New HTC One Screen Trounces iPhone 5 Retina
February 21, 2013

New HTC One Screen Trounces iPhone 5 Retina

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

HTC announced the newest version of their flagship phone earlier this week in the HTC One, an “X” lighter than their previous device. Like Apple´s iPhone, the new One is a gorgeous device, wrapped in a unibody aluminum shell and boasting an incredibly detailed high-definition display. Unlike the iPhone, however, the One does not meet the iPhone Retina display´s pixel per inch (ppi) resolution: It beats it senselessly.

In fact, the 4.7-inch, 1080p Super LCD 3 display has a pixel density closer to that found on a Microsoft tablet than an iPhone. As noted by Cnet´s Brooke Crothers, Microsoft´s Surface Pro carries an impressive 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 10-inch display, yielding an astounding ppi of 208. The HTC One boasts the same resolution, just squeezed into a smaller, 4.7-inch screen, with a resulting ppi of 468.

The Retina display´s ppi is an impressive — yet lower — 326. In other words, the sharpest, clearest screen available today is found in the beautiful HTC One, not the iPhone.

HTC buys these displays from Sharp, who announced this new class of high-definition screens last summer. One other HTC phone (the DNA) ships with the same display, though it doesn´t match the One´s pixel density.

According to Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate, Sharp is able to make such crisp high-def displays thanks to a technology known as Continuous-Grain Silicon.

"It has higher electron mobility than either IGZO or amorphous silicon, which allows for maximum aperture ratio/light transmission," explained Soneira, speaking with Cnet. This means more light is able to pass through the screen, making them brighter and more defined than other screens on the market, including Apple´s much vaunted Retina display.

As a brief refresher, Apple calls their display “Retina” because the resolution is supposed to be so sharp that the average human eye is unable to detect individual pixels when the device is held at a reasonable distance. However, that one little caveat — “at a reasonable distance” — leaves enough wiggle room for debates about the actual numbers for the Retina display.

“In terms of what Apple calls a Retina Display (equivalent to 20/20 Vision), for 20/20 Vision, 10.5 inches is the viewing distance where the eye can just resolve the individual iPhone 326 ppi pixels for people with standard 20/20 Vision,” said Soneira.

"For 468 ppi, the 20/20 Vision pixel resolution distance is 7.4 inches — much closer than a typical viewing distance for a 4.7 inch display. Watching further away from the minimum viewing distance means the eye can't resolve the pixels and so the high ppi is often wasted."

Soneira says this level of ppi is usually reserved for computer screens which display high definition graphics. And yet, it has now been delivered on a smartphone.

Like many other Android “superphones,” the HTC One trounces the iPhone´s spec sheet in a number of respects. Those new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processors that appeared at this year´s CES show up in the latest HTC phone. They´re clocked at 1.7 GHZ and are paired with a whopping 2 GB of RAM.

Though the phone is larger — almost three-quarters  of an inch larger — the One isn´t much bulkier than the thin and light iPhone 5. It outweighs the iPhone 5 by one ounce and is a few hairs thicker than Apple´s smartphone.

This new HTC smartphone will also run Android 4.1.2 (with Sense´s UI, of course) and is expected to arrive globally this March.