HTC Droid DNA Has a Mind-Blowing Screen, But Does It Really Matter?

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The HTC Droid DNA has an unbelievable 440ppi 5 inch 1080p screen. A screen that blows the iPhone 5’s screen out of the water—by a country mile. Here’s the thing. As the commenter Sleepy pointed out in my iPad mini post, it’s not all about numbers or having the biggest number on the box that matters. Because, frankly, are we really, really seriously, going to be able to tell the difference between a 300+ ppi screen and a 440 ppi screen?

Don’t get me wrong, but all accounts, and the video below…

…the Droid DNA has an amazing screen and could be a really great phone. No doubt that HTC needs a win like this to boost themselves up. But when you look at the specs, you have to wonder—what’s the point? As Rene Ritchie points out, it might just be bigger, better, Apple-crushing numbers:

HTC is showing off the Verizon Droid DNA today at the special event in New York City, and the big news — the HUGE news — is the size and density of their display: a 5-inch fully 1920x1080p at a positively pornographic 440ppi. HTC has always loved pushing the envelop when it comes to specs, and this is obviously no exception. Back when Apple launched the iPhone 4 with Retina display, its 960×640 at 326ppi screen was well beyond anything else on the market, and it stayed that way for a long time. Even with the iPhone 5’s 1136×640, still 326ppi screen, HTC is now far, far ahead.


Apple’s priorities seem to be on making thinner, lighter, better devices, not bigger or denser ones, so this might well be a battle Apple is happy to sit out. Arguably, any increase in density beyond 300 ppi is lost on most human eyes anyway. Just like cameras, where better sensors are a smarter play than more megapixels, we might be hitting diminishing returns when it comes to displays.

Maybe this is why, while I do shoot more with my Samsung point-n-shoot lately, I shoot more with my iPhone. Not just because it’s with me, my point-n-shoot fits nicely in my bag, it’s because the images are just fine for what I need.

The iPhone 5 screen? Oh yeah it’s amazing. I don’t know if I picked up on a huge difference between it and my iPhone 4 though. What did I notice? How thin, light, and fast it is. So no slight to the HTC Droid DNA, it is an amazing feat of engineering, it just might be more than we need. Or at least more than we can tell we need.

Via iMore

Droid image from Android Central

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Categories: HTC, iPhone 5

  • Pacomacman

    Absolutely pointless! You end up using more CPU to push round pixels you can’t even see. I’d rather use the extra processing power to give a smoother 60fps screen update than higher PPI.

    • Tris Hussey

      there you go…that’s exactly it.

      • Eddy

        while YOU may not believe that it will not make much of a difference, i do. after using a product that has a better screen for a long period of time and reverting back to an older screen with less ppi, you will definitely notice the difference. not everyone views their phone from the same viewing distance that apple uses. I actually hold my phone around 8 inches from my face when sitting down or while i am in bed. the fact that you havent even tested this phone for yourself says a lot.

        • genXhippie

          Exactly, there you go.

      • Johnathan

        I thought the GPU processed pixels, not the CPU. Could you explain?

  • Eddy

    so bias. i bet if apple came out with a 400+ ppi screen. everyone would be in awe. that is a fact.

    • Po Wah

      100% Agree!!!

      • Fonzie

        Honestly, I was reading this and getting so angry. Ig Apple does something, it’s life altering. When someone bests Apple, it’s pointless. Next year Apple will have 1 more pixel and the world will go crazy for this amazing new tech. I can’t wait for my Nexus 4 to arrive because I can’t take this religion any longer.

        • shaneblyth

          i dont know about that im an apple fan and this phone looks seriously good im on a 4S and am more likely to get this than an iphone 5 if i upgrade in the next 6 months. im happy with the 4S but always loved HTC hardware. This looks premo to me.

          • Pixels

            The colour output and vibrance of the iPhone 5 screen to the iPhone 4S is huge, I thought the 4S screen was fine, but now comparing them side by side the 5 wins. Everybody sees things differently when it comes to colours, but any higher pixel density isn’t going to change anything, but the composition of screen used certainly will, as seen with the 4S to the 5’s screen.

  • Drei

    While Apple stated that the ideal pixel density is around 300ppi, there is apparently other research which notes that the human eye can see 318ppi 18 inches away (from the eye), 477ppi 12 inches away, and 716ppi 8 inches away. I doubt the average user can notice a difference between all these new displays being released, so it’s probably just a numbers game.

    Just one of the websites mentioning Raymond Soneira’s findings:

    And to quote Apple from their web site, “At 326 pixels per inch, it has a pixel density so high your eye can’t distinguish individual pixels.”

  • barondebxl

    The truth is, because of android, tech has becoming more interesting. Thats why iphonehacks has no choice but to put news like this here, theres nothing exciting to talk about in IOS. teh ipad mini has been released, so did the ipad 4 nothing exciting. As far as the screen goes, i suggest people to see it in real life before commenting.

  • D$

    Full spec:

    Size: 143 x 71 x 9.73mm
    Weight: 138g
    5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 440ppi and 80 degrees viewing angle
    Corning Gorilla Glass 2
    1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
    2GB of RAM
    16GB of storage
    8-megapixel camera with LED flash, F 2.0 lens, 1080p video recording and dedicated image chip (advanced camera features included)
    2.1-megapixel front-facing camera
    4G LTE support
    Global roaming support
    802.11a/b/g/n dual-band (5GHz, 2.4GHz) Wi-Fi
    Bluetooth 4.0
    Mobile Hotspot support for up to 8 connections
    microUSB connectivity
    Beats audio support
    2020mAh non-removable battery
    wireless charging support
    Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 4+ on top, upgradeable to Android 4.2

    • Liam Googolplex Merlyn

      if this could run iOS as a sort of Hackingtosh, i’d well blow off the iPhone for this beast

  • genXhippie

    Typical, if Apple had come to market with this ppi, it would have of received unquestioned praise. But now, that the supposed retina screen has lost its shine (old hat) because it no stands out, as other maker are now producing the same or higher ppi screens. Yes, I understand it’s a fanboy site, but sometimes….

    Btw, I own a Nokia N8, SGS2, and iP5 (eagerly waiting for a jb) so I am a fanboy of improvements not a particular brand.

  • IvanC

    If Apple releases iPhone 5 and or iPad mini with this pixel density, I’m very sure peoples will start saying Apple has done it, Apple has again lifted the bar, Apple has created a new benchmark, Apple this Apple that…full of praise. But then when others has do better, you all says that what’s the point of such high density when human eyes couldn’t even tell the difference…why the so bias report or comments…why cant just admit that others are actually doing better than Apple

    Btw, I’ve used 3GS and now using 4S…