Microsoft explains why they chose 1366×768 resolution for the Surface RT

When the first specs of the Surface RT became known, one item, the screen resolution, left consumers puzzled as to why Microsoft chose such a low resolution. Thanks to today's AMA, we now know the answer to this question whole lot more about how screens are reviewed at Microsoft.

In a post during the Reddit AMA, Microsoft answered why the Surface RT has a lower resolution screen than say the new iPad. The following question was asked by Reddit user Chistorra, "I noticed that the Surface has a resolution of 1366×768 vs the iPad3 2048×1536. Do you think this will affect users considering the Surface vs the iPad ?" The answer to that question is posted below (we added spacing to make it easier to follow the post):

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 reasoning is simple, the screen was designed to work in well lit conditions and has a lower reflective rate than the new iPad. In short, Microsoft says that screen clarity is measured in many more ways than screen resolution and they focused on using a thin optical stack, reducing light reflection and of course, using their ClearType technology to create the best display possible

Microsoft also states that when you compare the iPad screen to the Surface screen, user tests say that folks can see more detail on the Surface screen than that of the iPad. This test was conducted in a consistently lit room, likely meaning, in well lit office space that is representative of the typical environment that tablet will be used.

So there you have it, this is Microsoft's reasoning for choosing to use a lower resolution screen but the bigger question is, do you agree with their reasoning?

Source: Reddit

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USB I do not care about. Less ports fine. I do want a SD card slot though and when connected to the computer add files via explorer. I think the RT is a OK value same as IPAD.

I do like the shape of the ipad though. everything else is just widescreen.

Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) is the new Reality Distortion Field (RDF) of the world. It sounds better than, "we screwed up and don't have a good answer, lets BS our way through it, yea".

People seem to be forgetting the screen is only 10.6" big! I don't see the big deal, it's the budget model anyway and well it's budget for a reason....

moloko said,
But why choose this resolution instead of the same as the PRO?

Ultimately, cost.
A higher resolution panel would have added $50 to the retail price.

If you can create a perfectly viewable screen while keeping a lower build cost, why wouldn't you take that route.
Also, it's the minimum resolution for the new snap feature.

But he still did not answer the question.

deadonthefloor said,

Ultimately, cost.
A higher resolution panel would have added $50 to the retail price.

If you can create a perfectly viewable screen while keeping a lower build cost, why wouldn't you take that route.
Also, it's the minimum resolution for the new snap feature.

It is sad to say most people are swept away by Apple's numbers game.

I have mentioned MTF and contrast ratio many times before. Stevie knows what he is talking about. Check out ZDNet (Ed Bott), Engadget, etc, all of them agree that the Surface RT display wins on a blind test versus iPad. As laserfloyd says above, wait till you check it out. If you peep at closer than 1 feet iPad will hold the advantage, but for all practical purposes there's no technical reason why the Surface display could not be vastly superior if it boasts a higher contrast ratio and more accurate colour gamut. The iPad has a modest contrast ratio of 800:1, well down on the likes of Transformer Pad Infinity (1200:1).

Sadly, just like the camera race, people are going to buy into the bigger numbers = better.

It's extremely easy to trick the eye/brain. If we perceive the display rocks and looks great, then that's all that matters. I think what he is saying is "go pick one up and judge for yourself."

laserfloyd said,
It's extremely easy to trick the eye/brain. If we perceive the display rocks and looks great, then that's all that matters. I think what he is saying is "go pick one up and judge for yourself."

good point.
i seen a lot of interesting optical tricks / illusions on youtube a while back.
its amazing how much we fabricate and yet *think we are seeing things as they are.
reality and our perception are not the same thing which is what the story touches on i think.

I don't see a problem. the original ipad never had any complains about resolution. I can't even tell the difference between both devices unless I look really really close...and at that point, I'm TRYING to see a difference. If you have to TRY hard, then it tells me the retina game apple is playing is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

Isn't apples entire product line marketing gimmicks? I'm trying to think of a single thing that apple did to make me wish I had an apple product instead of anything else, but I really can't come up with one. Apple has always been about making it look pretty first and work well last. I will never forget how the world swooned over the original iPhone, that couldn't send MMS texts (picture messages). Apple sold it as the greatest phone ever. People bought it, and still do. At least now they do more than paltry feature phones.

neonspark said,
I don't see a problem. the original ipad never had any complains about resolution. I can't even tell the difference between both devices unless I look really really close...and at that point, I'm TRYING to see a difference. If you have to TRY hard, then it tells me the retina game apple is playing is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

I said this when apple announced retina display for iPad.
Microsoft have invested billions in maximizing small displays over the decades. It is because of this investment that they can make something as pleasing to the eye with a paltry pixel count.

With the new iPad I tried at Staples, I had a hard time seeing the content due to glare in the room.
I suspect the device will be perfectly useable and the average joe consumer will be non the wiser. I also suspect with the price of this thing, Android will still be tablet OS #2.

deadonthefloor said,
I said this when apple announced retina display for iPad.
Microsoft have invested billions in maximizing small displays over the decades. It is because of this investment that they can make something as pleasing to the eye with a paltry pixel count.

