Do We Need “Full HD” Mobile Phones?


Phone manufacturers’ penchant for full high definition displays is already starting to be the emerging trend in mobile phones in 2013, if Las Vegas’ recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is anything to go by.

That show saw all manner of phone manufacturers – including Sony, ZTE and Huawei – announcing their latest flagship devices, sporting 1920 x 1080 resolution screens. Even HTC launched one of these, at the tail end of last year.

They have displays around the 5-inch mark, and names such as the Sony Xperia Z, ZTE Grand X, Huawei Ascend D2 and HTC J Butterfly respectively.

That theme follows on from last year’s trend of faster and more powerful processors in mobile phones. These souped-up CPUs were found in popular devices like the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III and LG’s Optimus 4X HD.

This was by no means a fleeting fad either, as they are now to be found doing most of the heavy lifting in this new generation of HD mobiles. Having both these technologies included together highlights that the two work well in unison, but are these 1080p screens worthwhile?

HD quality has been in television sets for well over half a decade, whilst resolutions of 1280 x 720 – or 720p – have been in phones since late 2011, most notably in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

These types of mobiles, along with many others, have been capable of recording video in 1080p – only they weren’t able to play back their own footage at its full quality. Until now…but this isn’t the sole reason why a phone would benefit from a HD screen.

There is no quibbling that 1920 x 1080 films, whether on Blu-ray, streamed, or however it’s viewed on a compatible television, offers great quality. But why be limited to viewing movies at this visual quality when sitting in front of the TV?

There should be no reason why that level of playback is limited to the home, when other aspects of home entertainment can be enjoyed away from the comfort of the sofa – from playing games to music and more.

In fact, this new spate of mobile phones can offer that level of film playback quality on the move, with off-line movie services such as Google Play adding more and more titles for download – in high definition – all of the time. And, with 4G LTE soon to be more widespread in the UK, this could conceivably offer content streaming in full HD.

There are other benefits, from gaming to viewing and capturing pictures – all of which can take advantage of bigger and better screens.

Mobile World Congress will undoubtedly bring in several new HD handsets, and we haven’t seen how Samsung, LG or even Apple’s iconic iPhone deals with the flood of competition launching this year.

As for the future, Qualcomm chose CES to unveil its Snapdragon 800 chip.

That is noted to offer video recording in ‘Ultra HD’ (previously called 4K). It has four times the pixels of 1080p; a whopping resolution of 4096 x 2304 compared to 1920 x 1080.

This guest post was written by Rob Kerr, contributing editor for mobile phone comparison site

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