Do we really need 4K on a smartphone yet?

4K, or Ultra HD, is definitely the 'in-thing' right now. If you're buying a new TV then there's a high chance it'll have a 4K display and even computer monitors with UHD panels have started to become more affordable. Then there's the fact that every high-end Android smartphone in recent times can boast "4K video recording" as a feature.

But do we really need 4K displays on smartphones just yet? Sony thinks so, even if the execution in the Xperia Z5 Premium is seriously limited. We've got a couple of arguments in the for and against column.

For - All things VR

Gear VR

While not necessarily something Sony has got too involved with yet outside of its PlayStation VR project, products like Google Cardboard and Gear VR would very much benefit from having more pixels to play with. When the phone is what's doing the legwork and it's mounted just a few inches from your eyeballs every pixel counts. It stands to reason then that a 4K display would be better here.

Sometimes, more is just better. Regardless of what anyone says.

For - Media consumption

Amazon Fire TV

Gradually more 4K content is becoming available, though it's questionable whether or not the phone in your pocket is the best device to watch that on. But if the content is available then why wouldn't you want to get at it on any of your devices?

Coupled with smartphones seemingly being on an unstoppable increase in size and we're fast arriving at the point where watching an Ultra HD movie on your phone would actually be a good experience, particularly for folks on the move. Perhaps not a mass market adoption, but if it's there, why wouldn't you want to use it?

Against - Can you really see the difference?

Sharp 4K TV

Part of the issue is that on a 4K TV you can totally tell the difference when stepping up from 1080p. On smartphones we've had 2K, or 1440p, for about 18months now and some would say it's tough to tell the difference on that scale. Bump up to 4K on similar sized displays and can you really, honestly, tell the difference between 2K and 4K? Aside from knowing it can play 4K content at native resolution, how much benefit will you gain in regular, every day use of your phone?

And it then ties in to the next couple of points.

Against - It'll probably drain the battery a lot quicker


Battery technology will continue to advance, as will software tricks to help you get the most from it. Doze, in Marshmallow, is one such advancement, but sometimes you have to get down to brass tax. A large, 4K display will suck more life from your battery than an equivalent sized 720p, 1080p or even 2K display. It's one of those things we can't escape from and as phone makers all seem involved in a race to the thinnest, something somewhere will have to give.

Or you'll forever need to keep a battery pack handy.

Against - Price

This will eventually become less of an issue but right now the Xperia Z5 Premium is a fine example. It's very expensive. In the UK it costs around £600 for a phone that's 90% the same as the smaller Xperia Z5. Regardless of Sony's execution, that's a lot of money. Sure, Apple can command that price and people flock to pay it. But can we honestly say the same of anyone not involved in the Cult of Apple?

Right now especially, is there any feasible reason to pay a large extra premium?

Your thoughts?

That's just a few of ours, but what do you think? Be sure to drop us your own opinions in the comments below!