With the new iPad I tried at Staples, I had a hard time seeing the content due to glare in the room.
I suspect the device will be perfectly useable and the average joe consumer will be non the wiser. I also suspect with the price of this thing, Android will still be tablet OS #2.

Glare and fingerprints. The screen tech required for a good tablet certainly extends far beyond resolution.

In the end of the 90's we went from 640x480 to 800 by 600 pixels and then to 1024 by 768 and then even far higher. Not to forget, this where the anlog screens with just 15 or 17 inches. Then somehow, when everyone got wide-screen-tvs, we went back to the extremly low 1366 by 786 resolution by any manufacturer.

I really didn't understand this. Then came apple with their retina screens with far higher resolutions. So, there was a manufacturer that finally got higher resolutions. I was shocked to find out that what in fact happend, Apple made every element twice as big instead in giving the user twice as much working space????? So effectivly, the ipad for example just has still a 1024 but 768 resoltion with some fancy nice looking quad pixels so old people can read the screen better (my mom doens't see the difference btw).

Maybe it's me, maybe i'm weird or do i have some kind of alien eyes. But all I really wanted is to have as many as possible items and lines of code and windows on my screen! not some fancy aliased fonts or blown up websites.

That is also the reason I will wait for the surface with windows 8 pro that has some descent resolution. But for the average user I think the Surface RT is even better then the ipad

Ramon Ennik said,
In the end of the 90's we went from 640x480 to 800 by 600 pixels and then to 1024 by 768 and then even far higher. Not to forget, this where the anlog screens with just 15 or 17 inches. Then somehow, when everyone got wide-screen-tvs, we went back to the extremly low 1366 by 786 resolution by any manufacturer.

I really didn't understand this. Then came apple with their retina screens with far higher resolutions. So, there was a manufacturer that finally got higher resolutions. I was shocked to find out that what in fact happend, Apple made every element twice as big instead in giving the user twice as much working space????? So effectivly, the ipad for example just has still a 1024 but 768 resoltion with some fancy nice looking quad pixels so old people can read the screen better (my mom doens't see the difference btw).

Maybe it's me, maybe i'm weird or do i have some kind of alien eyes. But all I really wanted is to have as many as possible items and lines of code and windows on my screen! not some fancy aliased fonts or blown up websites.

That is also the reason I will wait for the surface with windows 8 pro that has some descent resolution. But for the average user I think the Surface RT is even better then the ipad

It would be nice if Windows 8/RT had a quad-resolution setting where it would merge 4 pixels into 1...

Ramon Ennik said,
In the end of the 90's we went from 640x480 to 800 by 600 pixels and then to 1024 by 768 and then even far higher. Not to forget, this where the anlog screens with just 15 or 17 inches. Then somehow, when everyone got wide-screen-tvs, we went back to the extremly low 1366 by 786 resolution by any manufacturer.

I really didn't understand this. Then came apple with their retina screens with far higher resolutions. So, there was a manufacturer that finally got higher resolutions. I was shocked to find out that what in fact happend, Apple made every element twice as big instead in giving the user twice as much working space????? So effectivly, the ipad for example just has still a 1024 but 768 resoltion with some fancy nice looking quad pixels so old people can read the screen better (my mom doens't see the difference btw).

Maybe it's me, maybe i'm weird or do i have some kind of alien eyes. But all I really wanted is to have as many as possible items and lines of code and windows on my screen! not some fancy aliased fonts or blown up websites.

That is also the reason I will wait for the surface with windows 8 pro that has some descent resolution. But for the average user I think the Surface RT is even better then the ipad

If im not mistaken, as resolution increases... they have to increase the size of the things on the screen... otherwise they would get so small that you wouldnt be able to read it.

Like if you ran an application that was DESIGNED for a 800x600 screen on a 2560x1440 screen it would look tiny.

The real answer is that it's cheaper on Microsoft on to have a lower resolution and gets people to get the Pro version with the higher resolution screen.

LOL I bet the person that asked the question did not read that long-winged response.

One of the reasons, which is the main reason, why I don't chose Windows RT is because of the resolution. The other reason being that I still use desktop apps.

So it's Windows 8 for me, on the tablet.

So my question is... if the lower resolution is so much better than higher resolutions...

Then why did they use such a high resolution for the Pro?

MidTxWRX said,
So my question is... if the lower resolution is so much better than higher resolutions...

Then why did they use such a high resolution for the Pro?

Because shut up! That's why!

