adobe suite smoother today, and have since CS3 (we are currently at CS6).

          Design studios have macs because they are simply “pretty” and because most of the world is misinformed about PC’s being design tools, so design firms stick with apple because of the false perception that the world sees. Designers are aesthetically driven and macs DO look better, but the buck stops there. Even steve jobs said form over function. Hell, most rendering farms use PC’s because they are more powerful than their mac brothers.

          Also, macs screens are NOT the best in the industry. NEC, Eizo are some of the best, hell Dell and HP’S better displays run circles around macs.

          • http://twitter.com/fearandil Fearandil

            Designers use Mac for ColorSync and much better font rendering, and avoid MS Windows mainly for worst color correction tecnology and for ClearType ugliness.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            @twitter-108335842:disqus You contradict an actual designer without being one yourself? ColourSync is Apple’s proprietory screen callibration software and if it’s better Windows 7 version in your opinion that’s fine. However, no professional designer would use either as both are designed only for entry level, domestic and general screens. Professional designers would use high end monitors that are much better than the standard Apple ones and the calibration software that comes with them.
            Also Apple did have better font rendering about 20 years ago. I’m not sure if that is true today.

          • http://twitter.com/fearandil Fearandil

            I am a designer, sorry. And ColorSync is not a software for monitor calibration but the glue across all application that offer a pervasive color correction trought all system, from Adobe to browsers. I’m pretty sure that IE don’t use color profiles in images, Safari (and all other browsers on OSX) does. You can switch the engine of color rendering, if you wish, and that apply in the whole system. About the fonts rendering: I’m sure of what I see and Chrome on OSX render text a way long better than Win, so Ubuntu render better than Win! When we present a web design to client we use OSX for that reason.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            It’s good that you have a solution you’re happy with your setup on your Mac but you’re wrong to make the assumption that you couldn’t have just as easily achieved the same on the PC. In fact, if you’ve got Adobe on your PC for designing then you’ll have almost exactly the same colour management algorithm on the PC as they helped Apple write ColorSync anyway. Just because it is part of the operating system on the Mac but part of the Adobe suite on the PC isn’t really a material difference.
            I’m not sure why you are bothering with colour spaces on the web. Browsing colour rendering is not dependent on the browser or the OS but will be dominated by the end user’s hardware, which you can’t control so you are wasting your time. ColorSync and its PC equivalents are really for ensuring that what you see on your screen is what is printed out. You cannot realistically ensure colour consistency across end-users’ monitors, where even identical makes will have significant variation.

        • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

          Graphic Designer here also using a PC amongst Mac users. They complain nonstop about the “spinning wheel of doom” while I zip along on a machine that cost half as much, has better specs and is amazingly easy to support in the event of hardware failure. These days you buy Mac because you think it’s better, not because it is. :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/alex.sorell.9 Alex Sorell

            can you share brand/model/specs?

          • http://zqp.me/ Brad

            HAHA. I have a crappy aging HP on my office desk that performs on par with a brand new $4k MAC that the other developer uses. Can’t believe how much he complains about slow load times on that thing. Apple can push out some kick ass hardware but man their software is BLOATed

    • Kruegerman

      No, because Surface Pro has ClearType as well.

  • http://twitter.com/Adiliyo Adil

    i’d rather it run at sane resolutions that the arm based graphics can keep up with and still have good effects and detail (games wise)

    one can already see the tradeoff present in the ipad2 vs ipad3 in gaming because of the crazy (and mostly pointless) resolution of the ipad3.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Njoi-Fontes/590077451 Njoi Fontes

      The point is that the surface already looks better than an ipad 3, and that is all that matters. If you want even better wait for surface pro, otherwise get the surface RT knowing that there is currently nothing better out there

  • http://twitter.com/Adiliyo Adil

    i’d rather it run at sane resolutions that the arm based graphics can keep up with and still have good effects and detail (games wise)

    one can already see the tradeoff present in the ipad2 vs ipad3 in gaming because of the crazy (and mostly pointless) resolution of the ipad3.

  • hellokingdom

    Meekermoloko: that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying its just one factor – resolution alone does not make a screen ‘better’.

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    Put them side by side and the live tiles will quickly make you forget about any screen resolution hesitation… :)

    • http://twitter.com/fearandil Fearandil

      And pick up an iPad. Tiles are worst UI interface without counting Ribbon.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513126636 Giles Jones

        I’d like to see you justify that reply. I bet you can’t other than “I don’t like them” or “I don’t like how they look”, totally subjective.

