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Retina iPad Mini Has Inferior Display to iPad Air, but Does It Matter?



The iPad mini with Retina display is one of the hottest tablets on the market right now, and despite rumors of low supply at the start, Apple’s website still lists the availability as 1-3 business days for lower-capacity models. The quiet launch last week certainly helped the hype from reaching overbearing levels, but that hasn’t stopped the new iPad mini from being the talk of the town.

If you’ve already read our review of the new tablet, then you’ll know that the iPad mini with Retina display is a no-compromise device. It comes with the latest A7 processor, 2GB of RAM and of course the Retina display, which gives users 2048×1536 of screen real estate packed into a 7.9-inch form factor, giving us a higher pixel density than the flagship iPad Air. It looks gorgeous, obviously, and most people would think it’s flawless, but according to tests done by AnandTech, there’s just one problem with the new iPad mini’s display.


The tests revealed that the new iPad mini’s color gamut is narrower than that of the iPad Air’s display. This essentially means that the iPad mini can’t display as many colors as the iPad Air can. The tests found that the new iPad mini has the same color gamut as the last-gen iPad mini, and even tablets like the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 have better displays, theoretically. Even the popular display-quality company, DisplayMate, agrees.

A narrower color gamut means that images won’t show up as vibrant as they would on better displays; they won’t be as colorful and saturated compared to the iPad Air and other tablets, so photographers who are thinking about getting one of these new iPad minis might want to stay away, as the color reproduction won’t be as accurate. In fact, pretty much any professional that needs a great-quality display for their work should stay away from the new iPad mini.

Does this mean everyone else should stay away? Not at all. Casual users won’t even be able to tell the difference unless they put an iPad Air and a new iPad mini next to each other and compare them directly, and even then, most everyday users might not be able to tell the difference. Most users won’t even have to worry about it, and they shouldn’t worry about it in the first place; the iPad mini with Retina display is still one of the most favored tablets on the market, despite its minor display flaw.

Of course, the image retention issue that some models have shouldn’t be ignored, and every user should be worried about that. Anyone who buys a new iPad mini should the run the test to see if their specific model is affected. If so, you’ll most likely be able to get a replacement from Apple, but the company hasn’t acknowledged the problem yet, and from what we remember with the first-generation MacBook Pros with Retina display, these had image retention issues that Apple was a bit stubborn to replace. We’ll see how it goes with the new iPad mini.



  1. Jane

    11/19/2013 at 2:42 pm

    iPad has 1G of ram NOT 2G of ram as you’re quoting.

  2. Michael Evans

    11/20/2013 at 9:50 am

    No compromise device? This contradicts with the headline.
    Its narrow color gambit is worse than tablets that cost almost half as much.
    Head to head with the Nexus 7 (a much cheaper device) the display is just inferior.
    That being said it is way better then the iPad mini with a giant 3gs screen they released last year.

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