Ipad Air 2 Colors Comparison Essay

The Surface Pro 3 was unveiled by Microsoft in May 2014 as a device that can replace both your laptop and your tablet. Now, a new model of the Surface has arrived, this time simply called Surface 3. It's an all-new, more affordable option for potential Surface customers, bringing it more in line with Apple's flagship tablet offering, the iPad Air 2. Here, we put the two head-to-head in our Surface 3 versus iPad Air 2 comparison. Also see: Best new tablets coming in 2016.

Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 comparison: price & availability

The Surface 3 is the newer of the two tablets, and was only announced on 31 March and is set to come out in the UK on 7 May. It starts at £419 for the base model. Here's a break down:

64GB / 2GB RAM / Wi-Fi only - £419
128GB / 4GB RAM / Wi-Fi only - £499

Microsoft said that we can expect 4G LTE models to launch later in the year, but we haven't got pricing or an exact release date for those yet.

The iPad Air 2, on the other hand, has been on sale since October 2014, and is widely available to buy from Apple in the UK.

Both the Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE models are available, and the pricing is as follows:

16GB / Wi-Fi only - £399
64GB / Wi-Fi only - £479
128GB / Wi-Fi only - £559

16GB / Wi-Fi + Cellular - £499
64GB / Wi-Fi + Cellular - £579
128GB / Wi-Fi + Cellular - £659

As you can see, the prices of the two tablets are similar at the lower end, with the difference between the directly comparable models coming in at £60, with the iPad Air 2 the more expensive of the two.

But, it's worth noting that the Surface 3 doesn't come with the keyboard included, and a huge part of its appeal stems from the keyboard and its ability to reduce the need for you to carry both a tablet and a laptop with you if you want to work on the go.

And that keyboard doesn't come cheap. It'll cost you £109.99, so realistically you're looking at an overall price of £529 for the base model of the Surface 3 with the official Type Cover keyboard included.

Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 comparison: build quality and design

Apple is renowned for its sleek, stylish products, and the iPad Air 2 is no exception. It's incredibly thin at 6.1mm, and light at just 437g.

That's compared with the 8.7mm thick, 622g Surface 3 (and don't forget to add the 4.9mm and 265g of the keyboard), so there's some significant extra weight and bulk to think about there, but it's not going to break your back if you're carrying it around in your backpack. It's a price that many will consider worth paying to get that extra power and fully-fledged Windows applications.

And the Surface 3 is not ugly device. Aside from the slightly thicker than we'd like bezels, it's easy on the eye and is a well-built, top quality tablet. It is a little blocky for our liking, particularly when you compare it with the soft, rounded edges of the iPad Air 2, but it seems to suit the business-minded purpose it's designed for.

Plus, the built-in kickstand on the rear is great, with three angles to choose from making it particularly when used for typing in conjunction with the Type Cover. There's no such stand in the iPad Air 2.

Both tablets have metallic chassis, but the Surface 3 is only available in a silver finish, while the iPad Air 2 comes in silver, space grey and gold.

Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 comparison: display

Onto that display now, and the Surface 3 offers a 10.8in display, while the iPad Air 2 has a 9.7in display.

The Surface 3's display is a full-HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels. That equates to 213 pixels per inch (ppi).

The iPad Air has Apple's Retina display, with an impressive resolution of 2048x1536, making 264ppi.

The Surface 3's screen is good, but the iPad Air 2 beats it with its higher-resolution. If it's more screen estate you're looking for, that extra inch will make a surprisingly big difference, particularly if you plan on using the tablet for business more so than pleasure. But for playing games and watching movies, the iPad Air 2 is crisper and clearer.

Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 comparison: processor, performance

This is where things start to get really interesting, because the Surface 3's specs are quite different from the iPad Air 2's, setting it apart from the rest of the tablet market as more of a tablet/laptop hybrid with internal components as powerful as some of the laptops available to buy right now. Plus, it means it's capable of running a full version of Windows 8, meaning you can install and use any Windows apps on the tablet including full versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud apps including Photoshop.

We haven't yet managed to run our full tests on the Surface 3, but we do know its specification. You get a quad-core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz), and that's paired with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM depending on what model you choose, as described in the price and availability section.

We expect performance on par with a budget laptop: perfectly fine for productivity and communications. It's unlikely to be enough power for high-end video- and image-rendering tasks, though – for that you'll want to take a look at the Surface Pro 3.

