Despite apparently record sales of the 7-inch Kindle Fire the day after Apple debuted the iPad mini, Amazon is taking to the low-road in order to direct shoppers on its website away from Cupertino’s new mini-sized tablet.
How? They’ve posted a comparison chart to the front page of Amazon.com showing how the Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini stack up, spec-for-spec.
In a chart entitled “More for less,” Amazon.com pulls out the old marketer’s trick of cherry picking a few choice specs to compare against the competition. We’ve seen this tactic before.
Most of these aren’t worth getting too upset about. Let’s face it, the pixel density of the iPad mini is a bit of a bummer to those of us used to Retina Displays. Likewise, Apple has had mono speakers on its devices for a disappointly long time. $329 is a lot more than a Kindle Fire HD, which starts at $199, and MIMO Wi-Fi is missing on the iPad mini, although most people will never be able to tell.
What some people are getting upset about, though, is that Amazon is claiming that Amazon is additionally telling flat-out lies about the iPad mini: namely, that it doesn’t have an HD display, and can’t view HD movies or TV.
I hate to correct anyone’s outrage over this, but Amazon’s right: the iPad mini doesn’t have an HD display, and you can’t watch HD movies at their best quality on the iPad mini. Here’s why.
Critics of Amazon’s ad note that the iPad mini’s display is 1024 x 768. Since the baseline definition of HD is 720p (or, in other words, a display having a minimum of 720 pixels in height), the iPad mini has a 720p display, and qualifies as HD. Right?
Wrong. In actuality, the minimum resolution that technically qualifies as HD is 1280 x 720 in an aspect ratio of 16:9. The iPad mini has 48 more pixels in height necessary to qualify as HD, but 256 pixels less in width.
It’s not a trivial difference. The iPad mini is actually over 135,000 pixels short of the mark to qualify as HD. That’s 15% less pixels than it needs. Consequently, while you can load HD videos on your iPad mini, they’ll be automatically shown at a less-than-HD resolution of about 85% of full HD.
Of course, the iPad mini has a lot of advantages that Amazon isn’t taking into account here. For example, the Apple App Store, which has around 300,000 iPad-specific apps already on it, compared to Amazon’s much smaller selection. There’s also measures like build-quality to go by. If you buy an iPad mini, you have access to great Apple-only features like AirPlay, iMessage and iCloud… things the Kindle Fire HD doesn’t have anything equivalent to.
Finally, a screen’s quality has a lot less to do with pixels than people think: contrast, color gamut, brightness and so on are much more important than mere pixel count. I’m willing to bet that while the Kindle Fire HD may have more pixels, the iPad mini will have the superior display when the two are measured up. Anyone want to bet otherwise?