Display Uniformity

With Apple billing the 9.7" iPad Pro as a professional device with individually calibrated displays, I felt it was relevant to bring our uniformity test over to mobile. While we usually just measure errors at the center of a display, there are also errors across the panel itself due to inconsistencies in the panel and the backlighting array. This means that a display can be accurate at the center, but the edges can have significant luminance dropoff or gain that makes the display unsuitable for any sort of image work due to the fact that there are visible color differences across the display itself. For this test we use an array of 25 points on the display and measure the accuracy of colors in the GretagMacbeth ColorChecker test, as well as the uniformity of the white and black levels at each spot.

While I don't have any other mobile devices for reference, if I were evaluating the 9.7" iPad Pro as a professional monitor I would say that the white uniformity is decent, but not amazing in any regard. The central area of the display is fairly uniform, but there's noticeable dropoff on the left, right, and bottom edges. This is something I see on a number of phones and tablets, and maintaining uniformity probably hasn't been a concern for vendors until this point, but I'm hoping that a larger focus on it will make companies put more focus on it as a selling point for professional devices.

Black uniformity on the 9.7" iPad Pro isn't great. If you divide the display along its diagonal from the top right to bottom left corners you see that the in general the bottom section has higher black levels, while the top has lower black levels. In general, the black level isn't as dark at the edges as it is in the center. Black levels and contrast are the areas where Apple's LCDs really can't compete with Samsung's AMOLEDs, and with the 9.7" iPad Pro falling pretty far behind its bigger brother with black levels Apple should put more focus on at least keeping their blacks consistent across the display.

While the black uniformity isn't great on the 9.7" iPad Pro, and the white uniformity is just okay, the uniformity for colors is outstanding. There are a few hot spots on the edges, but in general the error relative to the center is well under two, and often near or even below one. I'm surprised that Apple has such uniform color rendition, as an uneven luminance level will usually throw off colors much more severely. Whatever the case may be, you can at least depend on even color rendering across the 9.7" iPad Pro's display.

Display Analysis: Color Accuracy in DCI-P3 and sRGB A Few Thoughts On True Tone
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  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    Whew, finally! Looks like is was worth the wait though. :P
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    I sold my iPad mini 4, just to get one of these, as I'd previously owned the Air 2 and I simply couldn't justify the extra cost. Sure, of course, it is a nice device, but all I did was launch SimCity Builit (Which didn't seem to load faster) and mess around. For all serious tasks I have the Surface Pro 3.

    It's a lot... for not a lot really. Plus, seeing as the Surface line was initially blasted for not including a stylus/keyboard, it's annoying that Apple sell them for MORE (I think) than the MS versions.

    The charts do not include the Surface pro 4 for screen quality. Selective information?

    All in all, although nice, it simply wasn't worth the cash (to me).
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    The Surface Pro 4 technically doesn't use the same display tests in all cases, such as GMB, as we use a reduced pattern set for mobile. I can add the results that are comparable to the charts. I think as far as size and price go the Surface 3 is the more relevant comparison though, and that was there.
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    Gimme a break chester, this is apple's latest and greatest tablet and should be compared head to head with microsoft's latest, on all fronts. That's what apple was shooting for with this product.

    In fact,

    In apples very own keynote they raved about the amount of PC user's that were ditching desktops for an iPad, which is ridiculous because anyone owning a 7 year old PC is not going to be looking to spend 360 bucks just for a keyboard and stylus... LOL!
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    I'm not sure exactly what your complaint is here. The Surface 3 is a much closer touch point in almost every aspect except for performance. But regardless, we have our online Bench where you can always compare any device and I've even done it for you:


    The larger iPad Pro was compared to the Surface Pro 4, as it should be. We keep an online database though so if you want to do any extra comparisons its very simple. Bench is a link at the top of the page.
  • nikon133 - Thursday, June 2, 2016 - link

    It is being marketed as a "Pro" line product... thus it should be compared to other Pro tablets.

    I haven't read article yet... but I'm presuming tablet runs on platform comparable to larger iPad Pro. I don't think that screen size alone should be the differentiating factor. HP Elitebooks come with screens from 12 to 15.6", for example... can't recall anyone saying that 12" Elitebook is not a business-class laptop just because it is smaller?
  • dsumanik - Sunday, June 5, 2016 - link

    The complaint is that there is inherent apple bias in the that article has extended to the benchmarks.

    The surface pro 4 may very well be inferior. But this "review" is deceptive. Why not just follow Apple marketing guidelines and compare the ipad pro to "5 year old pc's everyone is leaving for iPad".

    Why not just put a single benchmark of a 486 laptop and call it the best?
  • Vigilant007 - Sunday, August 7, 2016 - link

    I can understand not being happy with facets of the review. Chalking up your concerns to "you're a horrible person" isn't the most constructive line of dialogue.

    It looks like your response was nicely responded to. I'd encourage more discussion instead of tin foil hat guttural response. I think we get it from your responses that your using global stereotypes to paint a picture that everything is inferior to what you have.

    All of that said, I haven't been a fan of the Microsoft Surface line till this generation. There's a certain rhythm of finally "getting it" in terms of fit and finish that I don't think Microsoft has had in hardware till this year. The Surface Pro and SurfaceBook are both impressive devices. If what I wanted as an individual could be served by the Windows ecosystem (phone through tablet) I would be giving it a much more serious look.

    Apples attitude towards user experience and hardware has been, and still is to a certain degree incredibly different then Microsoft and most other OEMs. You can call it "bad" as much as you want, and that's your right to do so. I have a few iPads in my house, and got one for my little brother to use in college. They are arguably the best overall tablet on the market from hardware onto ecosystem.

    Thanks for peeing in the punch bowl because someone doesn't agree with you hence becoming a "horrible person".
  • KPOM - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    It's $260 for the keyboard and pencil.
  • dsumanik - Sunday, June 5, 2016 - link

    not in canada, they gouge us. $360.

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