  • Perhaps not until battery capacities reach at least 4000 mah. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And even then I'd rather have a 1080p display with more screen on time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Virtual reality goggles and the games. Those awesome, awesome games. Posted via the GS6 Active, aka GS6 M.E. (Manly Edition)
  • All 4K is going to do for 99% of the people is KEEP the phones expensive. It isn't needed with the exception of extreme Media and VR enthusiasts, which if that meant a special edition phone, that would be fine. But what is going to happen is all of the flagships are going to want to do it and it will keep the phone needlessly expensive. These types of things is what is driving the mid-range phone market. People have figured this out and realize that they can get a whole lot of phone that MORE then fits their needs for a whole lot less. I laugh every time I see someone who just paid $800+ for a new phone, because I think to myself, next year (or 8 months) I will have that same phone for $300. I stay one model back. So my personal opinion is, yeah, make those 4K phones, I won't be paying for it, all these MUST HAVE THE LATEST people will be.
  • Well I did get a $300 Zen Phone 2, with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of flash, and I'm putting in 128 GB of micro SD card, for $60, but I loved the QHD upscaling on my $300 Nexus 10 and the QHD clips that I could get, were adorable. Loved the stuff I could get in 4K for my $400 39" UHD TV, UHD movies upscaling Blue Ray Player, House of Cards on Netflix in 4K, if you can't see it up close, buy a $2.50 pair of reading glasses, polish them and your screen.
  • Or you know old their charge better longer and more efficient etc Posted via the Android Central App
  • I really hope the Galaxy S7 does not have a 4k screen, but with their VR push I wouldn't be surprised. I think 2k should be the max for all phones. Hardware manufacturers keep thinking things like that "one-up" the competition but in my opinion it hurts them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wish they would "one-up" in favor of things consumers really want. Battery life and storage. Cameras are getting amazing, so I'll give them that.
  • It could be how Sony did there's, but with a slight improvement 4k kicks in when using it with vr headset and rest of the time it's 2k display. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This! As a note 5 owner with a Gear VR, 4k would really help. But, unless your screencasting to a 4k tv or doing VR, I'd prefer the phone stick to 2k.
  • If that 6" galaxy S7 plus rumor is true, I hope it DOES have a 4k screen! 1440p screens are already kinda meh on google cardboard. 4k will be really good!
  • I think all tablets should be 2k and 4k . there's no need on a phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • We don't need a 2k screen as well.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The only ones that say they can see the difference between even 1080p and 4K on a smartphone, are the same people that say they can hear the difference with Monster digital cables.
  • Exactly. I did some research when buying my last TV and realized that there's almost no reason to get a 4k TV. You can't see any real difference unless you're sitting extremely close. Manufacturers realize this so they're starting to put only the best features in the 4k TVs in order to get you to upgrade. I don't think we need 4k in our phones. It's gonna drain the battery, and the only place I can see it being of benefit is in a VR situation. I plan on getting the S7 and hope that it doesn't have 4k. Now if they could do somewhat like Sony and have it only enabled at certain times, say like during VR, then I guess I would be okay with it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So true. All this crap is just market gimmicks. I would argue that we don't need a 1080 screen on phones either. I think my 46" TV is pretty good at 1080. Wtf do i need it on a 5" screen for? Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm more than happy with 1080p, but I can tell a big difference in screen detail between N7 and N6 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Question is, could you tell if they were not side by side?
    Maybe you can, but the even bigger question is --- does it matter?
    Especially considering what you are giving up.
  • Okay I can see the 4k argument, but saying 1080 isn't needed in a phone is going way too far. I can tell HUGE differences between 1080 and 720 on a phone. You're just one-upping all the other comments by taking it further and further. Technically we don't "NEED" 90% of what our smartphones do. But i'm not into self harm so I don't see a reason why I should screw myself over by saying I don't need this or that in a smartphone.
  • Do you know how these things are marketed? Sure, maybe you can tell. But I think you are exagerating the difference between 720 and 1080. Remember those big screen TV's? You have to have them side by side to tell the difference in many if not all cases. So tell me, if the differences is that close and difficult to tell on a screen that is 10x the diagonal size, how about a 5" phone? Maybe you aren't the average consumer (then again, who on these sites are?) but to the masses, there is no noticeable difference.
  • their is a big difference in the usage of a tv that you sit 8 feet or more away from and a smartphone that you hold 6 to 12 inches from your face.
    It's all about viewing distance vs the resolution, walk up to your 1080p tv on day and stand 6 to 12 inches from it.
    you'll see it's a pixelated mess at that distance. I can see the difference plain as day between 720p and 1080p on smartphones.
    1080p is great for smartphones, 1080p is the minimum I would accept on a smartphone these days, my main phone has a 2k display Note5 and I wouldn't trade down to 1080p, I don't always notice the difference, but I do in certain situations. 4k is taking it too far, It's tough at times to tell the difference between a good 1080p and 2k display, the next jump won't help for the vast majority of smartphone users
  • The size of the screen is also more than 8x smaller when comparing a 5" phone to a 40" TV. so based on your example of 6-12 inches and 8ft or greater, isn't it just right? 8x smaller, and 8x closer. The way you suggested to compare is not reasonable == apples to oranges. Anyway. My the major point of my argumentis that these increasing resolutions and stuff is getting to the point of ridiculousness and simply a marketing play. If you disagree, I am ok with that. to each their own. You have your opinion and I have mine. cool?
