How much is too much? Vote for your phone screen resolution of choice

How much is too much? Vote for your phone screen resolution of choice
With even budget handsets starting off with HD 720p displays these days, midrangers boasting 1080p screens, and high-end models blasting off to the Quad HD mark, do we need higher mobile screen resolutions? Rumor has it that Samsung will have a 6" Ultra HD Super AMOLED display with 4K resolution in mass production next August, just in time for an eventual Note 5 announcement a month after. 

The other two big players in the mobile display game, LG and Sharp, are also ready to introduce such mobile displays that will be breaking the unthinkable 700ppi pixel density barrier. It's certainly something to brag with, but, given that Quad HD phones today last less on average than their 1080p counterparts when it comes to battery life, which in their turn give away to 720p handsets, the constant resolution chase becomes somewhat moot.


That is why we wanted to ask you what smartphone screen resolution do you think is the best tradeoff between pixel density, power consumption and visibility. Granted, we have different screen sizes and matrix technologies, which changes the ppi count to an extent, but at these types of resolutions, it doesn't matter as much as it used to. Alternatively, the question might be read as asking what resolution is already enough on our phones, and the borderline from which manufacturers should look into more tangible screen quality characteristics like power consumption, brightness, reflection, and so on. Vote for your standardized pixel count of choice, and argue your opinion in the comments.

How much is too much? Vote for your phone screen resolution of choice

HD 720p (720x1280 pixels)
6.3%
Full HD 1080p (1080x1920 pixels)
48.22%
Quad HD 1440p (1440x2560 pixels)
19.38%
4K Ultra HD 2160p (2160x3840 pixels)
12.1%
The more, the merrier
14%

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89 Comments

1. TyrionLannister unregistered

720p for 4.5 inch or less. 1080p for 4.5 inch to 5.3 1440p for 5.5 or above. 2160p for 10 inch or beyond

10. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

That sounds reasonable. I would probably adjust the criteria for 2160 to 8 inches though. I voted FHD in the poll. Because that is all that is realistically needed on a phone less than 5.5 in.

11. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

1080p + decent size battery + great end user performance = a great phone. Chasing spec at this point on is almost pointless.

53. needa

Posts: 205; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

i disagree. chasing specs is what spurs growth. the last thing we need is for the oems to become complacent. we would head straight back to the way it was in the 90s if that happened.

84. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I agree with the need for innovation. However, at this rate we will see smartphone following computer footstep and the high end ones are owned by the few. The refresh rate of a flagship from some OEMs are just way to fast and they need to take a break to make a great phone with great support. How many people you see today have top end spec computer? My 3 year old gaming desktop still trump a lot of new computer being put out today even though I could make a tons of upgrade to it atm.

86. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Chasing specs that matter is a good thing. Wasting resources increasing pixel density many times greater than the human eye can see is malinvestment. We need more holographic type innovation in the smartphone arena, or laser keyboards. Etc, not 4k displays on a 5 inch screen.

64. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

We could just render at lower resolutions For 4K (2160p) displays render 1080p For 5K (2880p) displays render 1440p Also its about time we go above 60 Hz We need some 120 Hz or 144 Hz displays, Since most OSes have lots of animations, especially Lollipop

87. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Exactly. We need better display technology, just not greater pixel densities. Not right now anyway.

23. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Exactly. Resolution isn't as important as pixel density. QHD on a 5.2" is overkill at 565 ppi. That same resolution on a 6" screen drops to a more reasonable 498 ppi. To my eyes, that's the sweet spot for any size screen, 400-500 ppi.

41. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

To me anything over 400 is a waste of GPU, my sweet spot is 300-400 DPIs and anything over 250 is "good enough". I voted FHD, which for 5.5 and less it's over 400 DPI, but for me it can scale OK even to 7 inches tablets.

43. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I guess I would revise mine to 350-450. But it really depends on the application. I expect phones (and phablets) to have higher pixel density than tablets.

78. techtube

Posts: 13; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

with my 256 ppi s4 mini i qualify for good enough

68. Adiyel

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

I feel like 300ppi is good enough, with 350-400ppi being excellent and as good as it needs to get...for an LCD that is. AMOLED needs higher 350ppi is good enough, and >450ppi is as good as it needs to be. For some reason, my 4.55" 720p ZR looks about as sharp as my sister's 5" 1080p GS4. I dunno, but i can see the pixelation on AMOLEDs easily. They need more density than LCDs to look as good. On another note, OEMs need to perfect reflectivity, sunlight legibility, color accuracy, and efficiency now that we have QHD. This is part of the reason people keep raving about Apple's screens...they focus on more than pixel density!!! 1080p is good enough/overkill for about 90% of phones out there...

72. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

AMOLED pixel density is tricky due to the PenTile matrix they usually use. You're right that an LCD in the 330 ppi range (say, a 4.5" 720p) looks just as good as a 440 ppi (5" 1080p) AMOLED. But it's not AMOLED that causes that, it's the RG BG subpixel arrangement. The rarer S-Stripe AMOLEDs look just as sharp as their LCD counterparts.

70. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

I would say 720p for 4.7 or less 1080P for 5.5 or less 1440p for beyond 5.7 1080P is the best for me

76. techtube

Posts: 13; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

i think QHD should only apply to tablets

2. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

I prefer Quad HD with 2 days battery life(for ~5.5 inch phone).

3. redmd

Posts: 1943; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I think FHD is enough for me.

4. xenover

Posts: 174; Member since: May 27, 2011

Man, I'd love a 4K 6 incher. That would be dope

31. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

And an 8000 mAh battery to power it.

5. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

1080p is good.

6. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

The more, the merrier. Why should you limit yourself when there is something clearer?

20. Garmac

Posts: 21; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Because more pixels = more GPU and CPU power needed and less battery life... LG G3 performances in 3D are not that great compared to similar phones with only FHD...

30. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Those issues can easily be solved with better processors and batteries.

47. mixedfish

Posts: 1562; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Until a phone comes out with those specs except with one stop of resolution less. What do you get? The same situation.

57. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

No matter the processor or the battery. The less pixels you have the less power is being consumed, the longer your phone stays on.

58. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Not entirely. Better energy efficient batteries will solve any drainage problem. QHD technology will get better, to the point where it doesn't drain as much once it's mastered.

62. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

My point still stands. More pixels= more power consumption, no natter biw you put it. And there is hardly any difference above 1080p to warrant it

65. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

"And there is hardly any difference above 1080p to warrant it" I hate when people try to speak for everyone else. You might not be able to see a difference, but I and many others can. On a 5.5in and up screen it looks gorgeous.

88. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

It is the truth, there is hardly is any difference! Lol you have to glue your face to the screen to even have a chance to notice a difference between 1080p and any resolutions above. "On a 5.5in and up screen it looks gorgeous" I hate when people try to speak for everyone else. You might think it is gorgeous, but many others don't. Right back at ya

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