(Or it could be because it also can run more traditional apps on the desktop and therefore benefit more from increased real estate, or it could just be a marketing thing to "differentiate" the product categories. Marketers love to pull that kind of BS)

lol sraf.
Surface RT = compete with ipad
Surface Pro = Compete with laptops and ultrabooks.
My point being, while the screen on the ipad (i know, same on the new macbook pro) has a high resolution, microsoft believes they have exceeded the perceived clarity with their screen without the use of full HD. The surface pro on the other hand, must compete with and be compatible with Full HD laptops that are used for more than just facebook/email/internet. Microsoft seems to be betting that resolution matters more to buyers of laptops, but no so much to buyers of budget laptops/ typical (ipad and competitors)tablets.

Sraf said,

Because shut up! That's why!

(Or it could be because it also can run more traditional apps on the desktop and therefore benefit more from increased real estate, or it could just be a marketing thing to "differentiate" the product categories. Marketers love to pull that kind of BS)

MidTxWRX said,
So my question is... if the lower resolution is so much better than higher resolutions...

Then why did they use such a high resolution for the Pro?

If you read his response properly, he says PPI isn't the only metric that defines screen quality. Assuming he's correct and Surface RT @ 1366x768 > iPad 3 screen, imagine how good the 1080p Surface pro screen will be.

MidTxWRX said,
So my question is... if the lower resolution is so much better than higher resolutions...

Then why did they use such a high resolution for the Pro?

Try this explanation. The same tech is in the Pro and the Pro will be better than the RT. They are comparing the lower res screen of the RT to the higher res screen of the iPad and saying that the RT is better. When the Pro comes out with this tech it will be better than the RT and iPad. How is that for an answer?

It's like saying that in the right condition, 720p looks just as good as 2K/4K.....

"Users see more details..." you can't see more with less resolution.

TruckWEB said,
It's like saying that in the right condition, 720p looks just as good as 2K/4K.....

"Users see more details..." you can't see more with less resolution.

Depends on how you define "more"

In this case MS' "more" is "More colour gamut" and "more screen, less glare"

While it is true that there is more to image quality than just resolution, I wish MS would have gone just a wee bit higher

I was recently shopping for a tablet and despite really wanting an Android tablet, the low res displays just plain sucked. The new ipad's high res display reduces the need for zooming on websites etc. I call bull**** from MS on this one.

LaXu said,
I was recently shopping for a tablet and despite really wanting an Android tablet, the low res displays just plain sucked. The new ipad's high res display reduces the need for zooming on websites etc. I call bull**** from MS on this one.

You're confusing 'detail' with actual 'content', like many are here.

Whoever answered that question never said that the RT will display 'as much content' as the hi-res iPad, he said people noticed more 'detail' on the RT.

By 'detail' he's referring to quality of rendering/contrast and not 'content' as in able to show webpages in it's entirety without zooming.

javagreen said,

You're confusing 'detail' with actual 'content', like many are here.

Whoever answered that question never said that the RT will display 'as much content' as the hi-res iPad, he said people noticed more 'detail' on the RT.

By 'detail' he's referring to quality of rendering/contrast and not 'content' as in able to show webpages in it's entirety without zooming.


Then they are deliberately trying to confuse people by playing word games. "Detail", in most people's minds, means information density, especially when referring to a display. You simply can't have more information density on a lower resolution display.

Owen W said,
This is the most bull**** response I've ever heard.

They explained their choice with accurate, solid reasoning. It only seems bull**** to you because you don't understand that 'biggest number' doesn't necessarily equal better.

Microsoft's claims may or may not be accurate, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that a lower resolution screen can look better than a higher resolution one if its other specifications are better, just as a high quality 8MP camera can take better pictures than a low quality 12MP camera.

It does however seem like a very apple-ish answer. "We didn't put 4g in the iphone 4s cause.... 4g isn't really stable yet and uses too much battery. It's more magic without it" comes to mind.

deadonthefloor said,

At least he didn't try to pass off good science as magic.

I never really paid that much attention to the fine details, but i'm guessing by you asking that, that they don't. I thought they did when it came to not putting 4g on the the iPhone 4s, but, maybe they didn't.

Kirkburn said,
Does Apple ever give links to actual research?

I was recently shopping for a tablet and despite really wanting an Android tablet, the low res displays just plain sucked. The new ipad's high res display reduces the need for zooming ino

forgot it uses a heck of a lot more battery life. in a study it was shown that if the ipad had a 1024x768 it would have 20 hours of battery life with the big battery inside of it and A5x chip.

It's easy to show "detail" with large simple square/rectangle solid color menu items... A single iOS or Android app icon even has more detail than anything in Metro UI element...

C'mon...

I guess you have yet to understand or actually see a live tile? Yet another ignorant troll. Your concept has some merit, however, when you look at a live tile with sometimes many pictures on it, you suddenly lose that merit.

yodat said,
It's easy to show "detail" with large simple square/rectangle solid color menu items... A single iOS or Android app icon even has more detail than anything in Metro UI element...

C'mon...

That's... rubbish, I just updated my screen from the horrible 1366x768 to the not so bad on 15.6 1920x1080, my eyes thank me for it.

Arceles said,
That's... rubbish, I just updated my screen from the horrible 1366x768 to the not so bad on 15.6 1920x1080, my eyes thank me for it.

