A few years ago a leaked Samsung roadmap suggesting the company was working on 3840 x 2160 pixel smartphone displays which could launch in 2015. Now there are reports that the crazy high-res screen is real and it could show up in the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone which will probably launch this fall.

samsung uhd smartphones

The Galaxy Note 5 is said to have a 5.8 or 5.9 inch display, which means the screen would have about 750 pixels per inch, give or take a few pixels.

Every few years we seem to have a conversation about how many pixels is too many… when the first phones with 1920 x 1080 pixel displays arrived many people wondered if it was a marketing gimmick or if people would really be able to tell the difference between a 1080p smartphone screen and one with a 720p display.

Then the phones with 2560 x 1440 pixel displays started to arrive.

Of course, phone displays have also been getting bigger and bigger. A 6 inch phone with a 720p display won’t look as sharp as a 4 inch model. So it makes sense to pack more pixels into a larger screen in order to keep things looking crisp.

But at a time when most people don’t even have 4K TVs, a smartphone with an Ultra HD display sure seems like it could be overkill.

What do you think? How many pixels is too many? For the purposes of this poll, let’s assume the phone has a 5.8 inch screen.

[polldaddy poll=8789478]

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15 replies on “Pixel overkill? Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could have 700+ PPI display”

  1. 1920×1080? Sounds like you guys would choose the oneplus over the Nexus 6 P

  2. Samsung should make uhd phone(note 5) with 6 inch and octa core processor, 21 mega pixels back and 8 mega pixel in front, and 5000 mah battery. If they made this phone specs like this, I will buy it no matter what. Samsung should focus hardware and software, camera, battery. Samsung will beat any other companies in the market like apple, lg, and htc. Samsung always king of the world.

  3. that “What screen resolution is best for a 5.8 inch smartphone?” is the wrong question , it should be noted that UHD-1 and UHD-2 are on the way by 20162020 and the question is do you want an ARM core SOC capable of connecting to these external large UHD1/2 screens to display your UHD video content at 120fps, 10bit real colour etc….

    the Jason Mick (Blog) – February 4, 2015PM https://www.dailytech.com/ARM+Announces+Next+Generation+64Bit+CortexA72+CPU+Design+MaliT880+GPU/article37127.htm points in the right direction for the next arm cortex spec

    ….Turning finally to ARM’s “other” products, ARM also announced a display coprocessor, the Mali-DP550. This coprocessor claims native 4K resolution display support. It supports outputting up to 12-bits of color information per pixel.

    … Are 4K displays overkill for smartphones? Perhaps, but in the phablet and tablet space (which the new platform also targets), they may be a more reasonable offering. The display chip also supports compositing up to seven layers and supports 3D displays.

    The Mali-DP550 is paired with the Mali-V550, a multicore imaging coprocessor that targets 4K video taking and low-power full HD (FHD) (aka 1080p) video encoding. The Mali-V550 offers native support for 10-bit YUV color from the sensor…..

    https://www.arm.com/about/newsroom/arm-sets-new-standard-for-the-premium-mobile-experience.php
    The ARM premium mobile experience IP suite also offers a significant graphics upgrade generating a stunning visual experience for users at up to [UHD-1] 4K120fps resolution. ….

    so also the NHK R&D/BBC R&D multi year collaboration to define all this UHD-1/UHD-2 standard.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2013/06/defining-the-future-of-television

    and official EBU test sequences are available up to 12_EBU_ZurichAthletics2014_UHD_300p_HDR 3840×2160 360° “300 fps” 3026 52636-55635 and beyond. of insight of where its going (weather you like it or not 🙂

    https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/testmaterial/ebu_test_sequences_tech_info_170315.pdf

    the minimum spec for the semi pro streamer in 2016 2020 is here too
    https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/groups/jtnm/JT-NM%20MVS%20Report%20150303.pdf

    Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM)
    Minimum Viable System Requirements Of a Sample System Architecture for Live Multi-Camera Studio Production…

