I know most of us think 4K displays in smartphones are useless. Sony gave it a shot with the Xperia Z5 Premium, but didn’t even bother running the display at 4K full-time. Even Samsung isn’t pushing for 4K displays, instead opting for the same 2560×1440 resolution on the Samsung Galaxy S7 as on the Galaxy S6 (to great results, we might add).
But that doesn’t mean 4K is truly useless in smartphones. Samsung believes it has a future, but not because the human eye will see improvements in daily use. Having a phone display in a Gear VR or a Google Cardboard right up against your face can really expose individual pixels. This is where 4K displays can truly shine. Kyle Brown, Samsung head of technology, content, and launch management, says 4K displays aren’t a gimmick and will eventually become mainstream:
Once we believe it’s the right time to move [to 4K displays], the same as the decision on USB Type-C for example, and we think it’s the right point we can mass produce a 4K screen that will be enough of a consumer benefit to make it worthwhile.
Not only does this make perfect sense, it also explains Samsung’s reasoning for skipping USB Type-C and potentially Quick Charge 3.0. Samsung doesn’t believe they’re quite ready for the mass market for whatever reason, but they’ll get it eventually.
With VR growing and smartphones trying to do everything in our daily lives, it’s easy to see how a 4K display in your phone would benefit your virtual reality headset. Let’s hope VR headsets with slots for smartphones stick around!