What is QHD Display for SmartPhones & Does it Make Sense?

by Chetan Bhawani 55

LG QHD display

The year 2013 was all about 1080p Full HD displays, and most of the flagship smartphones from the well known smartphone manufacturers were launched with the Full HD displays. It was all good, and looking good too but does the competition stop any time? as soon as even the Tier-3 brands started coming up with the Full HD displays under the screen, it was all about taking the next step and stay ahead in the race. The year 2014 is shaping itself to become a year for QHD displays (2K or Quad HD displays) and there are a few smartphones already launched, including LG G3, Oppo Find 7, Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A and Vivo Xplay 3S.

In picture: LG was one of the earliest to introduce the QHD display panels, with the 5.5-inch size

Before we get into the discussion whether the Quad HD display makes sense or not, let us see what different resolutions were seen in the displays earlier to this.

Resolution Name Resolution Ratio
QVGA 320 x 240 pixels
HVGA 480 x 320 pixels
VGA 640 x 480 pixels
WVGA 800 x 480 pixels
FWVGA 854 x 480 pixels
qHD 960 x 540 pixels
HD 1280 x 720 pixels
Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels
Quad HD (QHD) 2560 x 1440 pixels

Don’t get confused with the term 4K, which is a even higher resolution and that is seen in the high-end TVs, and a few smartphone cameras are coming with the capability to record 4K resolution videos. This has nothing to do with the smartphone displays for now.

Is the QHD display really needed in a smartphone? that’s what something one would get in mind while comparing it with the displays of the larger screens, especially laptops. Although there is an obsession for most of the features in the smartphone, i.e. camera, OS version, screen size but the resolution hasn’t been really important for a majority of users, except for the ones who have seriously considered this for the graphics and video output. Still, even in those cases, a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels in a display of around 5-inch is enough. Who wants the 2K resolution already?

LG G3
The LG G3 was one of the early devices from a top-tier brand to come with the QHD display.

When the big players in the industry were asked for the reason, it was mixed reactions for the use of QHD displays in smartphones. Michelle Leyden Li, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Marketing, said that it is “us”, the users who never seem to get satisfied and the consumers want more and more things on their devices, making it necessary for the inclusion of newer and better features.

On the other hand, Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu shows no excitement about this move in the giant mobile industry. While in an interview with TechRadar, Yu said “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.”

Our view on this – It is although true that consumers are the ones who get obsessed about the numbers, but display is something where it hasn’t been much of a need for huge upgrades. While most of the brands chose to use the 1080p display in the flagship devices, Motorola had its own plans and it used a 720p HD display in the Moto X. Did that look any bad? not for us! But it made some difference – in the pricing segment. If you want more, you pay more. But again, taking this ahead, the problem doesn’t end with the pricing. The battery is going to take a hit because of the displays, which drain the battery more.

Although the QHD display might be good for those who actually care about it, there are quite a few drawbacks, listed as below.

  • Pricing – A new technology, not much available in the market is what lets the company to set a high pricing for the device.
  • Battery – The battery for sure is going to be drained if you are using high resolution display, and if the company is deciding to make the battery capacity higher, it would make the device thicker overall and it is out of the comfort zone.

The current day laptops except for a few from the best brands have got the 12-inch to 14-inch displays, with the resolution of around 1080p. When it is not important in those large screens, why would it really matter in those small screens? As Richard Yu said, “[Your] eyes cannot see the difference, so why should we do that? I think it’s a stupid thing.”

What do you think about the QHD displays (2K displays) in the smartphones? are they really necessary in the rapidly growing smartphone sector, or the companies should have looked more at the performance and the useful features?

Chetan Bhawani

Chetan Bhawani is a dentist, a tech blogger and a passionate writer in the field of technology. He keeps himself connected to the web for the entire day, of course except when he's dozed off! Add +Chetan Bhawani on Google Plus for more!

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    Well its good but what about amoled and super amoled display which comes with Samsung???

    • Ajanth Uthayakumaran

      thats a type of screen. QHD is the resolution

      • Suraj Racharla

        nice to see that you have learned quite a bit!!!

    • Joshua Akinsola

      samsung note 4 combines qhd resolution and amoled display

      • Shanky Yadav

        messed up??? or its a mixture?

