iPad Air topped by Kindle Fire HDX in display quality test

The iPad Air has an "excellent" display -- but not quite as excellent as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, DisplayMate says.

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Apple's new iPad Air has a good display but it's not as good as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9's, according to DisplayMate Technologies.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Apple's new iPad Air has a good display, but it's not as good as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9's, according to DisplayMate Technologies. Amazon

The iPad Air is getting plenty of rave reviews, but Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX just took it in a display shootout.

When DisplayMate Technologies tested the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the iPad Air, and Google's Nexus 10, the Fire 8.9 "leapfrogged into the best-performing tablet display that we have ever tested," according to the results posted Monday.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 significantly outperformed "the iPad Air in brightness, screen reflectance, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first-place finish in the very challenging category of absolute color accuracy," DisplayMate continued.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 also was rated tops in power efficiency, compared with the Air and Nexus 10.

But that doesn't mean the Air didn't receive any plaudits.

Both the Fire and the Air have very accurate colors, image contrast, and picture quality, DisplayMate said.

"They are most likely better and more accurate than any display you own (unless it's a calibrated professional display)," the display testing firm said.

DisplayMate also revealed the display technologies that the Air and Fire use. The Fire has a Low Temperature Poly Silicon (LTPS) LCD -- that's the type of screen tech typically used in LCD-based smartphones.

The Air uses an IGZO Metal Oxide LCD -- "significantly better than the a-Si amorphous Silicon LCDs being used in most current displays," according to DisplayMate.

One of the reasons that the Nexus 10 got a relatively low score was because its display tech is aging.

"The 2012 Google Nexus 10...is at the end of its annual product cycle," DisplayMate said. "Presumably the soon-to-be-introduced 2013 Nexus 10 will take care of that."

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 got the highest rating of 'A.'
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 got the highest rating of 'A.' DisplayMate Technologies
iPad Air.
iPad Air. Apple
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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