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  • So, are you ready for 4K smartphone screens? Qualcomm believes you should be and here's why

So, are you ready for 4K smartphone screens? Qualcomm believes you should be and here's why

Posted: , by Paul.K

So, are you ready for 4K smartphone screens? Qualcomm believes you should be and here's why
Is 4K way too much for smartphone screens? Most would say so – a large part of the consumer base does not even deem QHD (2560 x 1440) as a necessity, many finding it hard to discern a noticeable image sharpness increase, while techies who love to spend more time on their mobile device often argue that they prefer the now standard 1080p resolution and longer battery life, instead of having their batteries be sucked up by a bucketload of extra pixels.

Still, it seems that 4K is coming and it may be a mainstream thing, too, instead of an extravagant feature for a limited amount of phones. Sure, when we first heard about Sharp readying up a 4K phone display panel, that didn't mean that the rest of the industry will be so quick to follow. But now, Qualcomm has stepped up to back the 4K movement, and claims that it firmly believes that Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160) will be the pixel count of choice for 2015's premium smartphones.

But what is Qualcomm's reasoning? Well, first, the company does not entirely agree with the "Retina Display" concept, in a sense that it believes that the human eye can actually discern pixels, at a 10-inch distance, with densities much higher than 300 PPI – up to 573, to be exact. Then, there is "vernier acuity" – the human brain's ability to distinguish the relative alignment of two line segments. Vernier acuity allows the mind to perceive an offset between two line segments, even if said offset is smaller than a single retina photoreceptor. In other words, as screens get more pixels, we won't be able to "see" the images getting sharper and more detailed, but should "feel" them to look better. Furthermore, UHD may be overkill on a 5” screen, giving it a staggering 881 PPI, however, on a 10” tablet, it will result in 440 PPI, which, while still pretty high, isn't something we are not used to seeing on today's QHD smartphones.

Aside from the screens, Qualcomm also believes that smartphones need to have a natural 4K resolution for yet another reason – interconnectedness with high-quality TVs and monitors. Since 4K video capture on smartphone cameras is now a thing, and its availability is only expected to increase, it's natural to expect that, in the near future, a lot of user-generated media will be in UHD. This will, in turn, drive the adoption of 4K for all types of screens to slowly take over the consumer device ecosystem, and it would only make sense to not exclude the smartphones from said ecosystem, and give them the same resolution screens.

At least, that's what Qualcomm's reasoning is. What's your take on that?

source: Qualcomm

  • Options

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:07 7

1. sipha (Posts: 434; Member since: 12 May 2012)

I am..

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:23 8

11. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Make it affordable and I'm in.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:36 3

26. junaidahmed (Posts: 103; Member since: 04 Sep 2014)


posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:40 3

27. ahomad (Posts: 175; Member since: 15 May 2012)

Well they need to improve their GPU before asking for more pixles, Their GPU used to be one of the best now it is one of the worst, Apple, Tegra and Samsung (the main competitors) have much better GPUs. if we took Tegra as an example, it was far behind adreno till last year where they almost caught up and this year's K1 is well ahead of Adreno 420 even though it was released earlier.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:11 13

2. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1442; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Well I honestly don't think 4k a necessary. I still prefer 1080p. I don't want Battery,CPU,GPU sucking display.(but that's just me).

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:16 7

5. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1442; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

But it is nice for big tablets. May be 10" and above.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:21 2

9. vincelongman (Posts: 4425; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

I want 4K or 5K for my monitor, TV, laptop/hybrid, and VR
But I'm happy with 2K(FHD or QHD) for my phone

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 09:40 2

37. dimas (Posts: 2131; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

Same here. I don't enjoy watching movies in mobile phones so high definition displays should be left to home entertainment and workstations.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:18

22. jack123 (Posts: 188; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)

Come on, he has to say positive about 4k, and if any wrong speaking his butt will be on fire just like the guy that said about 64 bit cpu on mobile is a gimmick.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 07:09

28. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

What is the point of 4k screen when there aren't too many content to stream it. Beside, to stream 4k content, you'll need about steady of 15mbps down speed which that would force you to be on wifi or you'll need a good carrier speed with almost unlimited plan. Otherwise, it will eat up your data plan. Everyone wants better screen resolution, but when you look at a 5"-6" screen at the distance less than two feet.... you are not going to notice too much. However, I am all for 2k/4k on larger tablets.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 08:18

33. Dee79 (Posts: 281; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)

Comments like yours have become boring since they said they are gonna bring 1080p to the table.

Moving on....

Yup im definitely ready, being it on!!!

