Think iPad Mini’s Screen Is Just Like iPad 2? Think Again

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That's the iPad mini on the LEFT. The iPad 2 on the RIGHT. Wait a minute...
That's the iPad mini on the LEFT. The iPad 2 on the RIGHT. Wait a minute...

A lot of discussion is raging around the iPad mini display, with pundits and tech-savvy consumers alike taking to Twitter, Facebook, and gadget review sites to villify the iPad mini display screen.

With a pixel density of *only* 163 pixels per inch, the iPad mini looks to be, on numbers alone, far lower in resolution than, say, an iPad 4. Which is the truth. But how does that stand up under the microscope? And, since tons of folks are saying the iPad mini is a shrunken-down iPad 2, how do the two screens compare when looked at as closely as possible?

The fine researchers at the Repair Labs blog decided to find out, placing all the currently released iPads, from the first generation to the mini, under the scrutiny of a microscope. What they found may surprise you.

While the first few images are fairly intuitive, showing that the iPad 2 has much bigger pixels than the iPad 3 and the iPad 4, it’s the final image that truly shocks.

While the iPad mini is not a “true Retina display” (a marketing term and not a scientific one), it does in fact have much smaller pixels due to the size of the device itself. This translates to a much crisper image to the human eye.

Even when compared to the iPad 4th generation, the iPad mini holds its own. Says the Repair Blog’s Curtis Taylor, “In fact, the pixels of the Retina Display are only 2/3 the size of the iPad mini. In the older iterations, the pixels of the 4th Gen are ½ the size of the older versions, or .50. Here, they’re a full 16% (.16, since the 4th Gen’s pixels are 1/3 or .66 of the size of the mini) larger in comparison. This means the difference between the two, is less noticeable.” Why? Because the screen is much smaller, and the pixels are packed much more densely as a result.

The final image on the page, then, which is posted at the top of this article, shows the amazing truth: when viewed under the microscope, the iPad mini display has smaller pixels than the “same” resolution on the iPad 2, resulting in a higher pixel density. The iPad 2 screen has 132 pixels per inch. The iPad mini, smooshed into a smaller physical size, has a density of 163 pixels per inch.

So, if you’re on the fence about purchasing an iPad mini simply due to feeling spoiled by the Retina display on your iPhone, iPad 3 or 4, or MacBook pro, you might not be as upset when you’re actually using the mini. Some food for thought, anyway.

Source: Repair Labs Blog

Thanks, Chris!