Storage options are 64GB or 128GB SSD, and there's also a microSD card reader for additional storage. Connectivity options are excellent, with Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and setting it apart from the iPad Air 2 and most other tablets, a full-size USB 3.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort for connecting it to a bigger screen or monitor.

There are stereo speakers with Dolby audio, there there's also a set of sensors including an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer.

The iPad Air 2 doesn't quite live up to the power of the Surface 3, but it's no slouch either. Inside is Apple's speedy A8X 64-bit processor, paired with an M8 motion co-processor that handles the sensors.

Connectivity includes Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.0, but you won't find a USB port or Mini DisplayPort here.

Audio features aren't great – there's just one speaker that runs along the bottom of the iPad Air 2.

We'll update this comparison with benchmark test results as soon as we have them to find out just how much more powerful the Surface 3 is.

Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 comparison: cameras, other features

Handy for video calls, both of these tablets have front-facing cameras. The Surface 3's front camera is 3.5Mp and can capture 1080p video, while the iPad Air 2's front-facing camera is 1.2Mp with 720p video recording,

On the rear, the iPad Air 2's iSight camera can capture 1080p vide and is 8Mp, matching the rear-facing camera on the Surface 3.

Other features include the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPad Air 2, which lets you unlock the device using just your fingerprint, and use your fingerprint as your password for some other apps and services.

The Surface 3 is available with an optional stylus called the Surface Pen, which connects to the device via Bluetooth to offer a speedier way of completing some tasks and taking notes. However, it'll set you back £44.99.

Surface 3 vs iPad Air 2 comparison: software

As mentioned above, the Surface 3 runs a full version of Windows 8, enabling you to download and use any Windows application.

The iPad Air 2, on the other hand, runs Apple's iOS 8 mobile operating system, and apps are available through the dedicated iOS App Store. That means slimmed down versions of Adobe's Creative Cloud apps, and mobile versions of Microsoft Office.

The benefit of iOS, though, is that it's completely designed with the iPad in mind, whereas there are some elements of Windows 8 on the Surface 3 that are tiny, and difficult to use on a 10in touchscreen, particularly if you're using your fingers rather than the Surface Pen.

Apple iPad Air 2: Specs

  • Apple A8X processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB / 64GB / 128GB onboard storage
  • iOS 8.1
  • LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 1536 x 2048 pixels, 9.7 inches, 264 ppi pixel density
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • 8Mp, 1.2Mp cameras
  • 240x169.5x6.1mm
  • 437g

SHOULD I BUY APPLE IPAD AIR 2?

Overall, the Surface 3 and iPad Air 2 are very different devices, and deciding between the two is all going to depend on what you plan on using your tablet for. It's difficult to beat the iPad Air 2 when it comes to design, portability and its user interface, but there's no split-screen mode, and you won't be able to get full versions of desktop applications to help with your work.

That's where the small but powerful Surface 3 comes in, offering full apps, split screen, an excellent keyboard and pen (though they come at an extra cost) and lots of power that'll mean working on presentations, essays, designs and more while out and about has been made possible without needing to lug around a laptop.

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iPad 2014 Display Technology Shoot-Out

iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 with the iPad Air

 

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira

President, DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

Copyright © 1990-2014 by DisplayMate Technologies Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

This article, or any part thereof, may not be copied, reproduced, mirrored, distributed or incorporated

into any other work without the prior written permission of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation

 

 

 

Introduction

A key element for a great Tablet has always been a truly innovative and top performing display, and the best leading edge Tablets have always flaunted their beautiful high tech displays.

 

Apple iPads (and iPhones) were up until recently at the leading edge of mobile displays: they were early adopters of high performance IPS LCDs, the full 100 percent sRGB Color Gamut, and full 24-bit color, all of which dramatically improve image and picture quality and display performance. Steve Jobs and Apple also made display-quality a central theme for their product marketing.

