I saw the light. Or more specifically, I saw the brightness, contrast, and pixel density.
After several weeks of testing, I’m able to say that the iPhone 12’s Full HD (1920 x 1080, or 1080p) display is as good as the Note 20 Ultra’s WQHD (2560 x 1440), if not better. Android mobile makers have convinced us that we need 2K or higher quality screens to have the best viewing experience, but we don’t.
I don’t want this to become a war between Apple and Android, but the truth is, we don’t need displays with WQHD + resolution. We just want them, or rather, the mobile makers have convinced us that we want them.
Full HD displays have been relegated to cheaper Android phones to showcase more immersive, edge-to-edge, pixel-rich experiences. But you only have to look at the DisplayMate OLED screen analysis to see how wrong it is. The iPhone 12’s Full HD display achieved the highest A + score.
But not all of those extra pixels are needed. For example, Samsung defines its mobiles with the QuadHD + resolution disabled by default. I’m willing to bet a lot of people who buy one don’t even know how to activate it.
Ultra-high-resolution displays are a good specification on paper and in tests, but on a six-inch screen, the results are virtually indistinguishable by the human eye. If the Galaxy S8’s spectacular Infinity Display had peaked at 1080p, no one would have complained.
Android fans will say they can see the difference, but I doubt they can tell a 1440p from a 1080p panel. I know because I was one of them. In his day, when he had a new Samsung Galaxy mobile to test, the first thing he did was turn on 1440p resolution. I would have challenged anyone that my eyes could see the difference.
But no. When Samsung launched its first mobile with a 120Hz refresh rate earlier this year, I was one of the first to criticize that it didn’t work at a higher resolution. I was so convinced that WQHD + was the superior feature that I wondered if the 120Hz refresh rate was worth it if you had a lower resolution.
The truth is, yes, and Samsung was right to limit 120Hz to 1080p. Even without a fast refresh rate, 1080p displays deliver 400-450 pixels per inch, far more than what Steve Jobs called the “magic numbers of around 300 pixels per inch, than when you put something in … between 10 and 12 inches away in front of your eyes is the limit of the human retina to differentiate pixels. “
Too many pixels
For a while, it looked like mobile makers would start competing in the 4K department, starting with the Sony Xperia 1, which has an impressive 3840 x 1644 resolution and 643 ppi pixel density. While Sony has continued to make ridiculous resolution displays (with a 900 ppi 5K model in development), other displays like this haven’t quite arrived.
That’s good. While 2K, 3K, or 4K are very good in the spec list, the extra pixels are, in most cases, unnecessary and even defeat the overall experience.
High-resolution displays use more battery power, take a toll on GPUs, and sometimes take a toll on app design and performance. They don’t offer too many advantages beyond the perception that images and type are sharper. In short, 4K is suitable for televisions, but totally unnecessary for a mobile.
The same is true for 2K and 3K. On paper, the iPhone 12’s screens are way smaller than most Android phones. premium. But the specs don’t tell the whole story.
Apple is working hard to ensure that the calibration of its screens does not visually differentiate them from the excellent WQHD screens of Galaxy phones and much better than Google’s Pixel phones with 1440p.
Now that Apple has moved on to offering a line of iPhones with a full OLED display, there isn’t much to criticize other than the lack of a 120Hz option. This is rumored to happen next year, which would place the iPhone among Samsung’s best, even at a significantly lower resolution.
Apple cares more about screen quality than pixel count and is willing to give its competition the edge to make this possible. In doing so, it shows that you don’t need a resolution higher than 1080p. I hope other mobile manufacturers stop trying so hard and follow Apple’s lead.
Original article published in PCWorld US.