If the advent of smartphones 2K resolutions and made little sense, the incorporation of 4K is directly insulting. Just a 60-inch television is able to take advantage of Ultra HD resolution. Much less a 5.5-inch smartphone.
Sony has just launched its Xperia Z5 Premium, terminal excellent in many respects, but with a price tag that places it among the most expensive Android phones currently 799 €. The main reason why this phone reaches that number is on your screen. No smartphone to date has brought such a high resolution like this: 2160 x 3840 pixels, resulting in a density of 806 pixels per inch. A staggering numbers. A pity that, in practice, do not serve much.
Believe half of what you see
This is not a new discussion. The debate over whether higher resolution really means better viewing experience this takes years. The main problem is that many of the arguments you’ll hear on this issue, especially by advocates of “more is better” echo the arguments that manufacturers use in defending their products specifications.
Here is something interesting: the arguments of the manufacturers tend to change over time. Take the example of Huawei, for example, whose CEO Richard Yu said in 2013 that “the eye can not distinguish between Full HD and 2K on a smartphone. It is possible to differentiate between the two, so it’s silly.” Two years after Huawei manufactures alongside Google, the Nexus 6P with 2K resolution on a screen of 5.7 inches.
It is the only manufacturer with a tendency to rectify their arguments. When Apple introduced its Retina display of iPhone 4 326 dpi he said represented a pixel density so high that the human eye could not distinguish. Despite having exceeded the limit of what the eye sees, the iPhone screen 6s Plus now reaches a resolution of 401 dpi.
The resolution of the screen of your smartphone, explained
It was precisely because of these statements by Steve Jobs that scientists came to clarify doubts about what the resolution really means and how it works. One of the clearest explanations was given by Phil Plait in Discover Magazine. This astronomer has worked on projects with NASA and has spent years calibrating the camera aboard the Hubble Space Telescope.
In one of the articles which best explains what is the resolution, Plait argues that this concept we use everyday is not just something that the result of several factors, where the distance comes into play is installed on a screen, but rather eye, pixel size or the sight of everyone. Finally the astronomer concluded that due to all these elements, and in connection with the controversy of the Retina display, the vast majority of the population is unable to distinguish a density greater than 286 dpi at a distance of 30 centimeters pixels. People with perfect vision, representing the minority, can distinguish up to 477 dpi. A 5.5 inch screen qHD resolution, such as the LG G4 brings 534 dpi; if the screen is smaller, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, the proportion increases even more, reaching 577 dpi.
Another name mentioned Plait and often cited when speaking of resolutions screens is Raymond Soneira, director of DisplayMate, a standard used in industry for calibration, optimize and compare types of screens.
In an updated and more recent article, Soneira argues that, although there are some perks in a smartphone screen higher resolution, the limit that the human eye can distinguish is set to 450 dpi. And that’s just for people with 20/20 vision, which only represents 35% of the population.
One more victim in the war of specifications
Why then companies like Samsung, LG and Sony continue to invest resources in developing screens 500, or even rather 800 pixels per inch? Simply because companies need numbers to justify their prices and consumers they need to justify their spending. The resolution is just another way to release figures to make something seem to have better quality of what you have.
It is, in fact, the first time you play with technicalities to make something look better. It is proven that beyond a certain level without the necessary conditions, a higher number of megapixels on the sensor of a smartphone, far from improving the final quality of the image, you can even make it worse.
Beyond ask if you can distinguish the millions of pixels that the screen of your smartphone displays, think if you really going to take advantage of an image showing such a good sharpness as your eye can difereniar. Well, that and if you have 800 euros to spend on a smartphone. That’s important too.