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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

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?