New iPad edges out Microsoft's Surface RT display

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Analysts at DisplayMate recently published a tablet display shootout that pitted Microsoft's Surface RT against the retina-enabled Apple iPad, the iPad 2 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.

The test was conducted by Raymond Soneira, who concluded that Redmond's Surface display certainly helped the tablet get off to a great start. 

"In particular, on-screen text is significantly sharper, it has a better factory display calibration, and also significantly lower reflectance than the iPad 2 and all full-size 1280x800 Android tablets," Soneira said. "But it is not as sharp as the iPad 3 or 4, nor does it have their large full color gamut."

Interestingly, AppleInsider reports that at least one Microsoft engineer claimed supposedly claimed the Surface display outperformed the iPad retina -  even though Microsoft uses a lower resolution due to ClearType display technology which supposedly maximizes "perceived resolution" by reducing reflections.

Soneira did confirm that the Surface RT screen does have the lowest reflectance of any of the tested tablets Indeed, the third-generation iPad with the Retina display reflects 33% more ambient light than the Surface RT tablet, while the Galaxy Tab 10.1 reflects 41% more light than the Surface RT tablet.

However, the Surface RT tablet loses ground in reproduction of color gamut - with 57% smaller color gamut than the latest Apple iPad. Nevertheless, Surface RT was found to be superior to the display on the iPad 2.

"The Surface RT outperforms the display on the iPad 2 across the board except for the color gamut," Soneira confirmed. "The Surface RT is comparable or better than the iPad 3 in all categories except two: screen resolution and color gamut."

In the final letter grades, Soneira gave the Retina display iPad an A, the Surface RT received an A-, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 received a B+.