DisplayMate’s Nexus 7 vs Fire HDX vs iPad Mini comparison: one tablet disappoints

by: Bogdan PetrovanNovember 19, 2013

nexus 7 2013 aa design front profile

DisplayMate, a company that specializes in testing and calibrating displays of all types, published its latest shootout, pitching three of the best small form factor tablets on the market: the Nexus 7 (2013), the Kindle Fire HDX 7”, and the new iPad Mini.

The display experts looked at several factors that influence user experience, including pixel density, color intensity, color accuracy, brightness, and viewing angles.

Overall, DisplayMate considers that the Kindle Fire HDX 7 sports the best display out of the trio, followed closely by Google’s Nexus 7. Sharp as it may be, the much lauded Retina display on the iPad Mini lagged behind its competitors in one key area, color gamut, which DisplayMate calls inexcusably low for a premium tablet.

Here are some of the key findings from the Nexus 7 vs Fire HDX vs new iPad Mini display shootout:

  • All three tablets have roughly equal pixel densities of around 325 pixels per inch, which ensures that users with average vision cannot discern pixels at normal viewing distances.
  • All three tablets output very good brightness levels, but, with 572 cd/m2, the Nexus 7 takes the round and the title of the brightest tablet that DisplayMate ever tested. The Fire HDX 7” follows with 494 cd/m2, while the iPad Mini comes in last, with 414 cd/m2. High brightness levels are important for outdoor usage, but the cost is increased power consumption.
  • The iPad Mini has a “virtually perfect” intensity scale (Gray scale), while the Nexus 7 leaves to be desired in this department.
  • The Kindle Fire HDX 7” and the Nexus 7 have color gamuts that are close to 100 percent of the sRGB/Rec.709 Standard, while the iPad has a “disappointing” 63 percent color gamut. As a result, Apple’s tablet displays colors that are more subdued, which is clearly visible in a side by side comparison.
  • The three tablets are roughly equal when it comes to reflectance levels and viewing angles.
  • The power efficiency title belongs to the Nexus 7, thanks to its high efficiency low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) display technology. The Kindle Fire comes is the runner up, thanks to the Quantum Dots technology that Amazon implemented for the first time on a tablet.

In this shootout, DisplayMate gave the prize to the Kindle Fire HDX 7”, followed closely by the Nexus 7 (2013), while the iPad Mini came in last due to the low color gamut of its Retina display.

  • MasterMuffin

    Celebration time!?!!!!?!! :)

    • samsparkin

      We await only your comments

    • samsparkin

      We await only your comments

  • J. Whitaker McRae

    2x the price, 0.5x the performance. Sounds like Apple, and the iSheep line up in droves to spend their next paycheck :)

    • bob

      check the performance part ;)

      • J. Whitaker McRae

        Not sure what you mean, the tests above showed screen performance to be sub-par vs half priced competitors.

        • Notch Brick

          Android tablets are so much better than iPads, i mean they have all the apps like a tablet verision of the Twitter app, oh wait…no they dont, but…u can get it with the note 10.1-Your crazy if Im buying some 549 dollar Touchwiz 10in tablet LOL, iPad FTW

          • ios7 = Android 2.1

            Funny, cause you buy something that looks like app drawer on that tablet. Speaking of apps have the ipad apps caught up to the “64” bit chip. Maybe you should stop hating on Samsung and android and talk to apple and tell them to try something new instead of stealing and suing.

            BTW check the tablet sales for Android vs apple in the 3rd quarter. Android FTW.

          • Notch Brick

            Shockingly I dont buy products based of Sale Quarters lol, if that was the case I would have never got this awesome HTC One, Android=Phone, iOS=Tablet

          • NeedName

            sorry, you lost any credibility you might of had by saying
            ios = tablet. . .

            No, just no!

          • Brian Shieh

            Well, this is more about iPad Mini 2 vs Nexus 7 (and HDX too) than iPad Air. The Air has a better display than the mini 2, which is shocking.

