Apple’s iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 were both unveiled just under two weeks ago at a special event on the Cupertino campus, and while we had long since anticipated a number of the features, there have been one or two surprises thrown in for good measure. No less, perhaps, is the fact that the iPad Air 2 includes NFC, something that the company neglected to mention at the keynote, but as we continue to digest the new interior hardware, one area that hasn’t been the subject of much focus is the display. For those intrigued to see how the iPad Air 2’s panel stands up against the iPad mini 3 and, also, the preceding iPad Air, this rather thorough shoot-out assesses the key features of each.

The folks at DisplayMate spend unholy amounts of time scrutinizing displays and panels in great detail, and with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 being two of the hottest properties in the digital industry right now, it was only right that DisplayMate’s Ray Soneira would carry out yet another shoot-out.

iPad display main

Soneira notes that the anti-reflective coating is a much-needed improvement to the display and overall experience of using an iPad Air 2, but at the same time, expresses some disappointment with regards to the overall performance.

Apple’s insistence on making everything as thin as possible is something the company is renowned for, but while most are happy to forgo an optical drive here or an microSD slot there for the benefit of design, there is a feeling that the Mac maker is compromising too much. Soneira’s report seems to echo this sentiment in places, and with the iPad Air 2 offering 8% lower brightness and 16% lower display power efficiency, it’s technically worse than that of the original iPad Air in some respects.

It’s great that Apple has still managed to shave a fraction of a millimeter off the overall depth of the iPad Air for this year’s installment, but even though the design is elegant and practical, the techie in me really doesn’t like to see a reduction in performance for the apparent purpose of vanity.

iPad Air display shootout

Although the iPad Air 2 does garner some praise for its accurate intensity scale and gamma, most accurate image contrast and lowest screen reflectance, iPad mini 3’s unchanged display produces “washed out, under saturated and distorted color,” according to Soneira. He suggests that those looking for a smaller tablet with a decent display should look elsewhere, because the mini 3 is simply a disappointment, and leaves this damning verdict of the iPad Air 2’s smaller cousin:

For a company like Apple that prides itself on producing great products, the iPad mini 3 is embarrassingly mediocre and way overpriced

So, the iPad Air 2’s display is still great, if not as great as the Retina HD panels of the two new iPhones, while the iPad mini 3 is shaping up as a device to be avoided.

Do you agree? Check out the full DisplayMate report at the source, and as ever, please share your thoughts and comments below.

(Source: DisplayMate)

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