Nook Trounces Kindle Fire, iPad in Screen Test

Dennis Faas's picture

Tablet computers were among this past holiday season's hottest sellers, with many consumers opting for the budget-priced Amazon Kindle Fire or the feature-laden Apple iPad.

A recent test revealed, however, that both these devices fall short when it comes to screen reflectance, making their displays much harder to read than that of the experiment's clear winner: the Barnes & Noble Nook.

The Barnes & Noble Nook launched shortly after Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet and was largely overshadowed by that rival, which costs $50 less ($199). Both the Kindle Fire and the $249 Nook are designed to meet basic needs for tablet usage; however, neither boasts the performance or number of applications available on the Apple iPad ($499 and up).

Nook Display Beats Both iPad and Kindle Fire

Industry expert DisplayMate recently compared all three devices and found that the Nook's display has a "screen reflectance" that is 28 per cent lower than the iPad 2's screen, and a shockingly 70 per cent less reflective than the Kindle Fire's display. (Source:

High screen reflectivity is not a desirable characteristic, because it makes reading the display much more difficult, particularly under bright lighting conditions, such as outdoors on a sunny, clear day.

The findings of this comparison test are considered surprising by many, given that Amazon has boasted its considerable effort to limit the screen reflectivity of its new tablet. (Source:

Screen Reflection Not the Only Problem

Screen reflectivity wasn't the only reason DisplayMate found for giving the Kindle Fire low marks. It also discovered that the device's grey-scale calibration is misconfigured. As a result, brighter images often appear to have less detail than they should. Both the Nook and iPad performed better in this category.

DisplayMate's tests weren't a total disappointment for the Kindle Fire, however. It bested the Nook in white balance levels, which suggests the latter's display renders whites more 'yellow' when compared to the Amazon's tablet's display.

Nook Tablet May Be Worth the Higher Price

Overall, the tests turned out to be a great showing for the Barnes & Noble Nook. DisplayMate found that its display not only beat out the Kindle Fire in screen reflectivity and grey-scale calibration, but it also outdid several big-name high-definition television sets.

To some, this unexpectedly strong performance may make Nook worth the extra $50.

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