Pixel Density and Your Delusions

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by FrgMstr, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    We all love a nice tight little pixel. Two pixels bumping and grinding are even better. How about whole group of pixels just packed in as tight as we can get them? Love it! However, Android Authority is here to tell you that everything you think you know about pixel density is not as important as you think. Unless of course your PPI really sucks I guess. Thanks grtitan.


    Let’s stop chasing pixel counts, and instead start demanding that our screens actually deliver in those areas that can really contribute to better visual performance. There’s a lot more to making a good looking screen than just seeing who can get the most pixels on a piece of glass.
     
  2. -Strelok-

    -Strelok- [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Even Samsung “fakes” it by actually running their phones at lower resolutions unless you manually set it higher. Give me 1080P with great colors, viewing angles, contrast and better battery life over 1440P or 4K.
     
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  3. I agree. Even 4K on 46" televisions is of questionable benefit unless you are only a couple feet from it.

    Give me better color space, refresh rates (less ghosting), and contrast ratios and I'll be happy.
     
  4. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Couldn't agree more.

    1080p is more than plenty on a 5" class phone. My old Droid Turbo had a 1440p screen and I literally could not tell the difference in resolution.

    Same for the desktop. At normal desktop viewing distances of about 2.5 ft there is no need for anything higher than ~110 ppi.

    optimal-viewing-distance-television-graph-size.png

    I disagree even with this chart and feel 4k should be reserved for 40"+ screens only at desktop viewing distances.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
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  5. otherweeb

    otherweeb Gawd

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    So 4k res on a 5" 2D screen = unnecessary. Thank you Sherlock!
     
  6. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I just ordered a Dell s2417dg which is a 24" 165Hz, 1440P monitor that does G-Sync. I'm going to use it for those instances when the content isn't running right on my 34" 21:9 Acer Predator. I was surprised to find such specs in a monitor that was sub 27" and it was on sale for about $360 so I jumped on it.

    I'll be happy to let you guys know how it works out.
     
  7. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    There is something to be said for PPI (not necessarily resolution, as they aren't really the same thing).

    I could definitely tell the difference in Retina vs non-Retina displays when Apple introduced them. Even at similar resolutions. Retina, for me, is a lot easier to read text on. Movies and games and such, with a lot of movement, I can't notice so much. A huge factor in this is the underlaying OS DPI scaling - Apple handles this pretty well. I've not tried it on Windows or Android, so I can't speak for them.

    I do agree there is a significant diminishing return factor in chasing PPI, and that there are a lot more factors in overall image quality than pixel count. But I would not go so far as to say pixel count doesn't matter at all.
     
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  8. Dekar12

    Dekar12 Gawd

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    Just ask all those Surface Pro users with disgusting high resolutions, how much they like squinting to find anything. Or they just scale everything up, which basically negates the resolution.
     
  9. zkostik

    zkostik Gawd

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    PPI makes screen a retina, there's not anything different about it. Any screen with around 300 ppi and higher is retina. Based on my own experience I cannot really see the improved clarity of having more pixels, so beyond that it comes down to panel type and quality.
     
  10. Dekar12

    Dekar12 Gawd

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    For me, right around that screen size is when I think it is a good time to move to 1440p.
     
  11. Cali3350

    Cali3350 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Apple has been doing it right. High resolution but not high enough to start really impacting battery life.
     
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  12. MatthewK

    MatthewK n00b

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    Unless we're talking about VR, and since all the VR headsets out there use smartphone screens right now, it's probably a good thing for VR they keep trying to push higher pixel density in smartphones..
     
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  13. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    For monitors, I've found that 100-110ppi (27" 1440p, 34" 3440X1440, etc) is just about perfect. Anything higher and things get too small to read. Anything less and the pixels get big enough to see.
     
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  14. Dekar12

    Dekar12 Gawd

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    Definitely, in a typical setup. Obviously, if people are sitting further away or closer, that changes some things.
     
  15. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    My work gave me a Lenovo Yoga 460 with a 13" WQHD screen, and it is just too tiny to be usable. I had to set the resolution to 1600X900 to be able to use it. (Remote desktop, which I use for servers, does not scale with the desktop scaling on a laptop.) I completely do not understand why people would want something that tiny.
     
  16. Nytegard

    Nytegard 2[H]4U

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    Eh. I don't think it's a delusion, but I think the article is right with it's main point. People who say it doesn't matter, and you only need 720p on a 100" TV sitting back 4 ft. away, or whatever these numbers are, are the same as people who think 30 fps is all you need for video games. This depends on the person, and some are more fickle than others. But the main point in that there are better areas to focus on, such as picture quality, battery life, etc., I think is perfectly valid.
     