        What use are icons if they are merely static pictures?

        Rather than have icons that do nothing but launch apps or widgets that don’t launch apps but just show information the Windows 8 UI can do both with one icon (tile).

      • neodoru

        You’ve landed in the microsoft fanboys nest my friend :))!

        The reason for choosing the Surface is beyond the UI. Try using windows 8 on a tablet (not the rt version though :D) and you’ll see my point. I have a samsung slate and all I can say is that I wouldn’t go back to the ipad no matter what! It’s the best of both worlds, you have a touch friendly interface and a full blown OS in the same friggin tablet. Just try it and see how ergonomically the interface is!

      • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

        Only to realize you don’t have USB or expandable storage or MS office (yet). :P

        • http://totalrevue.com/ Russell Fernandez

          Guess you don’t realise both Surfaces have all those – USB 2.0/3.0 MicroSD slot and MS Office 2013 (Preview in RT out of the box with free download when full releases)

          • http://zqp.me/ Brad

            He was referring to an iPad

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=64200427 Rob Roth

        Actually I was a big fan of the iPad/iPhone interface. It was revolutionary!
        (15 years ago on the Palm Pilot)

      • 1stkorean

        Why would I want to pick an old tired boring iCrappy iToy over a Microsoft Surface that is new and crisp in design and not several generations old.
        The Modern UI which I wish they had called The Mobile UI is brilliant and not just me say that, Media people, analyst worldwid have proclaimed it by far better than thos tired tiny static things on your device.
        I just wish the Pro version was out so I could have it already. But I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which although is old technology now it still so far surperior that any iToy built, plus I have an Asus Transformer Infinity 700 anagin another surperior device to those rotten fruit itoys.
        We all know the primary reason that jobs guy is dead is Samsung scared him to death. :)

        • shenzhen2112

          Wait wait wait… I’m actually surprised by this. I haven’t seen this kind of comment before. You have a Galaxy Tab AND a Transformer Infinity and you’re wishing for the Pro to come out? That sounds like you’re more than just curious, it sounds like you’re a Droid who is ready to buy as long as it looks 80% probable that the Pro meets your expectations. I thought Google heads were as cultish as iSheep. I need to revise my perception of the world now. Excuse me.

          • 1stkorean

            Hi shenzhen2112, take a breath. Yes I have the 2 Androids because there was not a viable Windows Tablet available, and I would not even waste ₩1KRW / $0.000905USD on any iCrap devices.
            I am curious about the Surface RT and might pick one up just for fun, but I am more excited for the Pro version because it is 1. a full OS and 2. it is Windows 8 which I have been using now for over a year. It is the sole OS on my laptop and dual booted on my desktop. 3. I honestly I don’t think I should have to mention how Awesome looking it is, putting all the competition to shame.
            I was thinking since I am going to Los Angeles for the Big Bang Alive World Tour Concert 11.3.12 just get the RT there and have it on the plane home.
            My phone is Windows 7.5 and am eagerly awating Windows Phone 8 to launch here in Seoul. Actually I am a softie since I have a MCSE.
            I do hope your heart has slowed down and you are breathing a little easier now. knowing there is at least 1 person that has an open mind about MS Windows & Google Android and a walled mind about iCrappy iToys.
            xiexie 谢谢
            kamsamnida 감사합니다

  • alextheukrainian

    So when iPad is refreshed to have same display tech as iPhone 5 (“optically bonded screen with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market” as this MS guys is describing it), it will have high res AND awesome contrast/small reflectivity = huge win for Apple? :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Njoi-Fontes/590077451 Njoi Fontes

      by that time there will be a surface 2 around with a better screen still…besides obviously apple does not have the tech yet to make the screen as good as the surface’s, otherwise they would have done it already on the ipad 3

      • alextheukrainian

        Surface 2 will be out by March? wtf
        Apple doesn’t have the tech – did you miss the part where they are already using that tech in iPhone 5 and, in 2 short weeks, in iPad Mini as well (probably)? MS guy here is referring to in-cell tech, that’s why he mentioned that only smartphones use it so far.
        Btw, how do you know iPad doesn’t have “the screen as good as Surface’s” – have you used the device already?