 

iPad 3:  Their most famous and aggressive innovation came with the introduction of the Retina display in 2010 for the iPhone 4, where Apple doubled the pixel resolution and Pixels Per Inch (ppi) up to where the screen appeared perfectly sharp for normal 20/20 Vision at typical Tablet viewing distances of 10.5 inches or more. In March 2012 the iPad 3 got its first Retina display, plus a full 100 percent sRGB Color Gamut, which significantly improved color saturation and color accuracy. Up until that time almost all LCD Tablets and Smartphones had 55-65 percent Color Gamuts, which produced washed out, under saturated and distorted colors, so that red tomatoes, fire trucks, and Coke cans looked a bit orange rather than deep red, for example. In my 2012 iPad Display Shoot-Out I stated “with some minor calibration tweaks this new iPad would qualify as a studio reference monitor” and was “most likely better and more accurate than any display you own.” These were brilliant technical and marketing innovations, and the competition was left in the dust…

 

iPad 4, iPad Air:  But then iPad display innovation slowed almost to a crawl: in November 2012 the iPad 4 simply updated the hot, heavy and power hungry iPad 3 display and battery into a nicer package. In November 2013 the original iPad Air display was essentially unchanged and identical in performance to the iPad 4 introduced in November 2012. It’s now 2½ years after the introduction of the innovative iPad 3. What happened next?

 

Competition:  While Apple display innovation slowed, many other manufacturers just steadily pushed ahead to take the lead. So recently Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung have been launching Tablets with the best and most innovative displays, as documented in our Display Technology Shoot-Out article series and discussed below.

 

iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini 3:  Originally spurned, then introduced (in haste) in 2012, the original iPad mini was a smaller version of the older 2011 iPad 2 with a 1024x768 resolution display and a reduced 62 percent Color Gamut, when the full size iPads already had a 2048x1536 Retina display with a 100 percent Color Gamut. In 2013 the mini was given a Retina display, but remained with a reduced 62 percent Color Gamut – the only current iPad or iPhone without a full Color Gamut. We’ll examine in detail how much the iPad mini 3 has improved, if at all…

 

iPad Air 2:  Now in October 2014, 2½ years after the introduction of the innovative iPad 3, it’s nice to see Apple once again announcing a significantly enhanced display for the iPad Air 2. But there are now over two years of catching up to do, and there are many display performance issues to consider. We’ll examine how the iPad Air 2 display has improved and compare to it to the competition.

 

We’ll cover these issues and much more, with in-depth comprehensive display tests, measurements and analysis that you will find nowhere else.

 

The Display Shoot-Out

To examine the performance of the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 displays we ran our in-depth series of Mobile Display Technology Shoot-Out Lab tests and measurements in order to determine how these latest LCD Tablet displays have improved. We take display quality very seriously and provide in-depth objective analysis based on detailed laboratory tests and measurements and extensive viewing tests with both test patterns, test images and test photos. To see how far mobile displays have progressed in just four years see our 2010 Smartphone Display Shoot-Out, and for a real history lesson see our original 2006 Smartphone Display Shoot-Out.

 

Results Highlights

In this Results section we provide Highlights of the comprehensive DisplayMate Lab tests and measurements and extensive visual comparisons using test photos, test images, and test patterns that are covered in the advanced sections. The main Display Shoot-Out Comparison Table summarizes the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 Lab measurements in the following categories:  Screen Reflections,  Brightness and Contrast,  Colors and Intensities,  Viewing Angles,  LCD Spectra,  Display Power. You can also skip these Highlights and go directly to the iPad Conclusions.

 

Reducing Screen Reflections

A major innovation for the iPad Air 2 (that is not fully appreciated) is an anti-reflection coating on the cover glass that 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). We measured a 62 percent decrease in reflected light glare compared to the previous iPads (Apple claims 56 percent) and agree with Apple’s claim that the iPad Air 2 is “the least reflective display of any Tablet in the world” – both are in fact understatements. While everyone has been in situations where it is difficult or even impossible to see the screen in very bright ambient lighting, where this obviously helps, it turns out that even in moderate indoor lighting the image contrast and colors are being noticeably washed out from reflections as well. For example, the Color Gamut is typically reduced by 20 percent even at only 500 lux indoor lighting. 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!!

 

The iPad Air 2 is the first iPad with an optically bonded cover glass – all previous iPad models had high reflectance air gaps under the cover glass – but they are simply catching up because almost all other leading Tablets have had a bonded cover glass without an air gap for years. One minor but noticeable issue is that the screen Reflectance spectrum is heavily weighted towards blue, which is may be noticeable for dark images or in bright ambient light. See the Spectrum Figureand Screen Reflections section for measurements and details.

 

iPad Display Evolution

Other than the new anti-reflection coating and bonded cover glass, the display on the iPad Air 2 is essentially unchanged and identical in performance to the iPad 4 introduced in 2012, and is actually slightly lower in performance than the original iPad Air (for example 8% lower Brightness and 16% lower display Power Efficiency) – most likely the result of an obsession with producing a thinner Tablet forcing compromises in the LCD backlight. Similarly, the display on the iPad mini 3 is essentially unchanged and identical in performance to the iPad mini Retina Display introduced in 2013.

