DisplayMate pans iPad mini Retina display in three-way test

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Following AnandTech's lukewarm reaction to the new iPad mini screen, now DisplayMate has placed the new Apple tablet's screen dead last in a three-way race.

The Apple iPad mini with Retina display.
(Credit: Apple)

In the study, which pitted the new iPad mini with Retina display against the 2013 Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7, DisplayMate found both Amazon and Google's tablets excellent but weren't as happy with Apple's offering.

Amazon's HDX 8.9 tablet previously gained the highest accolade from DisplayMate, with the testers saying it was "the best performing tablet display that we have ever tested". This success, continued in the HDX 7, is attributed to Amazon's use of a high-performance low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) display with quantum dots, increasing the screen's colour gamut to over 100 per cent sRGB while also improving power efficiency.

The Google Nexus 7 (2013).
(Credit: Google)

The Nexus 7, which was recently refreshed around a new 1920x1200 pixel 7-inch LTPS display, was singled out by DisplayMate for its extremely high overall brightness, as well as its 100 per cent gamut saturation.

The new Apple iPad mini, though, is only able to reproduce 63 per cent of the tested colour gamut — only a minor improvement from the 62 per cent coverage of the original mini. At 326ppi, though, the mini beats both the 323ppi Nexus 7 and 323ppi HDX 7 in screen sharpness, although by a negligible amount.

DisplayMate also takes note with screen reflectivity and overall brightness; the iPad mini reflects 10 per cent more light from an external light source than the Nexus 7 and is only able to display a maximum brightness that is 72 per cent that of the Nexus. High ambient light contrast, at only 66 per cent of the Nexus 7, means the iPad mini is markedly inferior for reading outdoors or for use in a bright room.

DisplayMate's full results generally find the HDX 7 and Nexus 7 largely comparable, although the HDX 7's quantum dots and the Nexus 7's extreme brightness trade blow for blow throughout the test. The iPad mini lags behind both other tablets — except in gamma: it hits the standard 2.2 target almost spot on, where other tablets are unable to.

This is the second strike against the new iPad mini's Retina display from a reputable reviewer; AnandTech was unimpressed with the 7.9-inch display's colour reproduction in its recent testing.

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ChristianK posted a comment   

I think the kindle HDX has a completely unacceptable screen due to the blue colour bleed issue. Kindle users are livid on Amazons site with plenty of bad reviews about how poor the kindle is for reading. Why sites like cnet do not even mention this controversy is appalling too! I also personally feel that gamma is more important than color gamut once the colour range reaches the level we are talking about here. All of these displays would smoke my pcs LCD monitor, however unless you put them side by side you aren't really going to notice a massive difference. Could the mini be improved? Sure, but its screen looks fantastic to me. The brightness of the nexus also drains battery faster, so there is a trade off.


Pining posted a comment   

Maybe they need an apple fanboy from Cnet to help them with their testing results?


trebor83 posted a reply   

Or perhaps in real world use, without a raft full of testing software to tell you how "bad" it is or a side by side comparison with that other latest and greatest mini tablet you bought in the last month, most people can't tell and it really doesn't matter


zzzaac posted a reply   

I can tell, all you have to do is look at the App Store Icon to see that the colours just aint as good to the n7, Kindle and even the Air

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