Surface RT screen does well in lab tests against other tablets including iPad.

Even before Microsoft’s Surface RT came out lots of people were disappointed and curious as to why Microsoft chose such a small resolution for their Windows RT flagship device. The Surface RT tablet comes with only 1366x768 pixels which is actually the minimum requirement for Windows 8 machines in order for them to use the snap feature.

So why would the company barely abide by their own rules on what is supposed to be the best Windows RT device, especially when competitors are bringing full 1080p tablets to market not to mention the 2048x1536 screen on the iPad 3 which is basically double?

When asked the Redmond company never gave a straight answer instead they tried to explain to the public that Screen Resolution is only one of the factors that influence how good a screen actually is. There are many different ones on which Microsoft chose to focus such as sharpness and reflectance.

It seems now, a test done by Display Mate in their labs, partially confirms what Microsoft has been saying: that their tablet, even with the lower resolution, stacks very well against the competition. The folks at Display Mate compared the Surface RT to other tablets on the market and this is what they found:

Screen Sharpness – providing crisp sharp text and other graphics – Microsoft uses Sub-Pixel Rendering ( ClearType in MS speak) that significantly improve the visual sharpness of text over standard Pixel Rendering used in most mobile displays. This results in the Surface RT being “significantly sharper than the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and other 10 inch 1280x800 Tablets, but not quite as sharp as the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7”. It is also “significantly sharper than the iPad 2, but not as sharp as the iPad 3”.

Screen Reflectance – the lower this is the better the screen looks – according to their study the Surface RT has the lowest screen reflectance on any tablet including the iPad 3 which is about 33% more reflective and Galaxy Tab 10.1 which is 41% more reflective. The Surface RT also has the highest contrast rating in high ambient light making the screen more readeable in direct sunlight.

Color Gamut – this basically refers to the number of colors the screen can produce – the Surface doesn’t do very well here being able to reproduce only 57% of the sRGB scale. That is comparable to most displays in smartphones but most tablets that are coming out right now stand somewhere between 80 and 100 percent, while the iPad3 stands at 99%.

And with that here’s their conclusion:

The display on the Microsoft Surface RT outperforms all of the standard resolution full size 10 inch Tablets that we have tested. The Lab tests […] indicate that Microsoft has paid a lot of attention to display performance for the Surface RT. In particular, on-screen text is significantly sharper, it has a better factory display calibration, and also significantly lower screen Reflectance than the iPad 2 and all full size 1280x800 Android Tablets. But it is not as sharp as the iPad 3 or 4, nor does it have their large full Color Gamut. We’ll have to wait for the high resolution Windows Pro Tablets that will be launching in early 2013 for direct comparisons with the high resolution iPads and Android Tablets.

Be sure to check out the source link for more info and details on each of these tests, and drop us a comment with your thoughts.

Source: Display Mate

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16 Comments

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Why MS didn't choose an OLED display like Zune HD for Surface? OLEDs have excellent color reproduction, sharpness and text rendering.

MsftGaurav said,
Why MS didn't choose an OLED display like Zune HD for Surface? OLEDs have excellent color reproduction, sharpness and text rendering.

If Microsoft used an OLED display in the Surface, it would cost close to $1000.

The surface RT screen is able to reproduce only 57% of srgb gamut, unlike at least 80% for other new tablets.
Sorry but to my standards this display sucks. Since when rich colors is not important ?

bigmehdi said,
The surface RT screen is able to reproduce only 57% of srgb gamut, unlike at least 80% for other new tablets.
Sorry but to my standards this display sucks. Since when rich colors is not important ?

The use of simple, flat colored tiles for the OS GUI might have boosted the lowered importance in the conception of this device.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

The use of simple, flat colored tiles for the OS GUI might have boosted the lowered importance in the conception of this device.

GS:mac

What about seeing pics and videos with full colors on a portable device.
Microsoft must be stupid, to think user will spend all their time on the "start screen".
I hate the idea of active tiles by the way, just more distraction, before focusing in anything useful.

bigmehdi said,

What about seeing pics and videos with full colors on a portable device.
Microsoft must be stupid, to think user will spend all their time on the "start screen".
I hate the idea of active tiles by the way, just more distraction, before focusing in anything useful.


You're absolutely right of course, I was just really wondering myself why MS would use such a subpar display and that happened to be the only thing I could come up with.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

You're absolutely right of course, I was just really wondering myself why MS would use such a subpar display and that happened to be the only thing I could come up with.

Probably because it's cheaper for them.

So the Surface RT's screen is easy to see the screen but the colour accuracy is terrible and the image isn't very sharp due to its low resolution. I don't consider that a good result, as the only tablets it is winning against are considerably cheaper.

the screen reflectivity is a big deal. ipads and android tablets are useless outdoors for this very reason.

as far as resolution, retina versions of surface are no doubt already in the final stages of design so it will very a very short lived plus that the ipad has.

but the biggest change to surface will come from Haswell mobile variants which will be much faster than clovertrail and use less power.

neonspark said,
the screen reflectivity is a big deal. ipads and android tablets are useless outdoors for this very reason.
True but sometimes I feel reflective screen looks good. I like how Macbook's screen looks compare to my HP. So much more reflective than it.

Well ya true too. It sucks bad in under the sunlight. But I thought one can just buy a matte screen protector than all will be solved?

tanjiajun_34 said,
True but sometimes I feel reflective screen looks good. I like how Macbook's screen looks compare to my HP. So much more reflective than it.

Well ya true too. It sucks bad in under the sunlight. But I thought one can just buy a matte screen protector than all will be solved?

Uh watch a movie through one of those. Those are only really designed for looking at Text through because text doesn't require as bright of ambient back-lighting.