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View Full Version : Whoa, whoa, slow down smartphone market



Runefox
03-22-2014, 06:54 AM
So when Apple first released the Retina Display-equipped iPhone 4, that was a pretty big deal. For the first time, more than 300ppi (print quality) in a mobile display made its way into the mainstream. It paved the way for all of Apple's current Retina offerings, and for higher resolutions in mobile devices in general.

Today, we have smartphones that, at 4.5-5" in size, are pushing 1080p, which is in excess of 440ppi. This in itself is rather excessive considering the human eye can't really detect that much information except for extremely close-in. That is to say, unless you're using your phone with a magnifying glass or holding it inches from your face, you probably won't be able to see any pixels at all. But that's fine; 1080p makes it easier to output to a TV, or to play back full HD video without having to scale it. Makes a bit of sense from a technical perspective.

Enter the Oppo Find 7 (http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/oppo-find-7/4505-6452_7-35873276.html). While the phone itself is noteworthy for having pretty nice hardware, it's touting something very specific: A 5.5" screen, made by JDI, running at 2560x1440 and topping 534ppi. They aren't the only ones who are pushing this, either; LG is manufacturing mobile displays at this resolution also, to be used by other manufacturers.

Why? What possible reason could there be for pushing pixel densities this far? It's turned into a giant pissing match for numbers at this point. Are future generations of smartphones going to be burning through GPU cycles (and battery) just to draw more and more pixels that nobody will ever be able to make out? Can we just reach critical mass on this and move onto something else to focus on? Please? Though to be fair, I'd really like to have these high DPI displays in a monitor form factor...

QT Melon
03-22-2014, 11:47 AM
Usually higher pixels are actually better for reading print. Higher pixels make oddly enough easier on the eyes instead of having really high glaring black and white back at you, you can actually help make it more like paper. How high does it need to be is another question. Right now I have a Note 3 and I really like the fact I can record pretty high definition even though I don't have a 4k TV just yet, but the best thing right now is I'm actually able to zoom in on my video, which I couldn't do prior or it was reserved for photos.

Krespo
03-22-2014, 12:05 PM
That Oppo is ridiculous. How long before these things are big enough to be called tablets? Inch and a half by my count.

Rilvor
03-22-2014, 12:32 PM
I can think on the low-end user side of things and see how this pissing contest benefits those of us without the cash to spare on the nicer gadgets. Perhaps the "outdated" and "weaker" displays may become cheaper?

Tiido
03-22-2014, 04:47 PM
I once argued with a friend about the matter... "but its so sharp !"... the details are so small you cannot even see them, kinda worthless. Really just wastes lot of power too.
If anything this just paves way for better big sized displays. I'm sure the advancements needed to make those tinyass pixels apply elsewhere.

Socks the Fox
03-22-2014, 04:48 PM
I think good print quality is around 600 DPI. We are now making screens - dynamic screens - capable of similar quality as printed images.

I don't care what people say, we're living in the future.

FishNChips
03-22-2014, 06:07 PM
I'm surprised my phone display even has colours.

Batty Krueger
03-22-2014, 11:21 PM
So they can charge more money to ignorant customers.

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It is pretty pointless. I wouldn't mind if this was just a side thing in conjunction with other innovations and tweaks. Though I can't think of much else for a phone to do. ;3;

My friends galaxy note 3 is almost as large as my galaxy tab 7

lorenith
03-23-2014, 12:23 PM
So they can charge more money to ignorant customers.



This.

A big number sounds impressive and worth paying extra for.

They do the same thing with the cameras on phones (and in actual cameras), they talk about how many mega pixils the camera has, but neglect to mention that all those pixils are crammed onto a teeny tiny sensor (sensor size is a bit of a bottle neck on image quality, it's why older consumer grade cameras with less pixils, but larger censors are sometimes better than newer cameras with mor pixils but smaller censors).

I suppose that's something I'll have to look out for when I someday upgrade to a smart phone...(which will probably be the day when they stop supporting/making ye olde cell phone).

Lupus
03-23-2014, 01:28 PM
My only gripe is that this trend hasn't moved into the TV and computer screen market, it's embarrassing how much clearer my phone is to read than my desktop!

Runefox
03-23-2014, 02:30 PM
Yeah, I guess it's something that will drive down the prices of "normal" screens, sort of. There's a version of it with "just" a 1080p screen for $100 less, so there's that. Beyond that, though, most print is actually done at 300DPI, and 300DPI is about where, at about 1 foot distance from the eye, most people can't see the individual pixels that make up the image. There really isn't any reason to go beyond that density at all. 1080p is at this size already higher density than necessary by a wide margin, though it arguably has some utility.


My only gripe is that this trend hasn't moved into the TV and computer screen market, it's embarrassing how much clearer my phone is to read than my desktop!
This is what "4k" and other higher resolutions are supposed to be doing. A lot of laptop screens have been going hiDPI, but desktop monitors and TV's have yet to really pick up on the momentum. Arguably, I guess, it's because there's no content that uses it and fewer people are hooking up computers to larger displays.

QT Melon
03-23-2014, 02:42 PM
My only gripe is that this trend hasn't moved into the TV and computer screen market, it's embarrassing how much clearer my phone is to read than my desktop!

That's kind of the thing people are missing out on, though 4k displays are out. Pixel density does help with your eyes, too many people are looking at bright screens all day and the density of pixels help especially with devices people view up close, which are in fact smartphones.

That's why usually billboards for example have lower DPI or LPI (which is dots/lines per inch) because it's meant to be viewed far away, and depending on your vision higher pixel density is actually helpful too. Normal vision acuity is 20/20.

I know it seems a lot now but since we are looking at electronic screens more often now, I'd rather have more screens out that eventually ease problems coming from viewing these screens all day.

Runefox
03-23-2014, 02:54 PM
More pixels making up an image is great, and comparing font rendering even between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 really highlights just how much more readable it can be even by quadrupling the number of pixels. But there comes a point where diminishing returns becomes zero returns, and we've crossed that threshold with >1080p mobile displays in my opinion.

Lupus
03-23-2014, 02:56 PM
That's kind of the thing people are missing out on, though 4k displays are out. Pixel density does help with your eyes, too many people are looking at bright screens all day and the density of pixels help especially with devices people view up close, which are in fact smartphones.

That's why usually billboards for example have lower DPI or LPI (which is dots/lines per inch) because it's meant to be viewed far away, and depending on your vision higher pixel density is actually helpful too. Normal vision acuity is 20/20.

I know it seems a lot now but since we are looking at electronic screens more often now, I'd rather have more screens out that eventually ease problems coming from viewing these screens all day.

I get that, that's my point. My phone, Samsung GS3, has a really nice screen with a high DPI and it's a pleasure to look at! My laptop screen, whilst better than most (17" across and 1920x1080) is still not as nice as it could be; though my standard desktop monitor which is 19" across only goes to 1440x900; it's a bit shit.

QT Melon
03-23-2014, 03:20 PM
More pixels making up an image is great, and comparing font rendering even between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 really highlights just how much more readable it can be even by quadrupling the number of pixels. But there comes a point where diminishing returns becomes zero returns, and we've crossed that threshold with >1080p mobile displays in my opinion.

It depends on your visual acuity. Even Retina displays aren't enough depending on your eyesight.