One feature for smartphones and cellular devices may be the resolution of the screen. The bigger the resolution, the richer the image being displayed. A high-resolution display will come in handy for entrepreneurs on-the-go, if they have to review projects on the phones or share creative materials with clients while on the highway.
But at what point does an excessive amount of resolution become, well, an excessive amount of? For instance, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo recently launched its new flagship smartphone — the Find 7. These devices includes a ridiculously high-resolution “2K” display.
For the uninitiated, this implies the Find 7’s display could have a 2560 x 1440 resolution, or half of the Ultra High-Definition “4K” standard. Sounds amazing, right? But you don’t need that lots of pixels on your own smartphone?
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When Apple introduced the apple iphone 4 4 this year 2010, the business coined a clever new marketing term to spell it out the device’s high-resolution screen: Retina display. Apple’s claim was that the display packed as much pixels per square inch as the eye was with the capacity of discerning from a typical viewing distance. For a smartphone viewed at 8 inches, Apple said the magic number was 300 pixels per inch (ppi). The apple iphone 4 4 boasted a 3.5-inch, 960 x 640 screen — best for a 326 ppi density. Apple said any other thing more will be overkill.
Almost four years later Apple still stands by its Retina-based claims. As the displays on the existing generation iPhone 5C and 5S have increased in proportions to 4 inches, their ppi holds at 326.
Competitors have pressed beyond the Apple-defined limits of the eye, however. Last year’s flagship phones from HTC, LG, Samsung and others sport full 1080p (1920 x 1080) displays with pixel densities well above 400 ppi. And there’s Oppo’s Find 7 at 2,000.
The Find 7 includes a massive 5.5-inch display with a complete “2K” resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. That computes to a sensational 538 ppi. And — understand this — the Find 7 actually isn’t the first 2K smartphone to launch. Lesser-known Chinese company Vivo’s Xplay 3S was introduced last December sporting a 6-inch 2K display with 490 pixels per inch.
That’s still well beyond mere Retina territory.
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But does packing that lots of pixels right into a smartphone even change lives? Larger displays need higher resolutions to look sharp. Just as a 70-inch flat panel TV looks terrible when you play standard definition content onto it, a 6-inch smartphone won’t look so hot running at lower resolutions like 720p. And as Apple said, viewing distance matters: The closer you possess your phone to your eyes, the more readily you’ll have the ability to discern individual pixels. So if you’re attracted to larger screens and have a tendency to hold them quite near that person, you’ll want a phone with a higher ppi.
Here’s the rub: All this is mostly moot if you don’t have 20/20 vision or darn near it. And pushing more pixels is greater strain on a device’s processor and battery. In order that 2K display have to be backed by a smartphone that’s packing a significant CPU and a huge battery to keep it running. Much like the majority of things in life, regulations of diminishing returns pertains to smartphone screens: A 2K display is useless if the battery powering it has run dead.
This may be why industry giant Samsung disappointed some hardcore fans when it revealed its new flagship model late last month. The Galaxy S5 “only” sports a 1080p resolution, not the 2K panel some were longing for. Maybe Samsung decided enough was enough and chosen battery life over pixel count. For the present time, anyway.
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