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Study: iPad 2 screen stacks up well to iPhone 4

Even without the high-density pixel display of the iPhone 4, a new batch of testing has found the iPad 2 to compare well in a number of key areas.

iPhone 4 atop an iPad.
Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Despite the iPad 2 not shipping with a display that matched the pixel density of the iPhone 4, a new report by DisplayMate says the tablet holds its own against the phone's display in a number of other areas.

The Apple iPad 2 and iPhone 4 LCD display "shoot-out," which posted earlier today on DisplayMate's site, ran a number of tests on the iPad 2's display, comparing it to the iPhone 4 as well as the iPhone 3GS--all products made by Apple.

DisplayMate's conclusion is that while the iPad 2's pixel density of 132 pixels per inch (PPI) is not quite up to snuff with the iPhone 4's 326 PPI "Retina display," it's got the same color depth, and performed similarly in viewing tests. Furthermore, the report says Apple can improve things with a few software tweaks.

"Other than PPI resolution the iPad 2 display delivers similar performance to the iPhone 4 Retina Display," wrote DisplayMate's President Dr. Raymond M. Soneira in the report. "It needs a software update for anti-aliasing and another for the Auto Brightness Control, then higher PPI resolution for the next generation," he recommended.

Rumors had kicked up months ahead of the iPad 2's unveiling that Apple was planning to bring a 2,048 x 1,536 pixel "Retina display" to the iPad successor. The gadget maker was also said to be working on anti-reflective technologies to combat screen glare, something that had been a target for competitors like Amazon in its advertising for the Kindle.

As for the anti-aliasing suggestion, some developers have already taken it upon themselves to include the feature on their apps targeted at the iPad 2. Given the device's beefier processor and graphics specs, developers are able to run anti-aliasing, which can smooth edges without slowing down what's happening onscreen.

Among the other findings from DisplayMate's round of testing was that the iPad 2's screen is less bright and has a lower contrast ratio than the iPhone 4, while it beats the iPhone 4 out in other areas like having more accurate white levels and a slightly higher readability rating when viewed at a 30 degree angle. The company has yet to determine how the iPad 2 stacks up against the iPhone 4 in terms of its anti-reflective capabilities, something that CNET has found to still be an issue when trying to use the iPad 2 as an e-reader.

Related: iPad 2 gets the teardown treatment