DisplayMate: iPad Pro display beats iPad Air 2's, but mini 4 is still king

Much like it has done with tablet displays in the past, DisplayMate has put the iPad Pro's enormous 12.9" screen through the wringer to test its brightness, reflectivity, and color accuracy. While the screen in Apple's biggest tablet fares a bit better than that of the iPad Air 2, the iPad Pro doesn't oust the iPad mini 4 as the tablet with the best display. 

The iPad Pro display's 2732 x 2048 resolution works out to the same 264 PPI as the iPad Air 2's. DisplayMate's testing found the screen to be "perfectly sharp" when viewed at a distance of 13 inches or more. The off-angle screen brightness is similar across displays, too. DisplayMate says brightness reductions at steep viewing angles are a problem for LCDs in general, and the iPads all lose more than 50% brightness when viewed off-angle.  

That's where the similarities between the two big tablets end, though. DisplayMate found its iPad Pro sample to have more consistent color accuracy than the iPad Air 2 using a Just Noticeable Color Difference (JNCD) scale, where lower numbers represent more accurate results. While the Air 2 scored an average JNCD of 3.9, the iPad Pro scored 2.6. The iPad mini 4 beat them both with its 1.9 JNCD score. 

The iPad Pro reproduces 105% of the sRGB color gamut, just short of the 107% reproduction on the iPad Air 2. DisplayMate's results found the white points on all of the displays to be slightly too blue, but the Pro's screen was calibrated more accurately than that of the Air 2. The iPad Pro and iPad mini 4 both have white points calibrated to around 7,100 K, while the older Air 2's screen is set to 7,350 K. 

All of the tablets scored well when viewed in direct light. DisplayMate found the iPad mini 4 is still the best at minimizing reflections, bouncing only 2% of the light that hits its glass back at the user. The iPad Air 2 reflected 2.5% of the ambient light, and the iPad Pro reflected 2.6%. Because of its extra size, the iPad Pro needs more power to light up its display, though. According to DisplayMate, it takes 7 watts to keep the screen lit at maximum brightness, compared to 5.1 watts for the iPad Air 2 and just 3.1 watts for the mini 4.

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