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New Vivo phone has a 538 ppi display — but is it really necessary?

Vivo's latest smartphone offers a 2,560 x 1,440, 5.5-inch display.

A new smartphone from Chinese manufacturer Vivo boasts a 538 ppi display. The Vivo Xplay 3S has a 5.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution screen, making it the first smartphone with a 2K HD display powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor.

Whether it is creating the thinnest, lightest or biggest device, smartphone manufacturers are constantly clamoring to hold the top title in some category. But is Vivo's super high resolution 538 ppi smartphone display unnecessary?

When Apple announced it Retina Display in 2010, it proudly boasted that it had reached display technology's limit. According to Apple's research, the human eye cannot see more than 300 ppi when a device is within 10 to 12 inches from it. At the time, other researchers refuted Apple's claims, saying that if your hold your phone at 12 inches from your eye, you need to have a pixel density of 477 ppi — 716 ppi if you hold it just four inches closer.

While Apple's iPhone displays have stayed at a steady 326 ppi since the iPhone 4S, other manufacturers are raising the bar. Samsung's Galaxy S4, the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z all have displays with over 400 ppi. With 538 ppi, the Vivo Xplay 3S goes far beyond.

Have we reached the end of the display race? Will other manufacturers will continue to pack more pixels into their displays, or will they admit to reaching the limit set by the human eye?


Total comments: 21

You silly engineers. Whatever you are, instead of focusing on one issue please try to I innovate new things like a phone which does not charge, a phone with a refrigerator. A phone with microwave. Etc


I use Miracast: S4 Active -> FHD TV
I browse the web from my S4A with ANY 1080 TV by using the NetGear 3000 Push2TV (no need for laptop)
My standard is: everything FHD = 1920 x 1080
Unitil I can get my Phablet, Laptop, xtra monitor and my TV as UHD e.g. 4xFHD = 3840 x 2160
I'm happy with my All-FHD approach.


Soon we will have artificial eyes. Expect artificial eyes in the near future which will eliminate the need for smartphone's with screens altogether. We will all have our natural eyes removed and have artificial 4D electronic robot eyes installed. We will have smart chips implanted in our brains which will be Wi-Fi enabled and have build in smartphone technology. We will be able to upload and download directly into our brains which will in essence become our main computer thus eliminating all cloud technology at the same time. Camera's will become obsolete as we will be able to photograph with our robot eyes. These robot eyes will be insect like with millions of little receptors. TV screens will become obsolete as we will be able to view TV programs directly with our new eyes. It will be like we are really there because the images are transferred directly into our brain. What we see will be like we are really there. That will be called 4D or total reality.


Then privacy campaigners will make it mandatory to remove your eyes at public places.


no need for removal, your robot eyes will automatically not project known privacy campaigners. :)


People can see well beyond 300 dpi. It's not about pixels, it's about smoothness and perception. It's why a photo of an orange on a 300 dpi display doesn't look like a real orange - even when lit correctly and without clues like glare which tell you you're looking at a screen.

We need to get to 5,000 dpi+ before our displays become windows and images look real. Bring it on. The sooner the better.


5000 is a bit overkill, but yeah the whole you need a 20' screen to make use of more than 1080P or 300ppi is the limit of the eye or there is no need to ever go past 1920x1200 on a 24" monitor and so on are all old wives tales whose time has long passed.


Well, they just miss one key factor, the old 300 DPI is for print and print have something called ink smearing. Basically that mean when printing the individual ink drop will smear, diffuse into neighboring area and thus would made the individual ink droplets disappear and merge into a continuous tone . That of course is not the case with any of todays electronic display. But Its perhaps not the individual pixel that matters nor how dense they are, its how much tonal and colormetric data that can be displayed.

Until they can get close to 100% Adobe RGB or even better ProRGB gamut, they can just about pack as much as pixel and the image would still not be good enough.


When you see a pixel you will die! Better safe than sorry. Of course when a screen is made for pc then 1080p is enough for a 27" screen. That is because pc-screens are safe and people do not need high resolution.

1 upvote

exactly, why in freaking hell can I buy a 5.5 inch screen over 1080p but I cant have a 24 inch one over that?


Actually Asus has a 4k monitor coming out but its a bit pricy for me.
In my opinion, Ballmer at Microsoft should have been pushing better displays for Windows, working with key partners, like NEC and Samsung etc to get 4k and more years ago.
I'm not saying tablets and mobile wouldn't be where they are today, but PCs would certainly seem more relevant.

1 upvote
Alberto Tanikawa

I have 20-13 vision, and I can read the e-mails on my phone from 30" away, 20" comfortably. I don't use my phone at 8" - I think that's ridiculous, or whoever does needs to have their eyes examined (nearsighted). Instead of ever increasing pixel density, how about higher contrast, much higher color gamut, more accurate color calibration from factory, better visibility in direct sunlight, higher efficiency, etc. These are much more worthwhile features to add than pixel density beyond 300dpi.

Edited 2 times; latest 4 minutes since posting
1 upvote

I partly agree but I don't have a problem with bigger and better. I have one level better than 20-20 vision and watch movies on my Galaxy note 1 phone from about 8 or 9". Could do with more resolution sometimes, but usually its irrelevant due to file sizes - either streamed or local, the shadow areas are usually a bit blocky. It's still good though.


Hopefully other qualities of a good screen are present and battery life is decent enough. My phone is the Optimus Pro G with 5.5" 401ppi and this more than good enough for my poor eyes. Screen size and resolution do make a nice difference that is somewhat down played now with Apple two years behind.

For me display size makes the bigger difference but we are already at the upper limit here for pocketable phones. Resolution and energy-efficiency is what to work on.

1 upvote

I don't know about you people, but I want to be able to put my phone in a flatbed scanner to be able to scan it so I can digitize all my photos.

Also I want to be able to use my microfiche machine for something.

That, and my eyes can see over 9000 ppi. Not sure about all of you blind people but I was gifted with an incredible pair of the likes the world has never seen. No pun intended.

1 upvote

...reminds me of those jokes about users calling IT because they had difficulties printing with their monitor overturned on the copier...


When I brought the desktop screen I'm looking at now (a NEC EA231WMi, 23" 1920x1080), conventional wisdom seemed to have it that 1680x1050 was an appropriate resolution for screens around 22" and higher would be overkill. I've always been keen on reasonably high pixel densities and at that time was frustrated by how hard it was to find laptops and non-giant screens with nice high resolution... but come on; 2560x1440 is pretty workable on a 27" screen...


Stop it! Stop it now!

Unless people are using their phones with a magnifier in-hand, even going from 1280x720 to 1920x1080 on a <5" screen is a massive waste of processing power and backlight power (since smaller pixels of the same technology take more backlight power to illuminate to the same levels.)

I wish more phone manufacturers would release devices which are better, rather than ones that just have new features to tick boxes.


I want it packed so densely, that I'll have to break out my microscope. ;P

By (unknown member) (Oct 18, 2013)

Maybe it's for pets eyes.

Tonkotsu Ramen

We should always be pushing boundaries, no matter how farfetched. If it works well enough, it will catch on.

Total comments: 21
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