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Tests reveal how Apple improved iPad Pro’s display, & why iPad mini 4 is still best overall


DisplayMate is out today with a comparison of iPad displays following the introduction of Apple’s new larger 12.9-inch iPad, and the results might surprise you.

While the larger display on the iPad Pro is one of the device’s standout features on Apple’s latest and greatest iPad, the iPad mini 4, introduced alongside the iPad Pro to not quite as much fanfare, actually beats out its bigger sibling in several categories. The iPad Pro, however, does hold its own and DisplayMate’s analysis shows a number of improvements Apple has made to make it one of its best displays for a mobile device yet.

DisplayMate also spotted a new “Metal Oxide TFT Backplane” and “a lower refresh rate when the images remain static,” both of which make the display Apple’s most power efficient of all its iPad models. DisplayMate also adds that the “Display Power Efficiencies for the iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro are 22% to 33% higher than the iPad Air 2.”

And while the iPad Pro beat out Apple’s last full size iPad, the iPad Air 2, with “Very Good” or “Excellent” scores for each of the categories DisplayMate tested (including the highest true contrast ratios of any tablet LCD yet), the iPad mini 4’s display did beat out the iPad Pro in a few areas making it still Apple’s best tablet display overall for its iPad lineup.

Areas the iPad mini 4 beat iPad Pro include Color Gamut, which the report notes is not as good on iPad Pro due to “over saturated Blue primaries, which reduces their Color Accuracy.”

The iPad mini 4 also won for Absolute Color Accuracy and low screen reflectance.

And lastly, the report sheds some light on how the iPad Pro display performs versus Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, noting that the iPad has “much lower Screen Reflectance (2.6 versus 5.6 percent)” and that the Surface has “much better Absolute Color Accuracy”.

You can check out DisplayMate’s full in-depth report here.

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  1. minieggseater - 7 years ago

    I loved my wifi mini 1 and it was my first proper apple device apart from a 2nd gen nano bought on ebay years earlier. Even with the low res screen I liked the size and potability. I sold it having bought a 6+ as there is almost nothing you can’t do on a 5.5″ screen as opposed to a 7.9″ and the phone obviously has 4G and I only need one sim (yes I could tether I guess) I do like iPads but can’t see me buying another as the other two sizes are coffee table only devices for me and I just can’t justify tying up the cash in something like that

  2. Ian May (@Eyebee) - 7 years ago

    I’ve got an iPad mini 4 coming for Christmas. I’ve already got an iPad mini 2, and I’m happy with it. I love the physical size, but I find it too restricting with only 16GB storage. Still it was a secondhand bargain earlier this year. I had a Samsung Note 12.2, but I rarely used that as it was too big to take out, and indoors I’m usually on my desktop. I’ve gone for the 128GB one. I know some people think you may as well get an iPad Air 2, but it’s the smaller size I find attractive.

    • djfriar - 7 years ago

      The smaller screen is the same resolution as the larger one, so you get better quality out of the Mini as well.

  3. Seems that everything I’m reading tells me that iPad Pro is well over priced from a screen that should have been like that of the Mini’s to the bugs in the software making it crash.

  4. Louis Veillette - 7 years ago

    Ok. I’ve been using a 7 inch iPad mini for some time.

    In general, I’m not impressed but I think it has more to do with iOS, that with the devices themselves. Here are key points I would like Apple to fix in order to improve usability and let users get more out of their investment, instead of bringing larger screens, 3d touch or more resolution.

    – Siri is broken. Let’s face it, it fails miserably in most langages other than English. And even switching to English can be very frustrating. I have no ojbection to Siri, but only if it works. In the meantime, allow users to uninstall it from the iPads and iPhone…

    – While we’re at it, why do you forbid users to remove other apps we don’t like, need or want. Don’t these belong to us ? If so we should be able to remove any and all applications except maybe for the Settings app, so we could regain that precious (and very limited) space on our devices. I never use Plans, nor Facetime. But Apple leaves me no choice than to waste my space and bandwith with what are almost like viruses…

    – Put the Settings app in the Dock. Since this is The main central applications all users have to use every now and then, it makes sense to put in the the dock by default.

    – Allow for more icons in the dock on wide screens. I only have a 7 inch device, but even with it’s small screen to finger size ratio, I could definitely put a few more icons there than 6.

    – Bring back hovering… I know this one will be hard to implement, but I see a big advantage for tablets to be able to sense a finger position, when it starts to hover a screen, at a given distance. That feature is gone from tablets for technical reasons, but now that I don’t have it, I feel I miss an important part of the interface, that of being able to predict what control will be activated, slightly before my finger or mouse lands on it.

    • Go buy a Samsung.

    • oomu (@oomu) - 7 years ago

      I have no problem with Siri in french

      I can ask it time, to remind me stuff “rappelle moi d’apprendre à parler anglais”, to play some music “joue un album de David Bowie”, if I have some stuff to do in the day and so on.

      it works fine.

      It lacks some features you have in the US, for example to make a reservation in restaurants.

      yes, we should be able to remove or at least hide default apple apps. Cook explained some of them are in fact core feature to the os itself (I guess Mail and Safari for example), but they need to work on that first.

      On the iPad pro, it’s quite ridiculous we can’t put more icons on the dock or home screen. yes it lacks flexibility.

  5. George Pollen - 7 years ago

    Starting with the Air 2, the AR coating casts a cold (bluish) tint. I do not understand why, if the panel is so capable of producing accurate color, that Apple hasn’t tuned the color profile to eliminate that blue cast. Imagery on the original Air is so much happier, friendlier looking than the Air 2, because there’s no bluish cast and reds are more vibrant (in a realistic way).

  6. I’m SOOOOO glad I did my research and ended up buying the Mini4. I love it lots!

  7. xprmntr - 7 years ago

    According to display mate , MS’s SP4 got an overall better rating than the IPP as well, too bad apple’s products still work way better, look way better, and have better apps


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.