iPad mini Ok, everyone needs to calm down about this whole color gamut thing

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MacDevil7334, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. MacDevil7334 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2011
    Austin TX
    Seriously, everyone take a deep breath. The amount of hysteria on this forum over a slight difference in color reproduction has reached ridiculous levels. Now, before you all start flaming me and saying everyone was misled by Apple, please consider the following points.

    First, Apple has not once claimed that the retina mini has the same color gamut as the iPhone 5/5s or iPad 3/4/Air. If you go back and watch the keynote (I did), you will hear Phil Schiller talk about how the pixels are so small you can't distinguish them and about how text is as sharp as in a finely printed newspaper. But he never says that it has full sRGB color reproduction (something Apple did point out in both the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 keynotes). Similarly, if you look at Apple's iPad mini webpage, you will not find any claims that the iPad mini has a full sRGB color gamut there either. Now, you could argue that Apple is being misleading by saying it has a retina display. But, a closer examination of the history behind the term debunks that claim (see my next point below).

    Second, the term "retina display" has never referred to the color reproduction of a given screen. If you go back and watch Steve Jobs introduce the first retina display on the iPhone 4, you hear him explain that a retina display is one where the pixels are so dense that the human eye cannot distinguish them when the device is held at a normal viewing distance. He never mentions color reproduction, yet the iPhone 4 was advertised as having a retina display. Is anyone disputing that? The new retina iPad mini has the same pixel density as every retina iPhone. Are you saying it's not a retina device?

    This brings me to my third point. The iPhone 4 and 4S (as well as the iPad and iPad 2) had color gamuts that were very similar to what we are seeing on the iPad mini (both versions). Anandtech discusses this in several reviews (1, 2, 3). Yet, before the iPad 3, everyone thought the color reproduction of Apple's screens was just fine. Why is it suddenly unacceptable for Apple not to use a full sRGB panel? They still sell the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Are these devices unacceptable too? Again, Apple never claimed that the retina mini has full sRGB coverage.

    I can understand why people are disappointed. Like most others, I assumed that a retina mini would get a display with the same color gamut as the larger iPads. But, Apple is not responsible for my assumptions, especially when they did not claim the screen would have the same color reproduction as the Air. If Schiller had gotten up there and said the retina mini would have a full sRGB panel and then tests showed that not to be case, we would all have the right to be angry. But, we are all getting worked up because Apple didn't deliver something they never promised us (we only assumed that they would). You all are welcome to still be angry. It's really not Apple's fault though. They aren't responsible for your assumptions, and they won't be making a change to the screen until they release a new model next year (and maybe not even then).

    If you are still one of the people angry over all this, there is good news. You have options! Apple has a (rather generous) return policy that will allow you to return your iPad mini any time between now and January 7. That means you could take almost 2 whole months to figure out if you can live with colors that are not quite as saturated as on the iPad Air and still return your mini for a full refund. If color reproduction is that important to you, you are welcome to buy the full size iPad or one of the many Android tablets on the market. Nobody is forcing you to use the mini.

    Personally, I think the colors on the retina mini are just fine. Are they as saturated as on my iPhone 5? No, and nobody is claiming they are. Does it make a real difference in my overall user experience on the device? Not really. I'm not a professional photographer or videographer who needs a completely color-accurate panel. I mainly use my mini for reading newspapers and books, browsing the web, playing music, and watching the occasional movie or playing the occasional game. The retina mini excels at all these tasks. I care much more that the words are crisp in the pages of text I read on the screen each day than I do that the reds in a picture aren't quite as bright as they might be.

    Obviously, that last paragraph is just my opinion. The screen is fine for me. It may not be fine for you. If it isn't, you are welcome to return your iPad. But all this complaining has gotten way out of hand and isn't going to force Apple to fix something they never promised to begin with. When you take a step back, I think it's pretty clear that the retina mini is a truly remarkable device. I'm thrilled to own one.
  2. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Nice post.

    I really don't want to own both the rMini and Air, the latter being my choice to keep. If I wait two months to return the rMini, I fear I won't. Damn!! :D
  3. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
  4. cababah macrumors 68000

    Jun 11, 2009
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I don't think anyone is crying foul over Apple's marketing of the term "retina." It just sucks that the rMini and Air both have retina displays yet there is a clear disparity between the gamut and contrast ratio for both devices.

