What ‘Retina Display’ Really Means, And How To Tell When Your Screen Is Retina

Resolution is important, but the size of your screen makes just as much of a difference. 720p looks great on a 5-inch screen, but it will be much less sharp on a 50-inch screen. This is what we refer to as pixel density, or pixels per inch (PPI).

“Retina” is Apple’s term for a screen that has such good pixel density that you can’t actually see the pixels on the screen, when viewed from a normal distance. Note that this can mean different things depending on the device; it’s a marketing term, not a scientific definition.

Some of this you may already know. But if you’re trying to figure out whether a screen counts as “retina” or not, check out this calculator. You plug in the resolution and the size, and it will tell you how far away you need to sit in order to have that retina experience.

Overall it’s an informative video and a cool tool, even if you’re familiar with the concept. If you have less tech-savvy friends that still don’t really know what retina means, it’s a quick lesson that will get them up to speed.

IsThisRetina.com Calculator [via Techquickie]


  • Goddamn Apple making up a screen taxonomy that makes no sense.
    Why didnt they use the Resolution and DPI measurements like everyone else.

    I hate people saying that their iPhone 5 is better than my HTC One because mine doesnt have “Retina” display.

  • When the technology or premise is too hard to explain, invent a term for it. It’s a good differentiator. The beauty products industry have this down.

  • my favourite part is when people with vision issues (ie need glasses) make a big deal about retina displays and hi res

    mate your eyes aren’t even retina…

  • You mean you’ve got non-Retina retina’s?

    Retina = gimmick. Sure they look great, but lower res screens in the same form factor.

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