  17. PaulP

    PaulP Gawd

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    The same thing could be said for number of pixels in a camera sensor, or the frequency of a CPU, etc. Any single parameter by itself is seldom a good indicator of performance. But very often, a single parameter becomes dominate in advertising and in the mind of the general consumer, and then that's all you hear about.
     
  18. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    My wifes phone does 2960 x 1440. I tried it out. On a small screen, it makes no difference. I'm sure if you were to look at reference pictures and try and find the differences you could. But, any video or daily use, there is no noticeable difference.

    I don't agree with this chart. I'll go higher resolution earlier than they say. It does say I need a 4K display, though. When you're close to a line, might as well upgrade your screen size, too!

    "You don't need 4K, this chart says so."

    "Well.... I forgot to mention we're upgrading to a 135" screen. We NEED 4K!"
     
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  19. Luke M

    Luke M Limp Gawd

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    Super high ppi is maybe useful if you want to read pdfs on your phone (without scrolling). But who does that? For normal size text, 250ppi is as good as 500ppi.
     
  20. cjcox

    cjcox [H]ard|Gawd

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    What about sound? I mean I just have to have my 27.9 ultrataculous Dolby+plex sound... and of course it needs to be slightly out of sync just so I know it's the real deal!
     
  21. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    That isn't necessarily the way PPI works with DPI scaling available. You can have a High PPI/Resolution, and with proper DPI scaling, your image/text can be the same size - just clearer with a higher PPI (similar effect to Supersampling Antialiasing).

    If your main arguement against higher PPI is that makes stuff too small - the problem isn't because of pixel density. The problem is because of lack of or poor DPI scaling.

    High pixel density is a good thing no matter how you look at it. That doesn't mean it will not hit a point of diminishing returns, or that it's the only factor that affects image quality, but to argue against high PPI is pretty backwards.

    Its like, back in the 386 days, people complained that their software ran too fast, so they had a turbo button to downclock it. The problem wasn't that the CPU was really too fast - the problem was the software wasn't well written - the turbo button was a backwards hack to make it work until the software caught up. Same thing with DPI scaling - eventually it will catch up, but having more PPI is always better than less PPI - it's just a matter of cost/benefit.
     
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  22. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot 2[H]4U

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    My NookHD has 1440x900 on a 7" screen. Plenty of pixels even for reading text. I caught a deal on the Dell Outlet store for an XPS13 with a 3200x1800 display. More pixels then I really need but the price was right. One small problem is applications that define their own font size and were written when 800x600x13" was a decent monitor. Pretty much need a magnifier to read the text. My primary PC monitors are a pair of Dell Ultrasharp 2407s with 1920x1200. Sitting about 26" away, If I look carefully, can detect a bit of jaggy pixels the diagonals of bright white text. Not enough to worry about.

    Really agree with much of TFA. We are mostly at the point where more pixels aren't the answer. Better, less reflective screens that work in bright lights are the next frontier. Really don't want to have to sit 6' from my TV.
     
  23. KG-Prime90

    KG-Prime90 Limp Gawd

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    It's decent. Text is readable even with my 47 year old eyes. I don't need/use glasses yet , but for someone who does it could be an issue if you don't feel like wearing them all the time at your monitor or just wanted to use it without them.
    I use Win 7 and no scaling. On the web i tend to zoom pages though, it's just more comfortable.

    Games look amazingly sharp. But i would say that 27" 1440p is probably a bit better as far as overall comfort as far as text ect. It still has pretty good sharpness and really the difference between the two is not night and day, subjectively. I don't really like a giant screen though.

    Be aware the monitor needs some serious tweaking out of the box. It able to produce good color, but the gamma is pretty bad. Terrible really. But fix the gamma within its limits and it's pretty decent. Pretty much the best gaming monitor for the money there is right now, more so if you play fast paced games.

    You'll either love it or not.
     
  24. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I want this exact monitor, but 4k, 16:9 (or even better, 16:10) and 42"-44". It would be the perfect monitor.
     
  25. Kdawg

    Kdawg Gawd

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    nope.
    8K 5inch screens or bust. Keep making those tiny screens, and ignore everyone else who needs a monitor with sharpness
     
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  26. username00

    username00 Limp Gawd

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    I agree with the article but disagree with people talking about desktop resolutions. I have a 23" 1080p monitor and can clearly see the pixels. I think 110ppi or whatever is just too low for a desktop monitor that size.

    The issue people don't understand is that text size and UI elements have nothing to do with PPI and resolution, it's about how the OS scales to the resolution. If I used my desktop more I would love to have a 4k screen and would never complain about everything being too small because I would set up the scaling size correctly. Fonts would be the same size as 1080p, but pixels would no longer be visible.

    Pixel density and the available screen space/text size are fully independent of each other, unless you don't want them to be.
     
