Tablet Display Performance in Bright Ambient Lighting

Raymond Soneira:

With DisplayMate Contrast Ratings for High Ambient Light of 47 or more the Apple and Samsung displays deliver the best screen visibility and picture quality in bright environments as seen in the Screen Photographs sections below and in the accompanying article on Smartphones. In bright lighting the Apple and Samsung screens are fairly color neutral and do not impart any noticeable color caste, and there were no noticeable image irregularities introduced by the upper screen layers. While the Apple and Samsung models are decidedly the best, both the Lab Contrast Rating measurements and the Screen Photographs show that the Samsung Galaxy models are somewhat better – so Samsung is the declared winner for High Ambient Light performance, but only by a nose…

Here is the list of high ambient light contrast ratings:

  • Apple iPad 2: 47
  • Amazon Kindle Fire: 24
  • Motorola Xoom: 20 – 31
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: 57

And a list of the average screen reflectance (lower is better):

  • Apple iPad 2: 8.7%
  • Amazon Kindle Fire: 14.8%
  • Motorola Xoom: 13.0%
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: 8.2%

Samsung has done a terrific job with the 10.1-inch PLS LCD. It beats the 9.7-inch IPS in terms of contrast in high ambient environments. Screen reflectance is one of the most important indicators for a high quality display, and again the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tops the iPad 2. In just a few days Apple should be introducing the next iPad, and I am eager to see what the brilliant display engineers at Apple have come up with this time. The 9.7-inch Retina display will have to be significantly better than what we have today on the iPad 2 because the competition, in particular Samsung, has already caught up and surpassed it.