apple ipad air 2

Today DisplayMate Technologies published its usual detailed analysis of Apple’s latest product releases with an in-depth review of the display technology in the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 displays.

One of the more notable improvements in the new iPad Air 2 display is the anti-reflective coating that, according to DisplayMate, “reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other Tablets and Smartphones (including the previous iPads), and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing Tablets and Smartphones (including the new iPhone 6).”

To visually compare the difference for yourself, hold two Tablets or Smartphones side-by-side and turn off the displays so you just see the reflections. The iPad Air 2 is dramatically darker than any other existing Tablet or Smartphone. Those reflections are still there when you turn them on, and the brighter the ambient light the brighter the reflections. It’s a major innovation and a big deal with visually obvious benefits!!

Apart from the anti-reflective features of the new iPad Air 2 display, however, DisplayMate says the display performs identical to the iPad 4 and “slightly lower in performance” than the first-generation iPad Air. In its tests it found the iPad Air 2 display to have 8% lower Brightness and 16% lower display Power Efficiency compared to the original iPad Air. The report speculates it’s likely a result of comprises with the backlight in order to produce a thinner device.

One area the display didn’t perform as well compared to the competition is for Absolute Color Accuracy, according to DisplayMate.

As for the iPad mini 3, DisplayMate found it is largely unchanged from the previous generation noting that Amazon, Google, and Samsung have “excellent and significantly better mini displays” that outperform Apple’s offering:

Now, in 2014 the new iPad mini 3 still only has a 62 percent Color Gamut, plus it was denied the new enhanced anti-reflection coating and bonded cover glass of the iPad Air 2… 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) it 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

DisplayMate’s detailed analysis can be viewed in full here.

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