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Surface RT display smackdown: Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet shines

The screen on Nokia's Lumia 2520 tablet wins handily in comparison with Microsoft's Surface 2, a testing company concludes.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 has an outstanding display, according to DisplayMate Technologies.
The Nokia Lumia 2520 has an outstanding display, according to DisplayMate Technologies.
James Martin/CNET

Nokia's Lumia 2520 tablet has one of the best screens tested to date, while Microsoft's Surface 2 counterpart falls into the also-ran category, according to a testing firm that evaluated the two Surface RT devices.

"With virtually identical functionality and OS software...The display on the Nokia Lumia 2520 is impressive while the Microsoft Surface 2 is mediocre and a disappointment," DisplayMate Technologies' Raymond said in a research note published Tuesday.

The display on the Nokia Lumia 2520 has the "best high ambient light performance and screen readability, with by far the brightest mobile display we have ever tested," Soneira said.

The 2520's display has a maximum brightness of 684 cd/m2 (also referred to as nits) and is 74 percent brighter than the Surface 2 (394 cd/m2) and 52 percent brighter than the iPad Air (449 cd/m2), Soneira said.

The Surface 2 didn't receive many accolades.

"Other than its higher screen resolution, the Microsoft Surface 2 display is actually somewhat worse than last year's original Surface RT, with many of the primary display specs now 5 to 10 percent worse," according to Soneira.

The Surface 2's display does deliver "excellent performance" for text based applications like Microsoft Office, though.

Both of the second-generation Surface RT tablets have 1,920x1,080 displays that deliver sharp text and graphics, particularly with Microsoft's ClearType Sub-Pixel Rendering, DisplayMate's tests concluded.

DisplayMate Technologies