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The iPhone's display blows away every other display we've ever seen

Ben Drawbaugh

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In resolution and detail that is -- there has been a lot of fuss about the iPhone 4's new so called retina display and now that we've had some time to check it out ourselves we have to say, there hasn't been enough fuss about it. As videophiles we understand that resolution isn't everything, but boy is it a lot. Now we realize that all the talking in the world can't convey how awesome the screen displays text and video, so instead we crunched a few numbers to put things into perspective. The advertised pixels per inch (PPI) of the iPhone's display is 326, but what does that really mean? Well the calculated PPI of our 1080p 60-inch Kuro: it's a meager 36 -- luckily we don't sit 12 inches away from it. In fact a 1080p TV could only be 7-inches if it wanted to match that PPI. A 60-inch HDTV would have to have a resolution of 16815x9500 to match it -- gasp -- which is four times the horizontal resolution of 4k! Speaking of which, a 4K display could only be 14-inches. But the iPhone isn't like an HDTV; its main purpose is to display text, not video. So what about a 20-inch PC display, how many pixels would it need to match the PPI of the iPhone? Try 5600x3500, which is about double the horizontal resolution of WQXGA at 2560x1600.

But like we said at the start, resolution isn't everything and a Blu-ray Disc on our 60-inch HDTV is still more enjoyable than watching video on a phone no matter what the resolution. This is mostly due to the size of the display, but also because of the distance we sit from it. And in addition to the small size there is the lower contrast, and the lack of surround sound. But that doesn't change the fact that once you spend some time using the iPhone 4, all of a sudden everything else does seem to lack detail and other screens we used to love, like the older iPhone and the Zune HD, look down right fuzzy -- can you tell which image above is the Zune HD and which is the iPhone 4? Sadly the iPhone isn't the perfect HD fanatic's companion though, because it still requires us to convert our 1080p content to 720p, and although the video looks great on the display, there's no way to get HD on to our bigger screen -- we're keeping an eye out for a HDMI to iPhone dock. One thing is for sure though, when it comes to detail and flat out resolution per inch, the iPhone is the new boss.

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