The latest reports on the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S IV suggest that the flagship device will feature a 4.99-inch 440ppi Full HD Super AMOLED display. It’s a mouthful, but when all is said and done, it simply means that Samsung will be delivering its best ever display on a smartphone.
But a recent report out of DigiTimes, a source of supply chain news, claims that Samsung Display is actually developing new pixel layouts on their smaller sized AMOLED panels. We haven’t confirmed this, and likely won’t be able to until the Galaxy S IV is officially announced, probably in April. However, reports of a 440ppi Galaxy S IV have been around for a while, so it isn’t all that emotionally dangerous to invest a little hope in the phone’s super high-res display.
The idea is that the new display panels will use hexagonal and diamond-shaped pixel layouts, as opposed to your standard squares, to pack even more pixels into the display.
It’s said that 440ppi is about as dense as you can go with standard side-by-side pixel layout on a comfortably sized screen. (And there, comfortable is a matter of opinion, as these displays are normally no less than 5-inches.)
But according to the report, the new layout format will allow Samsung to stretch smaller screens beyond the 440ppi level, certainly revving up competition in the all-important smartphone display space.
Pixel density is just as important to a display’s performance as the technology used inside them, as a high ppi is easier on users’ eyes and offers more high-resolution content. It’s said that the average eye can’t discern past ~300ppi, depending of course on visual acuity and the distance between the image and the viewer.
The iPhone 4 was the first phone to break that barrier with the Retina display, a 326ppi LCD screen. Since then, manufacturers have been trying to pack the most pixels into their displays, at times making larger displays to do so. But of course, when you make the display larger you’re automatically lowering pixel density. It’s sort of a vicious circle.
The reportedly 440ppi Galaxy S IV steps far beyond that barrier, but it’s not alone in doing this. Sony’s Xperia Z and HTC’s Droid DNA both have 5-inch 440ppi displays, and have already been announced.
While the new pixel layout may result in the highest pixel density for the GS4, which is arriving considerably later than the other two phones in this range, it may not produce a noticeable difference to consumers based on the limitations of our own eyes.
Just like the competition for biggest display has gotten slightly out of hand, so has the fight for the most pixels.