    • darthtigris

      Yes, things that come out in the future will be better than the things we have now.
      : |

    • kalli_taxi

      if the biggest imporvement of the ipad is the screen, there is a reason to worry….as I would expect something amazing from Apple everytime they come out with something new. The innovation they have shown multiple times has watered down to upgrades of existing technology. Apple is lucky to have a solid fanbase and a truly exeptional marketing deparmtent. Taking that into consideration you could foresee a Nokia scenario…. as a millionaire once said: earning your first million is not difficult, keeping it is the big challenge.

  • http://twitter.com/ei8htyei8ht Giovanni Pellegrini

    Really interesting read! Thanks for this :)

  • http://fxfp.com/ Alex F.

    Wow, this is such a load of bs. This is probably music to the ears of all fans of Surface, but it is just not true.

    The greatest thing about retina-type displays is that there is no longer any need for antialiasing/ClearType because the pixels are just too small to be visible by naked eye and there is no need to smooth/blur any edges. Yet he essentially argues that blurry text is better because Microsoft has the best blur algorithm…

    As for the rest, it only matters at bad angles – which is a rare situation with tablets (you can reposition them in your own arms). Not to mention that I think iPad 3 and Surface use same screen tech…

    I suspect that the true reason for low resolution screen in Surface RT is that Apple purchased pretty much entire stock of retina displays for iPads and MacBooks and it is hard to source more without increasing the prices of the completing tablets.

    • juwagn

      That is absolutely Apple trolling bullshit…
      Yes smaller pixel means better reading… but that is not all. you have no clue of physics and optics, have you?

      I would explain it, but english is not my native language so pls get book about optics and read it.

      • http://fxfp.com/ Alex F.

        Yes, I’m sure you are a scientist who knows everything about optics and just happened to read this article by chance…

        I’m not trolling and I’m not a big fan of Apple (although I do own iPad 3 and I love the screen there) – I just hate this kind of marketing bullshit disguised by a pretence of science.

        • juwagn

          No, I’m just a studied science teacher… And a good friend has a master in optics… Sorry that i’m not a scientist…

          • skruis

            Everyone has a friend in optics, what makes yours so special

          • just

            @skruis he didn’t say he is especial. He is just pointing out that there is more in optic beside retina, and I don’t have a master in optic like his friend but reading up to educate yourself is better than saying this guy from Microsoft is BS without any proof. Compare Nokia 920 to iPhone 5 which one has better Camera and both has 8 mega pixels and why Nokia 920 is better in low light than its big sister N808 with 40 mega pixels?

          • skruis

            Dude, it was a light hearted joke.

          • just

            @skruis: I didn’t see the wink, sorry!

      • NGM123

        English is not your main language, yet you tirade of abuse was word perfect :-)

    • http://twitter.com/wp8winRTftw wp8winRTftw

      and you got your Ph.D. where exactly.

    • Bugbog

      He did back up his “opinion” with neutral research material explaining his assertions!

    • ScaryBiscuits

      Alex, I think you’re being a little unfair to dismiss this as bullshit. There may be (and probably is) an element of marketing in what Microsoft is saying but it is nonetheless a good point that more pixels does not necessarily equal a better picture and often makes it worse, as any digital camera enthusiast will tell you.
      As with cameras and printers, more pixels can make the perceived quality worse if it is not matched with better physical components. It is therefore a reasonable argument for Microsoft to say that the better contrast provided by larger pixels combined with better optical properties makes for a higer percieved resolution.
      Whether this is true and whether anybody will believe them if it is are a separate points. Microsoft certainly aren’t as good at marketing as other manufacturers. For example, despite single core Windows phones being faster than multiple core Android ones many commentators who should have known better said Android was therefore faster without ever checking.

      • http://www.visiv.ca hunter2

        Wouldn’t the fact that text is vector based essentially fulfill your requirement of a higher res output being matched by higher res source material? I understand your point, its just how SD televesion will look worse on an HD display than a lower end SD display. But being vector based means text is infinitely scalable and will always be displayed at native resolution.

        • ScaryBiscuits

          The image itself may be infinitely scalable and let us assume that we have the processing power to do that, there is still the physical problem of the physical pixel itself how it transmits light. If that you have a higher pixel density (with therefore smaller pixels) but each is just as bright and with as much contrast as a bigger pixel then you should have an improved image all other things being equal. In the real world, however, the smaller pixel is likely to have less good physical and optical qualities and that therefore there is the possibility that the extra information given to your eye by a higher pixel density is cancelled out by lower quality transmission.

