Did you know: Android M now supports 4K resolutions (but do we really need a 4K phone or tablet?)

Did you know: Android M now supports 4K resolutions (but do we really need a 4K phone or tablet?)
When we heard Quad HD (1440 x 2560-pixel) smartphones were indeed about to become a reality last year, we ran the numbers to see whether people with the rare gift of 20/20 vision can really tell the difference and came up with some interesting figures showing that you really need to be staring at your phone from unnaturally close distances to see the difference. At least theoretically, but our practical experience supports these claims.

What's more, the first mainstream phone with a Quad HD display - the LG G3 - made the interesting choice of adding a weird oversharpening effect to that screen and that just seemed strange, as we'd never seen a company apply such an effect before. 

We don't know what's the reason for this, but it did seem to be a move caused out of insecurity that regular users would not be able to tell the improvement in sharpness without this artificial over-sharpening effect.

Quad HD, however, might be just a step on the resolution evolution ladder: the latest Android M version comes with support for 4K displays (that would be a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels), which - at least theoretically - means we could see the first 4K smartphones and/or tablets in fall 2015.

Given that we've heard unsubstantiated but consistent rumors about a 4K Galaxy Note 5 of sorts, we're starting to question our judgment: is it really possible that we have a 4K phone in 2015?

We're curious to hear your thoughts on the topic: we all love sharp displays, and a 4K (2160 x 3840 pixels) 5.7-inch phone would have a pixel density of the ridiculous 773ppi. That really is a crazy number given that laptop manufacturers still get away with a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution on notebooks with a price north of $600. On a 15.6" laptop, that would be a resolution of just around 100ppi, nearly eight times less than a 4K phone would have. At the end of the day, though, it is phones that we buy every two years or so, and they are the drivers of progress. 

What do you think: does a 4K phone make sense?

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90 Comments

1. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Not in 2015 unless they use 10k mah battery with great optimization

4. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Battery needed for LCD phones amoled doesn't need that much battery for 4k.

68. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

We cannot stop the technology to evolve. But yes, the human being's eyes does not need this resolution in a smartphone display.... But it will be a great gimmick to show-off my friends..

82. mushpika

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

As a human being, I can see the difference between 2k and full HD. I think we human can also perceive the difference. What matters is not whether we can see the pixels or not, but whether the display looks better or not. But again, we have to see whether 4k will bring a better viewing experience over the 2k display.

95. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

No more resolution doesn't mean more quality.

20. waddup121 unregistered

Just NOTE 5 bro

22. seret6

Posts: 279; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

No 4k phones this year since panel production needs to be available So far the only 4k res display panel that were showcased few weeks ago by lg or sharp i dont remember were not considered to become available for mass production until early 2016

50. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

I would actually like Note 5 to stay on 2k but with bigger battery, better CPU/GPU for top performance

51. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

And another battery optimization miracle (the Note 3 to Note 4) they got twice as much battery life from the same battery and a better processor and resolution.

83. chenski

Posts: 768; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

It wont come with 4k, samsung is not stupid

69. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2361; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Maybe this is just my educated guess: the 4K support is not necessarily so that phones or tablets can utilize a 4K display (which I would only see as a viable option for a tablet, but that would still be overkill in my opinion) but rather so that the phones or tablets can push out 4K resolution onto another screen. Right now when you try to mirror your phone onto your TV display it is limited in the resolution. I also think this is for the use of Android on those set top boxes for use on televisions that have a 4K resolution (i.e. Android TV).

79. H3Drvr

Posts: 43; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

Agreed! Our mobile devices will eventually become real "mobile" all-in-one devices. Going to work? Connect phone to 4k monitor. Wanna watch a 4k movie? Connect your phone to a 4k display panel. Apple TV and Nexus Player don't even have their own screens and can play 1080p. Sadly, they both don't have 4k support just yet; I understand they will have the capability but won't be enabled. Boooo!

2. amanjain1

Posts: 56; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

not at all.. it makes sense only for those who want vr..and they are very few ppl

11. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Only few people wanted tablets too.

40. Carlitos

Posts: 668; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

That's exactly why. Its for VR and I have a very good feeling it's going to be a big deal pretty soon. Even with 2k resolution on phone in vr you can see pixels. 4k would be ideal. Plus you have android TV. I.e. you also have the galaxy s6 with 2k resolution, but it makes sense because Samsung is clearly investing a lot into VR

3. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Phone you most be crazy. Tablet yeah why not.

5. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Stop this craziness! Up to 5.5" you don't even need QHD! No matter what techies say. No one can see the difference! It's just for marketing and it cuts on battery life and performance. It's the most pointless, gimmicky feature in new phones.

16. HighOnAndroidFTW

Posts: 185; Member since: Apr 26, 2015

Do you understand the meaning if gimmick? 2k + 4k is not gimmicky by ANY standards. Iphone owner.. just cause apple won't see it till 2018 if AT ALL doesn't mean you need to cry until that time because the other manufacturers are light years ahead. DUECES

28. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I don't like iPhones. But fact is fact. Not even jet fighter pilots wouldn't be able to tell the difference between FHD and QHD on a 5.2" phone. Everything else is just excuses for Korean manufactures to sell us their products. So many tests prove it.

48. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I don't like iPhones. But fact is fact. Not even jet fighter pilots wouldn't be able to tell the difference between FHD and QHD on a 5.2" phone. Everything else is just excuses for Korean manufactures to sell us their products. So many tests prove it.

62. blingblingthing

Posts: 962; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

I love how ppl don't want the higher resolution. Considering the amount of kit you'll be getting for your money. Why spend the same money to get less? The same money you spent on a 4s years ago new, will probably get you a 2k screen. So why complain? Boy, Apple is really good. Selling lower mpx cameras, smaller screens, lower resolution screens, small batteries. Even if they perform OK for now, you really think if they got bigger it would be bad?

66. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

It isn't offering less though. By using 1080p, you get better battery life and better performance. It's a tradeoff, and most people can't see the difference between 1080 and 2K. And if it isn't a gimmick, why don't TV OEMs not say when there TV is 2K and not 1080. I bought a 2K TV, didn't even know it. It was hidden in the spec list. And it actually makes a difference on such a large screen, but not on 50 inches less. Saying quad HD is just a buzzword for gimmicks at this point, like many things in the mobile industry.

99. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

On really big TVs, 4k is not gimmicky. On phones, it's nothing but gimmicky. If there's no visual benefit it's gimmicky. And worse, it will kill performance and battery.

6. buccob

Posts: 2968; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Do we even really need 2K displays on phones???... I hate to say it... but Jobs and its "retina" resolution was basically correct... I am extremely happy with my Z3C and its 319 ppi.

10. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I also agree, I still have 4S and never, NEVER wanted the screen to have higher resolution. I know it's only 3.5 inch, but I also had Z3C and it's ppi is perfectly fine, again I never thought that it's not sharp or something. I also had S5 for about a month and it's FHD was perfectly enough. Same goes for my iPad Air - 328ppi as I recall and everything looks perfectly sharp. Really, even FHD on Note 3 is enough IMO, I really doubt that anyone can tell the difference looking at those screens from normal distance. Everything above FHD on screen under 6 inches nothing more than stupid, battery draining gimmick.

23. seret6

Posts: 279; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

Hey ipad air has 264ppi

25. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The Retina display was Bullsh*t. In fact its bad for yoru eyes to try to ack in more pixels into a smaller space vs spreading them out in a bigger space. You are foolish if you think Job was right. You need to Google what scientist say after Steve Jobs made that bullsh*t statement. They stated in short, the resolution to not see pixels on a display would have to be significantly higher than 330PPi. Here...READ THIS and get Educated -http://www.cultofmac.com/173702/why-retina-isnt-enough-feature/

34. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

I don't think so since i can't tell the different between a 350ppi photo or a441ppi one so no it's pointless for me to go beyond that it's easy to try you only need a phone with more than full hd on 5inch Just get a full HD pic cut it too hd and retina one see if you can tell the difference.

46. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yes you can tell the difference. Maybe "YOU" can't. Just look on youtube where ther do reviews where they take a high quality wallpaper and make the match on an iPhone vs a Galaxy device and you can see the iPhone especially the wallpaper doesn't look at sharp that and the colors on the iPhone are colder sso thus they look washed out. Just because you can't see the pixels on either, doesn't mean you cant see the difference in the quality. Here is an example - Go and download a full QHD wallpaper. Go ahead and resize it so it can fit the display on the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 6 and then compare it to a device like the Note 4 of S6 and view it in its native resolution and tell me with a straight face you don't see a difference.

49. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

You know that you most compare them in a same device? yes quality is indeed different and there is many factors that will effect it but only ppi what i say it's that i can see the pixels of my phone at about 16cm with around 330ppi that's fine for me since i look at my phone from more than 20cm. But more resolution for the same price looks good as long as it doesn't effect battery life like on amoled displays.

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