According to Apple, a display deserves the Retina moniker if its pixel density is so high that your eye is unable to discern the individual pixels. In the case of a smartphone, Retina means at least 300 pixels per inch. The Retina display on the iPhone 4/4S/5 has 326 pixels per inch.

Now, imagine a five-inch phone that packs 440 pixels per square inch, featuring the native full HD resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels. That’s exactly what the ailing handset maker HTC set out to create with a new upcoming phone dubbed the J Butterfly…

Apple’s Retina display has served as one of the defining hardware features of iPhones since the iPhone 4. Even a year after the iPhone 4 had been released in the summer of 2010, competition had trouble producing a matching display.

But increasingly pixel density is becoming a weapon against Apple and this new HTC phone is a typical example.

The Verge had a chance to play with HTC’s new phone in Tokyo today.

The J Butterfly features a five-inch Super LCD 3 display, a successor to the Super LCD 2 screen on the HTC One X. At 440 ppi, vivid color reproduction and the slightly curved edges, this phone sets a new bar in terms of clarity and display quality.

Other features include a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 processor, 2GB of RAM, an eight-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 lens, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and a body that’s just 9.1mm thin.

It’s not that Apple is too obsessed with smartphone screen sizes or resolution, but evidently it’s been featuring the Retina display prominently in advertising.

A full HD display like that on the J Butterfly give you native 1080p video playback without letterboxing or downsampling. Here’s a comparison of the HTC phone’s display versus the iPhone’s Retina display.

So, when’s Apple gonna do a 1080p iPhone?

The technology obviously exists though yield rates and production volume of such a high-resolution mobile display may not at this point satisfy Apple’s insatiable appetite.

Other concerns involve hardware requirements and battery consumption because a 1080p display has 2.85 times more pixels than the iPhone 5’s 1,136-by-640 display, requiring a much more powerful GPU to drive the pixels.

On the other hand, president and CEO of DisplayMate Dr. Raymond Soneira tells ArsTechnica that smartphones with 1080p resolutions won’t neccessarily look any better than 720p displays.

Certainly Apple must be thinking about a 1080p iPhone and I think it won’t be too long before we get there.

What do you think?

  • iDB has new favicon <3

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    It is a nice resolution, but that screen size for me is a deal breaker. For a big screen I have a tablet. I don’t want a phone I need 2 hands to send texts and hold.

    • Kurt

      Who types one handed. We all know we rarely ever do

      • CollegiateLad

        I always type one handed. I’m doing it right now on my iPhone 5. On my larger iPad, I use two hands.

      • Kurt

        I was too

      • I typed with my left hand.

      • MagicDrumSticks

        It’s just something fanboys use to argue. Sad really

      • Ignacio Irigoyen

        Yea, it for the sake of argument only right? I mean how does not love having to extract and use an stylus on the phone!. And the next samsung will come with a 10 pice pack brushes so you can paint in your phone. And all the iPhone fans will be jealous and say all this is unnecessary.

        This was sarcasm (I tell you because from the level of your comment I guess you will miss it).

        Go back to your morbid obese phone

      • MagicDrumSticks

        I’m sorry my post upset you, truth hurts.

      • Go get what you love fartdroid, your comments dont make more people wanna buy samsung, truth hurts.

      • MagicDrumSticks

        did I day anywhere that people should buy a Samsung? No. Learn to read you narrow minded sheep.

      • @dongiuj

        Jeez, every comment you have to make about something somebody says negative about an iphone, you ALWAYS say the same thing. YOU’RE SO DAMN MONOTONOUS

    • I bet if Apple came out with that design for the iPhone 6, I could look back at most of these negative posts and compare them to the same people saying stuff like “I’ve always wanted this size on my phone”, “Apple should have done this a long time ago”, “Blah Blah Blah”. If apple does it, the FanBoys and Girls would think its the greatest idea in the world. I am not trolling, I love Apple products, but I keep an open mind on other technology also. That screen size may not be for everyone, but I guarantee there are going to be some people who actually like that size. I feel that Apple should make a few different sized iPhones for the next release, they would sell a ton (not that they don’t already)
      Have iPhone 6 – 4″ Screen (Not just tall) or have just taller also for those people who like typing with one hand, have another 4.5″, 3.5″ and a 5″ I would go for the 4.5 wider and taller. What do you guys think?

      • Damani Brown

        They wouldn’t do that ‘ever’ since they are making an iPad mini. So this will never ever ever ever ever happen. No one wants a iPad as a phone. 5in is massive!

