iPad mini’s Display Analysed

The lack of a high density Retina display in the iPad mini has bothered quite a few people, especially those who are regular users of the iPad 3. The iPad mini, with the same resolution as the iPad 2, is the first non-Retina iOS product Apple has introduced in the past two years.

The decision Apple took is obviously easy to understand: Retina displays cost a lot, add bulk, and Apple typically tries to optimise its supply chain dynamics over a few product iterations to extract better prices and higher yields.

The folks at Repair Labs analysed the iPad mini’s display under the microscope and compared it to several other iOS devices. The pixels on the iPad mini are one and a half times bigger than that on the iPad 4.


When compared to the iPad 2, the iPad mini’s pixels are 25 percent smaller. So although Apple doesn’t term the display on the iPad mini Retina, it still is better than the iPad 2, with a denser screen.


Rene Ritchie over at iMore did a more understandable comparison of the displays from a user standpoint, by clicking close up shots of all the devices using a Macro lens:


From left: iPad 2, iPad mini, iPad 4 and iPhone 5

ipad-mini-display-compared-2From top: iPad 2, iPad mini, iPad 4 and iPhone 5

In our review of the iPad mini, we noted that the display on the iPad mini, although not Retina, is still good enough for every day use. The low pixel density is only noticeable if you switch back and forth between the Retina iPad and the iPad mini.

Have you felt that the iPad mini’s lower resolution display is a deal breaker for your everyday tasks?

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Categories: iPad 2, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPhone 5

  • Glen

    I think I’m still gonna get one. I haven’t purchased any iPad yet but I bought my gf the 2 and she loves it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/THExREALxTACO Jeremy Taco Patterson

    At these resolutions, they are ALL good displays. Even the “lowly” iPad 2 is still beautiful to look at.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Retina displays are AMAZING, but almost ANY device produced these days (Apple or not) has a pretty dang good screen.

    • barondebxl

      Well using a retina display and going back to the iPad mini or iPad 2 display is really painful, it looks grainy and unpleasant to the eyes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/THExREALxTACO Jeremy Taco Patterson

        I disagree. Luckily, here in ‘Merica, I’m allowed to do that. I have an iPhone 5 (Retina) and an iPad and iPad 2 (non-retina) and while I can certainly see the difference, its never been any kind of uncomfortable or hard to read.

        • barondebxl

          Well I owned the iPad 3, to me there is a huge difference. When I first powered the iPad min and the screen came up, I honestly was disappointed. I’m starting to get used to the screen now but coming from an iPad retina, it looks like crap.

  • Uncle Peter

    I like it. It’s not a retina screen like the 3rd version but that’s ok. If the mini had a retina screen, some people would have other things to complain about. Can’t please everyone.

  • AppleSuperFan

    Nexus 7 is 7 inches with 1280×800 resolution,Nexus 4 has a 4.7 inch display at 1280×768 so that’s a higher ppi than the iPhone 5 also,Nexus 10 is a 10 inch tablet with a ppi of 300. Android is getting somewhere now and that Google Now thing,on my friend’s Nexus devices its scary great. Fast,doesn’t crash,gives you all the info you need for the day,week or month all in cards. Apple needs to step up :(

  • Britjoe

    Well we unpacked our shiney new ipad mini last night, all i can say is wtf is all the nonesence about a bad display, for a moment i thought we were buying something as bad as the 3g iphone display in a tablet, that wuld of been nasty,

    I have the ipad 2 and maybe its just me but i cant see much difernce between the 2 and the new ipad or the new ipad, the screen resultion wouldnt be something i would as an excuse to upgrade my old ipad 2.

    We as consumers allways want the latest and greatest from the company we like, but hold them bucks in your trouser pockets people, we probably already own a,apple product that will do the same thing as the mini.
    but the ipad mini is a worthwhile product it does the same thing as the ipad2, and it does it a little better like, book reader, the form and finish is outstanding etc. the (maxi pad ) as my wive likes to call it is too Is too Heavy for her and this seems to do what we want it to do, if it keeps her happy im happy, and i have my Maxi Pad too my self. Yay.

  • http://www.mindinventory.com/iphone_application.php iPhone application development

    The new iPad Small has obtained compliment from experts for its dimension and managing, but the low-resolution display has turned out to be a frustration. And now assessments by DisplayMate recommend that not only is it less distinct, it also fails to deliver in a few other methods in contrast to the competitors. Many were anticipating a “Retina” high-resolution display on the iPad Small, and while the 1024×768 display is clearer than the iPad 2’s because it is a bit small, it’s a far cry from the pixel-dense shows of any latest iPhone or iPad.