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.
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.