by Joe White
November 28, 2013
In an in-depth comparison piece, DisplayMate has pitted Apple's iPad mini with Retina display against Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX, and Google's Nexus 7, having set out to uncover which "mini display" is best. However, after having investigated every conceivable aspect of the three tablets' displays, DisplayMate's conclusions aren't great news for Apple. The second-generation iPad mini actually comes in third-place, and the investigation condemns its "out-dated technology" and accuses Apple of "really bad planning." Despite receiving high marks in a number of areas (including "close to perfect" contrast accuracies, accurate calibration, and impressive performance at maximum brightness), its shortcomings nevertheless situate the iPad mini with Retina display in last place. In particular, DisplayMate draws attention to Apple's use of Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) displays in its iPad mini. Both the Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus 7 use the more up-to-date Low Temperature Poly Silicon (LTPS) technology in their displays, and as such the performance offered by both Amazon and Google's tablets is much better. But it gets worse. DisplayMate adds that Apple isn't even using IGZO displays uniformly in its iPads; due to poor yield rates, both IGZO displays and Silicon a-Si screens are being used in the tablets, resulting in even poorer performance. 9to5mac draws our attention to this crucial paragraph, in particular:
This has created a production problem where Apple is using both IGZO and a-Si displays in the current iPads. The problem is that a-Si has much lower power efficiency than IGZO, so it uses much more power and also needs bigger batteries. So how can Apple use both display technologies in the same product? I’ve been told by using much higher performance (and cost) White LEDs in the Backlight of the a-Si panels, which equalizes the power efficiency for both types of displays in different ways. As a result, both types of displays can be engineered into the same Tablet and can provide comparable results for the consumer.Finally, the iPad mini's color gamut score is poor, too, landing in at just 63 percent. This had previously been highlighted in a separate report, providing consumers with a major reason to purchase the larger iPad Air over its 7.9-inch counterpart.The Kindle Fire HDX, on the other hand, scored 97 percent in this respect; Google's Nexus 7 was awarded an impressive 103 percent. As such, red and yellow scores are awarded to the iPad mini with Retina display in this area, while both competing tablets get top green marks. The Kindle Fire HDX's Quantum Dot display, however, was declared to be the best. Here's hoping Apple makes the switch over to this technology further down the line. DisplayMate's report is certainly in-depth; if you're interested in reading the entire piece, click this link. Of course, besides the above, Apple's second-generation iPad mini also appears to suffer from an image retention problem, whereby the image of previously-viewed content remains on the screen for some minutes after switching over. Not all iPad mini tablets suffer from this, however; Apple appears to have used a number of different display manufacturers, meaning certain products will be free of the affliction. See also: Autodesk FormIt 6.0 Features iOS 7 Redesign, New Building Program And More, It's Disco Inferno: How High Can You Get In Fire Escape For iOS?, and Fast-Paced Multiplayer Demon Dash Dashes Into The App Store.