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.

kindle fire hd nexus 7 ipad mini
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
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Caution)
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

MacFather Avatar
129 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
129 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)
gpat Avatar
129 months ago
Article does not acclaim Apple as absolute winner?

KILL IT WITH FIRE.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jsw Avatar
129 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)
nuckinfutz Avatar
129 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)
nuckinfutz Avatar
129 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)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
Stage Manager Extension Thumb 1

New iPadOS 16.1 Beta Expands Stage Manager to Older iPad Pro Models, Delays External Display Support

Tuesday September 27, 2022 10:24 am PDT by
The most recent beta of iPadOS 16.1 expands the controversial Stage Manager feature to older iPads, allowing it to work with iPad Pro models that have an A12X or A12Z chip, according to information Apple provided to Engadget. The beta also removes the external display support from Stage Manager for the current time, with the feature set to return in a later iPadOS 16 update. Apple's...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
john meyer ultra

Apple Watch Ultra Praised by Watch World Tastemaker John Mayer

Monday September 26, 2022 4:42 am PDT by
Apple Watch Ultra has been endorsed by American musician and famous watch collector John Mayer, who has been showing off the new device on his Instagram account. "Been wearing the Apple Watch Ultra for a week... and it's great," writes Mayer over a photo of the watch. "The first Apple Watch that excited me as a mechanical watch collector." "It's loaded with capability and what I call...