 

Color Gamut and Absolute Color Accuracy

In order to deliver accurate image colors, a display needs a 100 percent sRGB / Rec.709 Standard Color Gamut that is used in virtually all current consumer content for digital cameras, HDTVs, the internet, and computers, including photos, videos, and movies. We measured a slightly large 107 percent Color Gamut for the iPad Air 2 and a rather small 62 percent Color Gamut for the iPad mini 3, both almost identical with previous iPad models. See this Figure for the measured Color Gamuts.

 

In order to produce high Absolute Color Accuracy a display also needs an accurate (pure logarithmic power-law) Intensity Scale, and an accurate White Point. The new iPads both have very accurate Intensity Scales with Gammas very close to the 2.2 standard, however, they both have a Slightly Bluish White Point, with Color Temperatures of 7,086K to 7,355K, which is still (marginally) Very Good.

 

In our detailed Lab tests the measured Absolute Color Accuracy for the for the iPad Air is 3.8 JNCD, which falls into our Good (rather than Very Good) Color Accuracy rating. On the other hand, for the iPad mini 3, the much smaller 62 percent Color Gamut resulted in a much higher error of 6.8 JNCD going up as high as 22.6 JNCD, which resulted in a Good to Poor Absolute Color Accuracy rating.

 

See this Figure for an explanation and visual definition of JNCD and the Color Accuracy Plots showing the measured display Color Errors.. See the Color Accuracy section and the Color Accuracy Plots for measurements and details.

 

Screen Brightness and Performance in High Ambient Lighting

Mobile displays are often used under relatively bright ambient light, which washes out the image colors and contrast, reducing picture quality and making it harder to view or read the screen. To be usable in high ambient light a display needs a dual combination of high screen Brightness and low screen Reflectance – the iPad Air 2 has both. The screen Reflectance for the iPad Air 2 is 2.5 percent, by far the lowest value that we have ever measured due to an anti-reflection screen coating and optically bonded cover glass without an air gap.

 

Our Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light quantitatively measures screen visibility under bright Ambient Light – the higher the better. As a result of its high Brightness and very low Reflectance, the iPad Air 2 has a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 166, the highest that we have ever measured.

 

On the other hand, the iPad mini 3 lacks the anti-reflection coating and has an air gap beneath the cover glass, which results in a moderately high screen Reflectance of 6.5 percent, almost triple that of iPad Air 2, so its Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light is 61, which further washes out its image colors in ambient light…

 

See the Brightness and Contrast, the High Ambient Light and the Screen Reflections sections for measurements and details.

 

Display Power Efficiency

The iPad Air 2 has 16% lower display Power Efficiency than the (original) iPad Air – most likely the result of an obsession with producing a thinner Tablet forcing compromises in the LCD backlight. Other LCD Tablets have much higher display power efficiency. For example, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (with a Low Temperature Poly Silicon IPS LCD) is 27 percent more power efficient than the iPad Air 2 for the same Luminance and screen area. See the Display Powersection for measurements and details.

 

Viewing Angle Performance

While Tablets are primarily single viewer devices, the variation in display performance with viewing angle is still very important because single viewers frequently hold the display at a variety of viewing angles. The angle is often up to 30 degrees, more if it is resting on a table or desk.

 

The iPads all have IPS LCD displays, so we expected them to show very small color shifts with Viewing Angle, and our lab measurements confirmed their excellent Viewing Angle performance, with no visually noticeable color shifts. However, all LCDs, do have a strong decrease in Brightness (Luminance) with Viewing Angle, and the iPads all showed (as expected) about a 60 percent decrease in Brightness at a modest 30 degree viewing angle. Note that the iPads do not perform as well with viewing angle as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which have higher performance Dual Domain pixels and Improved Polarizers. See the Viewing Angles section for measurements and details.

 

Viewing Tests

The iPad Air 2 provides very nice, pleasing and fairly accurate colors and picture quality. Although its White Point is (intentionally) slightly too Blue, the Absolute Color Accuracy is mostly Very Good except in the Blue to Magenta regions, which decrease its overall Color Accuracy rating. None-the-less, the very challenging set of DisplayMate Test and Calibration Photos that we use to evaluate picture quality looked Beautiful, even to my experienced hyper-critical eyes.

