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Samsung and LG will be passing on smartphones with 4K in 2016, according to report

by on December 17, 2015

Stephan Jukic – December 17, 2015

Looks like at least for now and for the next year, those of us who’d love to see more smartphones with 4K UHD displays crop up will have to stay slightly disappointed.

Yes, we know, the idea of 8.29 million pixels in a 5 to 6 inch smartphone screen is almost ridiculous on the face of it, but we can’t say we don’t love the sheer idea of that much resolution in our pocket display devices. And I doubt that there aren’t other readers of this site and fans of the latest in gadget technology who don’t feel the same.

In any case, two of the biggest names in smartphone and tablet manufacturing, Samsung and LG will apparently be passing on the idea of matching Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium phone with their own versions of a flagship phones with 4K Ultra HD displays, at least for 2016.

According to a very recent report from a Korean website (you can click the link but the content is in Korean, so if any readers of can read the text and would like to comment on its content, by all means) which has been circulating the internet recently, Samsung and LG will both forego 4K smartphone screen displays in the next year and will instead focus on the still very pixel dense display technology of QHD, which is already in production by both manufacturers.

The world's only smartphone with 4K display, for now, the Xperia Z5 Premium from Sony

The world’s only smartphone with 4K display, for now, the Xperia Z5 Premium from Sony

Despite the fact that both companies are heavily invested in other types of 4K UHD display devices like TVs, monitors and even laptops, as well as OLED 4K TV displays and screen curvature in their TVs, there seem to be several key issues which make them hesitant to adopt their otherwise robust 4K display technology efforts in the smartphone arena.

There include:

  • Problems with power consumption and the excessive drain on charge as well as battery overheating caused by 4K resolution
  • A still scarce landscape of 4K media content which is available to smartphones or in general for the cost of producing them to be justified
  • Low order volume for even QHD phone display panels, reducing confidence in the prospect of decent 4K screen orders
  • The problem of 4K display being at least partly linked to 4K content, which could only be delivered wirelessly to smartphones through a still very poorly developed 5G network infrastructure

Of course, there is also the simple fact that 4K display on a tiny phone screen is just barely justifiable as a sort of “showoff” technology. In real visual terms, no human being could discern the difference between QHD and 4K resolution with their naked eye on a phone screen.

4K resolution compared to other resolutions in smartphone text, for the Xperia Z5 Premium

4K resolution from the Xperia Z5 Premium compared to other resolutions in smartphone text

Furthermore, we should also strongly advise that the above is all still what we’d call rather speculative information, a bit above the level of rumor. As far as we know, neither company has formally declared their 2016 4K plans and both manufacturers certainly do have a history of taking a more pioneering attitude than the report would suggest, given that both were the first two OEMs to come out with QHD panels for phones in 2014 and 2015.

For those of you who aren’t entirely sure about the finer details of above-HD resolutions, QHD means a display resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 4K UHD resolution is defined at 3840 x 2160 pixels. By contrast, Full HD resolution of the kind found in many higher-end phones and almost all high-end HDTVs sits at 1920 x 1080 pixels.

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  • X
    December 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    4k is not ridiculous at all. Using a Samsung GearVR is still like looking through a window screen. The pixels are huge and resolution is low per eye.


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