Nokia Lumia 2520, Surface 2, and the iPad Air: Which device has a better display?

Nokia Lumia 2520, Surface 2, and the iPad Air: Which device has a better display?

There are quite a few choices out there for a decent sized tablet device - including Microsoft's very own Surface, the Apple iPad, and even the new Nokia Lumia 2520. One aspect of concern for each of these tablets is the display performance. Which tablet has the better display in terms of brightness and screen readability?

The researchers over at DisplayMate conducted an excellent review pitting the recently released Surface 2 and Nokia Lumia 2520 against each other in terms of display quality and display performance. While both devices feature a high resolution 1920x1080 Full HD display, which one comes out on top? How does the iPad Air fare in comparison to both devices?

The Nokia Lumia 2520 features an impressive display while the Surface 2 features a 'mediocre and disappointing' display.

"The display on the Nokia Lumia 2520 provides record high ambient light performance and screen readability, with by far the brightest mobile display we have ever tested with an incredible maximum brightness of 684 cd/m2 (sometimes called nits). It is 74 percent brighter than the Surface 2 with 394 cd/m2 and 52 percent brighter than the iPad Air with 449 cd/m2. Together with its low 5.7 percent screen Reflectance it has a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 120, by far the largest we have ever measured for a Tablet," the report from DisplayMate states.

Not only is the Lumia 2520 better in terms of ambient life performance and screen readability, but the Windows RT tablet from Nokia also features an impressive contrast ratio. "But more impressive is that the Lumia’s Contrast Ratio at 1,000 lux is already 78 percent larger than the iPad’s. At 2,000 lux, which corresponds to low level outdoor lighting, the Lumia’s Color Gamut is larger than the iPad’s and then keeps getting comparatively better as the ambient light increases," the report added.

The report also stated that the Surface 2 is actually "somewhat worse" in comparison to the original Surface RT released last year. In fact, aside from the better screen resolution, the Surface 2's display specification is actually 5% to 10% worse.

"[Surface 2's] Color Gamut is just 63 percent of the Standard Gamut, which results in noticeably bland and mediocre multimedia colors and picture quality. Its Maximum Brightness of 394 cd/m2 and Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 67 are also middle of the road, resulting in mediocre performance in Ambient Light. Other than its higher resolution, the Surface 2 is comparable to the 2½ year old iPad 2 instead of the latest generation of Full Size Apple and Android Tablets that we recently tested," the report added.

The bottom line? The Nokia Lumia 2520 features an impressive display while the Surface 2 features a "mediocre and disappointing" display. Ouch. 

Nokia recently released a video advertisement hyping the Lumia 2520 as the tablet with the best outdoor readability. You can check out that video embedded below in case you missed it. You can also head over to the VIA link below to read the entire in-depth report.