          • J. Whitaker McRae

            @notchbrick:disqus these are 7″ / 8″ tablets so you’re a little off here. For 10″ that discussion is another topic completely, however I don’t think there’s any shortage of play store apps that look good on a 7″ screen, especially one with a 100% color gamut rather than a measly 63% :)

      • NeedName

        yeah, has a good SoC. . . too bad what I’m looking at all day, the screen, sucks ;)

        • filaos

          There may be a slight nuance between “sucks” and “is the third best”.

          • Nickan Fayyazi

            Though the best and second best are both nearly $200 less… :)

          • filaos

            Yes, but they aren’t competing with the iPad. Look at the size of the screens.

          • Nickan Fayyazi

            The N7 and HDX are .85 inches smaller… considering that there are two major tablet size classes, seems to me like they’re competing…

          • filaos

            You forget to consider the aspect ratio.
            I have a N7 and a Mini and the 4:3 ratio of the latter means a much bigger screen. You don’t use the devices the same way. Viewing photos, editing spreadsheets or taking notes is possible on the iPad and definitely cramped on the 16:10 7″ screen of the N7.

          • Nickan Fayyazi

            I see your point. But even so, the new iPad Mini is overpriced. It’s the same price as the 10″ N10 and many other 10″ tablets.

          • filaos

            Maybe so. It’s the amount of customers that decides if a product is overpriced though. If this new iPad sells as much as it’s first gen, it means it’s rightly priced.

          • sfoiej

            how about “uses iPad 2’s dated screen technology”.

          • filaos

            IGZO display with 320+ ppi… same as iPad 2 ????

  • NeedName

    funny, just read a review of the mini a few days ago claiming it the “holy grail” lol. .. fanbois will be fanbois. .

    • filaos

      The screen may not be the absolute best but it’s still one of the best, and others characteristics are really unique or very high.

  • Mayoo

    Yeah but it’s Retina! Retina is hot! It’s everywhere in commercials!

    … iSheeps …

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      Agreed, Retina is really just a buzzword for pixel density proportional to screen size, back during the iPhone 4 days when it was the only phone with a good display.

      • Rhino”

        Yep retina lol… especially when the mini is not even industry standard :P heck all androids are 1080p now, … mini is not even hitting 720p ><

        isheep live in 2011/12

        welcome to android… 2014 = 2k screens the future is already here :D

  • Nathan Casas

    Personally, I would never consider buying an Apple product. To me they don’t seem to be costumer orientated. But let me also say that since getting a Nexus device in the Nexus 4, I will never go back to another android device that is a Nexus product. I compare my mom’s S4 to my phone and sure her phone has some nice features but my eyes got lost in all the bloat ware and the screen just seemed so busy. Nothing like my phone at all.

    I guess once you experience android in its purest form, you just get hooked and never will go back.

  • Arman

    Disappointing review really. I would have liked to see more on performance, weight, bezel, durability, price, etc. Color representation isn’t really going to be a deciding feature for many of us, and pixel density above 400ppi isn’t going to blow anyone away either (I can’t see the pixels on an ipad mini, so what do I care if some other tablet has a higher resolution?). This review seems to focus on somewhat unimportant metrics..

    • David Spencer-Cotton

      This is not a review . this a screen quality/color comparison. So yes, they concentrate on the screen.

  • raj

    haha iPad Mini …. :D :D

  • Dave

    If they stopped testing and started viewing, they would find their test to be useless and devoid of reality…
    This is not the first time that this test has shown flawed and useless results from this testing company.

    • Kenny Bateman

      It seems to me the nexus 7 had more going for it than the kindle (according to these useless tests). The only thing the kindle topped on was color gamuts and even then it was a tie with the nexus. How they decided the kindle came out on top is beyond me.

  • Dave

    The ‘testing’ company is having a great time getting publicity for itself while posting absurd test results that have zero relationship to the real world comparative performance of these tablets screens. This company has posted useless results before. That is their history. Get attention and free publicity while misleading the public. Use your eyes and forget this nonsense.

  • shishou
  • Furusinuss

    Upgrade on the systems and programs may needed to this certain kind of problems on your iPad. You will really able to see the big difference when you were using the original iPad type.