Sure, but this screen is smaller than 15.6", so the PPI are higher.

I agree that the perception is how the average customer will choose , "does it look good" and "does it do what I want" .
when I used to sell TVs' I remember that we had two Philips lcd TV's one with black frame and one with silver, identical specs. most customers preferred the black frame because the image 'looked' better. It was the same with contrast ratios , where the higher the number didn't always mean a better picture.
So its nice to see that Microsoft is actually looking from the user point of view , wanting a readable screen ,etc , and not playing the numbers game . Its only when you play the 'Top Trumps' games where specs count.

It is in reality its what it looks like and how it performs that is important to the customer.

I'm calling BS on this. What this person is basically saying is that the Pro version which will have a higher screen resolution (and cost more) is going to be worse than the RT version with a lower resolution.

Hackersoft MS MVP said,
I'm calling BS on this. What this person is basically saying is that the Pro version which will have a higher screen resolution (and cost more) is going to be worse than the RT version with a lower resolution.

He didn't say that. He didn't compare the other metrics of the Pro screen.

Hackersoft MS MVP said,
I'm calling BS on this. What this person is basically saying is that the Pro version which will have a higher screen resolution (and cost more) is going to be worse than the RT version with a lower resolution.

No, he didn't say that at all. What he said was that the technology behind the ClearType Display improves readability in lit environments allowing the user to see more detail than they would on a display that lacks that technology but has a higher resolution.

Yet the Pro is 1080p??? come on. I personally don't think it's that big of a deal on an RT tablet, but let's not insult our intelligence.

Your intelligience is stupid! BAH!
I believe the use of different screens is because the Surface PRO is meant to transition the world away from laptops, not compete with the existing tablet market so much.

MorganX said,
Yet the Pro is 1080p??? come on. I personally don't think it's that big of a deal on an RT tablet, but let's not insult our intelligence.

Invizibleyez said,
Your intelligience is stupid! BAH!
I believe the use of different screens is because the Surface PRO is meant to transition the world away from laptops, not compete with the existing tablet market so much.

The market direction has nothing to do with the argument he made for the lower resolution. Maybe you should look in the mirror to see stupid.

Oh settle down mister sensitive. I was kidding about the "your intelligence is stupid" thing. Doesn't his argument indirectly reference exactly what i said? Cleartype is not for pictures and movies, but for text. People who use their computing devices for facebook, email, internet. That is his argument. So yes, market direction does have ALOT to do with what he said.

MorganX said,

The market direction has nothing to do with the argument he made for the lower resolution. Maybe you should look in the mirror to see stupid.

I was kidding as well.

FWIW, I agree that the cheaper display is the only way RTs will be successful. And there's really no reason for a higher resolution for that market segment to be honest. However, rather than just say that the lower resolution displays are required for that price point/market segment, he tries to convince us the lower resolution is a better display under most conditions. Tell that to those with a retina display or those planning to purchase a Pro at 1080p resolution.

My point is, there's really no reason for him to make these nonsensical assertions. It has a lower resolution display so that it can cost $499 & $599.

I also don't think most people care. Slightly better than 720p is more than adequate at that size and price point.

Invizibleyez said,
Oh settle down mister sensitive. I was kidding about the "your intelligence is stupid" thing. Doesn't his argument indirectly reference exactly what i said? Cleartype is not for pictures and movies, but for text. People who use their computing devices for facebook, email, internet. That is his argument. So yes, market direction does have ALOT to do with what he said.

Haha I call bull**** on that one "The competition has a better resolution an probably a better screen overall, let's talk about some obscure specs to make our screen from 2009 looks less archaic"

The Surface is probably a nice little tablet, but its screen isn't very modern. Deal with it

How can someone possibly see more detail in a lower resolution display than in a higher resolution display? That's like saying you can see more detail in an 8MP picture than in a 12MP picture. Sorry, but that is just utter nonsense.

roadwarrior said,
That's like saying you can see more detail in an 8MP picture than in a 12MP picture. Sorry, but that is just utter nonsense.

You're not understanding. Do you think it's possible for an image taken with an 8MP camera to be better than one taken with a 12MP camera (e.g. if the lighting is different, lens is of different quality, etc.)?

Of course it is. The same goes for a display. The raw number of dots is not the only determiner of how good the display looks. Perceived detail is different to how many pixels are displayed, and perceived detail is affected by glare, glass thickness, etc.

I have 2 phones with identical screen resolution but different screen sizes/types. The smaller of the screens (i.e. higher pixel density) has noticeable pixels whereas the larger screen doesn't (because it's a higher quality screen).

roadwarrior said,
How can someone possibly see more detail in a lower resolution display than in a higher resolution display? That's like saying you can see more detail in an 8MP picture than in a 12MP picture. Sorry, but that is just utter nonsense.

Well the photo quality on the 8MP camera from the iPhone 4S is far and out superior to my 12MP camera on my Japanese Sharp featurephone from 2008.

