ZTE working on a phone with 4K screen?


zte 4k phone

1080 FHD and even 2K displays are common place on Chinese smartphones, but what about something with even more resolution? Will we ever see a 4K screen on a Chinese phone?

Rumours today are that ZTE are working on a new smartphone with the highest resolution display of any phone ever seen on a device so far. According to reports, the ZTE Star 3 will get a 5.5-inch panel with a resolution of 2160 x 3840 equaling a pixel density of 806ppi.

Looking over the current range of Chinese flagships we see phones with 5.5-inch panels and resolutions ranging from 720p to 2K, with very little difference in viewing between a good FHD panel and a 2K option. With this in mind will we be able to see a vast improvement with 4K?

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36 Comments

  1. Stef
    June 9, 2015

    Finally the new cardboard from Google will find some work to do :p … apart from this (VR) I can see no other use for 4K … oh boasting too, but I regard this more of a downside, one boasting about his phones’ specs is one of the saddest sights in the world, it severely downgrades him in the eyes of the world…

    BTW it’s 2.5K (QHD), 2K is also called FHD. No need to report the same resolution twice in a row (china phones have FHD *and* 2.5K resolutions).

    • alan4195
      June 10, 2015

      FHD and 2K are not the same thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2K_resolution). But that’s besides the point, anyway. Mobile VR isn’t a thing… at all. You might be one of the 1-in-50 that will buy a (crap) mobile VR headset to play with the current (crap) mobile VR applications, but that’s not why manufacturers are moving to 2K/QHD/4K displays.

      • csak1user
        June 10, 2015

        People also mix up UHD and 4K. But TV manufacturers also inconsistent using these keywords so for the average consumer has no chance to know the difference.

      • Stef
        June 10, 2015

        By the same token 4K is not 4K but UHD. In other words 2K is to FHD what 4K is to UHD. So I’m technically correct. In truth neither neither 2K or 4K resolutions exist or will ever exist on phones. Such atypical aspect ratios are only used on cinemas.

        Also I never said or implied that I like VR on phones, I was obviously sarcastic. I merely wrote that it is useless for any other purpose. The same is not true about FHD, so whatever’s the reason manufacturers moved to those ultra high resolutions FHD made sense even from a consumer point of view, 4K doesn’t.

        I don’t know if it is possible to hold a phone at 12cm (the distance where 4K actually looks best on phones) without developing serious issues by focusing so near.

        BTW see that emoticon? :p, given the context it means sarcasm, it was put there for slow ones like you, apparently it didn’t work.

  2. Marco Lancaster
    June 9, 2015

    I still think 2K is mindless for devices below 6-inch, but if another users like and is already a reality on the market, no problem! But what to say about 4K? Will be there only to make the GPU less powerful and drain battery.

  3. June 9, 2015

    This is sheer madness. Are they gonna power that crazy pixel count with a desktop grade dedicated GPU? And who needs this kinda pixel count on a phone?

    As far as I am concerned, FHD is still the best on a phone. Be it 6″+ or 5-5″. It provides the best balance between clear/crisp display and battery life.

  4. Xenan
    June 9, 2015

    This is great! There is already so much content for VR but pixelated screens are breaking immersion. Virtual reality will be indistinguishable from reality if they keep advancing screens! Right now 4k is expensive but can’t wait for Chinese phones to start competing!

    • Qidamin
      June 9, 2015

      I don’t think it is the screen that are pixelated, it is quite impossible to distinguish full HD and 2K unless you put your nose on the screen, what the point of having 4K screen so?

      • Xenan
        June 9, 2015

        I’m sure you never experienced virtual reality. It is better than watching a movie at the cinema screen because you feel like you are in the movie and you can look in any direction 360° 3D just like in real life. My favorite VR experience was “Revolt Big Sean” concert, you can find it on Google Play store if you have a good phone. My phone is only1080p so it was pixelated but still impresive. It looks great even on cheap $2 Google Cardboard glasses ordered from China. Samsung Gear VR + Note is too expensive. Can’t wait affordable 2K or 4K phones from China.

