Should the pixel density of smartphones' screens go higher than 1080p?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Beeplance, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Beeplance macrumors 65816

    Beeplance

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    #1
    With many high-end smartphones adopting 1080p Full HD display nowadays, it is only a matter of time before such a dense screen pixel technology becomes mainstream & common for most phones in the future.

    Personally, I am contented with 1080p displays for smartphones around 5.5" or less, & I don't think there's a need to further increase the pixel density of screens in the future. Some people have even gone to the extent of suggesting that smartphones will have 4K displays soon, which I think is unnecessary & unrealistic.

    Hence, I would like to hear the opinions of forumers here & what do you guys think about this. Do you think 1080p displays are sufficient or do you think it should be better? The only possible innovation in smartphone screen technology I can possibly think of is IGZO, within the next year or so, but that's about it. What do you guys think?
     
  2. Explicitic macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Smartphone screen resolutions will undoubtedly get higher as technology advances. You can't expect anything in this industry to stay the same for long. 4k WILL at some point get to smartphone displays, just not for a long time, when it finally replaces 1080p as the standard for monitors and TVs. Then we'll have 8k, 16k, whatever...as ridiculous as it sounds. This would all be invalid, though, if some some new device is invented that replaces phones...

    The next innovation with screen technology for me is flexible displays. As unlikely as it sounds currently, I love the idea of being able to fold a tablet into a phone and unfolding a phone into a tablet. With flexible batteries coming, all they need to do is find a way to get all the other components in such a device and figure out how to make it work...
     
  3. Beeplance thread starter macrumors 65816

    Beeplance

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    #3
    But the whole point of increasing pixel density is so that everything looks seamless & we can't see pixels no matter how close we look. Isn't 1080p already good enough? How is developing 4K pixels for a tiny smartphone screen relevant? O_O
     
  4. Explicitic macrumors 6502

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    #4
    It's not about whether we are able to discern the pixels or not. It's about the evolution of technology, or even marketing if you want to look at it that way. You say the next big thing is IGZO. Then what's after that? It'll be a continuous stream of the same thing offering a few minutes more battery life than its predecessor. That is the battery's job.

    1080p is more than enough currently, especially for average consumers, but that's just my take. I'm a bit of a spec geek so...
     
  5. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Imagine being able to take a magnifying glass to a screen like you can anything else. That would be legit.
     
  6. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #6
    If we can't discern pixels just over 300 pixel per inch, then yes arguably things like the HTC One's 470ppi is overkill....

    Fine 4K for TV - though given that BluRay hasn't taken off as much as DVD and most folks are still watching DVD, and SD streaming programmes - I'm not convinced even 4K TV broadcasts will be the massive leap the electronics industry hopes. 3D is a positive failure.

    I'll be fine if we can keep 300+ ppi and focus on delivering performance and battery life enhancements over just outdoing each other with a higher PPi number which we can't tangibly benefit from to any great extent.
     
  7. PerfectDB macrumors regular

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    #7
    I can't see them going any higher. The jump to from 720p to 1080p was to ensure that devices over 5" maintained a PPI above the magic 300 mark, plus it means every flagship has th same resolution, which goes some way to addressing the issue of Andriods fragmentation.
     
  8. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #8
    No, and 4k is POINTLESS on a screen that size.

    4k video is for things like 80" televisions (and larger), projectors, etc.


    Whether you're doing 720p, 1080p or 4k video on a screen about 4-5 inches in size, you aren't going to be able to tell the difference; all you're going to be doing is wasting battery driving more pixels.


    There IS a point of diminishing returns in terms of pixel density, and mobile screens have surpassed it.

    ----------

    I already have pinch to zoom. NO magnifying glass required.
     
  9. Fireblade macrumors 65816

    Fireblade

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    #9
    Not true, I do notice a difference between 720p vs 1080p.

    4K is another story, I don't expect any advantages over 1080P.
     
  10. kokhean macrumors regular

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  11. 0dev macrumors 68040

    0dev

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    #11
    The reason Blu-ray isn't as big as DVD is because more people are downloading and streaming their media these days, not because people don't want higher resolution.

    I think 4K on a big TV will be awesome, but on a phone it's pretty pointless. Won't stop companies from doing it anyway though.
     
  12. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    #12
    agreed. I have not owned a dvd/blueray player in 3 years b.c of streaming services. Also, 4k is nowhere near ready to be on a phone when it cost $10 K on a TV. They won't hit mainstream until the price goes way day. You can buy 50" TVs for under $900
     
  13. Fernandez21 macrumors 68040

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    #13
    I hope so, though i think 4k should be the end as far as smartphones are concerned. The human eye can certainly distinguish higher than 300 ppi, dont buy into apple's marketing. True retina display is around 900 ppi. Also, currently you may not be able to distinguish individual pixels, but your surely capable of distiguishing more detail, which a higher ppi would allow. It also crosses the uncanny valley of items looking real vs being projected on a screen.

