When Apple slapped the “Pro” moniker on their giant iPad, we all reasonably assumed that it would have a higher quality display than any other iPad, but according to DisplayMate, a company that tests the displays of consumer electronics, the new iPad mini 4 display is better than the iPad Pro’s in almost every way.
Before you get too angry and throw your new iPad Pro out the window, it was clear that the iPad Pro also features a fantastic top tier display, and both the iPad Pro and the iPad mini 4 scored higher than last years iPad Air 2. But I can still understand anyone who gets a little upset at the fact that their friend’s $399 iPad mini 4 has a better rated display than their $799, or more, iPad Pro.
Our friends over at DisplayMate tested the displays in a number of categories and the iPad Mini 4 was ranked the highest in every one except contrast ratio, which is the category where the iPad Pro truly excelled. According to DisplayMate, the iPad mini 4 smashed records for color accuracy, contrast rating in high ambient light and lowest screen reflectance and was close to offering a “textbook perfect LCD display.”
The performance of the iPad Pro was “not quite stellar” in the intensity scale and absolute color accuracy categories. Intensity scale controls an image’s contrast and the primary colors that are used to create all the colors on the display. Although the iPad Pro scored higher than the iPad Air 2 in color accuracy, it trailed pretty far behind the iPad mini 4.
For those of you who bought an iPad Pro and are feeling a little blue at this point, you will be happy to know that the iPad Pro’s display was rated as the most power efficient of any iPad, even beating out the iPad mini 4. The iPad Pro has a few tricks up its sleeve in this category. The display’s refresh rate will decrease when it senses that images are static on the screen and also its metal oxide back enables more light to come through the panel. These tricks come in handy to save you precious battery life, which is nice since the iPad Pro is packing much more power and a larger display than any other iPad.
As with most tech “lab testing”, the differences are usually difficult to notice in the real world, but when it comes to displays, which is arguably the most important hardware for any tablet, there are some slight differences that can be very noticeable.
A real world example is readability in sunlight, which the iPad mini 4 scored very well on while the iPad Pro lagged behind. I can’t help but think that Apple, who is notorious for considering every last detail, thought through the usage scenarios for the new iPads and put what it believes is the appropriate display for the specific product. Because a user is much more likely to carry an iPad mini to the park and sit outside and read, it makes sense that its display has better readability in sunlight compared to the iPad Pro, which is going to be used inside on a desk or table a majority of the time.