 

On the other hand, for the iPad mini 3, the much smaller 62 percent Color Gamut produced visibly washed out, under saturated and distorted colors, so that red tomatoes, fire trucks, and Coke cans looked a bit orange rather than deep red, for example. See Figure 1 and Figure 2 and the Colors and Intensities section for quantitative details.

 

 

 

 

iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 Conclusions:   One Major Innovation and One Major Disappointment…

The primary goal of this Display Technology Shoot-Out article series has always been to point out which manufactures and display technologies are leading and advancing the state-of-the-art of displays by performing comprehensive and objective Lab tests and measurements together with in-depth analysis. We point out who is leading, who is behind, who is improving, and sometimes (unfortunately) who is back pedaling… all based solely on the extensive objective measurements that we also publish, so that everyone can judge the data for themselves as well… See the main Display Shoot-Out Comparison Table for all of the measurements and details.

 

iPad Air 2:  A Very Good Display with a Major Innovation

A major innovation for the iPad Air 2 (that is not fully appreciated) is an anti-reflection coating on the cover glass that 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). We measured a 62 percent decrease in reflected light glare compared to the previous iPads (Apple claims 56 percent) and agree with Apple’s claim that the iPad Air 2 is “the least reflective display of any Tablet in the world” – both are in fact understatements. While everyone has been in situations where it is difficult or even impossible to see the screen in very bright ambient lighting, where this obviously helps, it turns out that even in moderate indoor lighting the image contrast and colors are being noticeably washed out from reflections as well. For example, the Color Gamut is typically reduced by 20 percent even at only 500 lux indoor lighting. 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!!

 

The iPad Air 2 is the first iPad with an optically bonded cover glass – all previous iPad models had high reflectance air gaps under the cover glass – but they are simply catching up because almost all other leading Tablets have had a bonded cover glass without an air gap for years. One minor but noticeable issue is that the screen Reflectance spectrum is heavily weighted towards blue, which is may be noticeable for dark images or in bright ambient light. See the Spectrum Figureand Screen Reflections section for measurements and details.

 

However, other than the new anti-reflection coating and bonded cover glass, the display on the iPad Air 2 is essentially unchanged and identical in performance to the iPad 4 introduced in 2012, and is actually slightly lower in performance than the original iPad Air (for example 8% lower Brightness and 16% lower display Power Efficiency) – most likely the result of an obsession with producing a thinner Tablet forcing compromises in the LCD backlight.

 

Much more significant is that the iPad Air 2 does Not have the same high performance display technology enhancements that we measured for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which we rated the best performing Smartphone LCD Display that we have ever tested. While the iPad Air 2 has an all around Very Good Top Tier display, and most buyers will be happy with its performance, the displays on the Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung Tablets that we have tested (see below) have better display performance in Absolute Color Accuracy, Brightness, Contrast Ratio, Viewing Angle, and Power Efficiency. However, the iPad Air 2 matches or breaks new records in Tablet (and Smartphone) display performance for: the most accurate (pure logarithmic power-law) Intensity Scale and Gamma, most accurate Image Contrast, (by far) the Lowest Screen Reflectance, and the Highest Contrast Rating for Ambient Light. See the main Display Shoot-Out Comparison Table for all of the measurements and details.

 

Hopefully, Apple (and other manufacturers) will apply the same (or similar) anti-reflection coatings that are on the iPad Air 2, and the same or similar display technology enhancements on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to all of their displays. As we discuss below, the most important future advancements for displays will come with the implementation of very wide Color Gamuts with Color Management that will dynamically compensate for the loss of color saturation in ambient light. For LCDs that will requite Quantum Dots…

 

iPad mini 3:  A Major Disappointment

The iPad mini can only be described as the perpetual Runt of the litter… Originally spurned, then introduced (in haste) in 2012, it was a mini version of the older 2011 iPad 2 with a 1024x768 resolution display and a reduced 62 percent Color Gamut, when the full size iPads already had a 2048x1536 Retina display with a 100 percent Color Gamut. In 2013 the mini was given a Retina display, but remained with a reduced 62 percent Color Gamut – the only current iPad or iPhone without a full Color Gamut. 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 littermate, which further washes out its image colors in ambient light…

 

