Tests show that iPad Air has better color accuracy than iPad mini with retina display

iPad mini vs ipad air

At 326 pixels per inch, the new iPad mini with retina display features the sharpest tablet screen we’ve seen from Apple yet. And it’s evenly matched against the larger iPad Air in every other regard, which made me declare it the new Apple tablet most people should buy. But according to a review by Anandtech, the new iPad mini falls short against the iPad Air when it comes to color accuracy.

According to the review, Apple has chosen to use the same color gamut for the tablet as it did for the original iPad mini. This is significantly narrower than the sRGB coverage used by the iPad Air, as well as other tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and the Nexus 7. This means that the iPad mini has a smaller subset of colors it can use to reproduce an image.

Anandtech quantified the results using Delta-E, which measures the difference between a requested color and the actual color shown. The previous generation iPad 4 and the current iPad Air came out on top, with scores of 2.41 and 2.42 respectively. With scores like these, the difference between the color requested and the color shown should be nearly imperceptible. The iPad mini with retina display, on the other hand, scored 6.52, which means you can definitely see a difference, like the in the image below.

Anandtech iPad mini display comparison

If you look closely, particularly at the red triangles in the lower left corners of the tablet screens, you should be able to see a slight difference. According to Anandtech, “The biggest deviations are in reds/blues and magenta in between.”

As you can see, in real world use this isn’t a major issue. It definitely shouldn’t keep you from buying the iPad mini if it’s your tablet of choice. But it’s worth keeping in mind if you were expecting to get the exact same experience from the iPad mini as its larger sibling.

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