The images displayed on the screens of our monitors or televisions are made up of thousands, even millions of dots called pixels, a word that derives from the English dimension “picture element”, in which each of them has color information in RGB from that precise point on the screen.
We don’t put our face glued to the screen, well, we do that when we are using virtual reality devices, where a very curious process occurs with low density, low resolution the distance between pixels creates voids which give a slightly sharp and grainy image.
On the other hand, when we are seated in front of a television, the distance is high enough so that the density of pixels is not perceptible, this phenomenon is linked to the fact that depending on the distance at which we are looking at a screen, the density of pixels for whether these are indistinguishable varies, which means that there is a limit to the pixel density that we can see.
The concept of retina display
When Apple introduced its iPhone 4 ten years ago, its main novelty was to increase the screen resolution of the device 4 times to reach a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, the same as that used in the professional printing world. .
The image quality of smartphones has improved enormously and has been copied by the whole industry in the same way, obviously the catch is that this figure refers to having the screen between 10 and 12 inches, between 25.4 and 12 inches, so it’s an ideal density for using a smartphone, portable console, or tablet.
But in the case of a PC the distance is a little bigger, of course we don’t all have the desktop mounted the same, but the density of pixels per inch taken as a reference is around 220, which translates to Any screen with a higher pixel resolution won’t make any difference, because in theory we can’t see the extra pixels.
The 4K problem in laptops
This brings us to a key question: are resolutions above 4K achievable on laptops? I am currently writing this article on a laptop with a 15.6 inch screen at 1080P resolution, which means its density is 141.21 dpi, so my screen has room for improvement in terms of resolution.
If I could increase my screen resolution to 1440p, the dpi goes to 188.28, but what if we increase the screen resolution to 2160p or 4K? So the density drops to 282.42, even if the screen was 17 inches, we would have the same problem with a density of 259.17 dots per inch. In any case, we would still have a certain margin before reaching 300 dpi in the world of printing.
But what if we upgrade to resolutions above 4K? Already with the 5K resolution, we exceed the limit of 300 dots per inch, which makes most of the pixels invisible to our eyes and causes a huge waste of time rendering those pixels, which causes us to disappear. To reach the point where the improvement will not be in resolution, but in other parameters such as refresh rate, image quality and even color depth.