          • Alex F.

            Good argument, except that in the real world that assumption does not hold true – most higher PPI screens do not have worse physical pixels. Check microscope explorations of the new displays that Engagdet does.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            A microscope exploration tells you about pixel density and arrangement. It does not tell you about transmitted quality, which is what I thought we were talking about here. It flows directly from the physical properties that it more difficult to transmit the same amount of light information from a smaller emitter, with a smaller surface area with more sensitive timing issues and greater edge effects. That is not to say it is impossible or has not been achieved by Apple (remember that I am not saying that Microsoft is right here, merely that their argument should not be dismissed) but the way to measure it is a couple of feet away, not with a microscope.

          • Alex F.

            I think that would only hold true with 4 pixels of high res display would be dimmer *together* than 1 pixel of low res display. And they certainly aren’t.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            No, if you need more than one hi-res pixel to make the same light level as a single low-res pixel then the effective resolution will be reduced proportional to that difference. Also, remember it’s not just about brightness but also contrast. For example, smaller pixels are more difficult to make black as the leakage around the crystal when it’s in the off position is a bigger proportion of the total area. And again, this is just one physical problem amongst many which gets more difficult as you get smaller.

      • Alex F.

        The comparison with digital cameras does not make any sense – the issue with cameras happens when manufacturers increase mega-pixels without simultaneously increasing size of the photo-sensor which results in blurry stretched photos. On retina displays all graphics and text are in their native sizes without any stretching (unless app does not support retina).

        The quality of the physical components in Surface remains to be seen – so far the only screen I’ve seen that matches the quality of iPad’s is the one in HTC One X. The screen in iPad 3 is really good.

        Regarding performance on single-core WP7 via dual-core Android: it is a bit of a fallacy. While the OS itself certainly is much smoother – unfortunately it does not apply to third-party apps when Android clearly wins.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gavin-Tom/100001144097567 Gavin Tom

          I think you missed the assumption it would be the same camera sensor while upping the megapixels. It is a good comparison, you are going too in depth of an argument with camera tech. I know what you are talking about though. They are just making a point that some cameras with lower megapixels take better or just as good pictures with ones with some insane megapixels.

        • ScaryBiscuits

          Alex, stretching isn’t the only issue and you’re confusing two separate things. The first problem is some manufacturers try to mislead consumers by saving a larger JPEG file than was originally created by the photo-sensor and marketing that as the number of mega-pixels. Obviously, you will get a loss of quality by scaling-up the image as you are creating no new information by spreading it over a larger container and so you will see more noise.
          The second problem is where manufacturers are being more honest but the photo-sensor is too sensitive for the optical image it is receiving. It is analogous to the first problem because in both cases you are saving more information than you have captured but it is more subtle. For example, a lens will be manufactured to a certain tolerance and if you put a sensor behind it that is too sensitive you will pick up noise generated by imperfections in the lens rather than more information on the image you are trying to capture. It is this problem rather than stretching to which is closer to the issue that Microsoft are alluding to with Apple’s Retina display.
          As a general rule in reproduction, you need to follow a corollary of the rubbish-in-rubbish-out rule, that is the elements in the capture-reproduce chain must be in declining order of quality. In audio, for example, a microphone must be of higher quality than the recording equipment and the master recording must be of higher quality than the production recording. If you get the quality chain the wrong way around you add more noise and the end-user perceives a reduction in quality. Microsoft’s allegation in this article is that the final layer in the iPad 3 (the LEDs and the glass above them) is not up to the quality of the resolution and so it is impairing the perceived resolution. This is not to say that the iPad 3 is not significantly better than previous versions, just that it is not quite as good as Apple’s marketing is implying.

          • http://fxfp.com/ Alex F.

            Your first problem is exactly what I meant in my comment.

            It remains to be seen if what folks in Microsoft are saying is actually true – because frankly it sounds like a bad excuse for the lousy resolution.

    • Kruegerman

      Dipshit, the iPad has 2048×1536 resolution, but it renders 1024 x 768 sized objects at full screen with that scaled pixel doubling bullshit. In other words, it does full pixel interpolation. On the Surface RT, 1366 x 768 objects render at full screen, and ClearType does subpixel interpolation.