    That being said, i hope for the time being battery and performance should be of a higher priorty.
     
  14. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #14
    Well said, and I completely agree.
     
  15. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    #15
    4k broadcast is many moons away. TV is not even broadcasted in 1080p yet.

    I am pretty sure "retina" is a made up term by apple, so there is not a real PPI that can be associated with retina.
     
  16. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #16
    Since many people can easily discern more than 300 PPI and it's dependent on distance, we're not at overkill yet.

    300 PPI is just the number quoted for average eyes at a foot away.

    Get closer or have better eyes, and far more PPI is needed.
     
  17. Fernandez21 macrumors 68040

    Fernandez21

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    #17
    Of course it is a term coined by apple. I meant it as a way to convey what people call a display that matches what your eye can see. There are still debates on what a "true" retina display would be, but the range on what most experts argue about is between 600 and 1200 ppi.
     
  18. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030

    ReallyBigFeet

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    #18
    This.

    There's a theory popularized amongst a variety of tech analysts that the push to larger screens was not, in fact, to meet consumer demand. Instead, it was in response to need for bigger batteries to satisfy the 3G and (later) 4G data consumption and the higher battery drains required of same. The push for bigger screens came about solely to accommodate larger batteries in the body of the phones which drove increase in CPU and graphics processors needed to drive the bigger screens which, in turn, negated some of the excess capacity brought about by these larger batteries. What you ended up with is effectively the same performance per stored KW today as 6 years ago when 3" screens were the norm.

    I'm not sure there is an absolute limit to demand for ever-increasing pixel density for displays. Whatever we say is THE limit is typically exceeded by some new tech innovation. But power consumption, and the battery tech to fuel same, remains the upper limit for practicality and the magic tradeoff between "Way cool!" and "Where's the effing charger?"

    I'm old enough to remember one of my early luggable PC's, an Amstrad PPC. It was "Way cool!" given that it gave me a full keyboard with a modem on board and a usable screen. And it ran on D-cells rather than the pricey lead rechargables. Of course, it only lasted an hour or so on battery power.
     
  19. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #19
    "Retina" was newly coined by Apple, but there is a well known factor behind it.

    You see, it's the same calculation used to determine "print quality" as being 300 DPI at 1 foot away.

    So why didn't Apple just use "print quality" instead? Probably because there had already been such smartphone displays back in 2007 when the first iPhone came out... and they had already used that term in their ads.

    It's a dumb theory. I think Gruber started it.

    Without any technical or historical backup, he suggested that screens got bigger to accommodate bigger batteries that would someday be needed for LTE. As he put it, "What I’m saying is, if LTE’s current chipset sizes and power requirements are not forcing handset makers to go with these bigger-than-4-inch display form factors, then where are the 3.5-inch display iPhone-sized Android (or Windows) phones that support LTE?"

    First off, it makes no sense to add more power requirement with a larger screen if you're trying to save battery.

    Moreover, is he suggesting that Apple increased the screen size of the iPhone 5 just to have a bigger battery for LTE?

    If anything, he got it backwards. LTE came first to the flagship phones, which ALREADY HAD big screens. Heck, maybe even they got LTE first because they also already had big batteries. But the idea that they grew their display size in anticipation of LTE is silly.
     
  20. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020

    TacticalDesire

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    #20
    Do we need it? No. Will it? Yes. At some point.
     
  21. Cod3rror macrumors 68000

    Cod3rror

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    #21
    IMO even 1080p is pointless. 720p is perfect, it's not like phones will continue to get bigger to require 1080p.
     
  22. Stuntman06 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    There is nothing magical about the 300 PPI mark. It's just a number that Apple marketing came up with when they released the iPhone 4. It has been proven that the human eye can distinguish pixels higher than this pixel density when viewing from a foot away.
     
  23. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Pinch to zoom only goes in so far...
     
  24. APlotdevice macrumors 68040

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    #24
    FWIW, folding and flexible displays will almost certainly start to enter the mainstream before or, at most, around the same time as 4k. And once phone manufacturers break the rigidity barrier we could start to see phones will screens the same size as tablets today... maybe even bigger.
     
  25. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

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    #25
    No, 1080P 400ppi displays are ridiculous.

    Somewhere around 350ppi mark is more than 95% of the population can detect. Tinier aperture require exponentially more backlight and thus more power.

    This is an instance where an increase in a spec hurts other more critical specs for a mobile device.
     

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