  • You said exactly what I think, with the exception of 4K. Well Said. What it really boils down to is; what you plan to use your phone for. The 720 vs 1080 is not even part of the debate. You have to be blind to not see a difference. No phone over $200 should come with anything less. 1080 vs 2k, the difference is minimal, and the value (and battery) to gain ratio makes it up for grabs depending on the users perspective. 2K vs 4K, there is a valid argument for media and VR users, but beyond that, people are just wasting money and sacrificing performance and battery. To be honest, I wish manufacturers would take the money and effort from improving already great screens and apply it to security, storage, battery life, cleaning up their UI, and improving ergonomics. In short, addressing any shortfalls of their current devices before coming out with next great thing no one really needs.
  • On the battery comment, there must be a reason why manufacturers don't put larger capacity batteries in the phones. I just don't know why. Look at the Xiaomi redmi note 3. 4000mah.... I, like you wish they would invest in improving the foundations such as battery life, storage, call quality, antenna quality, etc.
  • The reason is simple. 3200mah on my note 4 makes it exactly one day. So for me I need 6400mah of battery to make it 2 days. Let's just say even at 2700mah most people would need that every day. 4000mah doesn't do many people any good, because that won't make it 2 days, maybe just a 1.5 days. Personally I don't want to go back to the 15mm thick phone days. Pants
  • Each to their own I guess. Personally I'd be perfectly happy with a 15mm thick phone if it meant a huge (2 day) battery. I'm using a V10 so if I'm willing to carry round a very tall and very wide phone the thickness is, to me at least, the least important of those dimensions. To keep this comment relevant to the topic, 4k is almost certainly overkill. But then this is the beauty of Android, we can have small phones, large phones, cheap phones, premium all singing all dancing phones etc, whatever you want, however niche, there's almost always an android phone that does it. Posted on LG V10 via the Android Central App
  • I've never used a 2k phone, but I can absolutely see the difference between 1080p of my Z3 and the 4K of my Z5P
  • You look pretty young to me, I love the pixels, I use reading glasses and I'm 53.
  • My younger eyes say otherwise... Posted via the Android Central App
  • We need 8k these 2k and 4k screens are kinda meh rubbish. Come on Samsung give us 8k or 10k screen's now!! Apple is catching up sammy ...... Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's too much too soon, I feel. I'm using a Note 4 and there's a dearth of readily-available 2K content, let alone 4K. Whilst it's nice to see technology pushing in that direction, I don't feel it's necessary and it ultimately impacts on battery life.
  • Not if your into VR goggles and phones with big batteries like me. Posted via the GS6 Active, aka GS6 M.E. (Manly Edition)
  • I prefer phones with ~5 inch screen. 1080p is perfectly fine for me.
  • Even 720p doesn't bother me at that size, as long as the viewing angles in contrast ratio are good. I would rather have better battery life. Certainly anything above 1080p is not worth the battery trade off until you get up into the 6" territory. I was actually really happy with the 6" 720p screen on the Sony Xperia T2 I had for a while, because the colors were great, and also because I could go three days on a charge with that thing!
  • The larger the screen, the more need for 1080p. There are better ways to gain battery life if the manufacturers tried. 1080p is not even a debate anymore. I remember when I could get a week out of my flip phones, it doesn't make them better.
  • Agreed, but I've used several 720p 6" phones (e.g., T2 Ultra, Ascend Mate 2), and the resolution never bothered me. Yeah, you can see the pixels, but it's not like it's distracting or anything. It's only slightly lower PPI than the "retina" iPads. On those particular phones, I would rather have a 720p screen, phenomenal battery life and the sub-$300 price tag than a 1080p screen. On a flagship, sure 1080p. On a cheap midrange phone, 720p is okay, even today.
  • i like this for/against style article
  • Yes, agreed! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Do we need 6 inch screens, dual speakers, 20+ MP cameras, 70 + Mbps data speeds, etc? No but we want them. Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Dual speakers, 20+ MP cameras, and 70Mbps data speeds all have significant advantages. A 4k screen on a phone has no advantage other than maybe sucking your battery dead in no time. Posted via the Android Central app on my Nexus 5X with Project Fi
  • Anyone could argue both sides of any of the features you mentioned. Your opinion and my opinion doesn't mean it's fact for everyone else.
  • My battery life has been ok with my Z5P. It's no Z3, but it's pretty close to the Z5.
  • I want 8k come on Samsung your slacking Posted via the Android Central App
  • True that Posted via the Android Central App
  • Give me a big battery, and a 1080P amoled screen, and I'm happy. My droid turbo would be much better if it had a 1080P screen instead of the 2k screen, which kills the battery when playing games.
  • Exactly. The screen on my G4 is great, and there are times when it's nicer than a 1080p display, but those times are few and far between. What I would really like is a 5"-ish 1080p display on my phone, and a 2K (or hell, even 4K, why the hell not) display on a 9"-ish tablet. Everything I do that would really benefit from a super high-res display is done on a tablet anyway.
  • It is just a matter of time till we "need" this feature. The same thing was said when 2K came about (and everybody was saying how unnecesary it was and how anyone could actually notice the pixel count and how it was going to kill battery life) and now if a phone comes without it it is like "how dare they not put 2K on it? That's it, C- rating"...
  • +1
  • I'm all for it in a home theater scenario. On the scale of tablets and smartphones, though, I'm good without it.
  • No. Posted via the Android Central App
  • ... and who on its right mind would want to see SpiderMan 3 on Ultra HD?!?
  • +1 or any format for that matter Posted via the Android Central App
  • Remember when we asked, "Do we really need 2K on a smartphone display" when LG G3 was released? What happened next?
  • I still think it's unnecessary. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • I remember those polls from a couple of different sites and the results still skewed to "not necessary".
  • I still don't think QHD screens on smartphones are necessary. Just because most of the flagships went that direction doesn't mean people feel they need it. Posted via the Android Central app on my Nexus 5X with Project Fi