  • Nikhil Narkhede

    Best is always better . QHD display is best rightnow .

    • Suraj Racharla

      The rate of technology is going so fast that probably by next year end i expect the resolution of QHD to double!!

      • Nikhil Narkhede

        hahaha 😀 qiuet fascinating . May be we will see a new leap forward in cellular communication in few years .

  • Barbe Blanche

    Nobody wants a QHD resolution but it is vendor to the customer. Also if the SoC is powerful enough to provide good performance without losing autonomy than what we already have, or even do a little better, why not?

  • Suraj Racharla

    tbh Quad Hd inst that much of an upgrade to 1080p i mean Samsungs Super Amoled from the S5 to me is better looking than the G3’s Quad Hd because of the vibrant colors

  • Jack Broadbent

    haha finaly get the resolution names

    • Suraj Racharla

      get ready to learn more next year. Technology is advancing so fast

  • Jack Broadbent

    i thought vga was good

    • That is in reference to front facing cameras I believe.

      • Joshua Akinsola

        they confusingly use it for vga graphics cards and vga resolutions as well

  • Paul Isaac Hübner

    Richard Yu have right, most of people are just simply stupid, therefore they need stupid solutions to make them recogizable;)

  • Well for future proofing… Luckily I have the G3.

    • Suraj Racharla

      it would have been better if the LG G3 had Super Amoled and QHD

      • Ajanth Uthayakumaran

        lol the screen would have been the best

        • Suraj Racharla

          yes but if you use Amoled its like your copying Samsung

    • Joshua Akinsola

      your very lucky but how is battery life on it?

      • It’s average. Well it really depends on how you use it. It lasts more than a day with 3-4 hrs wifi enabled then 3 hrs data connection. And with GPs enabled all the time. But when I’m playing XCom game, of course it only lasts a couple of hours. Only bad thing about the G3 is they pushed the QHD with snapdragon 801, they should have made it 805 like the Note 4.

        • yeah thats something i was worried about them forcing qhd on a processor not made for qhd. Other than thexcomm game youve my fears have proven to be true

          • Fortunately I got an iPad to play those kind of games lol ?

  • Suraj Racharla

    QHD is the future of the phone screens and in the years to come apps will be optimized to be used on this screen

    • Very true, but for now it is not entirely necessary.

      • Suraj Racharla

        Yes right now QHD is next to pointless. It only makes sense in the homescreen and lock screen and navigating your device. Apps are not optimized yet but probably next year they will be. I also expect app prices to rise a bit

  • Jugal Mudoi

    I think QHD displays is useless but it feels great for those who wants more, I’m always with the new technology but never want to compromise with the performance.

    • Joshua Akinsola

      yeah companies need to find a way to balance the two before delivering on one and not the other!

  • Jugal Mudoi

    I think the best display yet on a phone is that the combination of super AMOLED and the QHD on Note 4, yes I love QHD displays for 5″ or 6″ displays but don’t want more for few years, companies should focus on the performance and other useful features which are not included yet in every phone.

    • Ajanth Uthayakumaran

      but QHD is what brings to people the phone

      • Suraj Racharla

        but QHD can take out lots of juice from our battery. Companies should learn how to stop QHD from taking too much battery or just make the battery bigger!!

    • Joshua Akinsola

      qhd does have its kinks mainly on battery and maybe we can hold back for a while before we mass produce but i still love it personally.

  • I am willing to sacrifice a little in terms of display if it means a better battery life and a better price point. I usually only watch highlights and some commentary videos on my phone. There is no real need for a super expensive display.

