Buying a phone with a ridiculously sharp screen can actually be a bad thing

Smartphone makers are in an arms race. More gigahertz, more RAM, bigger displays, and more pixels …the list goes on and on.

And that’s understandable. For the majority of us, more is better, right?

Not necessarily.

Many premium flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 come with Quad-HD (QHD) displays, which is the equivalent of a 2k TV display. That’s twice as sharp as 1080p, which has been the standard for premium displays for the last few years, and what some flagship devices like the iPhone 6 Plus still use today.

So, if faced with two similarly priced premium flagship devices, but one has a QHD display and the other a “measly” 1080p display, it’s no surprise that someone would go for the device with the sharper screen.

Oneplus 2 smartphoneMatt Weinberger/Business InsiderThe OnePlus 2 has a 1080p screen while many other flagships went with sharper displays.

However, while QHD displays are extremely sharp, they’re also a major drain on your battery and can slow down your phone’s performance. That’s because more power is needed from your phone’s battery to shine more light through more pixels, and your phone’s processor needs to work harder to push more visual information through those additional pixels.

That’s why some smartphone makers like OnePlus are sticking to 1080p displays. In fact, the iPhone 6’s display is even less than 1080p, all in the name of battery life and performance.

“Other flagships are going to 2K displays, and we don’t think that’s good for the user” said OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei, told Tech Insider in an interview. The company’s newest phone, the OnePlus 2, has a 1080p display.

You’d certainly notice the difference between a 1080p TV and a 2K TV, but the difference isn’t as noticeable on a phone’s smaller screen.

“We don’t think that the additional clarity is worth it at this time,” Pei said, talking about sharper displays. “Maybe in the future when 2K displays have much better power management, we can consider it.”

A lot of phone makers may like to brag about higher specs, but ultra-high screen resolution isn’t worth it. Most people won’t notice the difference in sharpness, but they will notice decreased battery life or slower performance.

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