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:11 9

3. skyline88 (Posts: 458; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)

for 7" - 12" tablets, yes.

for smartphones, 1080p is more than enough.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:17 4

7. trung_ero (Posts: 38; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)

Yeah I agree with you! 1080p is enough for a smartphone

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:31 4

15. Settings (Posts: 1591; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)

Yeah 1080p is enough for a 5 inch phone but OEMs wont listen anyway. They would up their screens and race for battery life still pursues.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:13 6

4. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1442; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

And in my opinion Qualcomm should up their game in CPU,GPU. I heard many reports/news in which were snapdragon 805 drops fps in some graphics intensive games.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:24

12. vincelongman (Posts: 4425; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Yep the A8X & K1 destroy the 805 for gaming

The 810 will catch up with the A8X & K1
But then the A9X & M1 will be released soon after the 810

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:12 1

21. UglyFrank (Posts: 1651; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)

The S805s GPU isn't far behind the A8s GPU but they do need to step it up.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 15:22

52. alaw.14 (Posts: 227; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)

Yea it isnt far behind on a 1440p screen. On a 1080p screen it should be equal or even slightly surpass it. The a8=166 gflops, adreno 420=173 gflops, mali t760 mp6=203 gflops, a8x=230 gflops, tegra k1=324 gflops.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:16 5

6. cezarmed2 (Posts: 69; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

4K makes sense for 10 inch tablets or higher,not for 5 inch phones. You can't possibly see a pixel on 400 ppi.

4k resolution for phones comes only with disadvantages: it will cost more, it will drain your battery faster and it will need better CPU which also cost more and surprise : it will be produce by Qualcom.

My honest opinion.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:18 2

8. ManusImperceptus (Posts: 724; Member since: 10 Jun 2014)

And 4K video capture for viewing on tv sets necessitates 4K displays on smartphones... why?

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:22 2

10. karim77 (Posts: 70; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)

Why?!!!!!!! This is just plain ridiculous, 1080 was enough and 2k is more than enough !!!!!

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:24 1

13. vincelongman (Posts: 4425; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

1080p is 2K as well (2K is any res with about 2000 horizontal pixels)

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:31 1

14. Birds (Posts: 1157; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

Even though I don't think it's a big deal, I can see pixels on just about every phone, sub QHD resolution from a normal viewing distance but I have very sharp eyesight. At the same time, it isn't much of a bother because my phone has a qHD screen and that's more than enough pixels considering I don't use my phone LMAO. But in all honesty, if you do more reading than video watchng on phones. higher resolution screens make sense, but 1080p is more than enough, overall.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 12:04 1

41. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)

Keep looking at your screen all day and your eyesight will be sh*t by 30.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:38 1

16. Andrewtst (Posts: 633; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

Tablet shall be in 4K. For phone which 2K is more than enough.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:41 2

17. jopancy (Posts: 74; Member since: 25 Apr 2012)

If only they could improve battery life. Why can't they make phones that last 5 days on a single charge? Phhhhhhhh!!

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 05:44 2

18. Bozzor (Posts: 176; Member since: 02 May 2012)

4K is technically possible soon, but if the price we pay is crappy battery life (and lets face it,. even at 1080p, so many phones barely last a day), then maybe we may need to wait a little longer before efficiencies in screens, CPU and greater energy density in battery makes the balance more sensible.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:06

19. DeusExCellula (Posts: 1106; Member since: 05 Oct 2014)

Overkills. The UHD kills battery life and wastes resources. I think that was why the Xperia Z3 had such a great battery life and maintain such a thin profile. Not to say that Sony's battery technology isn't top notch. Unlike the LG G3, Note 4, and Droid turbo(just to name a few, I know theres more), the Z3 has a 1080p screen instead of QHD. I think this is what allowed its battery life to blow away the competition. Now yes the Droid Turbo has a longer battery life but look how thick the phone is and how big the battery is.. A 3900 mAh battery vs a 3100 mAh battery. UHD is just going to be an even bigger resource drain.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 08:11

31. roldefol (Posts: 4242; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

And if you look at the GPU side of things, the Snapdragon 805/Adreno 420 should crush the 801/Adreno 330, but instead it's just keeping up with the extra pixels. So is this what we're setting ourselves up for? Keeping framerates at 20 fps and just increasing the resolution? That's not how PC gaming got where it is today.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 12:02 2

40. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)

The idea is to make sure the device is NOT future proof.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:11

20. anandhts4u (Posts: 5; Member since: 14 Aug 2012)

whats after 4K in screen display technology?

