Microsoft finally announced pricing and shipping dates for its upcoming Surface tablet this week, in addition to revealing some new information about the device.
According to Microsoft engineer Steve Bathiche, who did a Q and A session on Reddit, the Surface’s “ClearType” display will offer a better picture than the third generation iPad’s Retina display, despite the fact that the Surface has a much lower resolution, at 1366 by 768 pixels compared to the iPad’s 2048 by 1536 pixels.
Bathiche claims that the ClearType feature maximizes the perceived resolution of the Surface. “The amount of light in a room and the reflections of the screen have a huge effect on the contrast of the display,” he said. “In fact, a small amount of reflection can greatly reduce contrast and thus the perceived resolution of the display.”
He went on to explain the technology. “With ClearType Display technology, we took a 3 pronged approach to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness.”
The Surface display, he says, reflects between 5.5 percent and 6.2 percent of light, a much smaller amount than the iPad, which reflects 9.9 percent of light. In Microsoft’s testing, this has allowed people to see more detail on the Surface’s display than on the iPad.
While I’m eager to see the display of the Surface for myself, I can’t help but doubt that a much smaller resolution screen can compete with the gorgeous high definition display of the iPad.
Four percent less light reflection, versus 3.1 million pixels – who will come out on top? I guess we’ll find out in late October, when the Surface begins shipping.