While the second-generation iPad mini has an impressive 326 ppi Retina display, further analysis of the display revealed that its colors aren’t as vibrant as those produced on the iPad Air’s display. Now, detailed tests performed by DisplayMate reveal that not only is the display on the iPad mini not as good as the iPad Air, but it is also inferior to the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and the Nexus 7.
Here’s what DisplayMate says about the Retina iPad mini’s display:
The 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.
The smaller color gamut results in color accuracy errors, and although the iPad mini has color management to minimise errors for low saturation colors, higher saturated colors are still inaccurately shown on the screen.
DisplayMate notes that Apple is using two different types of display technology — IGZO and amorphous Silicon (a-Si) — in the Retina iPad mini. So some units have an IGZO panel, manufactured by Sharp, while others use a-Si display technology. IGZO displays improve power efficiency and brightness, but they face production issues and have low yield rates, which is why the Retina iPad mini is severely supply constrained. The a-Si displays are less power efficient, but Apple maintains the 10-hour battery life by using power-efficient White LEDs in the backlight of these displays, equalising the energy consumption.
The report adds that Apple’s reliance on IGZO is “really bad planning” since there are better display technologies like Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS available, which are already used in the iPhone and other tablets.
The comparison tests don’t mention anything about image retention, but several units have been exhibiting this issue, where a faint trace of an image persists on the screen even after a new image replaces it.
What’s even more disappointing is that both the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HDX 7 are priced cheaper than the Retina iPad mini’s premium price of $399, but have better displays than Apple’s iPad mini.