    • Joshua Akinsola

      if that super display comes with new super 50000+mah batteries im all for it the battery and screen will come to od use and i will finally be able to us my watch espn on the go

  • Joshua Akinsola

    going for the best can of course be a problem, i see no problem with the varied smaller displays and if it means depleted battery life, overhanging, and an uncomfortable experience, im not buying. This of course is just my oppinion and im running with vga right now so i probably have a level of indifference on display

  • Joshua Akinsola

    Now fully understand the neseccity of qhd screens . I’ve seen the note 4 and its beautiful display and there is No going back. Now all that left is to wait for more apps to be optimized for this screen and we can shift to the future of displays!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    Yes QHD does make sense. I have a vga and it is much different from a QHD and much different type of technology. QHD is very clear and very pleasing to the eye. 1080 p phone are also good but it depends on the type of technology. A QHD LG phone may looks as good as the 1080 Smausng galxy s5 because the S5 has Super Amoled and it really brings the colors. While the quad hd brings in the details. But if you put both quad hd and Super amoled together fantasy happens and colors look vivid and bold with tremendous amount of detail. An example of this kind of phone is the galaxy note 4!!! Yes quad hd makes sense but what other type of screen are you using. LCD or Super Amoled….it makes a big difference

    • Ajanth Uthayakumaran

      actually you do make sense but if you have LCD you can add like more technology to it. LIke apples retina display!

      • Suraj Racharla

        Retina display is actually just a name for the display resolution. LIKE Quad hd

    • nagateja

      Color perception is just a calibration and saturation issue not just about pixels. FHD 1080p screens at 6 feet distance on a 40inch TV dont show you any pixels, but go closer and see u will find because the pixel density is low. That same 1080p on a small 5-5.5inch screen gives very high 300-400+ ppi (pixels per inch) which cannot be perceived and thus u see an ultrasharp image. Apple’s Retina display is a term where its ppi is just above the Human eye can see the individual pixels. Now at QuadHD (2K) u r pushing more than what already our eye cant see and its utter useless. This same 2K and 4K (UltraHD) make sense on a 40-50 inch TV which u see it from a distance but not on a small handheld device,not even on tablets. Be informed! OEMs are just wasting the processing and battery power

  • Suraj Racharla

    I think if apps start to optimize them selves to QHD i think the app prices in general will rise a bit.

  • thebrain

    Honestly, we do not need. The FHD is more than enough, but we are entering the era of QHD screens, like it or not. However, the reason why we wonder if the QHD screens are needed come mainly from the fact that is most concerned about their energy character that may be painful for the autonomy of smartphones that is not already large and also their negative impact on overall performance. But the rise of the SoC, fears could be swept away. That said we must recognize that with FHD screens, we have much more autonomy and especially big performances….

  • Shashank Chourey

    If our eyes cannot perceive it, or cannot distinguish between the 2K and full HD display, there’s definitely no point pondering about it. They are unnecessary IMO. If it doesn’t serves the intended purpose, there’s no point sacrificing the batteries. But I think these companies may not stop. Next they may introduces goggles through which ur eyes can perceive those extra HD resolutions. That’s how market works. 🙂

    • Suraj Racharla

      Well i think you may be able to percieve the difference and i think it does make a difference. The difference may not be great or big but it is still worth considering. Quad hd will be the thing of 2015 and i am sure many flagship devices will inherit this technology

  • Suraj Racharla

    Yeah like ultra clear communication. Next thing you know it Samsung puts a patent on it and everyone switches to Samsung . Waiting for a big company to come up with technology like this

    • Nikhil Narkhede

      Possibilities are Infinite .

      • Suraj Racharla

        Yup the future is going to be like a rollercoaster. We dont know what to expect but it will gettting better and better!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    Thats nice. Atleast your phone will run extremely smoothly whenever you pick on it!!

  • Suraj Racharla

    Its is a integration. Quad hd resolution with Super Amoled Technology. JUst like Lg’s IPS display with quad hd resolution!!

  • Karthik Gopinath G

    Maybe on a laptop screen it make a little difference, but on a smartphone, no one cares and no1 would really know

  • diveek

    In terms of display P-Oled & Super Amoled with additional benefit that black colour does not light up, so i can use apps like Dynamic Notifications

  • im_mukund

    I think the QHD displays are unnecessary in a smartphone because user cannot distinguish between QHD and full HD on a 5.5 inch display. It might make sense on laptops especially for gamers.

  • Chandresh Jain

    For a Smartphone , It’s all marketing gimmick , Beyond a point nothing makes sense .

  • Chandresh Jain

    With 5-7 Apps are user installed and 4-5 pre-installed app , Phone battery are running dry pretty fast and may be this is a major are of focus rather than display