  • 1080p is just fine, but the QHD with videos does look better...i remember reading this article stating that the bigger the screens the better you will notice the resolution diffetence, but compared with my old Note 3 and now Note5 the difference in resolution is noticeable. I'm guessing it all depends on the person...all of this talk about what features should and shouldn't be in a smartphone and whatnot is left to the individual consumers, but whether the manufacturers listen is a big if. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Define "need"... The og iPhone had a res of 320 by 480. At the time it looked amazing. More pixels are just a luxury. Although qhd is only a tad sharper than 1080, I can tell the difference and I'm glad I have it. My note 5's screen is straight up eye candy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I canNOT discern any significant difference between the screen of my Note 3 and a Note 5. The threshold should have stopped at 1080P for mobile and 2K QHD for TV's and computers, THAT'S IT. Reserve 2K QHD and 4K UHD for LED billboards and EDM stages. And regarding your question of need, 320X480 was an AWFUL display resolution, and people were cooing at it because there was nothing technologically better back then. But technology has advanced so much that our needs for a satisfactory viewing experience on mobile is very easily fulfilled by 1080P FHD and anything beyond that is now pure marketing BS!
  • No, no, no, no AND NO. I'm sorry for all those wanting to see progress (I do too), but we don't need 4K on a phone, at least not yet. The best time to put it is when VR becomes more mainstream AND when we have batteries above 5000mAh that can charge quickly. 1440p is already overkill. 2160p 4K is making that even more so. I spent time with the Z5P alongside a Z5 and honestly, between the 2 AND my LG G4, I CANNOT see the difference whatsoever, even when playing 4K content. The only time where I saw a difference was when I put a magnifiying lens on the display. TL;DR version: We don't need 4K on phones, at least not now, because the benefits are drastically outweighed by the drawbacks. PS: 1440p isn't really 2K. 1080p is closer to 2K. 1440p is higher than it. 2K is 2048x1556. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • Just a bit too soon. If Sony is good at anything its supporting they're phones for many years. They need to wait until Sammy or someone big does 4K phone so theyre can be a big push for 4K phone content. I think they just had to be the first to do it to get the attention, which they need. Great phones,nonexistent marketing Posted via the Android Central App
  • No...definitely not.. but it's coming whether it's needed or not.. right now I'm more than happy with 493ppi Posted via the Android Central App
  • I personally think anything over 1080p is to much. It kills battery life and most gpu's still struggle to keep up at times. Give me 1080p all day. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not really IMO. But I doubt we really need QHD either. I have QHD screens and 1080 screens. Both look good.
  • In answer to your question - yes; yes we do. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Part of the issue is that on a 4K TV you can totally tell the difference when stepping up from 1080p"
    Except this often isn't true for many of the same reasons on a phone. The screen on a TV may be larger, but you're most likely seeing it from farther away, so it ends up being the same issue.
  • Obviously where you sit will make a huge difference. You can find calculations all over the internet of sitting certain distances away makes it pointless to have higher resolution. One would assume you're actually using the equipment you have, properly. ;). Sitting 20ft away from a 50-60" TV is like using only 2 speakers of a 7.1 surround sound system. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I actually was in the same scenario. Initially wanted to get the LG UB8500 4K TV as a replacement for our dead Sharp LCD due to a pretty ferocious lightning strike. We then settled for the LG LB6500, which was 1080p and honestly, there wasn't even a noticeable difference from my viewing position.
  • here are true calibrated settings for ya. this site is amazing. the calibrations they post are 99% perfect.
    I say 99% because i went +1 on brightness and went high instead of medium on my samsung tv calibration settings they gave me for my plasma.
    they also gave that tv a good review. 10809 is plenty for a phone. 1440p is overkill. 4k is stupid.
  • Yeah, the LG LB6500 is actually a solid TV for the price. I do like the Smart TV features but still think that many will be better off with a Chromecast or a TV that runs Android TV or an Android TV set top box. On the topic of phones, even though you and I have phones with Quad HD displays (LG G4 and the Galaxy Note 5), we seem to agree that 1080p is enough for handsets. 1440p is already overkill. 4K is way beyond that. VR is still a niche and honestly, all the cons of 4K outweigh the pros in my opinion, since VR is still a niche and no one is going to use it for more than a few minutes. That said, really love the displays on both. I especially dig the Note 5's ferocious brightness. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • Very few people use VR, so that's a non-issue at this point.
  • Do we need it ever? No. Not unless our smartphone screens are 20". (which given recent trends, might be coming.) Posted via the Android Central App
  • And here I was thinking that the earth shattered when my Palm Pilot went from 160x160 to 320x320 resolution. :-D
  • I say no. 1440p (2k) is plenty on phones. Especially when it runs in that resolution all the time. Plus the PPI on phones with 1440p and even 1080p are wayyyy higher than PPI of any 4K TV. So its kind of pointless. At least not until all movies and shows start are being recorded in 4k instead of just a select few. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Even though I have a Note 5 with QHD screen I would say 1080p is more than enough for a device with a small screen. I think the Note screen looking awesome is mostly to being Amoled and that happens to be my preference bit we do have some great 1080p screens. The HTC One series has had good screens and the One plus one had a screen in that I thought was top notch. 4k in phone is a waste, waste of money, waste of battery, waste of R+D. Posted via the Android Central App
  • OnePlus One's screen is not that great. It's sharp, yes but a bit dull
  • Nope Posted via the Android Central App on my Galaxy S3 Neo Dual Sim which thankfully doesn't have S-pen and does not have a horrible metal body.
