With the iPad mini officially launched in select pockets around the world, the smaller tablet has been put to the test. A few days ago, Square Trade, a protection plan provider had pitted the iPad mini against the third generation iPad and the Nexus 7 in a series of drop tests to test their ruggedness. In a series of tests conducted by DisplayMate to evaluate which display fares the best, the 7.9-inch tablet paled in comparison with its competitors, the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD.
DisplayMate ran a comprehensive series of tests in order to evaluate and analyse the display of the iPad mini. The small tablet was put up against not only the other two popular 7-inch tablets but also the iPad 2 and iPad 3. DisplayMate states that it takes display quality very seriously, and provides an in-depth objective analysis of side-by-side comparisons, based on detailed laboratory measurements and viewing tests with both test patterns and test images.
Capable but not as good as the competition
The comparison was based on a number of tests, which include screen reflections, brightness and contrast, colours and intensities, viewing angles, etc.
DisplayMate states that with the new iPad, many people were expecting a Retina display, the same that was found on the third-generation iPad. The report states, “Given that Apple has been sticking with either 1024x768 or 2048x1536 iPad displays for compatibility reasons, that meant the iPad mini had to be 1024x768 with 163 Pixels Per Inch. But that’s now considered to be rather on the low side, especially given that the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 both have considerably sharper displays with 216 Pixels Per Inch. So Apple, the inventor of Retina Display marketing, now has a significant competitive shortfall on this very issue.”
DisplayMate opines that Apple could have increased the iPad mini's screen resolution the way it did for the iPhone 5 by simply having older apps running letterboxed inside a higher resolution display. This would have been a great way to provide a higher pixel per inch (ppi) display. It states that iOS and newer apps would have used the full higher resolution, which didn’t happen.
The report of the results of the tests notes that full standard Color Gamut displays deliver more accurate and vivid colours, but are better in high ambient lighting because the additional colour saturation improves image contrast. While the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 had reduced 61-64 percent Color Gamuts, the new iPad 3 and iPhone 5 have full 100 percent standard Color Gamuts. It states, “So it was a surprise and major disappointment for the iPad mini to arrive with an antiquated smaller 62 percent Color Gamut, especially considering that the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 both managed to deliver considerably larger 86 percent Color Gamuts. That’s another poor choice and another significant competitive shortfall”.
The report concludes by stating that the iPad mini is a very capable small tablet, but it does not follow in the footsteps of other Apple devices that possess the best display. It states that the tablets from Amazon and Google outperform it in most of the tests. Some of the reasons for it not doing as well are constraints within the tablet’s production line, cost and constraints on display technology, and poor choices and compromises.