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Apple iPhone 4 : A Visual Masterpiece

The screen of the new iPhone 4 is what separates Apple's new smartphone from the rest of the bunch and stands out as being the only one that offers a 326 pixels per inch display, that's nearly 13 dots per millimeter.

The 3.5-inch screen can show up to 614400 pixels while the previous top dog, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, could "only" manage 409920 on a 4-inch screen.

What really sets it apart though is the fact that it is the first phone to use the so-called Retina Display technology. Apple says that RD produces the sharpest and most vibrant phone screen ever with four times the pixel count of the previous iPhones.

Steve Jobs said at the Worldwide Developer Conference that the pixel density is so high that the average human eye won't be able to distinguish individual pixels, each of which is only 78 micrometers wide.

This hasn't prevented Dr. Raymond Soneira from DisplayMate technologies from saying that Apple's claims were no more than marketing puffery and insisted on the fact that a screen needs to have pixel density of 477 pixels before the dots become indistinguishable from to the human eye.

Samsung (opens in new tab) also dismissed Apple's Retina Display, which uses in-plane switching. The Korean manufacturer claims that its own AMOLED technology is better than Apple's IPS because it consumes much less power and has a much higher contrast ratio.

Ultimately though, the proof is in the pudding and by the looks of it (check Robert Scoble's 15-megapixel pictures (opens in new tab)), Apple's screen, whatever the theory behind it, is the best screen you will get on a smartphone now.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.