    Video Format Resolution – The system shall be capable of carrying video payload of any
    resolution up to the size of UHDTV2 (7680 x 4320).
    Video Image Rate – The system shall be capable of carrying video payload of any frame or
    field rate up to 300 Hz, and shall be capable of carrying NTSC style fractional frame rates at
    multiples of (1000/1001).
    Video Sample Depth – The system shall be capable of carrying video payload sample depths of
    10 or 12 bits.
    Video Chroma Sampling – The system shall be capable of carrying a video payload of 4:2:2 or
    4:4:4 chroma sampling.
    Alpha Channel – The system shall be capable of carrying a video payload that contains an
    Alpha Channel (a component that represents transparency).
    Color Spaces – The system shall be capable of carrying video payload in the color space of
    ITU-R Rec. BT.601, ITU-R Rec. BT.709, and ITU-R Rec. BT.2020.

  4. 4k on the Note 5 would make Gear truly something special. Even at 1440p 5″ panels you still have the screen-door effect on VR headsets because of the lens magnification used.

  5. At 5-6″ anything over 1080p seems like overkill to me. It needlessly destroys your battery life but doesn’t add anything to the user experience.

    4K should be reserved for 50″ TVs and such.

  6. 4K screens make sense so you can view 4K videos. Plus, it’s good for VR.
    But the poll doesn’t make sense as we have not seen a 4K 5.8″ screen in person so we don’t know what/how it will look like, how sharp it really is etc.

  7. I turn on grayscale mode and like to read on my android devices. If this resolution provides clearer content and less stress on my eyes above my note 4, instant buy. Note 4 rocks and my eyes say thank you Samsung. I can’t be more appreciative of the note 4 screen in grayscale mode.

  8. If you can’t deliver content in native resolution, there is no real point in a higher resolution display. And if you _do_ have content there is still the question of storage space. For a FHD display device 32 GB is the bare minimum to hold a few episodes of your favorite show and some music, 64GB should be the norm (instead of 16 GB, like now with an option for higher capacity for hefty extra prices). If you quadruple the number of pixels, you should also quadruple the storage to hold that content, so the entry point should be the 128GB, but 256GB should be available too.
    But this is all just in theory, we barely have any 4k content for TV let alone mobile devices. And since we don’t have content or suitable storage for it, we can conclude any resolution above FHD right now (until storage and battery technology improves and suitable content is being made) is idiotic. Q.E.D.

    1. You’re right, but are picturing the wrong type of content.. The best application for extreme pixel density isn’t necessarily high-definition video or advaned video games, but plain old text and illustrations. Most physical books, magazines, graphic novels, etc. are printed at least 300dpi, with the high-quality stuff being closer to 600dpi or even 1200dpi. And e-books are usually rendered/scanned a much higher resolution than your typical device can natively display.

      One of the biggest causes of e-reading fatigue is the low pixel density. And while reading on a backlit display still isn’t the greatest, I’ve personally noticed much less fatigue reading e-comics and PDFs on my 1366×768 Nook HD than I did on my 800×480 Archos 70. And on the non-backlit side, I’m getting through novels much more quickly on my new Kobo H20 than I did on my old Ectaco Jetbook.

      1. I can accept that argument (even thou I find ~300 dpi screen perfect for e-books), but the tradeoff would be that your FHD content (yes, movies and stuff) would be on a much lower resolution than the screen’s native resolution. I guess it really depends on how you use your device, but if you remember a decade ago, when all you could get online were SD contents (512×320 pixel movies!), well, this is pretty much the same thing all over again.

      2. No offense Chris, everything you said is spot on, but you’re talking about going from 800×480 to 1366×768, when he said “any resolution above FHD right now is idiotic”. Your example is still well below his suggested upper limit, so the change your talking about would, by his own comment, be a worthwhile one. Honestly, you seem like you probably already clearly understand this and I am likely saying the same thing again, for a third time. Hooray for redundancy! At least we can all agree, a rare thing in comments on tech article.

  9. You reach a point of diminishing returns. This thing has to be a major battery sucker…

    1. Not to mention the impact on performance forcing the device to push that many more pixels. Give me a nice screen with blazing speed and great battery life and I’m a happy camper. I think this is mostly down to a marketing numbers game, and those of us who tout these numbers as proof of superiority one one device over another are to blame as well.

Comments are closed.