Much like brooswain is explaining, the same could very well apply to these screens. Also, it's much like how GHz =/= better.

It COULD be a load of bull, but it doesn't hurt to have an open mind.

roadwarrior said,
How can someone possibly see more detail in a lower resolution display than in a higher resolution display? That's like saying you can see more detail in an 8MP picture than in a 12MP picture. Sorry, but that is just utter nonsense.

Because just because you have a 12MP sensor doesn't mean you'll end up with a better picture. It comes down to the optics. And in a camera, you would write that off as merely and "optical illusion", which is silly of you.

Sorry if all of you are too thick headed to understand where I was going with the picture comparison. I was meaning that if I take a picture at 12MP then resize it down to 8MP, then I will necessarily lose detail. Yes, I'm well aware that the quality of lenses and sensors makes a difference, but that wasn't what I was referring to.

roadwarrior said,
Sorry if all of you are too thick headed to understand where I was going with the picture comparison. I was meaning that if I take a picture at 12MP then resize it down to 8MP, then I will necessarily lose detail.
Don't blame others for misunderstanding you when you fail at expressing yourself. You were talking about perceived detail on displays, not resizing operations on data. Besides, what does resizing a picture even have to do with the topic?

Dr_Asik said,
Besides, what does resizing a picture even have to do with the topic?

Because an image displayed at 720p (essentially the same as this display) loses detail compared to the same image displayed at 1080p in the same way that it would lose detail if you resized it down from a larger image to a smaller one. How people here don't understand that simple fact is beyond me. Only an idiot could possibly believe that a lower resolution display can display more detail than a higher resolution display. If I look at a full screen image on my desktop with a 1680x1050 display, that image is going to have more detail than if I look at it on my son's laptop with a 1024x 600 display.

I was never referring to an image taken with different cameras at 8MP and 12MP, I was referring to the same image (from the same source) displayed at each of those sizes.

roadwarrior said,
Because an image displayed at 720p (essentially the same as this display) loses detail compared to the same image displayed at 1080p in the same way that it would lose detail if you resized it down from a larger image to a smaller one.
Because even though there is more information in a 1080p picture than a 720p one, the subjective perceived detail of a display is not simply a function of its amount of pixels, but other factors such as contrast, color accuracy, light reflected, text rendering algorithm used, etc. This was explained well in the article.

You also missed the point of brooswain's comparison with cameras. He used cameras as an analogy to show other optical considerations than resolution affect the detail of an image. The same thing applies for displays.

You're quick at calling others idiots when you neither express yourself accurately nor understand what others try to explain.

Edited by Andre S., Oct 18 2012, 10:28pm :

siah1214 said,
Listen to all the armchair engineers. Y'all are cute.

Doesn't take an engineer to see that this explanation is a load of BS. A lower resolution screen CANNOT show more detail than a higher resolution screen. End of discussion. You can smooth fonts, etc. as much as you want, but you aren't displaying MORE detail when you do that. You are creating an optical illusion of more detail. If that were the case, then an SDTV would be capable of showing more detail than a 1080p HDTV. Anyone with any common sense knows that isn't true though.

roadwarrior said,

Doesn't take an engineer to see that this explanation is a load of BS. A lower resolution screen CANNOT show more detail than a higher resolution screen. End of discussion. You can smooth fonts, etc. as much as you want, but you aren't displaying MORE detail when you do that. You are creating an optical illusion of more detail. If that were the case, then an SDTV would be capable of showing more detail than a 1080p HDTV. Anyone with any common sense knows that isn't true though.

I think by 'detail' he means detail, as in quality of whatever is displayed on the screen, without any rendering issues, or pixelly-ness whatsoever, despite it being lower res than the iPad.

You're probably confusing 'detail' with 'content' - one cannot see more 'content' on a lower resolution screen than the iPad. However, today's technologies have advanced and if the UI is really vector based, then it's rendering is going to be amazing.

Whether it'll actually be better than the iPad or not, remains to be seen.


roadwarrior said,

Doesn't take an engineer to see that this explanation is a load of BS. A lower resolution screen CANNOT show more detail than a higher resolution screen. End of discussion. You can smooth fonts, etc. as much as you want, but you aren't displaying MORE detail when you do that. You are creating an optical illusion of more detail. If that were the case, then an SDTV would be capable of showing more detail than a 1080p HDTV. Anyone with any common sense knows that isn't true though.

You realize this is something that can easily be verified by blind testing. You can wave your fists furiously and argue that measurements are measurements and there's no arguing with measurements, but when it comes down to it, UX and actual user data trumps all.

As for your TV argument, actually I imagine a similar test COULD be done where a viewer, without being told which display was which, would grade the displays at equal quality levels.

Your attitude seems to be incredibly dismissive of "optical illusion", but frankly, that's childish of you. Yes, of course it's an optical illusion. So what? If the user is tricked by an illusion into sensing a better level of detail at a lower resolution than a higher level of resolution, then that illusion is creating a better user experience. Your fist shaking has no bearing on that.

