Retina iPad Mini's Display Criticized Over Poor Color Gamut and Accuracy

Last week, we noted that some Retina iPad mini displays were exhibiting image retention issues, while in general other users were expressing some dissatisfaction with the color gamut of the Retina iPad mini's display, particularly compared to that of the iPad Air.

In an extensive review of the Retina iPad mini, AnandTech came away extremely impressed with the device but cited that color gamut issue as a significant disappointment.

Although display resolution is no longer a concern on the mini, color gamut hasn’t changed between the old and new minis. [...]

The iPad mini with Retina Display has the same color gamut as the standard iPad mini, which is narrower than the iPad Air and less than the sRGB coverage we normally look for. The biggest issue here is that there are other smaller tablets in this price range that do offer sRGB coverage (e.g. Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9).

DisplayMate's Ray Soneira has also taken a look at the Retina iPad mini's display in a "shoot-out" with the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and Google Nexus 7, with the Retina iPad mini's display registering a "distant 3rd place finish". The poor showing is due in large part to the iPad mini's narrow color gamut, which naturally leads to poor color accuracy.

[T]he iPad mini with Retina Display unfortunately comes in with a distant 3rd place finish behind the innovative displays on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and new Nexus 7 because it still has the same small 63 percent Color Gamut as the original iPad mini and even older iPad 2. That is inexcusable for a current generation premium Tablet. The big differences in Color Gamut between the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and Nexus 7 and the much smaller 63 percent Gamut in the iPad mini Retina Display were quite obvious and easy to see in the side-by-side Viewing Tests. [...] This all appears to be due to incredibly poor planning. Instead of moving up to the higher performance (and cost) Low Temperature Poly Silicon LCDs, Apple chose to continue gambling on IGZO, which has resulted in both production shortages and inferior products.

retina_ipad_mini_color_gamut

Color gamut of Retina iPad mini, Kindle Fire HDX 7, and Nexus 7 (Source: DisplayMate)

Soneira notes that the strong performance by Google/ASUS with the LTPS display in the Nexus 7 and Amazon with its Quantum Dots technology in the Kindle Fire HDX 7 "should be a wakeup call" for Apple, as the company is clearly no longer leading the industry in display quality.

One complicating factor in comparing the 7.9-inch 4:3 Retina iPad mini to the 7-inch 16:10 tablets from Google and Amazon is the fact that the 35% larger display area for the iPad mini would result in substantially higher costs if Apple were to shift to a different display technology such as LTPS. Still, to consumers comparing display quality of various tablets, the iPad mini appears to be a clear notch below its competitors.

Related Roundup: iPad mini
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: iPad

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Top Rated Comments

MattMJB0188 Avatar
138 months ago
Damn you people are so ANNOYING!!! Shut up already and stop your whining. The RiPad Mini is fine. People are way too picky!!!
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mingoglia Avatar
138 months ago
I'm glad to see Apple getting called out on this. They have big boy pants and in the long run will only make for a better product in the future.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
minisuds7 Avatar
138 months ago
Well my decision is made. Hello iPad Air...
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirHaakon Avatar
138 months ago
what is Color Gamut :confused:
It's the range of colors the display is capable of producing. It also means there can be some color shift if the gamut isn't balanced.

Here's a comparison of the new iPad Mini with Retina display next to my iPhone 5. Notice how washed out and dull the iPad Mini is:



Some people are saying they don't notice it unless you compare two devices side-by-side, but it was glaringly obvious to me the moment I picked it up.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
comatose81 Avatar
138 months ago
There is a big article on CNN where they interviewed the typhoon victims about the iPad mini with Retina Display. The one woman stated "what happened hear pales in comparison to the color gamut issues that are rampant in the new iPad mini with Retina Display".
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WestonHarvey1 Avatar
138 months ago
There is a big article on CNN where they interviewed the typhoon victims about the iPad mini with Retina Display. The one woman stated "what happened hear pales in comparison to the color gamut issues that are rampant in the new iPad mini with Retina Display".

Sure. Someone always has it worse. Why care about anything then? Certainly not product quality. Let's just stop caring and accept worse and worse products!
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)