      • Alex F.

        Wow, someone’s angry (and clueless).
        iPad 3 only does pixel doubling if the app does not support retina display – and all of my apps were quickly updated to support it.

        • Kruegerman

          No, dumbass. Even if an app supports retina display, the absolute size of an object, whether it be an image or text, doesn’t change whether it renders on the shitty display of an iPad 2 or the retina display of the new iPad. Text that renders as 1″ tall on the iPad 2 doesn’t render as .5″ tall on the new iPad. It’s still 1″ tall but with better resolution. BFD. The bottom line is that the higher resolution of the retina display doesn’t buy you any extra screen real estate. Having high pixel density matters when you’re talking about 15″ or 17″ displays. It’s pointless when you’re talking about a 9.7″ device. It doesn’t matter how fine the resolution is. When you get

          • http://fxfp.com/ Alex F.

            Where the hell did I say anything about physical size changes?? Are you actually answering to me or some voices in your head? I’m a programmer, I know how HiDPI modes work – obviously the physical size of anything does not change, but the app itself renders to 2048×1536 (with all UI elements being resized correspondingly so that they will remain same size on the screen). In fact from your description of “magical” ClearType it is rather clear that you have no clue what it really is…

            And no, resolution matters A LOT – because I have a normal eyesight and I can see individual pixels on iPad 2 and I cannot on iPad 3. And no amount of antialiasing trickery will ever compensate for it.

    • kalli_taxi

      I have used my company ipad 2 in the train and if you happen to be on the sunny side of the compartment you are suffering from direct sunlight.
      I will be curious to see the result with my newly order Surface RT.
      I cannot befriend myself with Ipad as I find the OS stable but have a hard time finding my apps as they are not ordered in a logical way. It is what it is, a static grid of icons with no clear distinction waht goes together and what not.
      I like audiovisual things to be together, as I like contacts and personal interaction to be together, games with games, above all I like things to be integrated where possible.

  • Personnowndhxj

    “Good enough”…

  • Bugbog

    Hell Yeah!

  • SuchIsLife

    OK, I have to say the premise is basically true and corporate advertisers and packaging companies have known this for a very long time.

    Over the last couple of decades or so we have seen the printed resolution of high end packaging cycle from ~20um dots down to as low as ~12um dots then back up to ~23um dots. The reason, the smaller dots improve certain details like smoothness of gradients but greatly reduce contrast. When eventually you put a package with low contrast on a shop shelf next to a package with high contrast the buyer prefers the high contrast package.

    For a long period of time industry brokers became focused on the technical aspects of resolution and ignored the real world functionality, this caused the ever increasing resolution race in printing and digital imaging. But now that battle is well and truly over as real people vote subjectively using their visual judgment not with the aid of a densitometer, spectrophotometer and microscope.

    • darthtigris

      Unless you’re in the reality distortion field, that is…

      • Alex F.

        The only reality distortion field here is created by Microsoft. They are becoming really Apple-like.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gavin-Tom/100001144097567 Gavin Tom

          you give the explanation to people and they still ignore it. I’m pretty sure you must enjoy living in your little bubble.

          • http://fxfp.com/ Alex F.

            This explanation sounds suspiciously like exercise in saving face. In any case, in about two weeks I will be able to compare two together in real life and then we’ll see.

    • http://twitter.com/fearandil Fearandil

      Antialias is an artifact that alter the image. Less dpi is less detail, your mind could create the missing info but it’s a mind creation not a real detail. You know the sharpen mask? is used to fake details in imaging upscaling, but it’s a fake, not a real one. Compare an image reduced by half in dimension and the upsaceled to original and the original one and you see what I say

    • Alex F.

      How is printing relevant to displays? There is nothing common between contrasts of ink dots on the paper and pixels on LCD screen.

  • FXi

    Just wish the Surface Pro came with LTE for Verizon. Then it would be an easy choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ethani Ethan Illfelder

    the truth is that windows 8 isn’t optimized for high res displays… they couldn’t use the ipads resolution even if they wanted and get a product the was as functional

    • http://twitter.com/Makavelli_Jrw Mr.InTernaTionaL

      What were you born this stupid..??????

    • Smity Smiter

      Yep, you got to teach Microsoft how to make a good OS. Yep, it’s you, you are the chosen one!

