iPad Mini Display Judged 'Very Capable', But Falls Short of iPad and Android Competitors

Much of the discussion about the iPad mini has centered around the device's display, which reportedly represents 43% of the overall cost of manufacturing. While the display is said to take advantage of new "GF2" technology to allow for a thinner, high-quality display, it does not carry the Retina-level resolution users have become accustomed to in the iPhone and iPad.

DisplayMate's Ray Soneira has now put the iPad mini's display through its paces, publishing a new iPad mini Display Technology Shoot-Out comparing its performance to that of the full-size iPad, as well as Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7. Overall, Soneira found that the iPad mini's display is "very capable", but surprisingly falls short of competing devices in a number of areas.

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 the issues Soneira found with the iPad mini's display:

- Lower resolution: This is obviously not a surprise given the cost and power requirements of putting in a full Retina-level display at 326 pixels per inch (ppi), but the 163 ppi screen of the iPad mini even falls short compared to the 216 ppi displays of the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7.

- Reflectance: The iPad mini's screen reflectance measures at a "surprisingly high" 9.0%, meaning that the iPad mini's display reflects 53% more ambient light than the Nexus 7's display and 41% more than the Kindle Fire HD's screen. Both of the competitors also offer better contrast under high ambient light.

- Color gamut: The iPad mini's color gamut registers at 62%, on par with the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4, but below the 100% figure for latest iPhone and full-size iPad models and below the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 at 86%.

While the iPad mini's display falls short of its larger sibling and more direct competitors on pure specs, Soneira does note that the display holds up fairly well in real-world usage due to excellent calibration and color management processing.

A detailed comparison among the iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD, and Nexus 7 can be found in the table accompanying the report.

Related Roundup: iPad mini 5
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
104 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
104 months ago
The 2nd gen iPad mini will truley be magical and change everything... All over again. With it's mind boggling retina display, and other magical features.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
104 months ago
Article does not acclaim Apple as absolute winner?

KILL IT WITH FIRE.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
104 months ago

3 million sales in the opening weekend says otherwise

It's funny how sales figures imply excellent products when it comes to Apple, and yet never did when it came to, say, Windows PCs, or now with Android devices.

Either sales figures are an important indicator of quality or they're not. They can't only matter when Apple is winning.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
104 months ago
The mini's form factor is just crushing the competition. The Fire HD and Nexus 7 look like fat and cheap knockoffs.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
104 months ago

The consensus seems to be that Apple made too many compromises in making the Mini, while not pricing it competitively enough. May not make as much of an impact on small tablet sales as they were expecting. This is the most rapidly growing segment of the tablet market, and Apple may have to react quickly to avoid being on the outside looking in. Great news for Google and the Nexus, though, as their market share should continue to steadily increase.


3 million sales in the opening weekend says otherwise
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iFixit Shares Full iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Teardown Revealing Interchangeable Displays and Batteries

Saturday October 24, 2020 1:48 pm PDT by
After live streaming a teardown of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro earlier this week, iFixit today provided a more in-depth teardown that goes through all of the components in the new devices, revealing several similarities between the two. Early testing conducted by iFixit shows that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro displays are interchangeable and can be swapped without issue, though the max...