DisplayMate: Apple’s iPad mini offers ‘just a very capable display’

“The iPad mini has finally arrived,” Dr. Raymond M. Soneira reports for DisplayMate Technologies. “Apple has made displays their most prominent marketing feature because they determine the quality of the visual experience for everything on a Tablet or Smartphone – including Apps, web content, photos, videos, and its camera. So how good is the display on the iPad mini? And how does it compare to the displays on the leading Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 Tablets? And how does it compare to the displays on the full size iPads?”

“Pixel resolution has been the number one topic of discussion for the iPad mini – both before and after launch. Many people were expecting a Retina Display like the new iPad 3, but that would have required a 326 Pixels Per Inch display with more than 4 times the screen area of the iPhone 5. That is currently out of the question for both cost and manufacturing volume and yield since it would need to be Low Temperature Polysilicon. Given that Apple has been sticking with either 1024×768 or 2048×1536 iPad displays for compatibility reasons, that meant the iPad mini had to be 1024×768 with 163 Pixels Per Inch. But that’s now considered to be rather on the low side,” Soneira reports. “While the display PPI and pixel Resolution seem to get most of the attention, it is the display’s Color Gamut together with the Factory Display Calibration (below) that play the most important role in determining the Wow factor and true picture quality and color accuracy of a display… While the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 had reduced 61-64 percent Color Gamuts, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 both deliver a much larger 86 percent Color Gamut, and the new iPad 3 and iPhone 5 have full 100 percent standard Color Gamuts. So it was a surprise and a major disappointment for the iPad mini to arrive with an antiquated smaller 62 percent Color Gamut.”

Soneira reports, “Apple has been a leader in accurate display calibration – the new iPad 3 and iPhone 5 have among the best and most accurate factory calibrations we have ever measured in a consumer product, including high-end HDTVs. The iPad mini follows that tradition – it has an accurate White Point and a very accurate Intensity Scale, except for a 5 percent compression near the Peak Intensity… The iPad mini is certainly a very capable small Tablet, but it does not follow in Apple’s tradition of providing the best display, or at least a great display – it has just a very capable display.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you’re looking for the very best displays in smartphones, tablets, and portable media players, Apple offers them with iPhone, iPad (4th gen.), and iPod touch (5th gen.). Apple also offers a very portable iPad mini at an affordable price that grants users full admittance into the unmatched iOS ecosystem with a screen area that’s 35% larger than 7-inch also-rans.


  1. Well said, who is this guy anyway?
    I have ordered two Mini’s for my grandchildren and I know they are very excited and they will love it!
    The family has an iPad 2 and they won’t know the difference!
    Our household has twelve Apple devices, and, we use them all! Typing this @ my local coffee haunt in Barwon Heads, Australia!

    1. Having 5 grandchildren, Ronald, I may just beat you on the iPad-mini-orders front. I have ordered 2 for the children in the UK, and have sent the requisite amount for 3 purchases in Perth, Australia. Whether they get iPads, iPhones or iPod Touches I don’t yet know. The decision is being left to the parents.
      I’m hoping these major purchases will boost the value of my AAPL stock !!!!

  2. I think the lightness of iPad mini will become the #1 reason for its popularity, not the screen. An iPad that weighs less than half of the “big” iPad becomes much more flexible in use.

    It’s screen displays the exact same content as iPad 2, running the same apps at the same performance. And it has better cameras, better speakers, and Siri. At a $70 discount for the entry model.

    1. Yep. And Retina = bigger battery = more weight. I’m glad they left Retina out if they couldn’t find a way to do it without creating a heavier device.

      And Apple absolutely cannot go backwards in regards to the iPad mini’s heft. They can’t make the next one heavier–if anything it needs to be a few grams lighter.

      1. Apple typically goes two years between major design changes. I think the next iPad mini may get an A6 and more RAM, but keep the same display. After that, if they can do it while keeping cost AND weight down, maybe it will have a “Retina Display.” which will have the same pixel density as on iPhone 4 and later (higher than on current “big” iPad).

        I also think Apple has just switched iPad’s annual release time (going forward) to early Fall. There is probably “something new” being readied to fill the March/April slot.

  3. I’m not impressed with the display on my new mini. I’m spoiled by the retina display on my iPhone 5 and 4th gen iPad. Everything on the mini looks a little blurry in comparison. So I’ll probably return this mini and wait for a retina version in the future. On you’ve gone retina, you can’t look back!

    1. I agree 100%, I have a Retina Macbook Pro and I’ve grown accustomed to the Retina display, all other displays looks a little blurry in comparison. I took a very close look at the new iPad Mini this weekend and although it’s very nice I just can’t endorse it at this time.

    2. I went to the apple store today and checked out the mini. Same reaction – amazing build, but the screen! Ouch!

      I definitely am spoiled by the screen on my iPad 3. Because the iPad mini is great. Just not as great in this one way. But boy did I notice it!

  4. Went to the apple store today to look for myself and I must say I was disappointed. Maybe I am spoiled with my retinal display iphone and iPad but the resolution was the first thing I noticed. Also the screen seem choppy. Not smooth like my other apple devices.

  5. As an Apple stockholder and fan, I saw the iPad Mini and immediately wanted it. However, knowing how the iPad 3 made me feel about my iPad 2’s screen, I will wait for the next mini.

    I wish Apple released the iPad Mini with retina for $349 and had an option to partially subsidize the LTE add-on with a 1 yr contract data plan so LTE is only $50 add-on instead of $130.

  6. I ordered two of the iPad Minis, and I’m very happy with them. However, they will not serve as an e-reader as I had hoped they would. The clarity of the text is just not good enough for me to read on them for extended periods of time. It’s probably true that my iPhone 4S (and now iPhone 5) have spoiled me with their Retina displays.

  7. I have two iPad 2’s in the household and have no problem with the screen whatsoever. The Retina is great on the iPhone as I tend to hold it much closer to read things on it but I didn’t and still don’t see the need to upgrade to 3 and 4 when all I wished was that the iPad 2 get lighter.

    Since I haven’t been spoiled by the Retina on the 3 and 4, I find the screen on the iPad mini more than adequate. It actually looks brilliant compared to the 2. The weight and the thinness is what does it for me. I travel on business constantly (both international and local) and the mini is exactly what I need. I do want a full-size Retina iPad but it’ll need to get a good deal lighter and that probably won’t happen soon.

  8. Just got my iPad mini. Except for the one on the Retina MacBook Pro, this is the best computer monitor I’ve used. It’s very bright, has great color fidelity, looks beautiful from all angles, and has higher DPI than most computer monitors.

    The secret is to run the Air Display app on the iPad, and install the free Air Display Connect software on a Mac. (There’s a PC version of Air Display Connect too but honestly who cares. And if you look at the app review, almost all the bad reviews are from PC users.)

    Bottom line: iPad mini is a screamin’ computer monitor.

  9. This is just plain old built in obsolescence. Steve did it all the time. Just about the time early next year when you can walk into any Apple Retail Store or Best Buy, or Frys, or WalMart, and buy all the iPad Minis you want, Apple will send out one of those provocative invitations and announce the NEW Retina iPad Mini. Then the rest of us will stand in line or log onto the Apple Store and buy one. Apple has then sold everybody two iPad Minis with more yet to come. Why is any of this any kind of surprise or anything to argue about. It’s the way they do it. And, unless I’m right about Tim Cook’s shortcomings, they will keep doing it.

  10. Still using iPad with retina. Mini – it’s a step backward, very dissapoindeted about mini.. As if assembled from old unsolded parts. Imho with iPhone5 and iPad mini Apple starts losing their customers

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