  • I think phones should be fine with 1080P but I could see the advantage for VR but in every other way it would make the phone worse. 4K needs a brighter light which will create more heat and drain the battery faster and for nearly everything else it will add no real advantage. I also think 4K is not worth it on TVs until you get to 50" or above. Granted I purchased a 4K camcorder to record my kids as I figure in 10 years everyone will have a 4K or 8K TV and they will be so glad I thought ahead.
  • I would say it's a worthy investment, but only if you're really into VR and are willing to shell out the money. Even at 1440p, VR images remain grainy.
    In Canada, the Z5P is 200 dollars cheaper than an iPhone 6S+ with the lowest storage option. Nexus 6
  • It not about it is needed or not right now. it's about having the options. If you need it go for one, if you don't get one without. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm still waiting for full out LED screens on smartphones to cut down on power consumption Posted via the Android Central App
  • A few thoughts here. Mobile phones seem to have plateaued at 6". A couple of years ago, there were a few entries larger than that (my favorite being the Sony Xperia Z Ultra), but this year, the only major player still doing it is Huawei with the P8max, and they don't seem to have released it outside of Asia. At least in the US market, it seems to me that smartphones are centering around 5.5" as the new standard, and are shrinking away from the 6" line (notice the size reduction between the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 6P.) Also, "brass tax" probably should be "brass tacks" :P
  • My short answer to this article is no. I really don't even see the need for a QHD screen in a smartphone. If you a ask me it's just a big waste of battery. The 1080p screen in the past 3 phones I've had is really plenty sharp. You can't see the pixels without using a magnifying glass already, so why go any higher resolution. Even with perfect vision I doubt anyone can honestly tell the difference. Posted via the Android Central app on my Nexus 5X with Project Fi
  • It's all about the second point 'VR'. For regular use moving up to 1080 from 720 was noticeable, moving from 1080 to 1440 was noticeable if I look closely. Going to 4K is not going to do anything for direct viewing, but it will be extremely apparent with VR. If not this next generation the one after will be 4k and VR will very much appreciate it. Battery life continues to improve on new panels as well so while lower res panels that come out at the same time will be more efficient, comparing to the previous year they probably will not be. Graphics processing should also improve, maybe still another year or so. You could just divorce VR from the smartphone, but if that was the case and you had to buy a completely separate expensive device that would greatly reduce the VR market. At $99 for an add on VR mask please give me a 4k screen I can buy on a subsidized contract.
  • Since when does "need" always factor into upgrading technology? Can't stop progress. What we really NEED is some new miraculous innovation for longer lasting and safer battery tech so all these other upgrades don't tank our battery life. :)
  • Why don't we have 1000 cubic inch engines in production cars? You can't stop progress, right? The answer is easy. There are drawbacks to engines so large and you can only drive so fast legally. There are also major drawbacks to more pixels, especially when humans cannot tell the difference do to limitations in our eyes.
  • Not too long ago I recall reading that 1080 wasn't even needed on a television if it wasn't X inches big and your seats weren't X feet away from it. I think it's funny that here we are maybe 10 years later asking for better resolutions on our 5 - 6" phones than most people have on their 50 -60" televisions.
  • 4k rendered then downscaled to 1080p looks almost as good as 4k. This is of course on a bigger screen like pc monitor and tv's. Totally unnecessary on a phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Cool part is that this phone is 1080p most of the time which saves the battery
  • I think it all comes down to personal preference. Some want to have the latest and greatest even if they cant see the difference, while others just want a phone for basic messaging and calling. Personally for me, capturing life's moments is the most important to me. Which means I would love a top quality sensor in the device. 12mp + with F1.8 or better. Also to be able to capture life's great moments, you need a phone that has juice. So a smartphone with a 5,000 mAh + battery is very important to me. While there are very very few who have that capacity, I hope in the future Smart-phones last 2 - 3 days instead of a couple hours. To me, a 1080p display on a 5" inch screen is absolutely perfect and i don't think going any higher than that is going to be beneficial for normal use.
  • Zen Phone 2, 13 MP, $300 USD.
  • 4K screens are also awesome at showing photos, not just videos! Sony did it right, it does 4K only during videos and pictures (maybe games?) and the rest it defaults to a lower resolution to save on battery for everything else. This hybrid approach makes so much sense and is a reason why 4K screens are a good thing.
  • Makes no difference on a phone sized screen. Same goes for 4k video...
  • MKBHD and I would disagree, take a look at his review and the picture comparisons with detail: Pictures look way better, especially if you zoom in.
  • Not really. He said that you'd be hard pressed to see the difference, even when you squint. Yes, pictures look better, but not by much. Have you even seen the Z5P in the flesh? Because I actually have.
  • That makes no sense.
  • It would only benefit mutants who have evolved better eyes. Oh...and Steve Austin, the Six-Million Dollar Man with his telescopic vision.
  • $2.50 reading glasses.
  • You do have to remember, some people have vision better than 20/20, with glasses/contacts or without. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yup, reading glasses on a 6.5" tablet, at the right price I'm there.
  • 4k is a good thing to be moving towards. Hopefully they will stop there with phones and keep working on power consumption and color accuracy. Resolutions do not need to go higher with phones.
  • For VR absolutely! And cheap VR headset are becoming common. Gear VR would be much better with a 4k phone. For any other reason any who thinks it's makes any difference on a 6in phone or smaller is delusional.
  • I have an LG G4 which has a 2K display which is great for a 5.5" screen. I think if your screen is 5" or less you only need 1080p. I really don't think 4K is worth it. It's definitely not necessary. OEMs need to make better batteries and increase storage before we worry about 4K. If you're going to be taking 4K video and pictures but are still stuck with 16-32GB and maybe no SD card... That's sad. A 5.5" 2K display with 128GB of storage and a 4000 mAh battery would be a dream phone. OEMs keep pushing the display because it's easier to show off and make consumers feel like they aren't wasting their money. Even though they are.