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  27. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

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    Except some things don't scale. Remote desktop, for example, doesn't scale at all with the desktop scaling in any Windows OS or scale in the remote session. So, when remoting to a server, the screen comes up at the absolute resolution, and there is nothing that can be done to change it. So, for example, a 13" 2560X1440 screen would show that server's interface with lettering about 1/16 of an inch tall. It takes really good eyes to read text that small.
     
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  28. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Even with perfect scaling, I wouldn't be interested. I just consider that wasted pixels and GPU cycles.
     
  29. Luke M

    Luke M Limp Gawd

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    Ok, but none of that has anything to do with what I said.
     
  30. Dermen

    Dermen Limp Gawd

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    It went from one extreme to the other. Before Apple's Retina display took off I was looking for a 15" laptop. It was hard to find one with 1600x900 resolution. Now half the 15" laptops have insane 4k resolution. I think 1080p for a 15" laptop is perfect for me.

    4k phones are just nuts. Maybe if you are using it for VR it makes a difference since it is a few inches away from your face, otherwise it just seems like manufacturers are trying to one up each others numbers so people think it is better.
     
  31. King of Heroes

    King of Heroes [H]ard|Gawd

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    I've grown to prefer 4k on my desktop just because of all the screen real estate it gives me (SO. MUCH. PORN.), though I still need to give it a slight scale up so I'm not squinting all the time. 4k on a phone currently has no such benefit. Ask Sony how well thats gone for them.
     
  32. Mohonri

    Mohonri [H]ardness Supreme

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    My Kindle Fire HDX 7" has a 1920x1200 screen, and I can't discern the individual pixels. Which means that 720p is more than enough on a 5" screen. I'd rather have the free CPU/RAM/battery capacity than a bunch of pixels I can't see. Sony is the only Android manufacturer that seems to get this right--their flagship phones haven't gone over 1080p, while still packing high-end CPUs and more RAM. The XZ1 has the Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM, even though its screen is "only" 1080p. I guess the Pixel 2 is in the same camp, with a 1080p screen, but I think that's still some serious overkill.

    Dropping from 1080p to 720p means you're dropping the total number of pixels by over 50%, while still staying around 300 PPI. It almost seems like PPI is the new race to the bottom, since manufacturers aren't trying to one-up each other on thinness any more.
     
  33. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    That is a software issue. An unfortunate issue, certainly, but not a hardware/PPI issue.
     
  34. MacLeod

    MacLeod [H]ardness Supreme

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    There is a benefit to getting old and your eyesight getting worse... I don't have to spend any extra money every time a new, higher resolution comes out.. My 27" 1080 screen looks just fine to me.

    Personally I think a lot of this high resolution stuff is forced by manufacturers to make us want to buy new monitors sooner than we normally would. Most people buy a new GPU every couple years and overhaul their PC every 4 years or so but a monitor can last a decade or more and still look as good as anything current on the market. Gsync, Freesync and high refresh rates are genuinely valuable features but image quality is generally no better now than several years ago. So come out with ultra high resolution screens and whammo! You've got a reason to upgrade your 2 year old monitor!

    I'm not saying there are no differences but they're gonna be very small and in most cases they're not something you're gonna see unless they're compared side by side. 60 TV? Yeah.... 27" monitor? Nope.
     
  35. Revdarian

    Revdarian 2[H]4U

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    That widely posted chart is also widely misunderstood, it for example makes no sense to try and follow it for videogames as it doesn't understand the concept of hyper acuity, to make it simple, your eyes are not static, they are moving very lightly at around 70hz, and they use the information gathered from said movement to mainly determine edges of things, and that is why our ability to detect that type of aliasing is around 5x to 10x our ability to determine other regular features.

    Of course that at one point it stops being economical from a performance standpoint to just drive higher resolutions and instead you should use some form of antialiasing :p... The point kinda varies from person to person tho.

    (The original chart is based on standard eye physiology, with a correlation between the cells in our eyes and the arcseconds of light that incide on them at each estimated distance)
     
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  36. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Well, to each their own. Personally I don't ever want a desktop pixel density above 110 DPI. That's my threshold. I'd rather have better and better anti-aliasing tech, as it is almost certainly computationally cheaper than brute forcing it by throwing pixels at the problem.
     
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  37. Revdarian

    Revdarian 2[H]4U

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    That is perfect and is exactly my second paragraph, just saying that the chart is misunderstood and why it is (almost always) worth it to throw even me smaa at the screen :D
     
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  38. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    Funny, I distinctly recall someone around here stirring this same point for years now. Especially about mobile devices and this ridiculous resolution race on sub 10" screens.
     
  39. spinach_chin

    spinach_chin [H]Lite

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    How does scaling up negate anything? The purpose of higher resolution isn't "to get more stuff on the screen".

    Even scaled, you still get the benefit of the higher resolution screen.
     
  40. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Nah, because icons, window decorations and fonts are plenty sharp at a standard desktop DPI of 90 - 110. It doesn't add anything to the experience.