Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX tops iPad Air in display shootout

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.