    So, the $100 price difference is no longer just to upgrade the screen real estate but now it also gets you an overall better display (on the Air) which understandably irks a lot of people.
  5. bevsb2, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013

    bevsb2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 23, 2012
    Great post. I'm not a big fan of the mini because of its size, but I saw it at the Apple store and it looked fine to me. A big improvement over the first mini and a slick device with a nice retina screen which is what everyone one was hoping for. The complaints about the first mini were related to the pixelated screen. I don't remember anyone commenting on washed out color. I went with the Air because of the full sized screen, but I'd be happy to have a mini for travel.
  6. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    There's no such thing as a free lunch. The $100 differential makes a lot more sense now. Anyway, another effect is that the mini gets better battery life by using a narrower color gamut as the LEDs are more efficient. Yes, it would be great if we could have it all, but the laws of physics are hard to repeal.
  7. cababah macrumors 68000

    Jun 11, 2009
    SF Bay Area, CA
    The battery life is virtually identical between both devices btw
  8. BigButa macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2012
    I have no problem in there being a difference between the two. However, this kind of thing should be covered more in the media as it is one more thing for especially artists to keep in mind when deciding whether to go with the Mini or the Air.

    As with any feature on any spec list for any device ever released in the world, this gamut thing will be a big deal for some people and not at all for others. It's not for me, but then I would never buy a Mini, anyway.
  9. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    The iPad Air is for travel. Lol.

    Lets face it the gamut stuff is the same as the size queens saying the Air isnt mobile. Lol!
  10. Kadin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2009
    Now people are just stating facts with no basis. Source for this please?
  11. FrankB1191 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2013
    Thanks for saving me some time. I was going to watch the October event again, and look for any mention that the rMini was going to be identical to the Air, save for size. I already knew they didn't, but it's best to watch again. ;)

    From Wikipedia:
    Retina Display, stylized by Apple as Retina display, is a brand name used by Apple for liquid crystal displays that, according to Apple, have a high enough pixel density that the human eye is unable to notice pixelation at a typical viewing distance.
    Some here have questioned the retina credentials of the rMini because of its reduced color gamut, but I don't see where retina is defined by color.

    While at Best Buy tonight, I did drag an Air and rMini together, and played "The Great Oz" simultaneously on both. The Air did seem a bit more saturated, but not by much. The video was a roughly 3 minute clip, and had lots of vibrant greens and reds splashed across the screens.
  12. voronoi macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2012
    Note that there is just as much hysteria, if not more so, from those defending the retina iPad mini. It does no one any good to be vitriolic about saying the screen is good enough simply to counter those who say it is not.

    Those with an iPhone 5 or later will constantly be comparing the retina iPad mini to a full sRGB display just by virtue of their use of the two devices. Some will be ok with it, some won't. Posters, and I'm not saying you did, telling them to put the iPhone down and only look at the retina iPad mini aren't being helpful.

    As for Apple not claiming the retina iPad mini screen is of the same quality as the iPad Air's screen, you might want to take that up with their retail employees, as well as their web chat staff. Asking in-store and online, I found that both associates told me they should look the same (see the image attached). I'm willing to chalk that up to employees making some assumptions.


    All this complaining brings to light an aspect of the retina iPad mini that might have otherwise gone unnoticed until people saw the display in person. I'd suspect that most will notice the difference, even if they don't know precisely why or what's causing it. Nobody has argued that the screen is unusable, just subpar compared to Apple's other offerings, which are incredibly close to reference grade. Again, some will be ok with it some won't.

