Display shootout pits iPad mini vs the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7

By , Nov 5, 2012

Despite the success Apple is seeing with its iPad mini, the company has received a lot of criticism over the new tablet. Folks are particularly unhappy with its $329 price tag, which is at least $100 more than the competition, and its lack of a Retina display.

The mini’s 1024 x 768 is also worse than its competitors, and has been the number one complaint in early reviews. But is it really that much worse than those found on the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7? DisplayMate thinks it has the answer…

MacRumors points to the display experts’ new iPad mini Display Technology Shootout report, in which it pits Apple’s new 8-inch tablet against its two most direct competitors from Amazon and Google. And the results shouldn’t surprise you:

“The iPad mini is certainly a very capable small Tablet, but it does not follow in Apple’s tradition of providing the best display, or at least a great display – it has just a very capable display. What’s more, the displays on existing mini Tablets from Amazon and Google outperform the iPad mini in most of our Lab tests as documented below in the Shoot-Out Comparison Table. Some of this results from constraints within the iPad product line, and some to realistic constraints on display technology and costs, but much of it is due to a number of poor choices and compromises.”

Among those constraints is Apple’s app ecosystem. The new iPod touch and iPhone 5 run at 1136 x 640, the new iPad runs at 2048 x 1536 and the iPad 2 runs 1024 x 768. The iPhone 5’s resolution would have been out of the question for the mini, as the devices have different aspect ratios. And the iPad’s Retina resolution isn’t possible from a mass production standpoint yet for a 7.9-inch display. So Apple’s only choice here was either create a whole new resolution for the smaller iPad, and letterbox non-updated apps, or go with 1024 x 768.

Of course, consumers don’t want to hear excuses. And as discovered in DisplayMate’s tests, the iPad mini’s display is noticeably worse than that of its competitors. It came in last place in nearly all of their performance tests including reflectance, meaning it reflects more light than it should, and color gamut, meaning it has less accurate and vivid colors than the other two tablets.

But despite its downfalls, DisplayMate does describe the mini’s display as “capable,” and says that they found it to work fine in their real world usage thanks to its calibration. If you want to read through DisplayMate’s entire report, you can find it here.

Do you have an iPad mini yet? What are your thoughts on its display?

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  • ConTroller

    Phil Schiller lied, you can’t hold the iPad mini with one hand.

    • ic0dex

      It’s because you have a small penis! Only real men can hold the iPad mini with one hand.

      • http://twitter.com/_Balushi_ Balushi

        Small hands = small penis. Makes sense for m@sturbation!

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        Haha Nice!

  • CollegiateLad

    The display leaves much to be desired that’s for sure. Still love my mini though.

  • f96lrs

    I am holding mine with one hand .

    • iamnotfan

      Strongest man of the year

  • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon

    so much for paying to get a “premium experience”

  • thor_molecules

    The display is far from Retina but I would wager that it’s fine for most users (I have no complaints).

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      i used it for an house and got mad felt like i was using a damn 3gs iphone..

      • Emre SUMENGEN

        Used it for an house?

        (I still use an iPad 2 and it’s very fine for me, although not as perfect as the iPhone retina display)

  • http://twitter.com/El_Barto_01 El Barto

    funny, the one i have is very clear, and barely notice the difference..20/20 vidion too so the display is very good, i can see the pixel, but if i hold it very close to my eyes, which is not something i would normally do.

    • http://twitter.com/DavidBarajasJr David Barajas

      They never say it’s not clear. It just doesn’t look as good as the competitions displays.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      have you used an ipad 3? or iphone 4 or 4s or iPod touch 4g or 5g??

  • http://twitter.com/klau1001 KLau

    I can’t get it.
    iPad Mini should be using the iPhone 3G display that is cut in a larger size?If making the iPad Mini Retina, apple would use the iPhone 4(S)/5 display with corresponding size.
    I don’t think the iPad Mini display have any relationship with that of the iPad 2 and the iPad 3/4 — they have a completely different dpi !

    • http://twitter.com/HighTechPotato John Wayne

      It’s because the ipad mini can’t have 2048×1536 so the apps would need to be updated for a new ratio if it didn’t have 1024×768

      • http://twitter.com/klau1001 KLau

        a 2048×1536 screen should have the same 326 dpi as the iphone 4(s)/5 display. so, why can’t?

  • keegandonley

    I’ve heard this display is comparable to the iPad 2 is this true?

    • http://twitter.com/HighTechPotato John Wayne

      It’s the exact same resolution as the iPad 2

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      yes which is also the same as the iPhone 3g and 3gs ..lol

      • http://twitter.com/HighTechPotato John Wayne

        the DPI is the same but not the resolution.. duh

      • Emre SUMENGEN

        Actually, the DPI is the same, not the ratio or the resolution.

      • http://twitter.com/HighTechPotato John Wayne

        Oh.. My bad

      • Emre SUMENGEN

        np, just tech :)))

  • Ricky Nelson

    I went out and bought the ipad mini and comparing it side by side with an ipad 2, the screen quality looks bettter, probably due to the higher DPI. Viewing angles are excellent & it’s plenty bright so there isn’t much to complain about. Compared to my old 4th gen ipod touch, it’s leaps and bounds better.

    I haven’t used either of those android tablets, but honestly it doesn’t matter in my case because an android tablet is a non-option. I bought the ipad mini to pass time during downtime at work every day, and the apple app store has a ridiculous amount of high quality games & apps that actually keep my attention, whereas the android version has almost nothing but garbage, and my phone is a droid RAZR so no I’m not being biased.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      its does not look better than ipad 2 it just looks slightly less bad…lolo

  • AndyDontCare

    I’m weighing buying a 3rd gen iPad with the better display or the iPad mini for portability. I was holding my wife’s iPad 2 in one hand the other night and it was uncomfortably heavy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Childs/1067107105 Matthew Childs

      the iPad 3 is heavier than the 2. since getting the mini on Friday i’m in love with it! it weighs next to nothing, there is no strain while holding it…unlike the iPad 2 and 3 that is a beast in the hand and you need to use both hands to hold it. the full size iPad is really more of a “sitting on the couch lounging” type of device where the mini is a “bring with you wherever you go” type of device. i have my iPad 3 boxed up and ready to be shipped to Gazelle later today. go with the mini, Andy.

  • czbird

    The display is just fine for all tasks. If you are not requiring retina, you will be satisfied, I believe. It’s not the display at all that makes me upset, it’s the lack of GPS module in the Wi-Fi only version :-(

    Anyway, I’ll bet you that next gen mini will have retina and A6X, so there’s plenty to be looking for :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    ipad mini has the display quality of a damn 3GS … and hat sucks…