We often see terms such as 4K and Ultra HD used when classifying screens and displays, which lends the question, “When will we see 4K technology make its way onto mainstream mobile phones and tablets?”

To find out, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the latest resolution format, to find out what all the fuss is about, and whether it can fit in our pockets.

What is 4K?

Let’s begin pondering upon this question by discovering exactly what 4K and Ultra HD technology is.

In August of 2012, The Consumer Electronics Association introduced the term Ultra High Definition (UHD) with an aim to replace the existing term 4K, which was clearly unsuccessful as today we see the term 4K more commonly used.

UHD itself describes any display that has a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160 pixels. This is commonly referred to as 2160p and compares to standard resolution at 480p, high definition at 720p and full high definition at 1080p.

In some cases you may also see the term Quad HD which also refers to a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution while a true 4K screen has a 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution.

The history of high definition

It’s interesting to note that the origins of high definition have little to do with smartphones or TVs for that matter.

It actually dates to back to the 90’s when Director George Lucas was preparing to shoot the Star Wars prequels. At this time Lucas was experimenting with new digital formats that could be used to replace film. This ultimately led to huge cost savings as movies could be stored digitally and played back on digital projectors.

In 2009 ‘Knowing’ and ‘District 9′ were shot in 4K and in 2010 The Social Network was shot and projected at theatres in 4K.

This super high definition meant that cinema goers sitting on the front rows could enjoy a movie without being able to see individual pixels.

Did you know that the movie blockbusters ‘Knowing’ and ‘District 9′ were among the first titles to be shot in 4K?

4K resolution on smartphones

The first ever 4K smartphone arrived in 2015 in the form of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. Packing in four times the resolution of standard HD, this pocket-sized powerhouse offers 4K Ultra HD entertainment on a 5.5 inch display.

Sony went one further in 2017, with the release of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. This time, Sony offered the first ever smartphone with a 4K HDR display. With this High Dynamic Range of colours on a 5.46 inch Triluminous Display, it's one of the most advanced smartphone screens on the market.

4K resolution is of course best viewed on a massive screen, but if you love pin-sharp entertainment wherever your day takes you, these displays are sure to give your eyes a treat.