Display expert: The 9.7-inch iPad Pro's color accuracy is “visually indistinguishable from perfect”

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro overtakes Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 in color accuracy and sets records for screen reflectance.

Just in case you don’t believe your eyes, a third-party display expert has given top marks to Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Although Apple’s latest iPad looks similar to the iPad Air 2, it contains major improvements in color, reflectance, and brightness, says Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies. But, as with all displays, there’s room for improvement.

Soneira was especially impressed with the new iPad Pro’s color accuracy. While the 12.9-inch iPad Pro got edged out by Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 last year in terms of noticeable color differences, the smaller iPad Pro has retaken the throne. “It is visually indistinguishable from perfect, and is very likely considerably better than any mobile display, monitor, TV or UHD TV that you have,” Soneira wrote.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also set a record among tablets and smartphones for low screen reflectance—an often-overlooked quality that helps the screen remain legible in bright ambient light. Although the iPad Air 2 was already a top performer in this category, the new iPad Pro does even better, thanks to an anti-reflection coating that kept out all but 1.7 percent of ambient light in DisplayMate’s tests.

Despite Soneira’s high praise for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, he noted display tech can always get better. A major challenge, he said, is preservation of image quality and readability in bright light, where color saturation gets lost. Future innovations could include “tunable Quantum Dots, special phosphors, fluorescent films or discrete Blue, Green and Red LEDs in order to implement the necessary large Color Gamuts.”

Keep in mind that DisplayMate’s tests didn’t take into account the iPad Pro’s ballyhooed True Tone display feature, which automatically adjusts white point and color balance based on ambient light to look more like physical paper. Soneira didn’t seem so enthused about this feature, saying he’d like to see a slider to make the effect more or less pronounced.

Soneira also hasn’t extensively reviewed Apple’s Night Shift feature, which reduces blue light as the evening goes on, though the feature isn’t likely to help with sleep as much as Apple claims. Soneira previously told Macworld that these features may not accomplish much beyond a placebo effect and subconscious behavioral changes, and has written his own piece on what consumers can do.

Why this matters: The iPad hasn’t always been at the top of the game in display accuracy, and DisplayMate has previously called out Apple for subpar performance in the iPad Air and early iPad Mini models. While appealing to display geeks may not have mattered much a few years ago, the iPad’s newfound attention toward artwork and photography applications has made color accuracy a greater priority, and it shows in DisplayMate’s latest tests.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPad Pro

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?