The iPad Mini and the iPad 2 are billed as mostly equivalent devices, with differences in the camera, connector, and screen size. You might think you could work out what the difference in pixels per inch between the two devices means just using math, but the physical makeup of the two screens might be more complicated than that.
Just using arithmetic the iPad 2’s pixel density (132ppi) should be about 80% of the pixel density for the iPad Mini (163ppi), which would account for each pixel being around 64% the total size of the iPad 2’s pixels. But when viewed up close by RepairLabs.com, the sub-pixels that make up the pixels in the iPad Mini appear much smaller than in the iPad 2, with quite a bit of dark space between pixels.
Granted, we’re not sure how consistent repairlab’s visual representation of the iPad 2 and the iPad Mini is. Just looking at the groups of subpixels, it looks like the iPad Mini would have been reduced by a third in height (instead of area), which shouldn’t be the case. It’s possible that the microscope wasn’t calibrated with the difference in height of each device in mind. We’re also not sure why the results were projected onto a SONY TV instead of captured as direct bitmap images.
Repairlabs also compared the iPad Mini to the iPad 4th gen’s Retina display, going as far to say the difference would be “negligible” to the naked eye? The site seems to be under the impression that pixels on smaller screens “are packed much more densely”. That’s incorrect: pixels per inch is pixel density, and that’s not something that gets warped when a smaller screen has the same pixels per inch. (Judging by the size breakdown, I’m guessing repairlabs confused diagonal length of the pixel with the area that pixel covers.)
We’ll be covering some more extensive comparisons of the iPad Mini’s display in the coming hours.
Do you think the difference between the iPad Mini and the iPad 4’s Retina display are “negligible”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.