Would you sacrifice Quad HD display resolution on flagships for better battery life?


It's a sad fact of life, but flagship phones have much worse battery endurance than their midrange counterparts with a similar battery size, and the bright Quad HD resolution displays they sport seem to be the culprit. The marriage of a decent battery capacity, and a 1080p display seem to be the winning tradeoff in battery endurance and pixel density these days (well, save for the OnePlus 3T), since the Quad HD flagships are all clustered in the 6-9 hours range of screen-on time in our proprietary script. That goes for the new LG G6, for last year's Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and for basically every Quad HD handset whose battery hovers in the 3000 mAh - 3500 mAh range, and they are the majority.

Samsung, for instance, being both the producer and the assembler of the screens, chipsets and memory of its new A-series, has managed to optimize them better in terms of power consumption than other brands that don't make everything in-house, so they clocked 11-13 hours of screen-on time in our test with those battery capacities. Even when vertical parts integration is not the case, 1080p phones are still stealing the battery show. Take the Honor 8, for instance - it scores nine admirable hours of screen-on time in our test, and consistently carries us through two full days with normal use, but has a "mere" 5.2" 1080p display, backed by a 3000 mAh battery. While that endurance is 30% less than the A-series, it's still 30% more than the LG G6 or the Galaxy S7 with their 2440p panels.

That is why we wanted to ask you how important are those high pixel densities for you, and whether do you think it is worth sacrificing roughly 30% of your potential battery life just to have a Quad HD or higher resolution display with 500+ ppi pixel density. Just imagine the Galaxy S8 with a 1080p panel and screen-on time north of 10 hours on our test, ensuring two days of good use out of it. Granted, the S8 will be the first to land with a 10nm chipset, plus there might be new, more frugal AMOLED display tech in it, thus it could still clock as much, yet on a lower screen resolution that same setup would inevitable produce longer battery life, so tell us what do you prefer in the poll below.

Would you sacrifice Quad HD resolution on flagships for better battery life?

Yes, in a heartbeat
76.98%
Nooo!
23.02%

Related phones

Galaxy A5 (2017)
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(16h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S7
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(28h 3G talk time)

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100 Comments

1. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Unless you need to watch hi res videos on your phone, a 1080 display is perfectly good enough, for me at least.

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I use VR with my smartphones. Both Daydream VR and Gear VR. Not to mention Cardboard related apps as well. So QHD is great for VR. For everything else 1080p is fine.

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5746; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

We need 1080p90Hz RGB AMOLED The pixels of a 1080p RGB AMOLED will still be bigger than a 1440p Pentile AMOLED But the 1080p RGB AMOLED will have less SDE, IMO that's more noticeable And render 60 fps during normal use And render 45 fps during VR (using reproduction to display 90 fps, like on PS VR, Vive and Oculus

55. MomoSimon

Posts: 25; Member since: Feb 23, 2017

How can be 1080 rgb still bigger than 1440 pentile? I don't understand :|

23. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Stupid to answer Yes. You can ALWAYS lower the resolution in Android with a high-res phone (like the Xperia). But you CAN'T updrage the resolution on a 1080p phone. So to resume I prefer a 4K phone as I can lower the res and use the 4K when necessary (for VR) than a 1080p phone stuck to this resolution forever.

65. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

To be frank nobody uses VR on mobile phones anymore. It's a failed implementation. QHD is a waste of money and power. 1080p is the best.

71. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Piyath you are wrong. VR use on mobile is gaining more and more traction all the time. There is easily twice more mobile VR user today than 1 year ago.

5. Shubham412302

Posts: 588; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

unless its VR you cant tell difference between 720p, 1080p or 1440p video. 1080p screen looks horrible when using with VR headset for watching 3D movies

30. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That is completely and utterly false. Smart person here is a test for you. Do you own a smart TV? OK do you have an antenna hooked to it to use open air TV in the US? I assume you liv ein the US. There are old rusty chennels and they are using HD/720p. Look at it side by side with a picture that is in 1080p, and then stand there and continue to lie and claim you can't tell the difference. I don;'t care how small or big the screen is, you can tell 720p from 1080 from 1440p. Anyone who says that in all honesty, need to have their eyes checked. Look at this photo dude -http://www.hdtvsolutions.com/images/articles/Luther-Resolution-Large.jpg Please try to l;ie and claim they all look 100% the same. If you think they do, then you need to see an eye doctor and that si not a joke. I suggest you grab a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge and switch ist resolutions from 720p to 1440p and then see the difference. 1440p is DOUBLE 720p. There is no way you won't see a different. The gap from 1080 to 1440 is smaller. But you can see that colors are sharper, text is sharper and has far less ghosting effects. Anyone who ever says you can't tell the difference because Steve Jobs made that BS claim, is full of BS themselves and are legally blind.

32. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Example -https://i0.wp.com/addpipe.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/iosmediacaptureresolutions.png?fit=700%2C329&ssl=1 Example -http://static4.gamespot.com/uploads/original/772/7728024/2365678-2927149661-23458.jpg I do understand as a fact, that as we have progressed with resolution, that on displays smaller than 5", it is "harder" to see a distinct difference in some resolutions changes. Harder is not equal to impossible. The gap between 720p and 1440p is clearly huge and would show a much more distinct difference vs goign from 1080p (FHD) to 1440p. But you claim that you can't tell the difference between somethign like a 720p DVD vs a 1080P BluRay movie is complete BS, no matter what size the screen is.

64. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Your comparison of HDTV resolution vs smartphones is flawed. On a 42" television, duh, you can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p and 4K. That's because it's a huge panel. Also remember something called "optimum viewing distance", which plays a huge part in discerning between different resolutions. Put a 1080p 5.5" display next to one that has a QHD screen, and the only way to tell the difference is hold the 1080p device 4-6 inches from your face. Do you use your phone 4-6 inches away from your face? Nobody does. So, no, you can't tell the difference.

39. libra89

Posts: 2312; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

i'll take your word for it. I only have one phone with that resolution, which is the Lumia 950. Watching media on it and viewing media on it doesn't feel any different over viewing it on my Honor 8 with a 1080p res. I don't think I own any phones that have a 720p res to compare it. My iPhone SE, I still say that I don't notice anything, aside from the other phones having bigger displays.

63. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The iPhone SE looks messed up when you play any HD video. Nevermind full HD or higher. It's too small, especially with it's resolution of only 1136x640. A display like that in 2017 shouldn't​ be compared to anything, especially when it's the lowest resolution display on any device nowadays.

69. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Techie so you say thats on a 4 inch screen you could see the difference between 2k and 4k? So you have bionic eyes? lol

70. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Techie i opened thats link on a 23 inch screen then lowered the zoom to 25% and between 1080p and 4k the difference is inexistant at thats size. The goal of this comment is to explain to you thats depending on your screen size and the distance you look at it your eye might not see the difference. from 720p to 1440p the different is still there at 25% zoom but 1080p to 4k its not.

81. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

That's completely false, your eye sees the difference, your brain doesn't. Your eyes can absorb single photons. The brain discards lots of information. This is why some people can tell the difference and some can't. Just like some people can hear better than others. General population likely can't tell the difference but there exists a minority that can.

83. sachouba

Posts: 267; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

You mean that YOU can't tel the difference. The difference between 720p and 1080p is obvious to me on a 5-inch display, and I do notice the difference between a 1080p and a 1440p on a 5.5+ inch display.

97. deleon629

Posts: 474; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Let's be honest thou: some screens have better technology to utilize a lower res (*coughiPhonecough*) and I'd put1080p super amoled as the standard. In contrast, there's also the growing trend of low budget 2k screens with poor color calibration, low max nits, & contrast which almost defeats the purpose of having the tech at all.

11. libra89

Posts: 2312; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

This. Battery life always. In fact, I have a phone that I wish that I can reduce the resolution of because battery life should be better for it. I see nothing amazing about the display, and I would rather have better battery life.

19. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

#batterylifematters

35. libra89

Posts: 2312; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

To me, it does. What is the point of a pretty, powerful phone that can't even last the day?

91. taz_chaz

Posts: 135; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

my s7 edge has that option with nougat.i got better battery life with the 1080p option.

43. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I hear you, Moose... 1080p is perfect, even on a bloody 6 Incher...! For me, a qHD Display is nothing but an overkill... It's like killing a cute tiny little squirrel with a Mosin Nagant that feeds on 7.62x54Rs...! A qHD resolution is absolutely worthless... It does nothing but kills your battery... There's a reason even The iPhone Plus use 1080p... The gents at Apple might be greedy, but they ain't stupid...! They put a premium on 'practicality'... Oh well, G'Day!

52. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

@GreenMan "For me, a qHD Display is nothing but an overkill..." "A qHD resolution is absolutely worthless... It does nothing but kills your battery..." Huh? qHD is 540p... QHD is 1440p. So, if 540x960 is worthless, then I wonder what resolution worthy!! SMH

47. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

FHD is nice no doubt, but man I love the look of a nice QHD screen. And I use Windows 10 which is all about the aesthetics of the home screen and it just looks so amazing especially when taking advantage of translucency. I don't see the difference as much on Android even with the more souped up home screens, so unless for VR, I think android is fine with FHD.

49. torr310

Posts: 1692; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I wish they can have two viriants but only the screen resolutions are different. That may make both sides happy.

59. rubyonrails3

Posts: 375; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

Maybe if samsung uses RGB matrix then AMOLED with 1080p would be suffice. iPhone 7+ looks sharper with 1080 than my Pixel XL.(Pixel XL sucks when used in daydream all you see pixel)

2. sgodsell

Posts: 7533; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Nooo!. Especially when I use VR.

4. haruken

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Luckily with Samsung flagships you can now change the screen resolution. Damn Samsung is always so ahead of everyone !

6. Shubham412302

Posts: 588; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

That trick was introduced by huawei!!!

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