    All said, I enjoy my retina iPad mini in spite of its display, but I won't try to downplay or justify its shortcomings. I'd argue that those complainers have as much a right to complain as those who complain about them. This is an open forum, is it not?
  13. JGWolven macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2013
    Such a good point and post and took the words I wanted to say right out of my mouth.
  14. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Sorry, I just found this comment funny. Never mind. Carry on. :D
  15. shortcut3d macrumors 65816

    Aug 24, 2011
    After Anand's review the price difference makes sense. Honestly, the super high pixel density originally made me wonder how Apple didn't offer both at the same price or even more. Remember miniaturization in technology is a premium. Now I understand limited color gamut and A7 of the iPhone 5s made $100 less possible. Hearing complaints about color gamut on the rMini always make me want to ask if the Air display is inferior because the pixel density so much lower. The rMini shares the same density with the flagship iPhone 5s and the Air shares the same color gamut. It's a split.
  16. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    At 264ppi you dont even notice nearly as much as the colors being washed out on the mini. Your eyes cant detect the pixels in either case. The gamut thing is noticeable. With ppi there is diminishing returns past a certain point is my guess. Im sure the same thing is true with the color gamut...maybe an 80-90% gamut would make it unnoticeable...
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Yes, but the battery is smaller in the iPad mini.


    I'm told that color gamut is largely a function of the backlighting used for the LEDs.


    True, but given that iOS isn't resolution independent, Apple really had no choice but to give the iPad mini such a high PPI.

    Given that Google and Amazon have managed to get closer to 100% sRGB I wouldn't be surprised if Apple eventually gets there (maybe even next year), but at the same time I can see why they made the choice that they did this year. Apple has made similar tradeoffs in the past. While the MacBook Pro has always had a wide gamut, the MacBook Air does not.
  18. pocket3d macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2010
    Raymond Soneira last year in a review of the iPad 3:

    "The iPad mini and iPad 2 both have a reduced Color Gamut due to weak Red and Blue primaries that result from the White LED Backlighting. It's an intentional tradeoff made to increase screen brightness, power efficiency and battery run time. The new iPad corrects these deficiencies and has a much larger Gamut that is an excellent match to the Standard so it can produce accurate colors as long as there is also an accurate Standard White Point and Standard Intensity Scale."

    I searched under "iPad mini color gamut."



    See response to KPOM above.
  19. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
  20. bidwalj macrumors 65816

    Feb 16, 2007
    I can see it being a big issue if the colors were completely different. The color is a few shades different folks, it's not a big deal. If you need a reason to not get one, return on or get a different tablet then so be it. I doubt 99% of people who buy one will notice or care enough. The 1% that do can return it, get an air or a different tablet.
  21. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    Wait....so the 1.3Ghz A7 is cheaper than the 1.4Ghz?
  22. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    As someone who has returned/exchanged a fat stack of full size iPads over the years due to display issues (uneven color and color casts), I'm happy to report that the rMini I have, like last year's model, is free from overly distracting color shifts across the screen.

    I do detect a slight warmth on the bottom half, but it's far less noticeable or bothersome, because my eyes don't scan the screen from bottom to top; they generally move left to right, which is why the Air has caused me such grief with its left>right color shift.

    As for gamut, yes it's narrower than the Air. On paper, this is an affront! The nerve of Apple to release such a garbage screen and sell it as identical to the Air!

    In practice, it looks great. A little less saturated. A little less poppy. But also a little less eye searing. I've always thought OLED screens were way over the top and looked ridiculous...the Air is bordering on an OLED look. The rMini is quieter in its presentation.

    At the end of the day, it's a great display. Once you get over the fact that Apple isn't being all that forthright about calling the Air and Mini "the same", and stop holding them up side by side, you quickly get used to the coloration of the rMini, and it looks fine.

    I love food analogies. I think of the Air as a large pizza, and the rMini as a personal pizza. Despite having the exact same ingredients, a large pizza will ALWAYS taste different than a personal pizza. It's all in how the ingredients play together in the oven. Moisture, surface area, weight, etc. all factor in to how a pizza tastes and feels in your mouth.

    This is not to say both pizzas won't be tasty. But they will be different, no matter what, despite assurances from a misinformed waiter that they are identical. Some folks want a bigger pie, some want a smaller one. But getting upset that a small pie doesn't taste exactly like a large pie is futile.
  23. hachiman macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2008
    I'm sure some lawsuit troll will try to sue Apple on behalf of the iPad owners...
  24. FrankB1191 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2013
    That's Great! Absolutely love what you wrote. ;)

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