Despite Microsoft’s claims about the display on its Surface RT tablet besting the iPad’s Retina Display, DisplaySearch’s findings show that the iPad’s Retina Display, which is utilized on the third generation and fourth generation iPad tablets, still ranks supreme in the tablet display category overall. That said, the Surface still has a great display and outperforms the iPad’s screen in some areas, but in terms of sharpness, the iPad’s display is still the industry standard.
Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate says that though the Surface RT tablet has sharper text and better factory display calibration compared to the iPad 2 and all the full-size 1280 X 800 Android tablets, Microsoft’s tablet is still ‘not as sharp as the iPad 3 or 4, nor does it have their large full color gamut.’ Where the Surface RT leads is that it has a lower reflectance.
DisplayMate’s findings isn’t surprising given that the Retina iPad has a resolution of 2,048 X 1,536 pixels whereas the Surface RT has a resolution of 1,366 X 768 pixels. Though the Retina iPad is more pixel-dense, Microsoft had previously made claims that the Surface RT’s display may be superior to the iPad since the Surface tablet uses ClearType technology, allowing text to be perceived as sharper to the eye. The iPad 2’s display has a resolution of 1,024 X 768 pixels.
Though the iPad leads now, we’ll have to see how the Nexus 10 tablet from Google, made by Samsung, fares. That device has a resolution of 2,560 X 1600 pixels giving it a greater pixel density compared to the Retina resolution of Apple’s tablet.
In terms of screen reflectance, the Surface leads the pack as the iPad reflects 33 percent more light and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 reflects 41 percent more light. Lower screen reflectance will help in enabling the device to be used in brighter conditions, especially outdoors where screens will become washed out. For comparison, Nokia’s Lumia 900 smartphone has one of the lowest screen reflectance of any mobile device.
In the end, the iPad was given an A rating, the Surface RT an A-, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a B+ for their displays.