Cyber Culture: Increased screen resolutions may be a good idea, but none of us can see it
Rhodri Marsden is the Technology Columnist for The Independent; he has also written about crumpets, Captain Beefheart, rude place names and string. He's also a musician who plays in the band Scritti Politti, and won the under-10 piano category at the 1980 Watford Music Festival by playing a piece called "Silver Trumpets" with verve and aplomb.
Wednesday 07 August 2013
I've written many times about my cynical attitude towards technological developments that our senses have difficulty detecting, whether it relates to HD telly, camera megapixels, gold-plated speaker connectors or 24-bit audio.
While scanning down the specs of the Samsung Galaxy S 4, I noticed that its screen resolution was 441ppi; substantially greater than the iPhone's current 326ppi, which was originally touted by Apple as the perfect resolution for average human eyesight at a distance of 12 inches – hence the name Retina Display.
So are we now seeing screen resolutions that are so good we can no longer tell? Are we upgrading to screens that offer no discernible improvement to user experience?
With my abysmal eyesight and filthy glasses, I probably stopped appreciating that kind of thing a while ago – but according to Dr Raymond Soneira, scientist and developer of Display Mate screen technology, 477ppi is what he would call a real retina display, a cut off point where the human eye can no longer discern individual pixels. So there you go. In the future, feel free to be seduced by screen quality up to 477ppi. But beyond that, you're just buying numbers.
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