The mini size Tablets from other manufacturers like Amazon, Google, and Samsung that we have tested (see below) have excellent and significantly better mini displays. On top of that Apple charges a premium $399 for the mini 3, just $100 less than the much larger and higher performance iPad Air 2, and considerably more than other competing mini Tablets. For a company like Apple that prides itself on producing great products, the iPad mini 3 is embarrassingly mediocre and way overpriced…

 

Comparing the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 with other Tablets

You can compare the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 display performance with other Tablets in detail by using a tabbed web browser with our comprehensive Lab measurements and analysis for each of the displays. Click on each Link below. The entries are mostly identical with only minor formatting differences, so it’s easy to make detailed comparisons.

iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 Lab Measurements Comparison Table

Samsung OLED Tab S Lab Measurements Comparison Table

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Lab Measurements Comparison Table

2013 Flagship Tablets Lab Measurements Comparison Table

2013 Mini Tablets Lab Measurements Comparison Table

 

The Best Tablet Display

While the iPad Air 2 has an all around Very Good Top Tier display, the displays on the Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung Tablets that we have tested have better overall display performance as discussed above. We recently gave the Samsung Galaxy Tab S our overall Best Tablet Display award, and for the time being that continues for all of the reasons originally mentioned there. In particular, for implementing Color Management to provide multiple Color Gamuts, and then using the Color Management to provide the Highest Absolute Color Accuracy for Standard (sRGB/Rec.709) consumer content of any Tablet display that we have ever measured (in one of its four available screen modes, which many reviewers seem to overlook). As we discuss next, dynamic Color Management is something that every display will need to provide in the future.

 

With display technology advancing rapidly on many different fronts, things can change again in the next generation of displays – so best wishes to all of the manufacturers and technologies in innovating and developing the next generation of even higher-performance displays!

 

The Next Generation of Best Mobile Displays

The best performing LCD and OLED displays are now delivering impressive sharpness, brightness, low reflectance, high color accuracy, accurate image contrast, and great viewing angles. So what comes next? Essentially all published display specifications and factory calibrations are based on performance in absolute darkness 0 lux, but mobile displays (and even TVs) are seldom viewed in the dark. Even low levels of ambient light significantly affect the image and picture quality. For example, the 100 percent sRGB Color Gamut specified by many manufacturers only applies at 0 lux. At 500 lux, which corresponds to typical indoor office lighting, the on-screen colors are washed out by the reflected ambient light, typically reducing the on-screen Color Gamut from 100 percent down to 80 percent, plus the image contrast is also significantly affected. And it gets worse as the ambient light levels increase. So here is what needs to come next…

 

The most important improvements for both LCD and OLED mobile displays will come from improving their image and picture quality and screen readability in ambient light, which washes out the screen images, resulting in reduced image contrast, color saturation, and color accuracy. The key will be in implementing automatic real-time modification of the display’s Color Gamut and Intensity Scales based the measured Ambient Light level in order to have them compensate for the reflected light glare and image wash out from ambient light as discussed in our 2014 Innovative Displays and Display Technology and SID Display Technology Shoot-Out articles. LCDs will need Quantum Dots in order to implement the necessary wide Color Gamuts. The displays, technologies, and manufacturers that succeed in implementing this new high ambient light performance strategy will take the lead in the next generations of mobile displays… Follow DisplayMate on Twitter to learn about these developments and our upcoming display technology coverage.

 

DisplayMate Display Optimization Technology

All Tablet and Smartphone displays can be significantly improved using DisplayMate’s proprietary very advanced scientific analysis and mathematical display modeling and optimization of the display hardware, factory calibration, and driver parameters. We help manufacturers with expert display procurement, prototype development, testing displays to meet contract specifications, and production quality control so that they don’t make mistakes similar to those that are exposed in our public Display Technology Shoot-Out series for consumers. This article is a lite version of our advanced scientific analysis – before the benefits of our DisplayMate Display Optimization Technology, which can correct or improve all of these issues. If you are a display or product manufacturer and want to significantly improve display performance for a competitive advantage then Contact DisplayMate Technologies.

 

 

Display Shoot-Out Comparison Table

Below we examine in-depth the LCD displays on the Apple iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2based on objective Lab measurement data and criteria. For comparisons and additional background information refer to these comparable Tablet displays:  Samsung OLED Tab S Display Technology Shoot-Out,  Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Display Technology Shoot-Out,  2013 Flagship Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out,  and 2013 Mini Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out. For comparisons with the other leading Tablet, Smartphone, and Smart Watch displays see our Mobile Display Technology Shoot-Out series.

