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Why Are There No Andoid Phones To Rival The Pixel Density Of iPhone 4?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by PsychDoc, May 28, 2011.

  1. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    What's up with this? I'm no Apple fan and I love my HTC Incredible (though I am probably planning to switch to the Samsung Galaxy S II when it comes out in the US) but I find it odd and disconcerting that we seem to have nothing to rival the 326 PPI density of the iPhone 4. I have to be honest here. In terms of pure screen clarity, there's nothing I've ever seen to rival the iPhone 4.

    I stay with android for any number of other reasons.

    When will we get screens that equal or better the iPhone 4?

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  2. mrqs

    mrqs Android Expert

    i'd say android phones already have better screens than the iphone 4

    the iphone 4's display is too small - i'd much rather have the htc sensation's 4.3" qhd display (which is quite dense enough)
    and samsung's samoled(+) displays have superior contrast and if you stick with dark themes, they'll draw less power than an lcd

    don't use all bold btw, it looks annoying
  3. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    The quick answer is there are. But, pixel density is not the definitive factor in determining a screen's clarity. I don't want to disparage the iPhone4, because it is a very nice device, but it's not for me. Perhaps it a function of my age, but i find watching any media on a small screen unsatisfying.
  4. Quboid

    Quboid Android Enthusiast

    I'd hoped to see 300+ PPI android devices by now. qHD on a 4.3" display is "only" 256PPI. I believe Samsung have now got this density AMOLED displays in production. If the SGS3 has a 4.5" 720p AMOLED, I will wet myself.

    There are other factors but PPI is still nice.
  5. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Is this better?
  6. thedosbox

    thedosbox Guest

    It's hard to take anyone using comic sans seriously.

    Given the choice between a high pixel density screen and a larger screen with the same resolution, most people would prefer the latter (at least on a phone). Usability of the larger screen trumps technical bragging rights for me.
  7. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Yeah, sure, but let's at least try to be intellectually honest here. As most know, Apple will be releasing the iPhone 4 S or iPhone 5 in Sept and it will have a 4" screen. It's hard to imagine that they will downgrade the pixel density of that screen. So my question remains.......why can't android manufacturers come up with a screen to rival the screen we see on iPhones? Sure, a bigger screen is always preferrable for visibility, but why can't it be a 300+ PPI? Are you saying that android manufacturers are unable to do this or that they simply don't cae about keeping up with the competition?

    BTW I find 4.3" screens and phones to be too large for my liking. I agree that 3.5" and 3.7" is too small. For me at least, 4.0" is the real sweet spot.

    As for the font issue, I'm guessing picking up on sarcasm is not your long suit.
  8. Quboid

    Quboid Android Enthusiast

    I suspect they will slightly decrease the pixel density, AAG it will be the same resolution so apps look right. That would make it about 300 PPI, which is about as good as your eyes can see.
  9. PsychDoc

    PsychDoc Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    When are we going to get 300 ppi screens?
  10. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!

    There are drawbacks to having such high resolutions on a small screen:

    1) text becomes smaller, making it harder to read
    2) display uses more battery
    3) CPU/GPU has to work that much harder to redraw the screen.

    video performance benchmarks put the iphone 3Gs above the iPhone 4 because of reason #3.

    So the reason you don't see manufacturers racing to compete with Apple's Retina Display is because it's not worth the tradeoff. But as you can see with the newer generation phones, the pixel density is increasing (qHD on a 4.3" screen is ~256ppi). I consider this a good compromise.

    There's more to a smartphone than aesthetics. But everyone's wants are different, so... maybe some day, someone will make a 300ppi Android. And that will be your phone :)
  11. Quboid

    Quboid Android Enthusiast

    Text doesn't become smaller - text is (usually) rendered in scaled pixels, so it is roughly the same physical size on each device. With a higher PPI, the text will be easier to read as it will be smoother (although for all but the smallest text, you won't have any difficulty on any recent device).

    Performance can be an issue, it depends what you want to do. If you web browse a lot, higher resolution is good and the performance hit doesn't matter. On the other hand, if you play 3D games, the performance hit from qHD compared to WVGA will be in issue for the most demanding games.

    I'd like a higher resolution on my SGS2 but WVGA is fine. When will we get 300+ PPI screens? I don't know. Maybe this autumn (fall). Maybe not.
  12. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!

    You are right when it comes to apps. But even then, the developers need to use density-independent pixel values (dip) to ensure text gets scaled properly. Most good devs do this. But when you are browsing, the entire browser page just scales to fit your screen. Everything looks smaller - text AND images - because a higher resolution now fits in the same physical screen size. The vast majority of smartphone users don't download apps (a surprising statistic but totally true), so they're more likely to encounter readability issues surfing the web.

    Homescreen icons and text will appear smaller. Already proven in all the hands-on videos of the qHD screens. Fine if you have good eyesight. Crappy if you're over 45 and/or have vision issues.