      • Anthony Evans

        and 2 years later we haev the iphone 6 plus LOL

      • Shadowlink


      • You’d find one less Apple customer here. In fact, I’m not upgrading to the 5 because it’s too big. I’ll probably be using a flip phone again in a year at this rate. You fair to realize, some people really do care about the device size, and a 5 inch phone is positively ridiculous.

      • Johnathan Jennings

        Dude, you know it’s APPLE not android right? Android can play all the screen size games. Apple only has a few screen sizes, not a million.

      • Anthony Evans

        2 years later.. and your right LOL

    • Hilo Yang

      Im using droid dna with only one hand. Kiss that.

  • Certainly Apple must be thinking about a 1080p iPhone and I think it won’t be too long before we get there

    • Here’s a up vote…;D

    • Kurt

      i agree, and we will get it in 6 years 🙁

  • iphone rocks htc sucks

  • Miketyler

    I know this is not plausible, But just imagine if all these companies decided to make one super phone, the iGalaxy-HTC superphone. damn that would be nice, Just a thought

    • Naah….samsung will insist on adding plastic and thus making the phone ugly…;D

      • Kurt

        Better than iPhone cyclops

      • So you like Samsung’s plastic….good for you…:p

      • Kurt

        i prefer glass like th iphone 4S…but i don’t prefer the same looking for phone 6 years. (the front is the same damn thing) its old and outdated. samsung makes changes, that part i like. if i could only get apple to redesign the phone i would stick with them for my next phone.

      • Now because of android almost every samsung phones have the same front 😉 … Yeah that sucks people who dont want to get used at one OS 😀 (think about that 😉

    • SoCoMagNuM

      I think we should keep them separate to keep innovation rolling.

    • iBanks

      The SanSony iDroidaberry HTC would be better.

    • I would like a phone with the design of the iphone 4s or the iphone 5 , android instead of ios quadcore processor 1,6 ghz , about 4,5 inch display ( 1080p ) 12 megapixels hd camera 2 gb of ram and the memory should of course be expandable with a memory card. I would pay up to 1200 euro for a phone like that. Just a combination of the best phone aspects in the market 😀

    • Nicolas Loots

      I don’t think it’ll be very cheap at all.

  • Tom Canuck

    Hmm with that screen and a quad core … 20 mins battery life?

  • Why did a post about HTC’s brilliant achievement get drowned by Apple speculation?

    • We’re on an apple site…It’s comparison to rivals.

      • SoCoMagNuM

        Where does the site say “all things apple?” Its a news blog site. Anything goes.

      • the sites name start with the letter ‘I’…all categories on the home page are like iPhone iPad iOS jailbreak etc….
        They have started posting about other things too(which I don’t mind) but particularly it’s apple centric…

  • Htc makes nice phones but not long lasting

  • Brace yourself… 1080 phone screens are coming!

  • I cannot notice pixels even on apple retina display… Really, I don’t think our eyes can see the difference between 960p and 1080p on a such “small display”.

    • Kurt

      I can notice them. But I have to try. I can see th from about three or 4 inches away.

      • Who looks to a screen from 3-4 inches? The image wil start blurrying from 4 inches because that’s how our eyes work.

      • Don’t look at your phone from so close, you will go blind! Then you won’t see any pixels.

  • Leung Ben

    Isn’t competing the screen resolution pointless? iPhone’s Retina is already very great, 440 ppi can help nothing, 300 ppi is our maximum!!

    • It helps for UI scaling, something you Apple fanbois may be unfamiliar with.

  • Guest

    man htc is giving 5 inch big screen thts why they can give high resoloution and apple is making handy phones which can be fit in one hand we dont want junk phones like samsucks and htc…

    • @dongiuj

      Apple, apple, apple!!!
      Listen to yourself.

      • Read your own profile and understand the trolls you’ve given, though akin to me as an Apple fan, but thus your argument is ridiculous.

      • @dongiuj

        “Read my own profile”?? There’s nothing on my profile that has anything to do with trolling. Just neutral stuff agreeing and disagreeing with all manor of things.
        The only thing ridiculous is you. Before making another comment, try pulling your tongue out of apple’s a** first.

  • Obsidian71

    I think you’re falling into the Windows/Android trap of focusing on solely hardware as the prime differentiator. The chief platform for determining customer satisfaction is through software and that’s why the iPhone is a success not because they “out Retina” the competition.

    HTC has had large smartphones for a while now with good resolution. Hasn’t created much traction though because in the end their software is the same software that other vendors have.

    • Kurt

      iOS is a good OS it’s a great OS. Third party apps make the iPhone

      • CollegiateLad

        It’s all about the ecosystem. From the App Store, iTunes Store, podcasts and iPhone accessories. Makes for a great experience.