  • Actually, 1440p is north of 2K. 2K is slightly higher than 1080p
  • I don't think we need 4k phones for a few more years. I have two phones, one with a qhd display and one with 1080p. I can't tell the difference between the two in apps and web browsing. I wish we would see flagship phones with 1080p for improved battery life, speed, and lower price tags. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "I don't think we need 4k phones for a few more years." That's way too short of time for humans to evolve better eyes.
  • $2.50 reading glasses, polish them, clean your screen.
  • It's not eyes evolving. It's getting used to seeing higher resolution than you currently do. The more you see 4k on a 5" screen, you'll be able to spot small imperfections in 1080p screens that let you immediately know you are seeing a 4k screen. Once you are trained to see these things, you will spot them immediately. Now having said that, there is still points of diminishing returns. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't really care as look as it looks clear and vivid, there are some 720p screens that look very decent like on the 2nd gen Moto G, to my own eyes it looked better than the 3rd gen Moto X 2014
    Nexus 7 2014
  • Every couple of years it's the same thing... 720p is plenty for a smartphone, then no one can see anything greater than 1080p, and now 1440p looks great but we don't need anything larger.
  • Law of diminishing returns
  • Plus, the more we get used to seeing these higher resolutions, the more we spot imperfections in lesser resolutions. Not saying I can see the difference between 4k and 1440p on a 5.5" phone, or even 1080p and 1440p, but I welcome the increase. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Richard Devine???? Weren't u a part of Windows central??? Why are ur articles here?? Did u exit Windowscentral camp???
  • I have absolutely no reason for 4k on a phone. As for media consumption, i usually download the Standard Definition version of movies, etc anyway for file size reduction. Lets keep the battery life up and the cost down, please!
  • My $300 USD Zen Phone 2, has 64 GB, easily enough to store 10 UHD movies, with current compression standards, plus a 128 GB micro SD card, enough to store 20 4K movies, at $60 USD.
  • The good thing for you is, you have tons of cheap, low resolution devices you can choose from. Even a few mid level to higher end devices, that have low/mediocre resolutions. This is one device. One. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Better battery goes great with this Posted via Android Central App
  • For VR, yes. For a phone that you are going to be looking at with normal eyes, no. It serves no purpose other than bragging rights. We watched Revenge of the Sith on our 60 inch TV in 1080p, and in group shots you could clearly see individual hairs. This was being watched by plugging an HTC M8 directly into the HDMI input of the TV. If it looks sharp and clear on a 60 inch screen, it's more than sharp enough for a 5 inch screen. My vision is 20/15, so it's not like I would not be able to tell the difference between the queen and Jar Jar, lol. Now, you can do fine with 720 if you are not critical about it being razor sharp. Apple scales your own content down to 640 by 264, which is ok if you are trying to save space, but the difference between that and 1080 are obvious. An example is a movie scene with a dartboard and signs on the wall in the background: at 640 the numbers on the dartboard are unreadable mush. At 1080, every number is sharp and clear. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope, and I can't imagine it would ever be necessary. The screens are simply too damn small for it to matter. The only thing a 4K screen might be slightly relevant on is a big ass tablet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And a large monitor. I mean, the Pixel C has a stupidly-detailed display. I can imagine that 4K will bump it to over 400 PPI.
  • 1080p should be the bare minimum. Quad HD or nothing at all for me!!!!! Dam It Feels Good To Be A Google Gangster
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agree. Under 300-330ppi is pretty ugly to me. 1080 and up on a phone is perfect. It's nice to see Tablets breaking the 300ppi point. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would prefer battery life over more pixels. Give me 12 hours of Screen-On-Time (SOT) so I can read a book on my long trip with two connecting flights without worrying about running out of power. Actually I would probably carry a portable charger with me now on such a trip, but there are plenty of other situations that present themselves in life, often unexpectedly, that require long battery life to avoid losing what has become a necessity of modern life and having a useless brick in your pocket. Unfortunately phone makers just don't seem to get this.
  • So a good phone will get you 4-5hrs SoT. I'm sure OEM's would love for you to tell them how to fit a battery 3x the current size in normal ~5, thin, devices. We are all waiting... Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have no need for a "thin" phone. I don't use my phone for slicing bread. I do use my phone for reading (messages, mail, news, books, etc.) which requires SOT. There have been after-market 10000 mAh batteries (more than 3x the current size of most stock batteries) for the Note 3 and other phones for quite a while now. The skinny phone Nazis are the biggest reason manufacturers aren't designing phones with these batteries today.
  • Well, you clearly have wants that most people dont. Luckily, you just named options that you currently have! Lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Except that, unfortunately, the newest premium phones no longer have removable batteries.
  • Only if you care about VR. For most people it is a waste. I am perfectly happy with 1080p on a phone. The performance to battery life is awesome. Even 720p on a screen 5 inches or less is fine as far as not seeing pixels.
  • Color me spoiled but after having a qhd screen, a 720 screen looks all grainy Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yarp. +350ppi or gtfo. My Lumia 1020 4.5" with 720p still looks decent to me, though. I wouldn't be annoyed to have to use that PPI. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think it is a bad idea as I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Using the one plus 2 at first I couldn't tell the difference as it looked great, however side by side on nylon note 4 I could appreciate the sharpness (however if given the choice between 1440p and an extra 30% battery I'd go with the battery. Jumping to 4k is plain unnecessary. For the cost I'd rather they improve the phone overall, especially efficiency.