        • alan4195
          June 10, 2015

          I own 2 Google Cardboards (the plastic and foam models) and a Durovis Dive. Neither have been used in the last 6 months. The apps available are steaming piles of digital crap.

          • Stef
            June 10, 2015

            Honestly though, apart from viewing movies I can see no other reason for mobile VR. The power is simply not there for robust software utilizing VR (virtual desktop, games, etc).

            Even for movies 4k is the minimum requirement, as to show a 1080p content the screen has to be at least 5k (given that a big part of the virtual environment is taken up by the auditorium). I can’t imagine how horrible VR movies can seem on 1080p phones, a throwback to 480i quality Era…

      • alan4195
        June 10, 2015

        The interesting thing is that, at 4K, onscreen elements will be significantly smaller, which will necessitate a closer viewing distance, which in-turn necessitates a higher-res display. Circular logic is never a good thing 😛

    • csak1user
      June 10, 2015

      Resolution is just one thing of VR.

      Oculus have about 2.2K resolution and the minimum requirements for this is
      AMD Radeon R9 290 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 VGA
      Intel Core i5-4590 or similar CPU
      8 GB RAM

      Can’t imagine a phone can provide good VR experience. AMD recommends a dual GPU to keep the latency on as low as possible.

      But for non interactive VR, like watching 360° videos can be working since it is far less demanding.

      • alan4195
        June 10, 2015

        The GPU essentially has to drive 2 displays in any VR application, so 4K VR entails 1 GPU driving 2 1080P displays. For video that’s fine, but for 3D games it’s like going back 2 years in the GPU dept. Mobile VR is impractical in several ways, which is why it’s unlikely to ever catch on with the masses. In fact, by the time mobile VR is or could be a viable platform it will be rendered unnecessary by wireless versions of the Oculus Rift and its ilk. You wouldn’t take your VR headset out of the house anyway, so why not power it with your much, much more powerful computer?

        • csak1user
          June 10, 2015

          4K’s pixel count is 4 times the 2K (the K number refers to the horizontal resolution, P is the vertical resolution.)

          Resolution of the Consumer Version of Oculus: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)

          I think 4K will be enough for VR. this would quadruples the current resolution of Oculus.

          I agree with you that I don’t see the point of mobile VR either. For the same reason you mentioned.

    • alan4195
      June 10, 2015

      There’s virtually no content for mobile VR. Unless you consider horribly amateurish 3D tech demos to be “content”.

      • Xenan
        June 10, 2015

        The most popular game engines already support Google Cardboard (Unity 3D and Unreal Engine). There are hundreds Cardboard apps. There are multiple virtual cinema apps so you can watch ANY movie in VR. There are a lot of SBS movies and documentaries if you like 3D. There is SBS filter on YouTube. Soon YouTube will be getting Google Cardboard button, they are already working on VR cameras with GoPro. And you can already find hundreds of 3D porn videos recorded in 180°.

        • alan4195
          June 11, 2015

          You’re making my point for me. Yes, mobile Unity and Unreal have VR support (SBS output) and have for awhile. So why then are virtually all non-video VR apps crappy tech demos like Roller Coaster VR (probably the most popular VR app on the play store)? In fact, forget about VR altogether. Where are ANY high quality games made with those engines on the Play Store? The best one would have to be Epic Citadel… a benchmark/demo app! Mobile VR gaming just doesn’t exist right now. Heck, it barely exists on the PC.

          And I’m sorry, I know experiences are subjective, but do you honestly feel that watching videos on your Google cardboard is more enjoyable than watching on a big-screen HDTV? I’ve yet to watch a single video on any of my VR headsets that has any sense of depth at all, the focus is always just out of… well, focus, the picture is always just a hair away from appearing like one single screen, it’s uncomfortable at long stretches, the lenses fog… you’re friggin’ blind while wearing them… I could go on and on.

          So maybe you disagree and think mobile VR is a great experience right now. To each their own. But going back to my original point, mobile VR is not the reason why phone mannies are moving to super-res displays. They’re playing the me-too/big numbers marketing game, and people who don’t even know mobile VR exists (I sell cell phones for a living and, trust me, they’re in the majority) still swoon when they hear “2K” or “Super HD”.