It sounds like he's trying to say that in perfect conditions, higher res is nice (i.e. ipad), but in varying everyday conditions the Surface performs better on average?

gohatters said,
It sounds like he's trying to say that in perfect conditions, higher res is nice (i.e. ipad), but in varying everyday conditions the Surface performs better on average?

More or less, yes that seems to be what he is saying

I'd take the lower resolution of the Surface over the 'Retina' display of the iPad if just to be able to avoid the idiotic 1998's skeumorphic design style Apple continues to incorporate into the UI of their apps.

devHead said,
I'd take the lower resolution of the Surface over the 'Retina' display of the iPad if just to be able to avoid the idiotic 1998's skeumorphic design style Apple continues to incorporate into the UI of their apps.

I second that - there definitely is a jarring effect of seeing the faux leather on a regular basis; it is the small things that are more irritating that any sort of 'big problems' that may exist - and this is coming from a 10 year OS X user who recently moved to Windows 7 Pro 64bit.

Blablabla, microsoft is still microsoft, they are not into so much perfection and quality as apple, they will never be. Steve can say anything he likes, there is no way in hell that device is worth 500 usd with a store that's full of crap (right now), no x86 support, no cover and a netbook screen. People will always use the term iPad to describe a tablet, any other product will be just a backup solution. But hey, until i stick my eyes on a Surface, i'm open to possibilities.

RvXtm said,
Blablabla, microsoft is still microsoft, they are not into so much perfection and quality as apple, they will never be. .

Hey bud, are you sure you belong on a tech forum? you sound like you've been brainwashed by the almighty apple.
1) they took 3 years to develop this, if that's not perfection.. well what is
2) the back is not made of glass, which is what apple made their phones with (perfection?)
3) the cover is a keyboard, 2 in 1... no real added thickness, more portability

this isn't just a tablet, as apple would see. this is a hybrid computer.
id rather take this to work than an ipad anyday

[quote=RvXtm said,]quote]

each product has its downturn, and in no way is apple into "perfection", because many of their products have had big problems. I realize Microsoft has had problems as well, but the fact that he says apple is "more" into perfection is just showing me how blind he is. In my mind, apple is just as much into perfection as is Microsoft.

Edited by auziez, Oct 16 2012, 10:27pm :

RvXtm said,
Blablabla, microsoft is still microsoft, they are not into so much perfection and quality as apple, they will never be. Steve can say anything he likes, there is no way in hell that device is worth 500 usd with a store that's full of crap (right now), no x86 support, no cover and a netbook screen. People will always use the term iPad to describe a tablet, any other product will be just a backup solution. But hey, until i stick my eyes on a Surface, i'm open to possibilities.

Do I really have to list 10+ years of product failures from Apple - PowerBook with failing DIMM slots, failing GPU's which were replaced with mainboards with the same failing GPU, the 'easy to mark' iPhone 5's, the abandoning iPad 1.0 users after 2 years, the oxford chipset related corruption bug with 10.3.x, the virus infected iPod's with Apple using that as a reason to 'get a Mac' etc. etc. I'm sure more can be added to that list of 'stella perfection'.

RvXtm said,
Blablabla, microsoft is still microsoft, they are not into so much perfection and quality as apple, they will never be. Steve can say anything he likes, there is no way in hell that device is worth 500 usd with a store that's full of crap (right now), no x86 support, no cover and a netbook screen. People will always use the term iPad to describe a tablet, any other product will be just a backup solution. But hey, until i stick my eyes on a Surface, i'm open to possibilities.


This made me laugh real hard. With all the problems the iPhone is having right now with the maps and wi-fi and then the antenna problem before. It seems your meaning of perfection is much different when it comes to Apple.

RvXtm said,
Blablabla, microsoft is still microsoft, they are not into so much perfection and quality as apple, they will never be. Steve can say anything he likes, there is no way in hell that device is worth 500 usd with a store that's full of crap (right now), no x86 support, no cover and a netbook screen. People will always use the term iPad to describe a tablet, any other product will be just a backup solution. But hey, until i stick my eyes on a Surface, i'm open to possibilities.

Apple is perfection?

Like when they still offer low quality GPUs in their products?
Use low quality touch panels on iPads that have a low input resolution?
Use poor quality LCD technology on Macbooks prior to the Retina models, that still is BEHIND other leading screen technologies and tell people they are the best?

I have watched Apple use medium quality technology for nearly 20 years, and present it like premium technology. Even the highest end Macs over the years has been problematic in getting capable GPU technology from Apple.

Even today, Apple has had to dump support for models just a couple of years old because of the low quality GPU and CPU technology they were using.

Perfect? Go look up the consumer complaint and lawsuits Apple has dealt with, it makes Microsoft look like the Gold standard saint, even adding in the Xbox issues of 2006.

