Most resolute: phones with the highest pixel density displays
The pixels per inch metric went from obscure to one of the most talked about components of a smartphone display's quality the minute Apple called its iPhone 4 panel Retina Display. It coined the term on account of the factoid that at 320ppi and more, the regular human vision can't discern the individual pixels from the viewing distance you normally hold such a phone. High pixel density makes text crystal clear, removes any icon jaggies, and improves the overall viewing experience.
We've had a rush for ever higher mobile display resolutions ever since, with the Android world quickly catching up, surpassing anything we've seen from any commercially available electronics so far. We are now even pushing to break the 4.7"-6.3" 1080p Full HD display barrier, and we aren't talking phablets only. LG already showcased its 5.5" 1440x2560 pixels panel, which immediately got bested by Japan Display's 5.4" one with the same Quad HD resolution. We are talking 538ppi and 543ppi densities, respectively, easily expecting to break the 500ppi barrier with flagship phones next year.
What about now, though? If the pixel density metric is important for you, we've rounded up some of the best pixel per inch panel counts announced or already lurking in the smartphone world, often going unnoticed amongst the other specs in the sheet. Some of the handpicked puppies in there will surprise you, so take a gander at the slideshow below.
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Slated for release in the winter collection of NTT DoCoMo, the Aquos SH-02F will be the ultimate showcase of Sharp's promising IGZO mobile screen technology that allows you to cram 487 pixels per inch in a 4.5" panel. Yep, Sharp's phone sports 4.5" display diagonal, yet still ekes out a 1080x1920 pixels Full HD tag, which brings this record for a smartphone pixel density.
Notice a trend here? Yep, the smaller the panel is with the same flagship-worthy Full HD 1080p resolution, the larger its pixel density is, so next up is the 4.7" 1080x1920 screen of the HTC One. Besides the 468ppi count, it also sports a very bright and almost perfectly calibrated display.
We'd be remiss not to mention the first phone ever announced with a Full HD screen, and that was the HTC DROID DNA for Verizon, with its 5" 1080x1920 pixels panel and the astonishing for its time 441ppi pixel density.
From the HTC One onward we can put any Full HD 5-incher, as that was the hottest diagonal for 1080p flagships this year, but we'll just handpick a few. The Galaxy S4, with its 441ppi, made it to the list as it was the first phone with a Full HD OLED display, and we know how hard it is to achieve such pixel density with the traditional LCD technology, let alone the fledgling OLED one.
Without a special housing and with a 20 MP camera on the back, the Sony Xperia Z1 certainly deserves a place amongst the highest pixel density phones with the sheer fact that it crams the 441 pixels per inch of its Triluminous display in an IP58-certified waterproof body.
Wager to bet which is the thinnest 441ppi phone out there. Alcatel One Touch Idol X will hardly come to mind, but that's precisely the case. At 6.9mm thin and sporting a 5" 1080x1920 pixels panel, it is the thinnest and lightest Full HD phone out there. At $350 for the dual SIM version it is also the one of the cheapest Full HD handsets you can get, claiming its honorary mention in our most resolute roundup.