With large phones (or “phablets”) gaining popularity, we’re starting to see phones like the HTC J Butterfly popping up with 1080p displays. Now that we have the ability to create phones with 1080p displays, the question is: do we even need them?

Of course manufacturers are going to push the improved resolution, claiming it makes photos and videos clearer and more eye-pleasing. While the increased resolution certainly isn’t going to hurt image quality, it may not be as necessary as we might think. In an interview with Ars Technica, CEO of DisplayMate Dr. Raymond Soneira said “Even the tiniest image detail in a photograph is always spread over more than one pixel.” He added that “The image detail is never perfectly aligned with the pixel structure of the display.

Regarding video, Soneira said “For ordinary viewing of videos, 1920×1080 is really not going to make a visual difference.” You can already see this for yourself in a lot of situations, like televisions, for example. Unless you’re sitting relatively close, the difference between 720p and 1080p is negligible. That’s on a 40-inch television screen. Even with a 5-inch display on a phone, the difference will be hard to make out.

That isn’t to say that 1080p makes no difference whatsoever. With anything computer generated like fonts and icons, the increased resolution can make use of the extra pixels to improve the sharpness of the display. Still, according to Soneira, many people can’t make out differences in sharpness over 229 pixels per inch. Basically, unless you’ve got great vision, the improved sharpness still may not matter.

How much would a 1080p phone screen matter to you? Do you think we’re beginning to reach a point where the resolution of a phone’s display doesn’t matter as much as it used to?

Kristofer Wouk
Kristofer Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos. In his free time, he likes to make music, read and write short fiction.
  • It would matter a great deal to me, i got super vision

  • dirkthedaring83

    no, but a 4K would! ;)

  • Ahmed (Pakistan)

    Doesn’t matter unless you are bragging about it. just like a 1.6 Quad Core in a phone is of no practical use at the moment.

    • r121

      Nowadays only Apple still makes “phones” and others are already onto PC.

    • lilmoe2002

      Yea, most apps don’t take advantage of multiple cores, but the OS does (Android). Multi-tasking is that much snappier on 1.6GHz quad-core smartphones.

      Example: If you’re playing a 3D intensive game that takes advantage of 2 cores, your phone will be much more responsive when you receive a call or a notification since the OS can utilize 2 additional cores for background processes. I know, I tried both (SGS2 VS SGS3), and it’s not only about the higher clock speed.

  • no it just means more pixels to push around even with that cpu it will still lag like hell

    • lilmoe2002

      It won’t “lag” on a Snapdragon S4 Pro with that resolution and Jelly Bean, but it would be faster and snappier if the resolution was lower.

      The impact of HTC’s Sense skin VS vanilla Android is arguably much higher than the impact of this screen VS 720p…

  • Alex13809

    Maybe not with our Roman alphabet, but I’m willing to bet everyone in Asia and the middle east will enjoy the larger density on their complex symbols.

  • Eric

    I have huge popping eyes, so yeah, it matters to me!

  • Ibra

    In Phones, I don’t think so even for games. but in Tablets the screen resolution makes a big deference.

  • Thnx for preventing us of enjoying newest technology…

  • I seriously thought that wait a second.. the screen appears totally no different than the s3.. or note 2.. is it really 1080p?? thn reading this article told me wat was gong on..
    I have a sensation from htc.. and i used my friend’s s3 and the screen is way better.. (not abt brightness) even on net if u compare u can easily c difference in 240ppi n 340.. but not the same for 340 n 440..

  • CordovaBay

    If you can’t see the pixels at the regular working distance it hardly matters how many more you pack in — you still won’t see them. Doesn’t matter if you are talking about phones, tablets, tvs, home theaters or movie houses, the same principle applies.

    But, with spec wars it might increase your sales if people don’t understand what the specs mean!

    In this business it is all about check list items. It usually doesn’t even reflect how good the items are as long as you have a checkmark beside them. If you have a bunch of items that no one else has… hey it must be better.

  • Guille

    …unless… I think of the super pixelated PenTile screens even top notch phones are using lately.
    An overkill resolution like that can make up for that weakness.

