Why An Android Smartphone With A 4K Display Makes No Sense

4K video is the future, but a 4K display on a smartphone is just a gimmick.

 
Why An Android Smartphone With A 4K Display Makes No Sense

Its been a few weeks since Sony announced its smartphone with a 4K, picture perfect display. And while everyone was excited to get a hands-on with the world’s first 4K ready smartphone, for now a 4K display on a smartphone is clearly an add on feature that will be limited to your home or just your smartphone.

As I have mentioned in an earlier article, the Android platform seems to be stunted when it comes to innovation for the past year.

So what do manufacturers do? Well they go big on numbers. We now have deca-core processors from MediaTek and 4K displays on a smartphone when Android has yet to jump on to the Quad HD bandwagon.

Clearly, the world is not ready for 4K content, forget India, so it makes little sense when you have a smartphone that sports a 4K display.

Full HD vs QHD vs 4K can you tell the difference?

Well, the same question arose when LG introduced its G3 flagship with a Quad HD display. And look where we are today. The answer is nowhere. Consumers can barely tell the difference between the display on the iPhone 6 Plus vs the display on the Note 5. What they like on the Note 5 is saturation of the Super AMOLED array while some prefer the accuracy of the IPS LCD on the iPhone.

In short, it is the type of display that makes the difference in visual quality and not the number of pixels beyond the Full HD realm.

The same can be said about the difference between a 4K display vs a quad HD one or even a well-made Full HD one. The human eye can rarely differentiate between pixels from a normal distance (300 pixels per square inch) so it would be hard to differentiate between the three unless of course it is the display tech (like a PenTile matrix vs an RGB one) that is leading to deterioration.

In short, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium that will be priced above Rs 65,000 won’t find more takers than the standard Z5.

Android Gaming and Apps

Android is a platform that always suffers from fragmentation no matter which handset you are on. This includes everything apart from the Nexus range.

Clearly, you cannot take the one-size fits all approach out here, as the screen size and resolutions vary.

This is why developers of apps and games go in for standard resolutions to make their lives easier. For iOS we have:

  • 480x320px, 3:2 (iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPod Touch 1st Gen—3rd Gen)
  • 960x640px, 3:2 (iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 4th gen)
  • 1136x640px, 71:40 (iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5th gen)
  • 1024x768px, 4:3 (iPad 1st gen, iPad 2, iPad Mini)
  • 2048x1536px, 4:3 (iPad 3rd gen, iPad 4th gen, iPad Air, iPad mini 2nd gen)
  • 2208×1242px, 71:40 (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus)

So that’s 6 standards for about 20 devices that come with fixed hardware configurations. All of which deliver graphics without jagged edges, meaning that its a pixel-perfect fit thanks to down sampling on some.

Coming to Android, we have the following generalised densities and these randomly fit between the screen resolutions of 12,000+ devices with a variety of chipsets onboard:

  • ldpi (low) ~120dpi
  • mdpi (medium) ~160dpi
  • hdpi (high) ~240dpi
  • xhdpi (extra-high) ~320dpi
  • xxhdpi (extra-extra-high) ~480dpi
  • xxxhdpi (extra-extra-extra-high) ~640dpi

For example, when we tried Real Racing 3 on the Galaxy S6 edge, it was running at 720p resolution on a Quad HD display. Indeed, there is a long way to go for Android to make use of a Quad HD display forget about a UHD (4K) one.

Battery Life

Battery Life is indeed of prime importance on any mobile device, let alone on a mobile phone. Sony recently made a few comments about its 4K wonder confessing that the 4K display was only used to its entirety when viewing images or video content. Meaning that apps and games ran no more than Full HD, this means that everything gets upscaled.

What Sony also confessed was that there was a need to use 4K only for video and imaging because apps and games would suck the battery dry quickly at those resolutions. This in turn meant that Sony would not be able to deliver on its 2 day Stamina battery life.

A simple experiment also conducted by Phonearena also showed the pros of running a Quad HD device in Full HD mode. The LG G3 lasting longer and games running at a higher frame rate. Full HD is still the way to go for Android for now, anything more than this is clearly overkill.


Tags : Mobile Phones, 4K, Displays, Sony Xperia Z5 Premium