November 18, 2013, 4:01 PM — There have been disturbing reports that the retina iPad mini may not display colors as well as the iPad Air. Apple Insider notes that the iPad mini doesn't quite measure up to the iPad Air in this regard.
Differences in color reproduction are quantified with a measurement called Delta-E, which represents the difference between the color the display is asked to reproduce and the color the display actually shows.
The Retina iPad mini managed an average Delta-E of 6.5 across the gamut, compared to 2.4 for the iPad Air and 3.3 for the Nexus 7. Delta-E values of approximately 2.0 or lower are considered unnoticeable to the human eye, while professionals who require display color accuracy — like photographers and video editors — aim for Delta-E values of 4.0 or lower on their workstation displays.
AnandTech has a full review of the iPad mini and part of the review covers the color problem.
In the conclusion of my iPad Air review I wrote about the new mini as finally being a no-compromises smaller iPad. Much like my assertions last year of a Retina mini not being in the cards, it turns out that I was wrong on this point as well. Although display resolution is no longer a concern on the mini, color gamut hasn’t changed between the old and new minis.
The iPad mini with Retina Display has the same color gamut as the standard iPad mini, which is narrower than the iPad Air and less than the sRGB coverage we normally look for. The biggest issue here is that there are other smaller tablets in this price range that do offer sRGB coverage (e.g. Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9).
Image credit: AnandTech
As you might imagine, many online communities are abuzz with chatter about what some consider to be a shocking example of perfidy on Apple's part. Here's a thread in the Mac Rumors forum about the iPad mini color scandal. As of right now, the thread has more than 300 posts.
The new retina mini seems slightly sharper but very much washed out compared to the air has anyone noticed this?
The iPad mini color issue makes for some colorful headlines (no pun intended...heh), but I think it's mostly a tempest in a teapot. Most people probably will not even notice the difference unless they own an iPad Air too, and then compare them side by side.
Still, this has given Apple a bit of a black eye with some users, and has resulted in some iPad mini's being returned. Perhaps the next iPad mini will match the iPad Air, we'll just have to wait and see next year.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.