The DPI specifications of your phone’s camera can help you adapt to its benefits and limitations. That is because those considerations will ultimately affect the quality of your photos. They can even help you compare the various phone models. However, no phone can reach the same DPI as a dedicated camera.
As of 2022, the highest DPI phone is the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, with a whopping 801 DPI. Most smartphones on the market hover around 400-500 DPI. Although there is no limit on the maximum DPI a phone can handle, the human eye can only perceive a maximum of 2190 DPI at a 4-inch viewing distance.
However, getting the highest DPI phone may not always be the correct option. Raw pixel count is often a much better indicator of phone picture quality. Therefore, by reading further, you will learn how to evaluate picture count and other popular picture specifications.
The Maximum DPI for Various Phone Brands
Modern phones are marvelous devices. They can do everything your desktop computer can do in a more convenient form. Over the decades, various technologies took advantage of these devices to give numerous consumer innovations including built-in cameras and photo editors. However, despite the continuous development, phones still have their limitations.
For instance, the quality of the photos you can take and edit on your phone is limited to the resolutions of its display screen and camera sensor. Both of these features consist of thousands of small dots called pixels affixed to a grid.
Pixels that run sideways across the screen are called horizontal or X pixels. Those that run up and down are called vertical or Y pixels. The various screen and camera specifications of your phone are just different ways to measure this arrangement including:
- Resolution: The multiplication of the horizontal and vertical pixels such as 320×480, represents the total number of pixels
- Megapixel: Resolution in blocks of a million pixels
- Screen density: Also called dots per inch (DPI) or pixels per inch (PPI), this is the number of pixels in a square inch of screen space
Maximum DPI per Phone Brand
Because more pixels give you sharper images, you generally want a phone with a high screen density. Density determines the size and spacing of the pixels. High density means the phone has numerous incredibly small pixels across its display with full high definition (HD) phones having over 2 million pixels.
The latest phone models all offer screen densities of 400 or more. Some of the higher-end models already approaching 600 DPI, though they are not there yet. Some of the more notable maximum DPI offered include:
- Sony Xperia Z5 Premium – 801 DPI
- Samsung Galaxy S9 – 569 DPI
- Motorola DROID Turbo – 565 DPI
- Google Pixel 3 XL – 537
- LG V20 – 515 DPI
- Apple iPhone XS Max – 485 DPI
- Huawei P20 Lite – 432 DPI
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 – 402 DPI
Despite these fine resolutions, we are still nowhere near what experts claim as the maximum possible DPI for a phone, which is around 2190 DPI for a screen held about 4 inches away from the average adult.
How Important are High DPI Phone Displays?
Despite the market emphasis on high DPI, it is not the only way to measure picture quality. For instance, most printers cap out at 300 DPI and still produce breath-taking photo-realistic prints. Your desktop computer or laptop monitor only does around 70. Thus, high DPI might be wonderful, but it is no replacement for raw pixel resolution.
The reason behind this discrepancy is easy to understand. DPI describes the number of pixels in an inch of the screen, but it does not directly describe the size of those pictures. For that, you need the screen resolution, which tells you the total number of pixels available. Because of this, a large display can have a low DPI but still produce great pictures thanks to its higher pixel count.
As such, your device only needs a high enough DPI to match the resolution of human vision, which begins at around 300. Since the true value differs between different people, your best bet is to go with a phone that is “good enough” for you.
However, context also plays a part. Most people will recognize the difference between 300 and 500 DPI, but not between 450 and 550 with diminishing returns beyond that.
The Best DPI is One You Can Change
Fortunately, some phones let you control their DPI setting. While you cannot change the physical pixel sizes, these phones let you combine pixels in software to give the appearance of larger pixels if you need them. That way you can match your viewing experience to match your current needs.
Modern phones offer impressive screen densities of DPI given their small sizes. While they could conceivably reach even higher DPI values, high DPI dos not always translate into great picture quality. It helps but only with the right screen resolution and context.