Are mobile resolutions really that important these days?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| May 8, 2014


When a new smartphone is talked about, leaked, or rumored, there’s usually one or two things that makes the phone stand apart from the others. Perhaps it’s button placement, speaker placement, or some new interesting features that haven’t been seen before. Other times, you’ll see a leak or a rumor that really doesn’t tickle your fancy that much. In this case, LG’s latest announcement regarding their QHD display just happens to be one of them for me. While their display might be clearer than any other mobile display in the world on paper, when it comes to the naked eye, can we really even tell anymore?


Perhaps I’m not the best judge of character when it comes to what makes or breaks a crystal clear display, because I do have to wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses if I have any desire to see past my own shnoz on any given day. On the other hand, at night when I don’t wear either of these things (yet still want to browse my phone for a bit before bed) I do have to hold my phone pretty close to my face. At one point in time, yeah, the display was noticeably worse when I held the phone close to my face. These days? Not so much. Or really at all. My current phone doesn’t even have that spectacular of a display compared to fancier models (720p), and I still don’t have an issue with the screen’s clarity.


I’m pretty sure the last time I was ever truly blown away by a display was with the iPhone’s Retina Display. That’s the last time I remember looking at a phone and that being the first thing that I really noticed. My co-workers and I were passing around the iPhone 4S before the device officially launched on Sprint, and I remember saying “Woah, look at the crispy display,” like it was a piece of bacon or something. Ever since then, everything else seems about equal. Not enough for me to really comment on it.


The QHD display from LG isn’t something to sneeze at, but I do think it’s a waste for mobile technology. Even on a 5.5-inch screen, a 2560x1440 resolution seems like it’s total overkill. On a bigger screen, like for a computer or especially a TV, then yeah, that kind of resolution would be really nice; but a smartphone? Even on my HTC One, which has a 1080p display, is damn near impossible to tell where one pixel ends and where another begins. The clarity of phones is fine. What we need now is better battery life, stronger phones, and really just about anything else on a phone. But the naked human eye, even with perfect vision, will only ever be able to see so far. I’m pretty sure we have already reached that point when it comes to mobile displays. I’m pretty sure we’ve already passed it, even before this point.


I guess I’m just hoping that LG’s new display doesn’t start a race for manufacturers to keep pumping up the resolution on their smartphones too, because (as I mentioned) it seems like a waste of time. Much like the race to make the biggest smartphone (that’s still not technically a tablet), it just seems a little pointless at this point. At least, it feels like our efforts should be placed elsewhere.


That’s just my thoughts on the subject, though. Now I want to hear what you guys think about displays on phones these days: do you think LG is wasting their time, or do you feel like QHD is something that we should be aiming for in smartphones at this point in time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Image via Hot Hardware

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