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War of the display

By Jean-Claude Elias - Feb 27,2014 - Last updated at Feb 27,2014

Smartphone screens that are so big that they aren’t portable anymore; pixel resolution and image sharpness that surpass the resolution of the human eye; this is what manufacturers are doing to keep selling — even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense.

In their aggressive war to win market shares manufacturers of digital devices are going to extremes when it comes to the quality and the size of the display or the screen. Often the whole matter is blown out of proportion. 

As long as hands and pockets are what they are, screens bigger than 4.5 inches (11.4cm) (diagonal) or so can’t really be considered as portable. Even if you are willing to carry them around and press them against your ear to talk, putting up with the strange look, you lose the essential, the original traits of the device: convenience and portability.

The just-announced Samsung Galaxy S5 sports a 5.1” (13cm)screen, and even the otherwise conservative Nokia has come up with a 5” (12.7cm) model, the brand new XL, the company’s flagship. 

Screen size is not the only battle manufacturers are fighting. Sharpness is another. However, most devices made after 2010 come with a quality of display and fine detail that equals or exceeds what the human eye is able to distinguish. Why then push for more? Just to keep selling?

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 comes with incredible density of 440 pixels per inch, providing unprecedented sharpness. This is four times more than what standard computer screens would deliver only 10 years ago.

Large, ultra-high-definition screens also come at a price, and it’s not only the initial purchase price that often rivals that of a laptop computer. Battery duration is negatively affected by all these excesses; this is a heavy price to pay. Wouldn’t you sacrifice a little screen resolution, especially when you can hardly notice it, for longer battery life?

Processor power and memory resources are additional issues. Understandably the larger the screen size, the higher the resolution and the more the processor has to work to produce the image. This results in less processing power and memory left for the programmes you want to run in the end. I for one would prefer a faster smartphone rather than one that has a too large screen.

Transposed to larger digital devices such as tablets, laptops and desktop computers the question of superlative screens takes an entirely different turn. Because we don’t really stuff such equipment in our pocket or press it against our ear — well, most of us at least — large screens are always welcome in these altogether different categories. Even if some would argue that tablets and laptops also are meant to be portable in a way, it’s definitely another kind, another level of portability here. 

Besides, even if we love to look at photos on a smartphone screen, we mainly enjoy these on larger devices. For slide show, for family album sharing and for photo processing, nothing beats a full size screen, and I don’t mean a 5” (12.7cm) smartphone but something that starts at 10” (25.4cm) at least, and preferably goes up to a good 22” (55.9cm).

LG, one of the main suppliers of quality screen for computers in Jordan, along with Samsung, Dell and Sony, has introduced this year absolutely gorgeous 22” (55.9) and 24” (61cm) monitors for computers and that sell between JD140 and JD180. Whether you are running a full-size desktop machine or a laptop, connect one of these monitors and immerse yourself in the beauty of truer-than-life images.

Only 10 or 15 years ago, we could only dream of such quality pictures on computers. And there’s no battery issue here since the machine is usually connected to the mains. The same goes for processing power, laptops and desktops have plenty of it today.

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