Technology trends changes extremely quickly â€“ weâ€™ve always known that â€“ and nowhere is this truer than in the smartphone world. But what was at the beginning a race to perfect a concept, has now become a spec sheet war (especially among Android manufacturers). And the question that has been on my mind for some time now has been: â€œHow much is too much?â€ How much of the spec sheet hardware really deliver a better experience to the end user?
At the top of this list for me is screen resolution. The norm for the previous generation of smartphones (which was just over a year ago, mind you) was a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This was what we called HD resolution or 720p, and this was already â€“ depending on the size of your screen â€“ over 300 ppi, or pixels per inch. However, according to studies the human eye (if you have very good eyesight) can only see around 300 ppi at a distance of about 25cm. So unless you stare at your screen from extremely close by or under a microscope, you wonâ€™t see the difference. So whatâ€™s the point of having the current generation of screens that come in at over 400 ppi?
Appleâ€™s retina display comes in at 326 ppi, but we now have Samsung, Sony and other flagships that have screen resolutions of over 400 ppi â€“ and 468 ppi in the case of the HTC One. The screens have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, or Full HD. The scary thing is this doesnâ€™t even seem to be the end of the pixels battles. Propaganda is an amazing thing, isnâ€™t it? Most people do seem to believe bigger is better. While in many cases it is, in this circumstance I tend to disagree. And for one very good reason: cost.
We have seen reports that manufacturers in Japan and Korea are putting the finishing touches on their WQXGA panels, with a whopping 2560 x 1600 resolution on screens less than 6 inches large. Just imagine the cost that will incur on the end consumer, and for what, a nice spec sheet? It will have over 500 pixels per inch. I say no! Give me a properly built smartphone with top notch internals and a 720p screen! I think 300 ppi is more than enough for me. Rather improve viewing angles and colours in sunshine. It will cost us a couple of thousand rand less, I can tell you that much.