How to Choose a Smartphone Guide: Display

How to Choose a Smartphone Guide Display

After talking about processors and storage options, we will now discuss Smartphone display. The display is another important aspect of a Smartphone since this serves as its input as well as an output device.

Among the things that we will talk about in this part is the display size, resolution, PPI and several display technologies available today.

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This is a part of the following series of articles:

which will provide you ways to understand the jargons associated with the technical specifications of Smartphones. It is highly advised that you read all of these in order for you to be able to come up with your ideal Smartphone.

Display Size

One of the important things that you should consider when choosing a Smartphone is its display size because it affects how you will be able to view the visual elements of the device. Display size is measured diagonally and the unit of measurement used for it is inches.

Generally, the display size of Smartphones is between 3.5 inches up to 5.3 inches. It should be noted though that a Smartphone that has a measurement of more than 5 inches up to 6.9 inches is technically a “phablet”, which connotes a device that is a hybrid of a smartphone and a tablet. However, most companies still use the term “Smartphone” to refer to such devices.

Display Resolution

The next factor that you should look into is the display resolution because it determines the actual working space available in the screen of your Smartphone. Basically, it is the maximum number of distinct pixels that each dimension of the screen can display. Thus, a display resolution is indicated in “pixels” (abbreviated as “px”). So, for example, if it says “1280 x 800 px”, that means the unit of pixels in its width is 1280 while the height has 800 pixels.


The acronym ppi means “pixel per inch”, which is also known as the pixel density. The quality of the display of the device is dependent on how high is its ppi.

The ppi is derived using the formula “ppi = {[(display width in pixel)^2 + (display height in pixel)^2] ^ ½} / Display Size in inches”. But there’s no need to memorize or perform this calculation because many Smartphone manufacturers include this in the technical specifications of a Smartphone.

Types of Display Technologies

Currently, there are four types of display technologies available for Smartphones. These are:

1. LCD

LCD stands for liquid-crystal display. This is the most basic among the different types of display technologies available for smartphones today. It utilizes the light modulating properties of liquid crystals to produce images.

Most computing devices use this kind of display because it has lesser contrast, brightness, color and it is more power efficient.

2. LCD IPS                                  

This is just a slightly enhanced version of LCD. IPS means In-Plane Switching which provides better viewing angle and more advanced color accuracy than the former. So far, this is the most common type of display used in smartphones. Notable phones that use this kind of technology are the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

3. LED

LED means light-emitting diode. This type of display, as its name implies, uses light-emitting diodes to produce visual images. Compared to LED, it has less power consumption.


Overall, this is the best among the types of displays mentioned because of its capability to produce images that have high contrast, brightness and color accuracy. However, due to its high-end performance, it utilizes more power. An example of a phone that uses this is the Samsung Galaxy S4.


A bigger display size usually results to a larger overall measurement of a smartphone. This compromises the user’s ability to store it in his pocket conveniently or carry it around easily.

Also, if the display size is big but the display resolution is very low, the images in the phone will not be very crisp or they will appear pixelated. In addition, you will not be able to enjoy HD multimedia content if your display resolution is too low.

On the other hand, if your display size is too small but you have a very high resolution, the images in your screen will appear very detailed but the problem is they will be too small. This will sometimes give you trouble in selecting closely-placed icons when you have huge fingers because there is a big chance that you will be accidently touching another as well.

Display Protection

Another important factor to consider when choosing a display is its protection and touch sensitivity. The most popular material used for display protection nowadays is the Corning Gorilla Glass which is highly resistant to scratches.

Presently, majority of smartphones offer capacitive touch screens with multi-touch. According to manufacturers, this can recognize the action of up to 10 fingers that are simultaneously touching the display of the device. It should be noted that when choosing a phone, it should be capable of detecting at least two different touches.

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The next that will be discussed is connectivity, which lets the smartphone connect to various carriers or network providers.