The resolution on our phone is fine, guys, reallyAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
There are very few things that I don't get excited about when it comes to new features in smartphones. Better battery life? Excellent. Better camera? Sweet! Stronger material and housing design? Awesome. But there is one thing I find myself raising an eyebrow to as to just how far we can take one feature in particular, and that feature is screen resolution.
When you look back at the history of cell phones, resolution could be considered one of the more important things that needed improvement year after year. From the basic LCD to color LCD was a big jump, and the numbers have just gone up from there. There was a huge breakthrough with Apple's signature Retina Display, which had a resolution of 960x640 on the 3.5" iPhone 4 once it was first introduced. It was the clearest display any smartphone had at the time, and yeah, it was a big deal and notably crisper when compared to most other displays, especially when pitted against another iPhone. But the resolution wars didn't stop there; manufacturers had to go deeper and had to be better, as any competitor would do.
And I'm not complaining that the display on Androids or Windows Phone got better - they needed to improve in order to compete with the Retina Display, because hot dog that display looked beautiful when it came out. It still does! But even since phones caught up to and even surpassed the beauty of the Retina Display, there still seems to be a decent amount of emphasis placed on having higher and better resolutions. Why do we still care when we can't even tell unless you squint really, really hard, or use a magnifying glass? All this says to me is that we are wasting time and resources that could be used to better the things in smartphones that need to be bettered. Especially things like battery life.
Speaking of, battery life certainly can't get any better if phones are busy packing more pixel density. More pixels require more power to be used, and the more power being used the less battery life you're going to have to be able to enjoy that insanely high pixel density. So what do manufacturers do in order to cover for higher pixel density? Why, you add a bigger battery, of course. But it doesn't matter, because the bigger battery isn't there to provide you with more battery life. The battery is there to cover the extensive amount of pixels the phone is trying to show you. You increase the pixel density, you increase the battery size, but in the end all you have is more pixels your eyes can't even see and a bigger battery that does nothing for you. Even my own daily driver, the HTC One, has a pixel density of 468ppi. Go ahead, ask me if I can tell the difference between my old iPhone 4S's Retina Display compared to the one on my HTC One. I'll give you a hint: I can't. It's total overkill.
When news surfaced today that Samsung was going to push for a super high-resolution display, I didn't get excited. In fact, I think I just got annoyed. I just don't see the point in it anymore. Phones are fine when it comes to displays. Really, they are. We don't need super amazing fantastic wonderful resolutions anymore. It's there, we have them already. That race has been won, you can stop running anytime now. There are plenty of other issues in smartphones that could be addressed and could become "the next best thing", but I guarantee that anything that comes out with a better display at this point is going to be long forgotten in a short period of time, simply because nobody really cares about it anymore.
I mean, you can keep telling me about how great you display is if you want, though, because that's the only way I'll be able to tell how great it is. I only have a pair of human eyes, after all. But I'm sure that if you were to market your product to eagles they will be pleased as punch.
What are your thoughts, readers? Do you still get excited about increased screen resolutions, or would you rather see other features of smartphones be improved instead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!