One of the key specifications we use to judge a smartphone is its display – what is its resolution and what is its pixels-per-inch, or ppi. Apple long touted (and still does, for some reason) its infamous Retina Display of 326ppi and so named because the average human eye, or retina, cannot discern differences over 300ppi, so Apple thought it was safe to stop at 1136×640 resolution and 326ppi, beyond any human recognition. That figure has long been blown out of the water by every other manufacturer making displays and smartphones.
The next generation of smartphones jumped to a 1270×720 screen resolution and approximately 294ppi, as an example, the 5-inch Motorola Droid MAXX or Droid Ultra. This was the standard in 2012 and offered a beautiful display, but the competition being what it is in the technology industry, we quickly jumped to the next generation of displays.
Representing that next generation of 1920×1080 resolutions, we have the Samsung Galaxy S4, at 441ppi and the Galaxy Note 3, even with a 5-7-inch screen has a 386ppi, that far surpasses the old Retina Display standard. Above they compare an HTC One's 468ppi, and you can see the tremendous upgrade from the 326ppi standard. However in the race to impress us with numbers we are now reading about the next generation of displays.
Just this past week we did an article on a new 2560×1440 display from Japan Display company with a whopping 543ppi and now word is that Vivo is also working on their own 2560×1400, 515ppi display for in their new Vivo Xplay 3S smartphone. Make no mistake, whether our eyes can discern the difference or not, this next generation of displays will probably hit the U.S. phones in the latter part of 2014 or in 2105.
This begs the question, do we need such a display – will we really be able to tell a difference from the distance that we normally view a display, and what about the increased drain on our precious battery life? Certainly, when magnified like the above photos, we can easily see a difference, but in everyday usage, is it worth the extra expense, because these displays will come at a price, and the extra battery drain. Now throw in the recent flexible displays we are seeing from both Samsung and LG, and the manufacturers will have a lot of decisions to make about trade-offs, because we always have those.
Let us know in the comments or on Google+ what your feelings are on displays – have we reached a good display resolution or do you really feel that we need over 500ppi.