    VR users are a small margin which I think the 4k screen should be built into the VR headset with video out from the mobule device through USB C. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No. No we don't Posted via Nexus 5
  • I don't have the luxury of playing with a ton of new phones to compare, but safe to say that the screen is not what's going to eventually pull me from my Nexus 5 Posted from the ghost of my HTC Aria via Android Central App
  • Nope. Even after carrying a Note 5 for a month and an S6 edge a few months before that, I can still say I was completely happy with the 720p screens on my Moto X and Rezound.
  • After getting my Gear VR, I'm going to say bring on the 4k! But definitely need to kick up the battery size. I'm one of the ones that would have bought the 128 gb Note 5 if they made it. I'll pay more for a better device.
  • Uninformed consumers pay for pixels, not for quality. Manufacturers get us to upgrade because of lousy battery life. Selling us 4k phones only makes sense if you're a manufacturer.
  • I just read elsewhere that the z5 premium still only displays in 1080 unless you are actually playing 4k media content. The reason being that Android doesn't support that resolution yet. So, you are better off just having a qhd phone because android does indeed support that resolution. Posted via the Android Central App
  • One reason I got the Z5 Premium is because of the 4K and to be honest you really can't see much of a difference especially with the size of the screen. It's really there just to raise the price and give you a reason to get a new phone. TBH I rather watch videos on my Nexus 6 because of the bigger screen. But don't get me wrong I love the fact I can claim 4K haha and I love my Z5. Posted via the Android Central App Edit: the problem is that we don't watch 4K content all the time. YouTube and Facebook video is mostly what I watch and they aren't even 1080p so it looks crappy.
  • Let's just go back to 1080p on everything but the largest phones. Better for battery life, better for performance, the only advantage is VR and right now I still think that's a pretty niche feature. I bet of you polled users most would rather have good battery life and smooth performance over clearer VR. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, and I think the other article you published today proves that out. The reason why the emerging trend of mid-level Android devices becoming prominent is tied to the demand for such. Bell and Whistles were fine under the subsidization model but now that consumers are faced with decisions at the margins those core functionalities are what is important. The new Sony/HTC/Apple/ Samsung device with a 4k screen that cost $300 more than its reasonably spec counterpart is only gonna appeal to the AC crowd, Everyday Joe is gonna pick value everytime Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agree. And I don't "get" the VR argument either. People (I bet) will purchase VR headsets probably at about the rate (and likely less) that they are purchasing smartwatches. The majority of people don't need or want VR, and many more don't need (or can physically differentiate) between 4k and 1080p on a 5in screen.
  • I just wish I could buy the Xperia Z5 Premium in the US. I guess I'll go back to sleep and dream about it.
  • You can get one from, that's how I got mine and I'm in Cali. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I still remember you people, a few years ago, criticizing 1080 screens as utterly ridiculous. Then just a few years later, you same people are criticizing manufactures for sticking with 1080 screens instead of moving to 1440. The one certainty in the tech community is that you will always find something to complain about.
  • If the extra resolution didn't come at a cost, namely battery life, performance and price, than we wouldn't care. Spec arms races don't help anyone as the companies put too much emphasis on specs that don't matter and less on ones that do.
  • People with good eyes can see a significant difference...... Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
  • BS
  • That's BS. I USED the Z5 Premium alongside the regular Z5 and I can't even see a noticeable difference. The difference is super tiny. And I have perfect eyesight. I can make out even the fine print from around 5-7ft away. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • are the 0.1%.
  • No
  • As much as I hate to say it, there will always be people who want the "best" specs regardless and as long as they exist (intelligent or not), companies will always be more than happy to cater to them. As soon as everyone has 4k, then 8k will roll out and be promoted as the best. There's a sucker born every minute, remember? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then why aren't there cars with V16 production engines? After all, more cylinders is better right?
  • Because automobile manufacturers are too stupid, to make cars with smaller cylinders, anyway electric vehicles need 1/10 th of the maintainance, 1/10 th of the energy, only the price of batteries is holding them back, battery prices are crashing, like solar energy prices per kWh. As to 4K UHD, get a pair of $2.50 reading glasses, polish them and clean your screen, OK, OK, you'r scared of glasses, so we'll have to put out vision correcting screens, before you'll buy 6.5" UHD tablets. I love my UHD TV, UHD upscaling Blue Ray Player, loved my 2KK $300 AUD Nexus 10, my 32 GB Nexus 9 has 192 graphics processors, plenty enough to handle 4K, 72 can handle 4K, the extra is for gaming. I've got a Zen Phone 2 on the way, with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of flash, I'm going to put a 128 GB micro SD card in it, to total 192 GB of flash, 128 GB of flash, only costs $60 now, my Zen 2, only cost $ 400 AUD, at 72¢ to the US $, ($300 USD.) OK to save a buck, the Zen 2 I think, is only FHD, but when UHD becomes cheaper, I'll be there in a New York minute, on a 6.5" tablet, go LPDDR4, go 14 nm gpu's. Go fibre, VDSL, GSLAM, coax modems, WiFi ac, USB 3, SATA 3, 4G LTE, as Humongous might say 'You are hoarding your pixels.'
  • I see two reasons. VR is one reason. At least, how it is implemented today. And then there's the fact it'll eventually cost more to keep 1080p in production because of advances in tech. I'm making the assumption 4k screens will just get more efficient in the same time frame. Actually, there's a 3rd reason and that is language written that needs that resolution to differentiate symbols/characters. Or so I'm told. I'm happy with 1080p on a 5" screen or even a 5.5" screen today. So long as it's a good screen. Well, 1440p on 5.5+ is nice. Basically anything around 400-450dpi is fine for me.
