Do We Really Need 1080p Displays on Mobile Phones?

In the last few months many 1080p Smartphone came in to market, especially in CES. Previously I discussed about Oppo Find 5, HTC Droid DNA and Sony Xperia Z. Those devices are actually creating a new generation of Smartphone.

Here I’m not trying to talk about more 1080p Smartphone. I’m trying to build up a discussion on increasing screen size and resolution of latest Smartphone. Do we really need it? Is it a result of the cold war between Apple and Android world? Let’s go and take a closer look.


Story of Retina Display

Apple was always ahead of time when it comes to display resolution. You can see it in their iMac, MacBook Pro and even in iPad. The original idea of Retina Display came in to the market with iPhone 4. if you take a look at iPhone 3GS’s display it’s pixel density is 165 ppi. Apple increases it drastically in iPhone 4 to 330 ppi.

In that level of pixel density you can’t distinguish pixels in normal viewing distance which is somewhere between 10 -15 inches. Later on many other Smartphone manufactures came up with super sharp displays which have more than 300 ppi of pixel density, by definition they are also retina displays.

If you take a look at latest 5 inch 1080p mobile display they have roughly 440 ppi of pixel density. So definitely you won’t be able to distinguish pixels. You may call it super retina displays.

In human eye, closest focus distance is roughly 3 inches. If you take a retina display that close to the eye, you will be able to distinguish pixels. If you do the same test with a super retina display, still you can’t see distinct pixels. In other words you have no way to see separate pixels with naked human eye.


Major Disadvantage of 1080p 5 Inch Displays

After reading above you must be having a wow feeling about super retina displays. But everything comes with a price. They are power hungry and drains out the battery in no time. After all there is nothing to be surprised of. They wrap up same amount of pixels as HD TV in your living room.

Finally, Do We Really Need It?

Pixel density of the display has nothing to do with color reproduction or level of contrast. Those are defined by display technology and quality of individual pixels. Pixel density is only about the sharpness of displays.

To identify the difference between retina display and super retina display you have to take it very close to your eye, like 3 -4 inches. It’s very unlikely in general usage. Can you imagine someone using a huge Smartphone holding it few inches away from nose?

For that the price we have to pay is poor battier life or huge and heavier batteries.

Yes, we need good processors, massive storage, and sharp displays in Smartphone. But 1080p 5 inch displays have gone way beyond actual user needs and even beyond capabilities of human eye. In return one of the most important factors, battery life is compromised.

This is clearly a result of cold war between Smartphone manufactures and just to make the specification looks good. So of you have a plan to buy a 1080p Smartphone, think twice.

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3 Responses to "Do We Really Need 1080p Displays on Mobile Phones?"

  1. lyndon says:

    Yes i need it.

  2. Josh K says:

    No you do not need it, manufacturers make you think you need it but you do not. if you look at 1080p displays under a microscope then you may think you need 4K displays on phones. so no past 720p you do not really need it unless you have a 5.6+ inch screen as only then you can see pixels without looking for them at a normal distance.

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