A thorough analysis of a much improved screen utilized on Apple’s fourth-generation iPad mini conducted by DisplayMate has determined that the tablet’s display technology is comparable to the iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The long story short, its screen has richer colors and better color accuracy with a 36 percent better reflectance versus the iPad Air 2 for improved readability.
Record-low screen reflectance
According to DisplayMate’s in-depth analysis, the iPad mini 4 features a record-low screen reflectance of just two percent versus the 6.5 percent reflectance for the iPad mini 3 and most other tablets, nine percent reflectance for the original iPad mini and 2.5 percent reflectance for the iPad Air 2.
“In terms of real-world viewing conditions, the record low 2.0 percent screen Reflectance actually makes a bigger visual difference for the image colors and image contrast that you actually see because ambient light washes out and degrades the displayed images and reduces screen readability – so its record low Reflectance actually makes a bigger difference,” said Ray Soneira, DisplayMate Technologies’ President.
All told, the device sports a contrasting rating in high ambient light of 225, making its screen much more readable in direct sunlight than the previous iPad minis.
Full color gamut
The iPad mini 4 has a noticeably improved color gamut, too.
Whereas the iPad minis all had 62 percent color gamuts, color accuracy and saturation on the iPad mini 4 look much more like they do on the iPad Air 2, which has 100 percent color gamut.
“Put an iPad Air or iPad Air 2 next to an iPad mini or iPad mini 3 and you won’t need a colorimeter to see the difference—colors were noticeably more muted on the old iPad mini screen even though it was the same resolution as the larger iPad Air’s screen,” ArsTechnica observed in its lengthy review of the iPad mini 4.
“After three years of soldiering on with an inferior display, it’s nice to see an iPad mini that can match the standard iPad in both resolution and quality,” the review concludes.
Fully laminated screen
Much of these improvements stem from the tablet’s fully laminated display which helps make the device eighteen percent thinner than its predecessor. It also uses a custom-designed antireflective coating which Apple claims reduces glare by 56 percent compared with previous iPad mini displays.
As explained in our “10 things to know about iPad mini 4,” the device fuses three display layers into one. This screen assembly process, also known as in-cell technology, is also used on iPhones and iPad Airs.
Previous iPad minis were constructed with three separate display components. “With iPad mini 4, we combined those three layers into one,” notes Apple, adding that eliminating gaps between the layers helps reduce the internal reflectance caused by those gaps.
As a result, users get to enjoy greater contrast, more lifelike colors and sharper images that look as if painted directly on the glass. Last but not least, both touch sensitivity and accuracy of the screen have been improved as well, especially when swiping rapidly or performing gestures at screen edges.
A teardown analysis performed by iFixit has determined that the iPad mini 4 will be more pricey to fix when you drop it because the display is sealed and the Touch ID cable is integrated into the display cable itself, like on the Air 2 but unlike on the iPad mini 3.
In Layman’s terms, if you break the LCD or the glass, you will need to replace both these components along with the Home button assembly, just like on Touch ID-equipped iPhones.