    • Alex F.

      Windows 8 supports high resolution displays just fine, even with higher PPI than iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/fearandil Fearandil

    “the best pixel rendering technology in the industry.” In your dreams may be. Compare a web page on a Mac or a Linux box to a Windows machine and tell me what render prettier fonts! No way.
    So you would convince us tha iPad 2 (basically the same resolution/DPI and contrast of Surface) is better tha iPad 3? Wow, at my country call this “glass climbing “.

    • wendoman

      Vista and Win7 – the best pixel rendering technology in the industry with ClearType.

      But Win8 new font rendering is ugly as hell especially in IE10.

      • http://twitter.com/jodyfanning Jody Fanning

        The reason is because Metro doesn’t do ClearType like in Win7. It does plain old anti-aliasing. You can’t do sub-pixel rendering when the screen can be rotated.

        MS tries to cover it by calling it ClearType 2.0

    • studuncan

      “So you would convince us tha iPad 2 (basically the same resolution/DPI and contrast of Surface) is better tha iPad 3″

      Isn’t that what this article is arguing? Yes, yes it is.

      • Alex F.

        Ha, that reminds me when I shown same photos on iPad 2 and iPad 3 to my parents. Needless to say they both loved iPad 3.

    • http://twitter.com/hoekstras Sake

      Not the same res. At a specific line there’s a really a noticable difference.
      My guess 1366 vs 1024 makes a clear difference.

  • Tomasz R.

    I’m not a tablet user, but the times I have played with iPad it looks like zooming in and zooming out is a big feature in many applications. Eg. you can have a trade application that displays multiple tiny price graph, then when you want more details you zoom in to a particular graph.

    High-resolution displays seem to be extremaly well fit for zooming out, as they are able to still display lots of details despite the objects being tiny in size.

  • retina

    This is complete bs. My eyes hurt really bad when I’m looking at low resolution displays, I’m feeling much, much better since I’m using Apple’s retina displays. Low res displays put much more strain on the eyes, many people do not feel this but I’m never going back to a fuzzy display.

  • http://twitter.com/jodyfanning Jody Fanning

    1366×768 is completely useless resolution.
    The MS thing is just a cop out.

    If you had used a display like the iPad3 you would appreciate the difference.

  • neodoru

    there’s really no reason for any human with normal vision to want something he can’t distinguish anyway! Especially if it hurts the framerate as well. Why would I want a screen that’s 2048×1536 (that I would only be aware from the specs sheet) and nearly half of the framerate in a game (half of the frame rate or less eye-candy)?!

  • http://twitter.com/LasseKaila Lasse Kaila

    But as far as I know, ClearType only affects text. So graphics, and other UI elements will still suffer from the archaic 768 resolution. Plus it will make the browser look very crowded.

  • Doyle Brunson

    Only a PC dweeb would think that 1366 x 768 is sufficient resolution for a laptop.

  • shenzhen2112

    The Retina displays on Apple products are AMAZING! It is more than just resolution! The filter produces the most accurate and beautiful colors I’ve seen on a mobile/portable device. And I don’t give a rats azz. I admire the screens, yet they are still useless to me as an individual because 1) I need to be productive 2) I don’t pay more than what a product is actually worth.
    My only complaint is that Apple screens are still so horribly reflective. Other than that, they seem to be the best to me.
    To rant around as if they will always be the best is naive though. Can everyone just calm down until a DisplyMate test has been done?

  • mrdeezus

    I ordered a Surface RT. I think the resolution will be good. Will it be better than the Ipad, number wise no but I will be able to compare.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gavin-Tom/100001144097567 Gavin Tom

    yeah the screen is amazing, despite its lower resolution been playing with it for a week now, I . I always told people, just wait until microsoft gets their product launches right, they will blow everything away. Welcome to the future.

  • hacker

    Is this guy blind I bought the Asus vivotab smart 1366×768 and metro ui fonts are blurry and gives me a headache …

    • h3man

      He talks about the surface rt not the vivotab.

      “we designed a custom 10.6” high-contrast wide-angle screen LCD screen. Lastly we optically bonded the screen with the thinnest optical stack anywhere on the market..”
      “our current Cleartype measurements on the amount of light reflected off the screen is around 5.5%-6.2%”

      So he is definitly not blind for not talking about the vivotab, but there is definitly something off with your reading and/or comprehending skills