RvXtm said,
Blablabla, microsoft is still microsoft, they are not into so much perfection and quality as apple, they will never be. Steve can say anything he likes, there is no way in hell that device is worth 500 usd with a store that's full of crap (right now), no x86 support, no cover and a netbook screen. People will always use the term iPad to describe a tablet, any other product will be just a backup solution. But hey, until i stick my eyes on a Surface, i'm open to possibilities.

I guess we'll let the Trolls be Trolls!

nickcruz said,

I guess we'll let the Trolls be Trolls!

Do we have a point system for spotting them at neowin ?
hold on.. let me get ya a cookie..

Hey critics i said "M$" like my grammorz ?
better quote this so people can be 100% sure I'm a *certified and authenticated TROLL

I love the comments we get here all the time that effectively amount to people
complaining about complainers complaining lol

Contribute to the topic ? Respond to something the person said ?
or classic neowin snotty one liner..
ya you sure showed him lol

Sounds like a bogus explanation to me, pixels aren't going to disappear at different contrasts. Unless they made the whole thing Pixel independent where it can still work on two documents side by side without being with the window size being less than 1:1 with the pixels, with no noticeable quality loss?

Simon- said,
Sounds like a bogus explanation to me, pixels aren't going to disappear at different contrasts.
He said 'detail', not pixels. 'Detail' is pretty much subjective.

Simon- said,
Sounds like a bogus explanation to me, pixels aren't going to disappear at different contrasts. Unless they made the whole thing Pixel independent where it can still work on two documents side by side without being with the window size being less than 1:1 with the pixels, with no noticeable quality loss?

They are not going to dissapear so to speak but they will basically be smeared across the adjacent ones thus changing the percieved resolution, which, when it comes down to it, is all that matters. Its like having one car which claims it can do tops 6000 RPM (motor revs) and another saying it can do 4000 RPM but when the cars are on the road and actually in the real world, the two have the same maximum speed because the 6000 RPM is running like crap with no refinement or core level alterations but the 4000 RPM has a 100% output rate with no skipping and super efficient components using an advanced turning algorithm on the gearbox which allows for greater speeds at a lesser output.

Their may be more pixels in the "new" iPad but the Surface makes use of intuitive hardware and software advances that produce a clearer display with a lesser resolution! Amazing, I know. Not only are we getting better clarity and contrasts but it will allow for greater battery life and less GPU/CPU graphics rendering which could in turn boost CPU/GPU output among other things!

The majority of my users in my office prefer lower resolutions over higher resolutions because most of the software we use doesn't allow for zooming. We have 1080p displays that currently are set at 720p resolutions. I'm fine with the resolution on the Surface.

scumdogmillionaire said,
You assume because they replied "This is Stevie" that it was Sinofsky? Do you presume I'm also a millionaire based on my name?

I've had Steve personally respond to e-mails before, he takes pride in this project and makes himself available to answer questions on it, so I don't see why this is even being questioned.

n4cer said,
Sinofsky would refer to himself as Steven, not Stevie.

That was my issue. Not that Sinofsky wouldn't be involved in such a thing, but that he would refer to himself as "Stevie" -- it was a poor assumption.

.fahim said,
Sounds like a justification but not a good reason. My guess is that the UI doesn't scale well yet.

I run Win8 on my desktop at 1920x1200, it scales just fine.. if i had a bigger monitor i'd go higher res

.fahim said,
Sounds like a justification but not a good reason. My guess is that the UI doesn't scale well yet.

WinRT is entirely vector-based. It scales to whatever size the screen is.

.fahim said,
Sounds like a justification but not a good reason. My guess is that the UI doesn't scale well yet.

I'm running 2560x1440 on my desktop. Snap grid seems a little off but everything scales nicely.

Aethec said,

WinRT is entirely vector-based. It scales to whatever size the screen is.

It doesn't matter whatever it scales or not. Main reason for high resolution is picture sharpness. At 156 ppi text will be highly pixelated... I have 215 ppi tablet and it's still not enough to make text smooth and sharp. For device that will be mainly used for text (inet surf, books, email etc) it's highly important.

.fahim said,
Sounds like a justification but not a good reason. My guess is that the UI doesn't scale well yet.

Going to guess you haven't touch Windows since XP or have never used a high resolution display.

Windows Vista/7/8 handle scaling both in legacy and new frameworks without incident. Especially with legacy applications.

Windows will compensate by mixing resampling pixel-locked and bitmap aspects of an application along with native resolution controls and font rendering.


Notice that for 2K, 4K, or even 8K displays, Windows 7 doesn't need the developer to 'rewrite' their software to work on the higher resolution displays, and the OS can scale them without incident.

(Apple's model of a partially fixed resolution framework falls behind what Windows was doing 16 years ago, and is embarrassing for Apple that ANY developer would have to 'recode' their Applications to work with the higher resolution displays on OS X and iOS.)

.fahim said,
Sounds like a justification but not a good reason. My guess is that the UI doesn't scale well yet.