  5. Xenan
    June 9, 2015

    Imagine watching a concert filmed in 360° 3D 4k! I was watching in 1080p and it looked so real (but pixelated)! Soon there will be VR content on YouTube. Google is already working on VR cameras with GoPro!

    • alan4195
      June 10, 2015

      What do you do when you get a text or facebook message in the middle of that concert? Strip it all down and load it back up again? This is one of the reasons why mobile VR isn’t a thing and probably never will be. You can argue that mobile VR is cool – I think it is too – but it’s never going to be popular enough to drive phones sales. VR isn’t a thought on any manufacturer’s mind when designing their phones. 2K/4K is a pure numbers game for people who like big numbers. It’s like the MP wars with cameras, or the Hz wars with televisions (480Hz TV anyone?).

      • Xenan
        June 10, 2015

        I don’t care about Facebook. I usually turn off all notifications when relaxing at home. What if someone rings the bell on the door when you are watching TV? 😮

  6. MaxPower
    June 9, 2015

    Yeah right.
    And to make this feature look even more gimmick they are going to put a small battery. Let me guess…2600 mha.
    I wouldn’t even call it a smartphone anymore. Retardphone is more appropriate.

    • iKosh
      June 10, 2015

      4k brings another problem. People will start to complain about scoring less in Antutu.

      • MaxPower
        June 10, 2015
      • alan4195
        June 10, 2015

        If you had to choose between an expensive phone with a mid-range CPU, GPU, and battery and a 4K display, or a slightly cheaper phone with a high-end CPU, GPU, and battery and a 1080P display, which would you choose? You’d choose the one with the 1080P display, right?

        Well, 4K displays essentially relegate high-end CPU/GPU/Batteries to mid-range performers. So you may FEEL like you’re choosing the “flagship” phone if you go with the 4K one, but what you’re really getting is duped into paying flagship price for mid-range performance.

    • joe
      June 10, 2015

      Your mum is a retardphone.

      • MaxPower
        June 10, 2015

        At least she is not a whore like yours.
        Did she figure out which one is your Dad?

      • Hulkamania
        June 10, 2015

        These stupid asses only droll when fu******g Apple comes up with 4k after 3 Yrs.. then they’d call their mother whores… its all abt technology and its a way to be apart from the rest and give users something best. It sure makes u weak in your balls to f**K but hell you’d F**K … so just beat it…

        • MaxPower
          June 10, 2015

          Let me guess….
          You guys share the same mom?

  7. fangbanger
    June 9, 2015

    Yes, my next phone will be 4k for sure, to use with VR. I only hope battery can stand it…

  8. Rob
    June 10, 2015

    Sharp wont be releasing these screens till next year and have already said some Chinese manufacturers have shown interest in them. Not sure what gpu they think will run the show but gotta be powerful. Apart from VR and braging rights there is absolutely no point having a 4k screen for the average consumer.

    • Tizz
      June 10, 2015

      The Adreno 430 already supports 4K displays but it overheats so it’s impossbile to maintain good perfomances without burning the phone so 4K smartphones will probably use the new Adreno in the SD820 or they’ll use the Tegra X1 (its GPU should go at 1GHz).

  9. Tremaine Underwood
    June 10, 2015

    4k please!!! Screw it, I think its time for 8k or 16k. I want the pixels to be so dense that when I set my font size to 8px its so small that I need a magnifying glass to see it. Then they can start making screens out of magnified glass so we can get the full effect :-).

  10. Aeonia
    June 10, 2015

    They’d have to pack one hell of GPU inside it…especially if VR is going to be a thing with it

    • Xenan
      June 10, 2015

      Just a decent GPU capable of decoding 4K videos for 360° 3D VR content. We will not be able to play GTA 5 on phones anyway, VR or not. Everything else can be downsampled to 1080p.

  11. Angel
    June 10, 2015

    So you guys want technology to stop developing and prices to stop decreasing because you don’t care about VR and use your phone just for receiving notifications? Then don’t buy a new phone or buy a cheap one. 4K is not too much since phones will be able to decode 4K videos without any problems. I only care about VR videos since it is more impressive than games. Games can be downscaled to 1080p so performance can be the same and pixels won’t be visible.