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

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?