Report: Smaller Surface likely to have 7.5-inch, 4:3 screen


A rumored smaller Surface may have a 4:3 aspect ratio, unlike the 16:9 ratio found in current Surface tablets.

Rumors of a smaller Surface tablet have circulated for months, though the exact size of the device's screen has been a mystery, with some reports claiming a 7-inch screen while others claimed an 8-inch. According to a new report, the screen will fall between the two sizes.

CNET spoke with Rhonda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research at IHS iSuppli, who said the tablet will have a 7.5-inch screen boasting a resolution of 1,400x1,050. That resolution is notable as it means the screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio, different than the 16:9 aspect ratio found in the 10.6-inch displays on the rest of the Surface line. Apple's iPad tablets, including the 7.9-inch iPad mini, all have displays with a 4:3 aspect ratio; most Android tablets, including 7- to 8-inch tablets, have a 16:9 aspect ratio.

As noted by The Verge, Microsoft updated its developer tools this year, including references to a 7-inch, 1,400x1,080 display, possibly indicating a slightly different resolution than Alexander's claim.

Alexander's statements conflict with an earlier report by Paul Thurrott, who has accurately revealed information about numerous Microsoft products in the past. According to Thurrott, the smaller Surface will feature an 8-inch screen, though The Wall Street Journal previously reported the tablet would have a 7-inch screen. Thurrott recently reported that the small Microsoft tablet would be released sometime this holiday season.

The smaller Surface is expected to include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, different from the NVIDIA Tegra 3 and Tegra 4 chipsets found in the Surface RT 2 and Surface 2, respectively.

Source: CNET via The Verge | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Report: Nokia asked Stephen Elop to reduce his bonus but he refused

Next Story

Samsung joins Apple in announcing gold colored Galaxy S4

20 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I would hate to see a 4:3, but apparently there are users that don't mind.

However, to assume the resolution is 4:3 is based on the pixels being uniform in size and placement.

For example, if pixel height is smaller than pixel width, in theory it could still be a 16:9 aspect ratio.

(Remember there are a lot of older plasma displays that are 16:9, yet have a 1024x768 resolution.)

4:3? OMFG!

They could do a 16:9 ratio tablet at still make it smaller.

Microsoft ... I think you need to speak to Google. They seem to get it right! 7" screen 16:9 ratio for £199

The Nexus 7 and most Android tablets are 16:10, not 16:9.

Big difference in my opinion. 16:10 feels better in portrait mode, which is why most Windows 8" tablets are 16:10 and not 16:9.

Doesn't this really depend on the final screen size? If it's not 7.5" and it's 7.9" or 8" doesn't it have to be 16:9 compared to 4:3? It also depends on what you do with this device, do you read a lot? then I think 4:3 works better, do you play games and watch videos? Then 16:9 works better for those apps. It depends in the end.

billyea said,

Who even supplies a 4:3 ratio screen these days?


Indeed. If Microsoft is trying to be a more forward thinking company, they shouldn't even consider
giving a moments thought to making a tablet device that is built with anthat obsolete aspect ratio.

It's bad enough that Apple still make iPads with 4:3 displays ... Microsoft should not follow suit.

DJGM said,

Indeed. If Microsoft is trying to be a more forward thinking company, they shouldn't even consider
giving a moments thought to making a tablet device that is built with anthat obsolete aspect ratio.

It's bad enough that Apple still make iPads with 4:3 displays ... Microsoft should not follow suit.

If true, MS is also gunning for people that read e-books. 4:3 aspect ration in a mini-form is excellent for e-books. That is another reason why iPad and iPad mini is popular with e-book readers.

norseman said,
I really like the sounds of this!

I don't mind the size, but I'm not a fan of a 4:3 aspect ratio, personally. A tablet that size is clearly meant to be a media consumption device, and most media -- especially games on the already-released Surface tablets -- is designed for 16:9.

Anthony Tosie said,

I don't mind the size, but I'm not a fan of a 4:3 aspect ratio, personally. A tablet that size is clearly meant to be a media consumption device, and most media -- especially games on the already-released Surface tablets -- is designed for 16:9.

My biggest gripe with the iPad mini is it's aspect ratio. Was also hoping for a 16:9 on Surface mini as well.

Anthony Tosie said,

I don't mind the size, but I'm not a fan of a 4:3 aspect ratio, personally. A tablet that size is clearly meant to be a media consumption device, and most media -- especially games on the already-released Surface tablets -- is designed for 16:9.

I own a Surface and 16:9 is not nice in portrait view. Which is the view used by smaller tablets. So this makes sense to me.

I do wonder if Microsoft is going to optimize the OS for it. I mean when switched to portrait mode Windows 8 isn't nearly as nice. At that point should have horizontal scrolling, like WP8.

AWilliams87 said,

My biggest gripe with the iPad mini is it's aspect ratio. Was also hoping for a 16:9 on Surface mini as well.

Agreed not fond of 4:3. I think 5:3 would be better (also known as 15:9) which is the same aspect ratio as most Windows Phones. 16:10 would have been okay as well, which is what most OEMs are using for Windows 8" tablets (1280x800).

With 4:3 you could have some issues with the way games are scaled. Doesn't seem to fit as well in one hand either.

16:9 is very bad for portrait mode though, so I'm glad they're at least not using the worst aspect ratio for a portrait tablet.

Edited by Avatar Roku, Sep 26 2013, 1:13am :