Choosing a smartphone is no longer as simple as it used to be. We now find ourselves scrutinizing over every single detail in a smartphone. This is not bad, every piece of the puzzle matters, but we are starting to see manufacturers adding unnecessary specs just to get attention.
I call these hype-builders. Manufacturers announce them and people go nuts. Here are some examples of this phenomenon: “OMG it has a 72-core processor!”, “wait, it comes with a heart-rate sensor?” and the newest “it has a QHD 2560x1440p display!”.
A new breed of HD smartphone displays
Full HD 1080p displays are currently the standard in smartphone technology. All high-end smartphones have them, and lower-end devices are looked down upon if they don’t sport at least a 720p screen.
What’s next? Of course, packing the resolution of four 720p displays into one 5 or 6-inch smartphone. Manufacturers like LG, OPPO, Samsung and others are already planning on putting QHD displays in upcoming smartphones.
The most popular is probably the LG G3 right now, which is to be announced next month with a 2560x1440p display.
Is more than 1080p really necessary?
It was a big step to move into 720p displays some years ago. We could finally have smartphone displays with the same definition as some 32-inch televisions out there? It was insane and made screens that much more vibrant.
Then we started moving into 1080p smartphone displays, which are a good jump. It took mobile screens from very good to amazing, but that is the problem. 1080p displays in smartphones continue to be amazing. Even in those 5.5 to 6-inch behemoths most people believe to be too large!
Now compare it to the larger form factors. You will find a huge difference between 1080p and higher resolutions in a large TV, but even in 27-inch monitors QHD resolution is outstanding. In fact, Apple’s Thunderbolt Display has a 2560x1440p resolution, and it is known for its high definition and quality.
Will our eyes even notice that? Below, I will show you an image of a a 4K UHD tablet. Its screen measures 10.1 inches. I took the image at MWC 2014… with a macro lens.
I know that 4K UHD is higher than QHD, but pixels will be jut as compressed in a 5.5-inch smartphone (if not more). Look at the details in the weapon! And I get really close, filling the photo frame with just the corner of the tablet – again, with a 10-inch screen! Will your eye be able to notice that, if you get as close as I did with the camera?
It’s just not worth it… for multiple reasons.
Why higher resolution displays actually HURT your experience
This is the part many users probably won’t even consider. We always want to improve, and if there is even the slightest noticeable change with a QHD display – why not just add it?
Trust me, I am a fan of high resolution and most times can actually tell the difference, even if the screen is small. I would be right with you if things were that simple, but these super high definition screens are resource hogs.
Because the smartphone (or tablet) would be trying to power all those extra pixels, your device will struggle a bit more with its components. The processor and GPU will have to work much harder, meaning your battery life will also suffer from this.
Yes, maybe they can design a processor that can handle the display and other processes. Maybe they can get a bigger battery. At the end of the day, if you leave the same specs and change the display for a 1080p one, your phone will perform better and last longer. There is no way around that.
Do you think a QHD resolution, that is hardly noticeable, is worth that much? Call me crazy, but I am more than happy with a 1080p display, as long as my display is no bigger than a tablet’s.