Editorials

4K Resolution For The Future, Part 1: Users Can’t See The Difference

Although our tests showed that people can actually see the difference between a Quad HD and a 1080p screen, we’re not convinced that the majority of the population will be able to distinguish between a Quad HD screen and a 4K displays (sic) with the same size. With a naked eye, either will appear ultra-sharp, with hardly any individual pixels that can be discerned. However, it is a sweet marketing argument to make you get the latest piece of tech – large numbers are easy to sell.

Thus begins our series on 4K resolution. The Xperia Z5 Premium launched today at IFA Berlin, which makes this series even more timely than first believed.

As for the statement above, taken from the source link below, it’s somewhat odd that the writer would state that people can’t notice the difference between two different displays – even after writing “our tests showed that people can actually see the difference between a Quad HD and a 1080p screen.” So, if the site’s tests show that people can tell a difference, why would the writer say otherwise? And if the writer sides with a view that differs from the site’s tests, then how can the site’s own tests on displays ever be trusted? No matter the direction one turns with the writer’s words, it’s problematic.

So with that said, we’re going to tackle the claim that users can’t see the difference. Smartphones are following the same path as TVs, with their 720p screens that then turned into 1080p screens, 1440p screens (the current trend), and the futuristic 2160p screens (Ultra HD or 4KUHD) as is the case with Sony’s new Xperia Z5 Premium. Thus, a lot of the examples in this post will involve TV sets, though the same can be applied to smartphones. A few examples will involve smartphone displays.

Let’s take a look at one such example.

1080p vs 4K resolution ex 1

As can be seen from the example above, the 1080p resolution pays attention to detail, but the color looks somewhat more stale than the “living,” in-the-moment color of the rock seen at the top of the 4K resolution photo. The 4K photo shows how the sun impacs the rock whenever a photo is taken from a long distance away from the object. With sunlight, we’d expect to see a photo that seems to be somewhat “reddened” by the sun, as opposed to the 1080p photo. In addition, the water is “bluer” and more living in the 4K resolution photo than the 1080p photo. The 1080p captures detail, but it looks like a past event, something that “happened,” rather than something that is “happening” in the here and now. If the differences make sense to you, then congratulations: 4K resolution is better than 1080p – and you can see the difference.

What about this next photo?

1080p vs 4K resolution ex 2

In this second example, which is an excellent photo to mark our series on 4K resolution, the difference between 1080p and 4K can be clearly seen. Notice the additional ridges in the rock formation, as opposed to the washed-out appearance of the 1080p photo? Sure, you can still see some ridges in the rock formation of the 1080p photo, and some lines are clearly traceable. However, one has a light brown/orange, washed-out look, while the other shows areas of dark brown/orange or a combo of both. It’s not hard to see the difference in this photo, and it’s apparent to anyone up-close.

What about these two pictures?

1080p vs 4K resolution ex 3

These two pictures show a pixelated HD photo, as opposed to a more clear 4K resolution image. You can still see the eye in the HD photo, but it’s far more discernible and pleasant to see in the 4K resolution photo.

1080p vs 4K resolution ex 4

This photo shows 1080p as opposed to 4K Ultra HD (or 4KUHD), and, as can be seen, the details are more refined and not as “washed out and light” as in the 1080p photo. The 4K resolution even brings out the night sky with a more refined color as can be seen in the 1080p photo.

The last photo does a good job of providing more color to show differences.

1080p vs. 4K resolution ex 5

In the photo above, we have a Full HD look that seems to be somewhat pixelated, while the right side, bearing 4K Utra HD resolution, brings out more color and is clearer to view when placed beside “Full HD,” another label for 1080p. If you’re looking at these two images with two smartphones or even on one smartphone display, it isn’t hard to see the difference. One image is better than another. There’s no doubt about it.

Yes, some TV enthusiasts will refer to smartphones in the same vein as TVs, telling everyone that larger resolutions are better on large TV displays and mobile devices, but the truth of the matter is that, contrary to how we use TVs (mostly at some distance from our faces), smartphones will always be right within our immediate vision – meaning that, whereas you may have trouble telling two TV resolutions apart at a distance, most individuals with a healthy near-sighted vision (or 20/20 vision or better, in some cases, as my sister had 20/15 vision when she was younger) will appreciate 4K resolution over 1080p up-close – in the same way that we’ve grown to appreciate 1080p over 720p.

Are there any questions that you have about 4K resolution? There are 4 more objections to tackle, so stay tuned to Aptgadget as we continue the discussion. To see our introduction, go here.

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One Comment

  1. Not to sound confrontational, but why is it that when people do comparisons, they hardly ever compare two identical photos. The Avatar images are identical, but why aren’t the others? If you’re trying to illustrate the differences between two images, whose difference is in the resolution (detail), doesn’t it make sense to show two IDENTICAL pictures?

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