    Higher resolution does show you more of a given page, but it's scaled down and tinier like I said above. Think of it like a monitor: a 14" screen at VGA doesn't provide a lot of real estate, but things are very readable. A different 14" monitor with HD resolution will have much more real estate. Except everything will appear MUCH tinier than on the VGA screen. On a phone screen where screens are much smaller, this means super tiny (but sharper) text. On my WVGA Evo screen, by the time the text becomes blurry due to pixelation, the text is already too small to read for my taste.

    I definitely agree that 300+ppi is very beautiful. In fact, one of the main reasons I plan to upgrade to Evo 3D is for the 256ppi. But you know, "retina display" is misleading because it's not about a certain ppi. It's ppi as a function of viewing distance. I think at 256ppi, my regular viewing distance will make qHD on a 4.3" screen "retina." In fact, if I were to hold the Evo3D screen farther away so that the apparent screen size is equal to that of the iPhone4, I'd argue the "retinal" quality is the same between the screens.
  13. Quboid

    Quboid Android Enthusiast

    A web page is not scaled down more, it's the physical width of the display no matter what resolution the display is. A typical website is designed to work at 960 pixels wide (1024 - scroll bar). If this is displayed on a 4.3" qHD display, it will be 540 pixels wide, on a WVGA display it will be 480 pixels wide - but still the physical width of the display. The higher resolution makes it more readable, although present qHD displays use pentile arrays which isn't great.

    I believe "retina", as Apple call, means individual pixels can't be seen and that has been shown to be 300 PPI at usual phone screen viewing distance. It varies from person to person and age decreases the PPI you can determine.
    novox77 likes this.
  14. Kairosgrammy

    Kairosgrammy Member

    My Inspire beats out iphone 4 in head to head challenges. It's not even the best android that AT&T carries. I'm sure it's quite possible that better screen density would raise the price of an android. More perks, more expensive.
    Bold, all caps and such btw are considered to be yelling.
  15. Mr.Boyd

    Mr.Boyd Lurker

    "We'd even go so far as to say it's better than the iPhone 4's screen, purely because, at 4.3 inches, it gives us so much more room to work with. It's almost impossible to split the two up in terms of quality of output, they're both top notch"

    -Engadget SGSII review
  16. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    I think after 300DPI even the most trained eyes can't notice

    Phones like the Galaxy S (due to pentile matrix on big screen) and Desire HD (huuuge) have to low DPI for me

    nHD should be great tho :)
  17. Bnice

    Bnice Guest

    Toshiba has a phone that surpasses the iPhone ppi density.
  18. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

  19. gallandof

    gallandof Android Expert

    i dont think that screen ever made it into a device(i beleive it was aroun 350+ ppi at 4 inches or something liek that)
  20. novox77

    novox77 Leeeroy Jennnkinnns!

    Acknowledged. you're right on this point. including your observation about PenTile ;)

    "retina" by definition means a certain pixel density and viewing distance where your eyes can no longer resolve the shapes of individual pixels. For a 3.5" screen, Apple defined retina to be 300ppi when viewed at around 12inches.

    But take a 21" desktop monitor. When viewed at around 28" (a reasonable distance), it becomes a retina display as well even though the pixel density is only around 120ppi. Same applies to 50" HDTV. It becomes a retina display at around 6ft, a comfortable viewing distance, but the PPI is less than 100ppi. That's why I said that "retina" is a function of two parameters, not just ppi.

    Since many Android phones have much larger screens than 3.5," a 300ppi display would have a very high resolution. Performance will definitely come to play, and given that framerates on Androids in single-core phones have sorely underperformed compared to iOS devices (if you don't believe me, do a pinch-to-zoom side by side), having such a huge resolution to render is going to keep things choppy. And personally, I'd rather have smooth scroll/zoom than ultra-high resolution.

    TBH, when I hold my 4.3" WVGA at 12" away I can't see individual pixels. I can at around 8", but at that point, I'm straining my eyes a bit. I think qHD is plenty awesome for phones. Anything above that is just bragging rights, rather than meaningful, observable difference.
  21. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    A friend of mine ran into this issue with a new LG Optimus 540. SMS text, especially Chinese, was just tiny and impossible for him to read.

    Two fixes I found, one was Handcent SMS, and other which was even better, was an app in the Market to modify the font sizes of the stock SMS app.
  22. dfgged

    dfgged Member

    What about the samsung continuum? It's got WVGA in 3.4 inches. I've compared it with an iPhone 4, and I can't see much of a difference.
  23. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    My Blade has a DPI of 266, and while I cant tell the difference of DPI between it and my Nokia 5530 (253 DPI), I can tell the difference between it and the iPhone 4 (329 DPI), and between my Blade and a Desire HD (216 DPI)
  24. thedosbox

    thedosbox Guest

    I'm saying they decided to make different tradeoffs from apple. A higher rez screen will cost more to manufacture and consume more power. Android devices are not known for great battery life already, and the iphone4 costs about $100 - 150 more than most android devices (in Canada). A marginally higher rez screen is not worth that much to me, but your wallet may vary.

    I'm guessing you have no sense for readability. Kinda ironic given the topic of the thread.
  25. ElasticNinja

    ElasticNinja Android Expert

    If manufacturers would only work with the community to build their kernels ...
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