DisplayMate, the website which specializes in rating and comparing display tech of mobile devices and laptops, has sharply criticized Apple’s iPad mini 2 in its latest shootout, pitting it against the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and Google Nexus 7.
The biggest criticisms come in regards to the color gamut and accuracy. The Retina screen of the new mini is way off what the iPad 3, 4 and Air have been offering so far in this respect.
The problem boils down to Apple’s use of outdated IGZO display technology in the Retina mini’s panels. IGZO, which was a relatively new display tech a few years ago, has since been replaced by LTPS – which Apple uses for its iPhones. Apple has also reportedly suffered from low yield rates for IGZO, and have resorted to making Retina mini’s with a-Si displays as well. a-Si has much lower power efficiency than IGZO, which Apple has been able to compensate for by using higher performance White LEDs, which roughly equalizes the power requirements of the two display technologies.
But perhaps the more pressing question is why Apple, renown for its high quality hardware, would choose to ship one of its hottest products with inferior display tech?
Rumors of potential shortages in Apple’s supply chain have been circulating since even before the iPad mini 2′s announcement, and earlier this month we reported alleged talks Cupertino was having with arch-rival Samsung to fulfill an order of some 15 million Retina mini panels.
Back then, it was reported that Apple could either go through the cost-prohibitive process of upgrading their panels to the LTPS substrate, or turn to Samsung to produce the required amount of panels by early next year, since their other suppliers – Sharp and LG – would not be able to get a high enough production yield.
It seems that for the time being Apple has solved the production problem with the help of a-Si panels, but has opened the door to criticism and potential hardware issues in the future.