iPad Tips

  • The Proof is in the Pixels--Displays: iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on November 7, 2012

    Pixels under Microscope: Nexus 7 vs  Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini from www.repairlabs.com

    The elite scientific RepairLabs team had so much fun testing tablet displays under the microscope that they decided to test some non-Apple (Android) devices for pixel density as well: the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7. Our last excursion under the microscope was such a hit we thought we’d check out a couple more devices.

    Though in our last post we didn’t find the iPad mini’s display to be terribly offensive in comparison with the Retina Display of the 4th generation iPad, it has been a major disappointment to some. And when the Android devices of the same size are available at much better prices, with far superior display specs, the average consumer faces a problem.   John Brownlee sums up the problem in his review of the iPad mini for Cult of Mac,

    “It’s maddening. Why did Apple release the iPad mini with a screen this terrible, especially when it’s competing with devices like the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kindle Fire 7 and the Galaxy 7 that aren’t just much cheaper but have displays that are so much superior for reading text?”

    In his article, Brownlee also calls out “optical fatigue” and text display as the major problems plaguing the iPad mini’s display. Granted, the display is less impressive, with iPad mini’s pixels roughly 1/3 larger than those of the iPad 4th generation.  But is it enough to be a deal-breaker when you’re deciding which 7-inch tablet you should buy? We put the three little tablets under the microscope to find out for ourselves whether there was really a difference.

     Nexus 7 vs. iPad mini 


    Pixels under Microscope: Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini from www.repairlabs.com

    The pixels of the Nexus 7 are noticeably smaller

    Let’s talk pixels per inch (ppi). The iPad mini has 163 pixels per inch, while the Nexus 7 clocks at 216. There’s a marked difference between the two, though the screen sizes are very similar, in that magic 7-inch range. And it bears out under the microscope. The two contrast starkly.


    Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini


    Pixels under Microscope: Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini from www.repairlabs.com

    A similar result to the Nexus 7...but could it be better?


    Another 7 inch tablet facing down the iPad mini. The Kindle Fire HD far outperforms the iPad mini’s display in terms of pixel density.  This time the Kindle Fire HD has 254ppi, and of course the mini’s resolution remains the same at 163ppi, and the story’s the same as with the Nexus 7 under the microscope.



    Kindle Fire HD v Nexus 7


    Pixels under Microscope: Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7 from www.repairlabs.com

    These 2 look mighty similar, but look close, the Fires pixels are a teeny bit smaller.

    Testing the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 side by side under the microscope shows that they’re nearly identical. The Kindle Fire HD is indeed technically larger at 254 ppi, and the Nexus 7 has 216 ppi, or pixels per inch.  Under the microscope, though, they look pretty identical.



    BONUS: Kindle Fire HD v iPad 4th Generation with Retina Display Pixel Comparison


    Pixels under Microscope: Kindle fire HD v iPad 4 with Retina Display from www.repairlabs.com

    Surprisingly similar: Kindle Fire HD at 254ppi and the Retina Display at 264ppi


    Here’s the real kicker. Our blue ribbon winner for pixel size and density is the Kindle Fire HD. If you were paying attention to ppi from above, with 254 pixels per inch, it’s barely distinguishable from the drool-worthy iPad Retina Display of the 3rd and 4th gen iPads. That’s right, kids. Kindle Fire HD has a WAY better display and is $130 cheaper than then iPad mini.  However, the Nexus 7 isn’t far behind at 216ppi.




    Granted, there are loads of other factors to consider in addition to simple pixel density to determine just how good a screen is. You must take into account viewing angle, color saturation, screen reflectance, color gamut, contrast and the depth at which the images seem to land on the glass of the displays. Some of these are intangibles are not easy to quantify or measure. But out of sheer pixel density and viewed up close, we can see a clear winner: for 7-inch tablets Kindle Fire HD is the best in display and price.


    Pixels under Microscope: Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD from www.repairlabs.com

    And for those of you who like to see a side by side comparison.


    Additional Sources






    by , Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Accessories, iPad Tips, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with 7-inch tablet, screen resolution, screen, Nexus 7, pixel density, Kindle Fire HD, display, pixel, microscope, Retina Display, pixels, iPad mini

  • New iPad 3 Teardown - Overheating?

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on March 20, 2012

    The new iPad has only been out for a few days, and already RepairLabs and others have heard the rumors that it has been overheating.  Not content with the various thermal imaging reports that shows the heat difference, our techs decided to take the new iPad 3 apart and see if we could pinpoint what part of the iPad is heating up.

    We started off our very scientific experiment by turning on both an iPad 2 and the new iPad and setting them to play movies on Netflix.  We took an initial temperature reading of the back of the iPads while they played their respective shows - the iPad 2 ran at 24° C (75° F) and the new iPad 3 ran at 27° C (80° F).  That's roughly a 5° difference within minutes of booting up the two devices and starting their programs.