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:24 2

24. mschmal (Posts: 18; Member since: 01 Sep 2011)

Direct neuron inducement to the cerebral cortex? I'm sure the surgery for the implant will be a roadblock for most people though.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 08:16 1

32. roldefol (Posts: 4242; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

Can they tunnel in behind the eye? I don't want anyone drilling into my skull, but maybe I can bundle the neural implant with LASIK.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:19

23. Micah007 (Posts: 254; Member since: 09 Oct 2014)

Bring it on.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 06:29 3

25. JunitoNH (Posts: 1783; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

What about a phone that last at least three full days, external storage, and great connectivity. I really don't mind a 720p, I can deal with that, charging phone every five hours, now that's annoying.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 09:35 1

36. dimas (Posts: 2131; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

This comment just gave me an idea to write suggestion to Nokia. Since they're planning to go back as android handsets, I'm sure they're open to consumer suggestions. The king of phones will be revived by the voice of the people.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 07:29

29. wilky (Posts: 22; Member since: 30 Jun 2014)

It won't stop at 4K, by about 2017 we start hearing about 8K displays with close to 2000 ppi on a 5" smartphone that if 5" smartphones are still around by then, most likely the standard size will be 5.5" & phablets creeping over the 6" mark. :/

I personally think they should have stopped at 1080p, which is more than good enough for any smartphone, and concentrate on better battery life & performance.

I remember the old days back in early 2000's when a mobile phone battery would last you more than 3 days on a single charge & upto a week if not constantly used.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 07:39 2

30. LAKAME_MAN (Posts: 46; Member since: 31 Jan 2013)

Goddammit there are so many other aspects that need improvement in smartphones and all they care about is the screen resolution.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:30

49. e8ght (Posts: 21; Member since: 25 May 2013)

very well said bro.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 08:46

34. BattleBrat (Posts: 1457; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

virtual reality headset that are powered by your phone would need 4k resolution...

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 09:29 1

35. dimas (Posts: 2131; Member since: 22 Jul 2014)

It's ok. If they continue with 4k displays, I'm just gonna go back buying mid range phones with decent batteries. It's not going to be the end of the world as there are so many device in the market.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 10:38

38. osbert (Posts: 125; Member since: 02 Jul 2014)

Oh, shut up Qualcomm

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 12:00 1

39. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)

Your device has much better battery life when its lower resolution.

Looks at the Z3 Compact.

Honestly I've been saying that resolution greatly impacts battery life for years.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 12:49

42. xfire99 (Posts: 829; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)

Biggest problem, it would be a real battery drainer with 4k screen and battery is much more important than 4k resolution.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 14:25

43. xondk (Posts: 1396; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)

hmm the explination kinda makes a bit sense, though that said I still don't see a reason for it, I would much rather have a 1080p screen with 4x more battery time (screen usage wise) then a 4k screen......

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 14:57

44. GeekMovement (Posts: 2156; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)

I'm still using my 720p Note II display. I have yet to be spoiled with full HD and have not even seen the QHD in person yet. 4k screens? If the performance can still get smoother and battery life increases... sure.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 15:47

45. paulyd0021 (Posts: 18; Member since: 20 Dec 2013)

For phones, no thanks. Aren't there more important things like battery life that companies should be working on? I just bought a Note 4 (2k display), coming from a Galaxy K Zoom (720p display) and 95 percent of the time I can't see any difference in image quality between them. For tablets I can see 4k being useful, but even for phablets it's overkill.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 16:29

46. Furbal (Posts: 980; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

Cant wait for the day when 1080p is standard on cheap laptops. Pushing phone resolution to these should get us there faster...

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 00:36

50. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Qualcomm is a 100 percent right. If you want your phone to be able to replace your desktop, game console, everything, it should be able to run 4k easily. If it can't even run its own screen, how is it supposed to run 4k content on your 4k TV?

If it is optimized for a 1080p screen, then it would run like s**t when mirroring stuff on your 4k TV or it would run 1080p content on your 4k TV. You want everything to push 4k easily eventually and how would you know it could push 4k easily unless it has a 4k screen?

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 00:42

51. kkmkk (Posts: 481; Member since: 06 May 2013)

My Sony experia z2 usually give me a 7.5 hours of screen on time mainly because it does not have a huge number of pixels to push
So why companies sell to us a Qhd smartphone when we actually don't care for the extra useless pixels and we want a phone that gave us around 12 hours screen on time
And to be honest I don't need more than a fhd in a regular smartphone and no more than 2k for a tablet but I'm pretty sure that I need a 4k for my laptop and even 8k for my 50inch TV

posted on 24 Nov 2014, 00:10

53. Dinox (Posts: 9; Member since: 24 Nov 2014)

the more density the screen has, the more it will consume battery.
i don't care about 4k screens that only gives me half day usage...

am also z3 compact user and am happy about all day normal usage.

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