 

Categories

 iPad mini 3

 iPad Air

iPad Air 2

Comments

Display Technology

  7.9 inch Diagonal

IPS LCD

  9.7 inch Diagonal

IPS LCD

  9.7 inch Diagonal

IPS LCD

Liquid Crystal Display

In Plane Switching

Screen Shape

  4:3 = 1.33

Aspect Ratio

  4:3 = 1.33

Aspect Ratio

  4:3 = 1.33

Aspect Ratio

The iPads have the same shape as 8.5x11 paper.

Screen Size

6.3 x 4.7 inches

7.8 x 5.8 inches

7.8 x 5.8 inches

Display Width and Height in inches.

Screen Area

29.6 Square Inches

45.2 Square Inches

45.2 Square Inches

A better measure of size than the diagonal length.

Relative Screen Area

66 percent

100 percent

100 percent

Relative screen areas compared to the iPad Air.

Display Resolution

2048 x 1536 pixels

Full High Definition+

Very Good

2048 x 1536 pixels

Full High Definition+

Very Good

2048 x 1536 pixels

Full High Definition+

Very Good

Screen Pixel Resolution.

Total Number of Pixels

  3.1 Mega Pixels

Very Good

3.1 Mega Pixels

Very Good

   3.1 Mega Pixels

Very Good

Total Number of Pixels.

Pixels Per Inch

 326 PPI

Very Good

264 PPI

Very Good

  264 PPI

Very Good

Sharpness depends on the viewing distance and PPI.

See this on the visual acuity for a true Retina Display

20/20 Vision Distance

where Pixels or Sub-Pixels

are Not Resolved

      10.5 inches

with 20/20 Vision

     13.0 inches

with 20/20 Vision

      13.0 inches

with 20/20 Vision

For 20/20 Vision the minimum Viewing Distance

where the screen appears perfectly sharp to the eye.

At 14 inches from the screen 20/20 Vision is 246 PPI.

Display Sharpness

at Typical Viewing Distances

 Display normally appears Perfectly Sharp

 

Pixels are not Resolved with 20/20 Vision

 Display normally appears

Perfectly Sharp

 

Pixels are not Resolved

with 20/20 Vision

Display normally appears

Perfectly Sharp

 

Pixels are not Resolved with 20/20 Vision

The Typical Viewing Distances for these

screen sizes are 12 inches or more for the iPad mini

and 14 inches or more for the iPad Air.

 

 

Appears Perfectly Sharp

at Typical Viewing Distances

 Yes

 Yes

 Yes

Typical Viewing Distances are 12 inches or more for

the iPad mini and 14 inches or more for the iPad Air.

Photo Viewer Color Depth

 Full 24-bit Color

No Dithering Visible

256 Intensity Levels

 Full 24-bit Color

No Dithering Visible

256 Intensity Levels

 Full 24-bit Color

No Dithering Visible

256 Intensity Levels

Many Android Tablets still have some

form of 16-bit color depth in the Gallery Viewer.

The iPads do not have this issue.

 

Overall Assessments

This section summarizes the results for all of the extensive Lab Measurements and Viewing Tests performed on the display

See  Screen Reflections,  Brightness and Contrast,  Colors and Intensities,  Viewing Angles,  LCD Spectra,  Display Power.

 

Categories

iPad mini 3

iPad Air

iPad Air 2

Comments

Viewing Tests

in Subdued Ambient Lighting

 

Good Images

Photos and Videos

have Good Color

and Accurate Contrast

Very Good Images

Photos and Videos

have Very Good Color

and Accurate Contrast

Very Good Images

Photos and Videos

have Very Good Color

and Accurate Contrast

The Viewing Tests examine the accuracy of

photographic images by comparing the displays

to an calibrated studio monitor and HDTV.

 

Variation with Viewing Angle

Colors and Brightness

 

See Viewing Angles

Small Color Shifts

with Viewing Angle

 

Large Brightness Shift

with Viewing Angle

Typical for all LCDs

Small Color Shifts

with Viewing Angle

 

Large Brightness Shift

with Viewing Angle

Typical for all LCDs

Small Color Shifts

with Viewing Angle

 

Large Brightness Shift

with Viewing Angle

Typical for all LCDs

The iPad displays all have a relatively large

decrease in Brightness with Viewing Angle and

relatively small Color Shifts with Viewing Angle.

 

See the Viewing Angles section for details.

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