Defying standards: smartphones with weird display resolutions

Defying standards: smartphones with weird display resolutions
Right now, the most common smartphone display resolutions are 720 x 1280 pixels (720p, or HD), 1080 x 1920 pixels (1080p, or Full HD), and 1440 x 2560 pixels (Quad HD). Of course, 480 x 800 pixels (WVGA), 480 x 854 pixels (FWVGA) and 560 x 960 pixels (qHD) also deserve to be mentioned, but these, as you've surely noticed, are rarely used today, and will probably disappear completely in the near future. What will likely not disappear anytime soon (or ever) is weird pixel resolutions. Currently, there are quite a few notable smartphones that feature screens with unusual resolutions, so we're inviting you to check them out below.

In case you're wondering why there aren't any old devices on our list, it's because we're only including handsets that are now available to buy, thus still being relevant. Listed by resolution (from the lowest to the highest):


Launched in September 2013, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have a lot in common with the discontinued iPhone 5 from 2012, including 4-inch screens with 640 x 1136 pixels. This means they offer the same horizontal pixel resolution as the iPhone 4 (2010) and iPhone 4S (2011), though the vertical resolution has been increased by 176 pixels, from 960 to 1136. Likely not a pixel resolution that we'll see on any other smartphone, 640 x 1136 was good enough to keep the iPhone 5 series' 4-inch screens at 326 ppi - a density worthy of the Retina Display name (of course, a Retina Display doesn't really mean much nowadays when it comes to sharpness, as virtually all high-end smartphones have higher pixel per inch densities).



The Lumia 1020 is the oldest smartphone on our list. Released in the summer of 2013, the 1020 can still be bought via Amazon for around $300 (off contract). The handset sports a 4.5-inch AMOLED screen with 768 x 1280 pixels, which translates into a pixel density of 334 ppi. Nokia named this display "PureMotion HD+", since it's got a higher horizontal resolution than regular HD (720 x 1280) screens. Similar displays were used on older Nokia Windows Phone handsets like the Lumia 920, Lumia 925, and Lumia 928. As you may know, the Lumia 1020 was Nokia's 2013 flagship smartphone, being famous for its massive 41 MP PureView rear camera. The 1020 currently runs Windows Phone 8.1, but will soon be updated to Windows 10.



The iPhone 6 continues to walk on the road paved by the iPhone 5 series, as it's got a bigger screen (4.7 inches) with an increased, yet still odd pixel resolution: 750 x 1334. Thanks to this resolution, the display of the iPhone 6 offers the same pixel density as the iPhone 5 (326 ppi), despite the fact that it's 0.7 inches larger.



Available to buy since last year, the BlackBerry Passport is often presented as a weird smartphone, and it's no wonder that we're also including it on this list. The device's square, 4.5-inch display offers an equally square pixel resolution of 1440 x 1440 that will probably never be seen on non-BlackBerry handsets. The wide aspect of the Passport's screen makes the smartphone a good choice for productivity tasks.



A former Meizu flagship smartphone, the MX4 will soon be 1 year old, but it's still a handset that stands out. The MX4 sports a 5.4-inch display with 1152 x 1920 pixels and a 15:9 aspect ratio (rather than the usual 16:9 one). Of course, this means it's got a pixel resolution that's slightly higher than the standard 1080 x 1920, though you won't really notice any difference when comparing the MX4 to similarly sized 1080p smartphones.



Obviously an improved MX4, the Meizu MX4 Pro is better than its predecessors in all aspects (display included). The MX4 Pro comes with a 5.5-inch screen that keeps the 15:9 aspect ratio, but increases the pixel resolution to 1536 x 2560 - slightly higher than the regular Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution.


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16 Comments

1. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I currently have the Lumia 1020, it is a great phone. And I am running the Windows 10 technical preview on it. The earlier builds weren't that smooth, the most recent one is almost as smooth as Windows Phone 8.1. The quality of the pictures are still superior to that of any other phone if you display the pictures on a 4k screen or above. The native resolution of the pictures is close to 8k, it will not look right and can look blurry/fuzzy. This is not because the pictures are bad it is a consequence of a display that is inadequate. Another way around this is to have the pictures printed in a very large size and very high quality.

4. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

Shame Windows 10 removes the DNG and pureview features making it useless.

6. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Yeah that has recently happened as microsoft removed the old store and so I cannot get the lumia pro cam app. I am hoping they rectify this issue or I'll just downgrade to 8.1 and keep the 1020 on that.

9. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

I run 10 preview on both my 930 and 1520. It's good, pretty stable and lags here and there, also apps misbehave at times which is expected for a preview but no where as stable or smooth as 8.1

12. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I have not had any lagging or stability issues in the latest build, I am still however getting that issue where it tries to unlock itself in my pocket and locks itself up.

2. Plutonium239

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

The only downside to my 1020 was that the micro usb port failed and I had to replace it. The good thing was I had dropped it and cracked the screen just before that, so I was able to do both and once. It is very easy to open and replace any component that you need to.

8. Kary1

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

Proof there's a bright side to everything! ;-) Seriously, a good Fix-It score is something I should probably add to my purchase criteria.

3. mKay98

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 07, 2015

Nexus 4 has 768x1280 too

7. Florin.T

Posts: 315; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

Of course it does. Just like the LG Optimus G (on which the Nexus 4 is based). But these are smartphones from 2012 - not exactly relevant today.

11. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

The Nexus 4 is still very relevant.

14. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

Well, your friend Chris still use it so apparently it is somehow relevant http://www.phonearena.com/news/PhoneArena-writers-favorite-smartphones_id71362 At least it is using Lollipop

5. Hama22

Posts: 60; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

The ZTE Axon Mini has a force touch display Have a nice day

10. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

There're many phone has the same resolution as Lumia 1020 during 2011 and 2012, if I'm not mistaken bb z10 is one of them, as well as Lumia 920, and some 2012 Android phone...

13. james2841

Posts: 167; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

"In case you're wondering why there aren't any old devices on our list, it's because we're only including handsets that are now available to buy, thus still being relevant"

15. matistight

Posts: 927; Member since: May 13, 2009

I'm pretty sure they made a post a few months ago saying that the Nokia 1020 has been discontinued

16. razraptre

Posts: 168; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

But they mentioned it's still available to buy off Amazon.

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