  • UHD is enough. Unless we are talking tablets to the and monitors 4k is too much. The only time I really ever watch movies or YouTube on my phone is when I'm not around my TV. That is very few and far in between. One day maybe but it doesn't make sense on a phone. Even for vr I don't think alot of companies will be implementing their tech with a phone. HTC has the best vr experience so far, no phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • @ Richard I guess you will have figured by now the comments section for your next blog on cheaper phones is not there, on the site or app. (I haven't read any of these ones :))
  • It's likely a sponsored posting Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't know about a 4K phone but it's noticeable from 720p to 1,080p to 1,440p. From 720p to 1,440p is significant. Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
  • It doesn't matter. There is a real threshold to human optical resolution at every distance. We've exceeded it already.
  • Your comment makes zero sense to what you replied to. Also, you say that like everyone has the same eyes... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Makes no sense, same thing was said about going from 720 to 1080. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • No. Posted via the Android Central App
  • We don't even need 4k television yet. As someone who does broadcast animation for a living, it can die in a fire.
  • We need 4k and 8k TV's more than we ever needed 4k phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Give me 1080 on a good panel and I'm happy. IMO the only thing higher resolution is good for on phones is cropping pictures. It drains the battery faster and I think a lot of times the text and overall layout doesn't look right. I assume people who say they can tell the difference are really seeing the benefits of the high end screen panel. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're all absolutely insane. Come back here in ten years, read this, then notice how much you completely disagree with your previous self. One day, looking into a screen will be like looking through a window. After that, anything less will be intolerable. And no, even 4K is not there yet - not for my eyes. When I look through a window , I can see objects miles away. When I look at a 4K screen, I can tell that I'm not looking through a window - the resolution just isn't there. Until I feel like I'm looking through a window, I'll always want a better screen. And on a phone, I want to put my eyeball right near the screen and still feel like I'm looking out a window. Once that happens, we'll no longer need higher resolution screens. Higher refresh rates would be nice though :)
  • +100 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Bring on the 4k!!! As long as my phone can get me through a full day I'm fine with technology moving forward. Quick charge 2.0 is already amazing so just imagine how insane 3.0 will be. 64gig Gold Note5/AC App
  • I can definitely see the difference between my 2k Priv and my 720p phone. But I can't see the difference between my Priv and Passport which has 100 less dpi. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Simple. No.
  • I'll be happy to trade a 4k screen with a 720p screen to get a 5000mah battery. I am in the process of making my Note 4 self aware.
  • personally as only having one eye I'm not bothered with VR. I'm very happy with my LG G4 screen and see anything with a higher resolution as needless. Btw it's "brass tacks" not "brass tax" :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • 4K on a phone screen? Pointless. Maybe on a 7+" tablet, but anything smaller than that, and you won't know the difference other than cost.
  • I can definitely tell the difference when I compare my 2013 Moto X with 720p vs my Nexus 6 2k. 2k to 4k I don't know, would have to see side by side. I doubt the difference would be as extreme. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • F**k no we don't Posted via the Android Central App
  • QHD is great on my Note5, especially with watching videos. 4k is just going to far with greedy corporate scumbags cashing in on the same technology on with minor upgrades while consumers pay the price. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why is it that battery technology hasn't evolved massively for consumer use on the other hand display technology and cpu is zooming right by us. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I say bring on the pixels! Let's keep technology moving forward, even if it is getting ridiculous in some aspects... Like screen resolution.
  • Yes! 4K should be use on all flagship phones. This is 2015 going on 2016, so we need to step it and keep standards high.
  • Youtuber MKBHD, back when reviewing his first 1080p phone, said "Do you really need 1080p on your phone? No, you don't need it, but you can be damn sure that it looks better than 720p". That statements still stays with me to this day as a reminder of the relentless and sometimes unnecessary forward march of technology; most of these "upgrades" can make for a better experience, but they're also mostly just the product of an industry that has to keep pushing forward as fast as possible to drive sales, and are not really "needed" by anyone. They are "wants", not "needs". He also made a good point in that video about the difference between being unable to see individual pixels on an HD display vs "you can't see any difference with higher resolutions". Basically his point was that you can put someone 10 feet from a 1080p and 4k TV right next to each other, and most people will say the 4k looks better, even though they definitely can't see the pixels at that distance; it still looks better overall. I have to agree. Having a high enough pixel desity that individual pixels cannot be seen is a MINIMUM measure of visual quality, not a MAXIMUM. A set of sheets that's soft enough to not feel scratchy != "sheets cannot feel any softer than this". I think it's mostly driven by people thinking of the eye as seeing in "resolutions". The human eye doesn't work that way, and if a screen is more clear overall then it will be seen that way to our eyes.
  • 2k or higher in a phone is truly useless given the fact that even console games can't even hold 60 fps flawlessly at a higher resolution than 1080p. Mobile tech is growing pretty quick but I'm not sure if higher resolution than 1080p in a phone is great. I'm here subjective, so it has advantages and drawbacks as well. But it is too early to democratize more than 2k resolution in today's smartphones tech IMO. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just hacked a set of $15 Ritech Riem2 goggles into a kickass viewer running Zeiss VR One profile, now I need @ least 2k nexus 6 in 3 days Posted via the Android Central App
  • allways...