My monitor a Dell 30 inch 2560 * 1600 and it sure scales perfectly.

.fahim said,
Sounds like a justification but not a good reason. My guess is that the UI doesn't scale well yet.

like everything that apple doesn't have in their products,i mean if they don't have something they will say that you don't even need it,and when they put that thing on a product they say it's revolutionary

thenetavenger said,

Going to guess you haven't touch Windows since XP or have never used a high resolution display.

Windows Vista/7/8 handle scaling both in legacy and new frameworks without incident. Especially with legacy applications.

Windows will compensate by mixing resampling pixel-locked and bitmap aspects of an application along with native resolution controls and font rendering.


Notice that for 2K, 4K, or even 8K displays, Windows 7 doesn't need the developer to 'rewrite' their software to work on the higher resolution displays, and the OS can scale them without incident.

(Apple's model of a partially fixed resolution framework falls behind what Windows was doing 16 years ago, and is embarrassing for Apple that ANY developer would have to 'recode' their Applications to work with the higher resolution displays on OS X and iOS.)

My desktop uses a Dell U2711 as the only display and Windows 7 Ultimate as its only OS. Thanks.

What I meant is that a 1 inch square has to still be a 1 inch square when the DPI of a display changes but the screen size doesn't. The screen may expand to fill the space but it does scale relative to the actual size of the display - or that I have seen - happy to be proven wrong.

I take no issue with their decision, its a faux spec to me on screens larger than 7". I bet the RT will be comparable with Retina in normal use, and the 1080 Pro will blow its socks off.

I firmly believe that a scaled display is better than pixel doubling cheats. The iPads functional resolution is lower than RT.

Riiiiight.
Questioner: <Insert Question you don't like>
Answer: <Ramble on and on and on about techical details and studies and how people you talked to said it was better until the Questioners eyes glaze over>
Win!

Asmodai said,
Riiiiight.
Questioner: <Insert Question you don't like>
Answer: <Ramble on and on and on about techical details and studies and how people you talked to said it was better until the Questioners eyes glaze over>
Win!

Actually considering they made such a big deal about comparing the display to iPad when they invited journalists to get hands on with Surface and did a blind test next to the iPad, I don't think this was something that Microsoft was trying to avoid.

It isn't that controversial to say there is a lot more to a display's quality than just the resolution.

Asmodai said,
Riiiiight.
Questioner: <Insert Question you don't like>
Answer: <Ramble on and on and on about techical details and studies and how people you talked to said it was better until the Questioners eyes glaze over>
Win!

Actually, the ClearType argument holds water. Even on my HTC Titan with 480x800, text looks far sharper than one would think, almost comparable (not quite) to a Retina display. It does indeed do a good job mitigating resolution because, in effect, it turns subpixels into usable resolution.

I don't 100% buy the other arguments, however. I wanted a 1080p display, so I'm going to be waiting for Surface Pro.

Asmodai said,
Riiiiight.
Questioner: <Insert Question you don't like>
Answer: <Ramble on and on and on about techical details and studies and how people you talked to said it was better until the Questioners eyes glaze over>
Win!

Oh, so is that why you're the manager of a division at Microsoft? oh, you don't work for Microsoft because your opinion isn't worth a hill of beans? then maybe you should sit down, shut up and listen to the experts on the matter rather than assuming that presence on the internet (aka a soap box) gives you automatic knowledge.

Asmodai said,
Riiiiight.
Questioner: <Insert Question you don't like>
Answer: <Ramble on and on and on about techical details and studies and how people you talked to said it was better until the Questioners eyes glaze over>
Win!

Let me translate that for you:
"I don't understand your fancy words and I don't want to think about them. I'm bored!"

The thing I like about my high resolution laptop display is the ability to read a document with two pages side by side. Perceived resolution or not, I favor the higher PPI displays for their ability to show more content.

Yet as I mentioned below, the higher PPI achieved via Apple's method does not show more content, and in fact, will show less. (Since the iPad lacks the scaling methods found in Lion etc)

Dashel said,
Yet as I mentioned below, the higher PPI achieved via Apple's method does not show more content, and in fact, will show less. (Since the iPad lacks the scaling methods found in Lion etc)

Yeah yeah, they're both worse than the Pro.

There are two ways to take advantage of higher PPI. You either show more content, or you show the same content in higher detail. I'm under the impression that Apple uses the latter, at least on iPhone and iPad.

rfirth said,
There are two ways to take advantage of higher PPI. You either show more content, or you show the same content in higher detail. I'm under the impression that Apple uses the latter, at least on iPhone and iPad.

They are doing the same in OSX (see the Macbook Pro Retina...)

rfirth said,
There are two ways to take advantage of higher PPI. You either show more content, or you show the same content in higher detail. I'm under the impression that Apple uses the latter, at least on iPhone and iPad.

You could also show a more than normal amount of content in higher detail than normal. You aren't locked to 100% or 200% DPI in decent operating systems.