Is Microsoft’s Surface Superior to Apple’s iPad?

A Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) official has said the company’s upcoming Surface tablet beats the third-generation Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad in terms of overall display quality despite offering a lower screen resolution.

Microsoft’s Steven Bathiche, one of the engineers who worked on the Surface, made the assertion in response to a question on the differences between the display capabilities of the two tablets at the Reddit IamA on Tuesday. Microsoft has priced its tablet in the same range as the latest iPad, with the basic model costing $499.

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While the Surface offers a resolution of 1366×768, the iPad has a resolution of 2048×1536. However, Bathiche, who is the director of research for the company’s applied sciences group, said that screen resolution was only one element affecting the details as seen on the screen. According to the official, the Surface had an edge over the iPad when it came to a technical measurement called Modulation Transfer Function, which is apparently a combination of contrast and resolution. “Without good contrast, resolution decreases,” Bathiche said, according to CNET.

“The amount of light in a room and the reflections off 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. With the ClearType Display technology we took a three-pronged approach to maximize that perceived resolution and optimize for battery life, weight, and thickness.”

The Surface will be in stores on October 26.

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