    At the end of 35-40 minutes of continuous play, the new temperature readings were as follows: iPad 2 holding strong at 25-26° C; iPad 3 shot up to 32-33° C.  That's around 90° F for the iPad 3 after just a few minutes of video use.

    iPad 3 on left (black), iPad 2 on right (white)

    Since the technicians wanted to get to the root of the problem, we cracked open both iPads and took readings of various components.  After several readings, we determined it was the new A5X quad-core processor that was putting out so much heat.  You can see the measuring in the video below.  Our basic findings showed us that the presumably ceramic A5 chip in the iPad 2 runs around 27° C, whereas the new iPad 3 A5X processor was running at 36° C.  In Fahrenheit, the iPad 3 A5X runs 17° hotter than the processor in the iPad 2.  As explained in the video, the chips are made of different materials; we believe the A5 is ceramic, where the A5X is obviously metallic.

    We were not able to replicate the same temperatures that Consumer Reports were getting (up to 116° F), but just holding the new iPad 3 could be noticeably warmer after only a few minutes use, especially if you are holding it right where that A5X sits.


    For those curious, we tested the battery and retina and found while they were warmer than their equivalents on the iPad 2, it was only that A5X chip that was putting out that much of a heat difference.  Keep in mind that the internal temperature was 17° warmer, whereas the back of your housing is only 10° warmer at most.  That means the aluminum housing and a special rubber thermal gasket cut down the heat that makes it to your hand by 7° F.

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Tips, iPad and was tagged with new iPad overheat, iPad 3 overheat, new iPad, iPad 3

  • New iPad Run Down

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on March 7, 2012

    RepairLabs was able to bring you some incredible exclusives on the iPad, and today's news conference confirmed them all.  From the changes to the iPad back housing, camera, and battery, to the availability of the white and black glass options as well as the existence of the iPad home button.  All of them are present on the new iPad, along with many, many more.  Below is a list of the latest features you will have on the new iPad, available for pre-order now and released on March 16.

    1. Retina display - With 3.1 million pixels and a 2048x1536 resolution.  That's greater than HD quality on your portable device.
    2. The iPad will come in black and white options, and will have the home button as before. - One of our exclusives
    3. 4G LTE will be supported on both Verizon and AT&T, but 3G capabilities are available as back up for when you aren't in a 4G area.
    4. No Siri, but there is a voice dictation feature.
    5. The price structures of each GB level and 4G capabilities are the same as they were for the iPad 2.
    6. Quad-core, A5X processor to create those beautiful images quickly.
    7. 1080p video recording, with a 5MP back camera integrated with an illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, and IR filter.  Basically the capabilities you already have on your 4S.
    8. iCloud will now include movies, which is a great integration for the new Apple TV box as well as the iPad.

    The iPad 2 will stay on the market, with a $100 price drop for each of the models.

    While Apple didn't give the new iPad a name, we can easily assume most of us will end up calling it the iPad 3.  What did you think of the news today?  Have you already pre-ordered your new iPad?

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Tips, iPad and was tagged with iPad 3 release date, new iPad, iPad 3

  • iPad 3 Rumor Round-up

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on March 5, 2012

    iPad 3 Back Case


    It's only a couple of days until the presumed iPad 3 announcement, and RepairLabs has been monitoring all of the chatter closely.  We've detailed some of the biggest rumors for you below, and you can follow our Twitteraccount and blog Wednesday for updates during the Apple press conference at 1ET/10PT.

    1. In the scoop that broke open the iPad 3 rumor floodgates, we got exclusive images of the iPad 3 back case.  These pictures told us that the iPad 3 will have a very similar but thicker back housing, with an upgraded camera, more battery, and a different logic board shape.  We confirmed these when we received the iPad 3 back housing in our repair center.
    2. The iPad 3 will have an upgraded retina display, most likely with a 2048x1536 resolution.  That's double the resolution of the iPad 1 or 2.
    3. The iPad 3 is rumored to support 4G LTE service and speeds.
    4. Largely unsupported, some rumors are claiming the new iPad will have a quad-core processor.
    5. Siri is meant to be available.
    6. In another RepairLabs scoop, the iPad 3 will come in white and black options and will include the home button, contrary to some recent speculation based on Apple's event invitation.
    7. The iPad 2 will be kept on the sales ranks, but at a lower, more affordable price bracket.
    8. Apple is rumored to be developing a new case that will protect both the front and aluminum back of the iPad, specifically for the iPad 3.

    Of course the skeptics will say all of the information we and other tech sties have received is obviously some grand ploy from Apple to keep the real information out of our hands.  We for one know that are sources are credible and are bringing us real information and parts.  While many of the rumors, including the 4G LTE and the quad-core processor, are a little more far-fetched, most of them would be part of a natural progression from the iPad 2.

    The last bit of information that we are all waiting for Apple to confirm is the name of the iPad.  After last fall's iPhone 4S versus iPhone 5 upset, many are wondering if Apple will call this the iPad 3, the iPad 2S (less likely), or the much-reported iPad HD.  For most of us, the name is not as important as the guts inside, and that was proved with record-breaking sales of the iPhone 4S in October.  If this new iPad is branded iPad HD or 2S, there will be a bit of backlash, a bit of wonderment, and then everyone will line up to buy it anyway.

    Tell us, what rumors are you hoping comes true with the announcement this Wednesday, and what are you going to upgrade?

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Accessories, iPad Tips, iPad Rumors, iPad and was tagged with iPad 3 glass, iPad 3 back housing, iPad 3 back case, iPad 3 announcement, iPad 3 rumors, iPad 3

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