iPad Air (The power of lightness 001)

With the recent releases of both the iPad Air and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX, the folks over at DisplayMate thought it was time to pit the two new tablets against each other (and against Google’s Nexus 10 tablet) in one of its signature display shootouts.

DisplayMate, a highly-regarded authority on display technology, likes to measure various aspects of device displays such as screen reflectance and absolute color accuracy, to see who is using the best panels. And according to its latest test, Amazon is…

kindle fire hdx

From DisplayMate president Dr. Raymond M. Soneira (via AppleInsider):

“The iPad Air has mostly incremental but still significant improvements over the excellent 3rd and 4th generation iPad displays. Compared to the 4thgeneration, the screen Reflectance decreased by 23 percent, the Peak Brightness increased by 7 percent, and the Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light increased by 32 percent – all good. Absolute Color Accuracy and Image Contrast fidelity are very good (but somewhat below the Kindle Fire) and are discussed in detail below. The emphasis for the iPad Air is in reduced size, thickness, and weight. The most important under the hood display improvement is the switch from a-Si amorphous Silicon LCDs up to a much higher performance IGZO LCD backplane, which was discussed in our iPad 3 Display Shoot-Out article last year. The switch to IGZO produces an impressive 57 percent improvement in display power efficiency from previous Retina Display iPads – so the iPad Air doesn’t get uncomfortably warm like the earlier iPads.”

But these improvements weren’t enough to beat out the display on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX, which it introduced in September. The tablet beat out the Air in brightness, screen reflectance, high ambient light contrast and absolute color accuracy.


As you can see, both the HDX 8.9 and the iPad Air scored very close to each other in most categories, while the Nexus 10 came in a distant third. It’s worth noting, though, that the Nexus 10 is nearly a year old, and is expected to be updated later this month.

DisplayMate’s entire report is very impressive, and goes into great detail. So if you’re into that kind of thing, you can find the full article here. The iPad Air starts at $499 for the 16GB model, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 starts at $379 with special offers.


  • jack

    is he saying iPad Air has that IGZO display?

    • Yash Gorana

      No. He is just saying that iPad Air display is better than 3rd and 4th gen iPad but not better than Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

    • Mohammed Sahib

      Yes he is. This is exactly what caught my eyes. I thought apple will make it a headline in its event.


      I read the same thing. I thought IGZO displays were coming in the next iteration and that’s why I was gonna hold out until then. Can someone confirm?

      • Andrieux Querido

        Yes it has

    • Andrieux Querido

      If you Google search “igzo” and click on sharps website, scroll down and there’s a picture of an iPad Air.

  • Ellyn IsfeelingThelove

    How much is the Kindle without special offers? Hell, you could get the iPad air at Best Buy, Walmart or Apple for $479 with price matching.

    • Mike Colacone Saal

      $244. $229 with them

  • It’s not the display only, it’s the whole system around the iPad that makes the difference….

    • appleyay

      the kindle is good but the ipad is the best tablet on earth

  • Chris Barnett

    iPad Air tops Kindle Fire HDX in everything else! ;D

    • mehrab


  • appleyay

    lol the ipad air display is the same as the ipad4…

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Have you read the post actually?

  • secs

    I purchased the iPad Air and the kindle hdx. The iPad air, in my opinion, produces a much better and more realistic picture. The air is simply incredible. It’s build quality, operation, speed, beauty and user experience cannot be believed. The kindle, by contrast, feels cheap and poorly made. It is far slower than the iPad and very quirky. It froze several times. The nook HD+ has a better user experience than the kindle. Amazon pays for positive reviews.
    The iPad screen is nearly edge to edge. The kindle has a far smaller screen.
    Apple’s apps are superior while with Amazon, you have to use their version of android. The nexus and the nook allow access to the google play store whil the kindle does not. Use and iPad and a kindle side by side. The iPad is fast sleek and smooth, the kindle feels like the proverbial Edsel.