  • Are you sure that HTC is the first to have a 5 inch 1080p screen? What about the Oppo Find 5?

  • SoCoMagNuM

    Tunnel vision strikes again. Days of open mindedness are gone in the coming years. Just narrow mindedness and childish slander. *shrugs*

    That said I think having a powerhouse phone just as having a powerhouse PC. Yeah its not suitable for everyone but some could the power for their leisure. Makes what used to be impossible on the go a reality. No its not going to replace the pc/mac but for some its convenient. I know personally ever since i got into smartphones (iPhone/ Galaxy3) ive used my laptop less and less. Only reason i used to fire it up to sync/backup my iPhones. Galaxy i back it up on the phone itself via microSD. Its all about convenience.

    • CollegiateLad

      True. Thanks to iCloud and whatever android uses, we don’t have to back up anymore(does it in the background now). Some people will love a 5″ phone, some wont… But at least there are choices.

      • SoCoMagNuM

        Yeah cloud services are nice but may not always be available at any given time. I like having hardcopy available rather than just cloud services. As far as 5″ phone, i went from a 3.5″ iPhone 3G/4 to a 4.8″ galaxy screen. Thought at first screen was too big for me but it grew on me in now time. The extra space is convenient, more content on screen. It was hard holding that 3.5 after that cause it felt confined. Not saying the screen/phone was bad. Apple makes great phones. Just needed to open my venues more and try something fresh.

        Android isnt as polish as iOS but its came a long way from my perception of it and its a pretty viable operating system. Screen size is just a plus or minus depending on personal preference.

        My car has a V4 engine and gets me to work just as if it had a V6 or V8. Just some lust over more power than others. Its all personal preference. Everyone is entitled.

      • iNfAMOUS70702

        Same here…when I got rid of my 4S and bought the galaxy s3 at first I thought it was too big…now I’m actually wanting to get the note 2…I can’t do small screens anymore

      • Kurt

        how did anyone give you a thumbs down. obviously they fall into one of those categories “either love or not love a 5 inch phone” these fanboys on this site are ridiculous. you have to say “5 inch bad, 3.5 in good, 4 inch now good too)

      • Seriously?! You are realistic and open-minded? Read your profile, ‘apple sucks, get a note 2’. Please speak without bias.

  • 440 pixels per SQUARE inch?? not just inch?

    • Lolz….that’s kinda obvious..but your comment made me laugh…thanks…;D

    • haha are you american? 😀

      • nope…

      • too bad, it would explain it

      • philadelphia

        I’m assuming you’re European, tell me, exactly how smart do you have to be to think you’re the smartest guy in the room? I’d say that only the dumb ones think that..

      • lets make it global… philadelphia there are plenty ignorant people around the globe, nevermind the continent… still dont know why my question is stupid, explain it to me like a was an american…

  • Damani Brown

    5 inch phone… Might as well buy an iPad and put it to your head… Size is going to kill their sales. Why do you think the Galaxy S3 made a smaller 4in Phone? Because the other one was too BIG.

    • Kurt

      really you see a 5 inch screen and a 10 inch screen as the same. interesting

  • Blahfoe

    A 5 inch screen I think that’s just massive How in the world is a guy or a girl going to fit a phone that’s 5 inches into their pockets these days Last time I checked everybody was wearing slim or skinny jeans Extremely hard to fit a 5 inch phone into your pocket Especially if it’s thick I find that the iPhone5 fits perfectly in my pocket I can hardly notice that it’s there

    • How can anyone fit anything in those skinny jeans pockets? How do their nuts breath? No way guy. I couldn’t understand that style the day I saw it, thought to myself WHY? lol

      • Kurt

        you’re not wearing skinny jeans? he said everyone is

    • Seriously I tried galaxy note for a week,and man it was difficult to handle…I neva had that prob with iPhone(all normal size phones in general)…:)

      • Kurt

        i want the galaxy note. so much nicer than my iphone 4S. i beg people to trade with me but they laugh at me 🙁

    • Kurt

      “everybody is wearing skinny jeans?” what grandma have you seen in skinny jeans? 😉

  • jose castro

    i will pass but thanks

  • that thing is damn huge… but am it looks good

  • It’s a beaut, that’s for sure. Still, the iOS platform is what makes the phone truly useful for me, so I’m sticking to Apple, but I’m impressed.

  • 440 ppi!
    Of course Apple will catch up

  • Techpm

    This is just like camera megapixels, at a point adding more is pointless, what matters is the quality of each one.

    If most of the population can’t see more pixels unless they hold the phone right up to their eyes or use a magnifying glass, why have more?

  • Is that a 5 inch phone in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?