QHD smartphones: the story so far

QHD smartphones: the story so farIt feels like only yesterday that Martin described 1080p Full HD as “a bit of a Holy Grail for smartphone makers”. Of course there’s no shortage of 1080p smartphones on the market now, and indeed we find ourselves in a transitional phase as QHD – a higher resolution still – becomes the new norm for smartphone flagships.

Are QHD smartphones a step too far? Well, that’s debatable, but it’s happening whether you like it or not, so you’d best get used to it, Jeeves.

There were some who suggested that even 1080p on a relatively small smartphone (compared to, say, a TV) was pointless. Multiplying out 1920 x 1080 yields two MILLION pixels, right there in the palm of your hand.

Even crazier, QHD (sometimes referred to as 2K) weighs in with a 2560 x 1440 arrangement, which multiplies out to – wait for it – 3.7 million pixels, almost twice as many as 1080p Full HD.

Steve Jobs famously claimed that any increase over 300PPI (pixels per inch) was imperceptible to the human eye, but here we are almost doubling that figure with QHD smartphones.

More recently (just last week), Huawei boss Richard Yu told TechRadar: "I don't think we need QHD displays on mobiles. Your eyes totally cannot identify between full HD and 2K on a smartphone. You can't distinguish the difference, so it's totally nonsense.

"We can [put a QHD display on a smartphone], but it's very bad for power consumption and it doesn't offer anything in return. You eyes cannot see the difference, so why should we do that? I think it's a stupid thing."

QHD smartphones: the story so farOne company who doesn’t think QHD is “stupid” is China’s Vivo. Last December, the Vivo Xplay 3S (right) became the world's first QHD smartphone, with 490PPI on its 6in display.

Indeed, Vivo pushed the proverbial boat out with the rest of the Xplay 3S spec sheet, including a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, 13MP/5MP cameras, a rear fingerprint scanner, 3,200mAh battery, and dedicated audio chips.

Following in Q1 this year, also from China, was the Oppo Find 7, with similar specs to the Vivo Xplay 3S and a 50MP rear camera (sort of).

QHD smartphones: the story so farLast week, South Korean manufacturer LG unveiled the Japan-only Isai FL, with a 5.5in QHD display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, 13MP rear camera, 1.3MP front shooter, 3,000mAh battery, and KitKat Android 4.4.2.

Last year the LG Isai became the LG G2 (mostly), so it’s probably fair to assume that the imminent LG G3 will boast many of the same specs, possibly even upgrading the RAM (to 3GB) and processor (to the Snapdragon 805).

The LG G3 launch will go down on May 27, and the South Koreans have already confirmed we should prepare our eyes for QHD.

Not to be outdone, Samsung is supposedly prepping a little something called the Galaxy S5 Prime. It was originally tipped to arrive alongside the bog standard Galaxy S5 back in February, but failed to materialise at Barcelona’s annual Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Slightly controversial launching a QHD flagship so soon after the 1080p Galaxy S5 (which only went on sale a month ago), but all's fair in love and smartphones.

And heck, if Samsung and LG are at it, HTC is hardly going to sit back and twiddle its thumbs. The rumoured HTC One M8 Prime is tipped to come with a 5.5in QHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM.

Heck, it doesn’t get much better than that. Well, y'know, until UHD smartphones with 4GB of RAM.

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