We're going high definition, and we're not going back

We're going high definition, and we're not going back

When Apple first unveiled the first iPad Mini last year, the lack of Retina Display left a lot of people disappointed, particularly when most other Apple devices sport the high resolution display.

Sure, the 1024 by 768 resolution (identical to the iPad 2) isn't really that bad on the iPad Mini; bringing the size of the iPad display from 9.7-inch to 7.9-inch actually helped compressed the pixel density to make things look slightly sharper on the mini tablet, but you'd still notice the individual pixels if you look close and hard enough for them (but really, why would you want to do that?)

Of course, this is a non-issue. We're holding the iPad Mini at half-arm's length from our face where we won't be able to determine those pixels at this distance. Text is still readable, while images and videos look fine.

Regardless of the low resolution display, the first iPad Mini still become a hot seller, due to increasing demand for smaller, lighter tablets.

The problem is, once you are so used to looking at Retina Display or other high definition (HD) screens from other devices, it becomes harder to get used to switching different resolutions.

Moving your eyes from a high smartphone sporting a pin-sharp HD 1080p display to a standard resolution iPad Mini makes Apple's mini tablet seem so outdated.

To make matters worse for Apple, rival tablets such as the new Google Nexus 7 released earlier this year has a much higher resolution at 1920 by 1200 pixels and a pixel density of 323 pixels per inch (ppi).

Even the first generation Nexus 7 that was released before the first iPad Mini packed more pixels at 1280 by 800 resolution, and you will notice the big difference in sharpness when put side by side with the iPad Mini's 1024 by 768.

Since then, the Retina Display became the top of everyone's wish list for the next iPad Mini, and two weeks ago, Apple answered its fans' request.

The new iPad Mini now boasts a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536, and that's a lot of pixels for a mini tablet in the market, and makes this model the iPad Mini that people should have gotten last year.

It didn't make sense when Apple didn't include its Retina Display on the first iPad Mini at a time when a lot of mobile devices are getting into the HD bandwagon.

Apple claimed that it wanted to keep the price low and also keep battery consumption low for its first mini tablet.

I figured that even if Apple included the Retina Display earlier on, the iPad Mini would still sell, as there is a huge market for mini-tablets (and consumers expect a good screen).

So why is a high resolution screen such a big deal?

The number one thing we do on a tablet is reading, whether on a browser or an ebook. An HD screen will give you crisper looking text so it gets your mind off from thinking that you're reading from a computer screen due to the visible pixels.

In other words, it simulates a real book or magazine, which makes it much pleasing on the eyes.

My Nexus 7 has served me well in this regard, it has become my main news reader and if I want to read for long durations. The clarity of the text that appears on the screen is a joy to behold.

I'm pretty sure the new iPad Mini with Retina Display looks just as good.

I admit, I'm a purist when it comes to screen resolutions, and I get easily put off by low resolution displays, whether its on a smartphone, tablet, computer monitor and an HDTV (high definition television).

I remember when the first Retina Display iPad (iPad 3) came out, it blew me away. It makes a lot of sense for a tablet to have high resolution displays because of all the reading we do on the device.

High resolution displays also make images, HD videos and gaming look fine and more detailed.

While I agree that HD technology consumes a lot of juice, the battery technology is continuously improving. The iPad Mini with Retina Display maintains an impressive 10 hours of battery life.

The downside for now is that a lot of devices with HD displays are priced at a premium, whereas the mid-range to the bottom end still carry low resolution displays.

The HD display, coupled with a new kind of battery and optimised software to power up that much resolution on a mobile device, doesnt' come cheap.

Over time, as the price of these technologies go down, HD displays will become the standard across all devices, so everyone can benefit from crystal quality screens.

But for now, if you're already spoiled by the HD experience on a mobile device, it's hard to go back to anything that's not HD.

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