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Display Quality: Color Gamut

Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101: A Tablet In Disguise

Previous Android-based tablets that passed through our lab used VA panels (Xoom and Iconia A500). Asus, on the other hand, chose to equip its tablet with a 1280x800 IPS panel featuring ~150 PPI (pixels per inch). That's slightly better than the 1024x768 IPS panel on both iPads (132 PPI).

Asus Eee Pad Transformer: LCD Color Gamut (S-IPS)

Even though mobile operating systems don't honor ICC color profiles, native color management does occur at the hardware level. When a GPU sends 10 different hues of blue to an LCD only capable of displaying three, the subpixels display the closest matching color. So, in a way, smartphones and tablets behave as if they’re using relative colorimetric rendering. For more information, read Tom's Hardware Benchmarks Inkjet Printer Paper!

The Transformer's IPS panel under-performs both iPads in just about every area, except blue and magenta production. Though, we should point out that Asus seems to be the only tablet that offers an impressive maximum brightness of 400 cd/m2. If you enjoy high-luminance displays, this tablet is a standout.

Understand that these gamut measurements are preceded by a couple of caveats. First, we're disabling dynamic brightness because it doesn’t allow us to get an accurate (or reproducible) measurement of the display’s potential. Second, brightness is set to the highest value. If you don't use the same settings, your color gamut is going to look smaller than what we're showing here.

The Eee Pad Transformer has a poor contrast ratio due to its inability to achieve deep blacks. However, color temperature is what really aggravates color quality. At 8400 K, whites have a slightly bluish tint, which is going to annoy anyone with a tendency to be picking about color accuracy.

Understand that gamma doesn't affect black or white performance, but it does affect midtones. If gamma is set too high, the midtones appear too dark. If it's set too low, they're too pale. Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft all recommend a gamma of 2.2. It's an arbitrary value carried over from the NTSC standard, but it was originally chosen because it allows colors to appear more natural in slightly dim environments. While the Eee Pad Transformer has a high-luminance display, it's gamma value is ironically better-suited to well-lit environments.

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