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Tablet Comparison by DisplayMate – Kindle HDX 7, Nexus 7, and iPad Mini Retina – It May Surprise You

November 20, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

DisplayMate Technologies Corp is the world leader in diagnosing displays and even sells software to correct them – so when they speak, we listen. They wanted to do a comparison test between the three leading 7-inch tablets displays, but had to wait until Apple and their iPad mini Retina Display hit the market. This is a “shoot-out” of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7, Apple iPad mini Retina Display, and the new Google Nexus 7 – and the results may surprise you.

The reading distributors, Barnes & Noble Nook Color and Amazon Kindle Fire, along with Google’s Nexus 7, pioneered this 7-inch tablet format. Fighting the urge to join in the 7-inch market segment was Apple, until in 2012 when it introduced its own iPad mini. Over the past year the displays have changed dramatically so this is an attempt to evaluate the best 7-inch tablets available.

All of these new tablets have a Full High Definition (FHD) displays and average around 325 PPI, or Pixels Per Inch, and since a person with 20/20 vision cannot discern past 300 PPI, we can say that these three contenders have displays that would appear “perfectly sharp.” There are many other equally challenging issues for these displays to be tested for, such as picture quality as good or better than your HDTV, true color accuracy and image contrast, and viewing in high ambient light.

Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon is into its 3rd generation Kindle Fire HDX 7, and they have improved dramatically with each rendition.  The latest version is the first tablet display to use the super high technology, Quantum Dots, which help allow LCDs to display the highly saturated primary colors, much like the OLED displays.  This innovative technology increases the display’s Color Gamut to 100-percent, as well as improving its power efficiency.

Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 tablet is manufactured by ASUS and it uses the highest performance LCDs with Low Temperature Poly Silicon (LTPS), the same technology used in Apple’s iPhone, but only in a much larger screen – it is the second largest LTPS screen on the market after the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.  It allows the Nexus 7 to achieve a 100-percent Color Gamut and it also produces the brightest tablet display DisplayMate has measured in this “shoot-out.”

iPad Mini Retina

Apple’s iPad mini is its 2nd generation mini tablet series.  They were very disappointed in the original iPad mini because of its low PPI and only a 62-percent Color Gamut.  The new iPad mini bumped up its PPI with its new Retina Display, but still only has a 63-percent Color Gamut, rather than a 100-percent, as the innovated displays from the Kindle and Nexus, and as a result, DisplayMates ranked the new iPad mini Retina Display a distant 3rd place finish.

After extensive testing, which can be found at DisplayMates, they conclude that there are two “very impressive” tablet displays and one “disappointment.”  While all three get high rankings for their impressive PPI on a 7-inch screen, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 comes out slightly ahead of the Nexus 7, which had slightly reduced contrasts when compared to the Kindle Fire and they both received an A- ranking.  The iPad mini received a B ranking and they said, “Apple was once the leader in mobile displays, unfortunately it has fallen way behind in both Tablets and Smartphones.  This should be a wakeup call…”

So there we have it, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 nudged into first place over the Google Nexus 7, followed by the Apple iPad mini in a distant third place.  Let us know in the comments or on Google+ what you think of these three tablets and DisplayMates’ conclusions.