4K smartphone displays require big battery life compromise

4K smartphone displays require big battery life compromise
4K not okay, for now

If you're looking for a 4K display on your smartphone you'll need to accept a major compromise on battery life.

TechRadar spoke to Kevin Ho, President of Huawei's Handset Product Line, at a special briefing at Huawei's campus in Shanghai, where he explained the limitations of the super high resolution display.

"For the large screen 4K is very good, but on a smaller smartphone display our eyes may not be able to see the difference between this and 2K resolutions.

"4K requires a lot of power, so if you use it you need to make compromises. A 4K display on a smartphone will give you half a day of battery life, but a 2K display can give you over a day of usage from a single charge."

Never say never

Ho isn't ruling out the possibility of 4K smartphones completely; "I don't want to say there's no chance for 4K on smartphones, but we need to think about compromise and whether our eyes can tell the difference."

Consumers want a phone that lasts more than a day and at the moment the technology means that's not possible when using a 4K screen on a smartphone.

Huawei is working on new battery technology, but it's a couple of years away from being at a level to roll out to consumer devices, and the firm currently isn't divulging any further information on its work here.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.