  • Tuyen

    i don’t if it makes any difference with the vision but it would make me feel better to have a 1920×1080 screen

  • Gil Maman

    I would preffer performance and battery time so i can definetly settle for 720p

  • MikeylaOfWatermelon

    well, before the iphone, no one needed a smartphone so…

    • grsg

      Smartphones already existed before the iphone. Apple just revolutionized the design.

    • MasterMuffin

      Nokia was the first one to make a smartphone, it’s been 14 years when first smartphone was announced

    • Sean Quinlan

      The difference is that no one would mistake a smartphone for a flip phone, but the difference between 720 and 1080p resolution on a phone screen is so minuscule that most people would need a strong magnifying glass to see the difference.

  • Yo

    Dude I can see the solar storms on the sun with my bare eyes on a cloudy day!, brig me more pixels, I’m sold!

  • Garry DeWitt

    I think we should go ahead and hit 1080p and then get to work on other things like colour accuracy, black levels, refresh rate, etc etc. There’s lots of room for improvement in other areas.

  • IncCo

    I think 1080 is great, however only for the larger screens. Anything below 4,5 will do fine with 720 IMO. That said, i wouldnt say no to 1080.. ;)

  • I believe 1080p should be the top resolution for smartphones as it just exceeds the average person’s visual acuity. Pentile pattern will work well with this. 720p is just a shade too low to make Pentile work without seeing the checkerboard effect. Now that they have reached this resolution, the goal should be to improve the efficiency and cost.

  • Peterson Silva

    Pixels are like money. They will make you miserable if you have a few, but there’s a limit which getting beyond doesn’t really make you any happier than you already are…

  • MasterMuffin

    1080×1920 would be cool in a 4,3″ screen :)

  • Mohammed Aly

    When Apple introduce retina display every blogger give comments and praising what apple did! Now it becomes negotiable … ???

  • rsanchez1

    Like it or not, it will sell. Just look at the “retina” nonsense.

  • Sean Quinlan

    I’ve never seen a 1080p phone, but 1280×800 already looks phenomenal. I don’t think the decreased battery life and decreased graphical performance will be worth the increase in resolution that might not even be noticeable.

  • yarrellray

    I applaud HTC and their entrance into the arena created by Samsung. I gotta tell you thou this is in comparison with the Lg Optimus G, Droid Razr Maxx Hd, Htc One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Htc Evo LTE. This device doesn’t touch the GALAXY NOTE 2 with a ten foot pole. The Galaxy Note 2 is an all purpose/entertaiment device something never seen before with features that can’t be touched by “NO OTHER DEVICE ON THE MARKET” Samsung has nothing to worry about what so ever for the next 180 days. When the Galaxy Note 3 hits that device will hit with 2ghz processor Exynos 5250 5’8 to 6.0 screen size and 3gb of ram. Samsung owns this space my friends…

  • Tom

    yes it would…i would love to remote control my desktop at native resolution

  • Twisted247

    Dont know why 3/4 of people on here are against an advancement in technology… I mean this just makes the other companies continue to advance and push the envelope. I mean are the majority of the angry people on here angry about the res. and ppi because your iphone5 owners and the only spec you guys continued to talk about was the i5’s ppi? Even though all the apple tards attempt to brag about the 326ppi of the i5 even though htc released an android device a year ago with 342ppi(Htc Rezound).

    So let them do their thing, this will come out on a few more devices im sure in the coming 6months from sharp. Companies will continue to improve battery technology and any other problems associated with pushing a higher resolution. So if you don’t like it don’t buy it, but don’t hate on it. And if you do some research about battery research right now they are on the edge of some VERY impressive things and are looking to implement them into the market within the next year. Increasing capacity and cutting charge time down to a phenomenal fraction of todays times.

  • Pointless waste of pixels and battery life.

  • sharath naik

    galaxy note 2 needed a 1080p screen. 1080p seems a lot, but it all boils down to how many pixels u have on the horizontal side(portrait mode). as most sites, PDF documents need atleast 1000px to not mess up the font display. So yes, Phone that reach 5 inch or above(tablets) need to have a 1080p screen.

  • K

    the technology update is a must

  • Guest

    They need to be working on: battery life, cpu and graphics in phones, not the screens.