iPad Air 2 (Lock screen, Silver, Gold, Space Gray 001

DisplayMate Technologies has put the screens of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 through a barrage of tests concluding that the former’s anti-reflective screen reduces ambient light reflections dramatically compared to any other tablet display out there.

The technology, DisplayMate discovered, reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other tablets, including the previous iPads, and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing tablets and smartphones, including the iPhone 6.

Compared to the original iPad Air, the iPad Air 2’s screen has eight percent lower brightness and sixteen percent lower display power efficiency, “most likely the result of an obsession with producing a thinner tablet forcing compromises in the LCD backlight”, said Dr. Ray Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies.

The iPad Air 2’s display is “dramatically darker” than any other existing tablet or smartphone screen, said DisplayMate calling the tablet’s anti-reflective screen coating “a major innovation”.

Other than the anti-reflection coating and its bonded cover glass, the display on the iPad Air 2 is essentially unchanged and identical in performance to the fourth-generation iPad introduced in 2012.

In terms of the Absolute Color rating, the iPad Air 2 recorded a slightly large 107 percent Color Gamut versus a 100 percent sRGB while the iPad mini 3 achieved a rather small 62 percent Color Gamut.

Both numbers are almost identical with previous iPad models. In addition, both new iPads have a slightly bluish white point and the iPad mini 3 recorded a Good to Poor absolute color accuracy rating.

iPad mini 3 silver hand

The iPad mini 3 is particularly below competition like Samsung, Amazon and Microsoft that offer “excellent and significantly better mini displays” in terms of color accuracy. For those wondering, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S with its AMOLED screen leads the pack in terms of color accuracy.

“So in addition to washed out, under saturated and distorted colors (red tomatoes, fire trucks, and Coke cans look a bit orange rather than deep red, for example),” DisplayMate writes, the iPad mini 3 continues with “a moderately high screen Reflectance of 6.5 percent, almost triple that of its favored litter mate, which further washes out its image colors in ambient light”.

Due to the virtually unchanged screen, the iPad mini 3 remains the only current iPad without a full color gamut and it also lacks the iPad Air 2’s enhanced anti-reflection coating and bonded cover glass.

The aforementioned drawbacks prompted Dr. Soneira to call the iPad mini 3 an “embarrassingly mediocre and way overpriced” tablet, a point further driven home by its $399 asking price.

Indeed, other than a gold color option and Touch ID fingerprint scanning, the iPad mini 3 sports literally the same innards as its predecessor.

DisplayMate recently rated the iPhone 6 the best overall smartphone display (LCD and OLED), giving it the “Best Performing Smartphone LCD display” designation.


  • rockdude094

    Ah man I used to check myself out on that shiny screen.

    • Ali

      Did you use your iCard? haha

  • Fanboy 

    Im starting to question why I’m even a fanboy anymore. I love the Mini, not because its cheaper but because of the portability. But Apple decided to try and force everybody to buy the Air. First time that I’m not upgrading to their new product because there are literally no upgrades to the Mini.

    • I agree with you but the small addition of Touch ID is an upgrade. Probably the only one worth noting. The addition of gold was a little pointless because not many people use there iPads with out cases.

      • Fanboy 

        To be honest, if they would have at least added the upgraded display technology like they did on the Air along with TouchID that would have be enough. But $100 for a technology that came out last year isn’t sufficient.

      • ChristopherMay

        I hear you and agree. I think a big reason behind there decision for such a minimal upgrade to the mini could be because they thought a major update to the mini could threaten to cannibalize there iPhone 6 plus sales. If I had a mini and was looking to buy a new iPhone I would be more inclined to purchase the smaller iPhone 6… If i had the 5s and a new and a major improvement came to the mini I may choose the mini over purchasing either of the iPhone 6 models… Just some thoughts…

      • @dongiuj

        So in that theory doesn’t that mean that the iPhone 6/6+ would cannibalise the mini? Why would apple want to cannibalise any of its new products?
        Sorry if I missed your point.

      • ChristopherMay

        “So in that theory doesn’t that mean that the iPhone 6/6+ would canniblise the mini?” Yes it does, but I think this product cycle they are more interested in selling their new bigger iPhones than they are in selling smaller iPads. This seems to be true considering how much stage time and attention they gave the iPad mini (or entire iPad line for that matter) at their last press

        “Why would apple want to cannibalise any of its new products?” I don’t necessarily think Apple wants to cannibalize any of it’s produces, but they are following market demand and as a byproduct some devices become obsolete because others take their place in the market (example: the death of the iPod classic… also very little attention paid to any iPod line this year). The market wanted bigger phones, now Apple pretty much only sells big phones as a byproduct this cuts into their iPad mini sales…

        People use their iPads for all sorts of things but I think I am in the majority of people who use them mostly for media consumption (Netflix, HBOgo, Reading books and news) because of their larger form factor. As the iPhone 6 get larger more people will be comfortable doing all those things on their iPhone rather than picking up their slightly bigger iPad. One way I think they could keep from doing this with their iPad line is to upgrade and differentiate the iPad software. At this point the iPad is to much like an even bigger big iPhone, rather than a separate and distinct device… If the use case is the only thing that distinguishes the iPad line from the iPhone line they’ll continue to cannibalize each other.

      • Which is why I agreed with you except for when you said there were no upgrades.

    • @dongiuj

      Seems to be what Apple does with each product every year. Minimal. Shouldn’t be “21% this and 5.673% that”. It should be “20% more minimal than last year.” But then again I think more people don’t upgrade every year so apples’ target, I imagine, is toward the people with 2-3 year old devices. Juuuuust enough to make some people think “hmmm, I might line up outside an apple store for two weeks for that!”. It’s working, whatever it’s doing but people, like you, are waking up and snapping out of the coma of “muuuust allllwaaaaays haaaave laaaaateeeest aaaaapple proooooduuuuct”.

      • ChristopherMay

        I’m currently as big a fan of apple products as anyone who is on this site but I also like to be a smart consumer. I also believe Apple could be an even better company… But as long as it’s on top of the tablet market there real isn’t a whole lot of insensitive for them to continue to pour loads of money and effort into it… They just have to continue to beat the competition, which they are clearly doing from a shear sales stand point. Don’t get me wrong I believe the iPad is still the best tablet on the market… but Apple could do better.

      • @dongiuj

        Basically, milking the consumers with more money than sense.

  • Hyr3m

    Makes people wonder why this whole “shiny screen” thing started… It’s a screen, not a f&#%*! mirror. Damn you Sony and your xblack screens.

    From wiki : Ergonomic studies had shown that prolonged work in the office environment with the presence of discomforting glares and disturbances from light reflections on the screen can be a cause of mild to severe adverse health effects, ranging from eye strain and headaches to photosensitive epileptic episodes. These effects are usually explained by physiology of human eye and human visual system. The image of light sources reflected in the screen can cause the human visual system to focus on that image which is usually at a much farther distance than the information shown on the screen. This competition between two images that can be focused is considered to be the primary source of such effects.

    • BoardDWorld

      Water is worse, on top of that it shimmers. Oh well at least we can fix tablets eh. I personally think it’s just common sense to use a shaded area, or don’t stare into water too long…