800 x 480 cellphone screens: overkill or good idea?

Hitachi_800x480There’s quite a bit o’ buzz on Hitachi’s announcement: they’ve launched production of a new cellphone LCD panel, fitting 800 x 480 resolution on a 2.9-inch screen. Now I love a high resolution screen more than most: my favorite computer display is the 1400 x 1050 res on my 12.1-inch Toshiba M205 Tablet PC and all three of our home televisions are capable of 1920 x 1080 resolution. I have to wonder though: do we really need 800 x 480 in such a small area?

Obviously, picture clarity improves with at least one of two things: a higher resolution display or a smaller display. Take a look at a digital pic on a large display and then look at the same pic on a smaller display: it will look clearer. That’s why the iPod can get away with a lower resolution screen and also why a video on the QVGA Zune screen looks solid. If Apple or Microsoft increased the display size any more on either device, then a higher res would be needed or the picture quaility would decrease.

The 800 x 480 res is what we have natively on the 7-inch UMPC screens and yes, at that size display, I think we could bump it up a bit. 800 x 480 on a 2.9-inch display? I’m not sure there’s enough of a benefit there to justify the cost and rest.

I’ve previously owned two VGA Windows Mobile devices: the Toshiba e805 with a 4-inch screen and the Dell Axim X51v that uses a 3.7-inch display. I have to say: 640 x 480 was fantastic and having 800 x 480 would likely make the text a tad small. Take that 800 x 480 res and plop it on a 2.9-inch screen and the text will be even smaller. Sure we can incrase the font sizes, but what’s the big push for such a high res in such small screen area? Hitachi also has to combat the increased power consumption of such a resolution in a small display, although they appear to solved that issue. Ah….maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s overkill and I’m more than happy with VGA on a screen at three-inches or less. How about you?

Just for kicks: if you want to know what 800 x 480 looks like on a 4.3-inch screen and what device just arrived in the jkOTR test labs, hit the jump.

Vega
Yes, we have a Raon Digital Vega in the house on loan from iCube!

Vega_3
To give you an idea of text size: the "Vega" logo is about one-half inch wide.

Vega_4
The 2.8-inch QVGA display of my XV6700 as it sits on top of the 4.3-inch 800 x 480 Vega display.

Vega_5
Although the lighting is poor, my XV6700 stylus is below the Vega for another size comparison.

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