What is a liquid retina display?

The arrival of the iPhone XR and iPad Pro in 2018 brought with them a new kind of screen: the Liquid Retina Display. Here's everything you need to know about it.

What is a Liquid Retina Display?

A Liquid Retina Display is a type of LCD display, currently found in the iPhone 11, iPhone XR and the 2018 iPad Pro.

Like the regular Retina display found in other iPhones, the Liquid Retina Display relies on a higher level of pixels-per-inch to create a paper-like screen effect where pixels are not visible to the naked eye.

However, unlike the Super HD Retina Display found in the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the Liquid Retina Display in the iPhone XR and iPad Pro rely on an miniaturized LCD display panel rather than an OLED one. As a result of this, the level of contrast and brightness here doesn't hit the same highs found in more expensive Apple devices like the iPhone 11 Pro.

What is the resolution of a Liquid Retina Display?

The Liquid Retina display found in the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 boasts a resolution of 1792 x 828 and a pixel density of 328 ppi. For comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro has a resolution of 2436×1125 and a pixel density of

What devices use a Liquid Retina Display?

The iPhone XR brought Apple's Liquid Retina Display to the mass marketCredit: Apple
The iPhone XR brought Apple's Liquid Retina Display to the mass market

Currently, the only devices that utilise a Liquid Retina Display are the iPhone XR, iPhone 11 and the 2018 iPad Pro (Amazon).

Apple trademarked the term Retina in 2012, so don't expect any other smartphone brands to boast any kind of Retina display any time soon.

You can find out more info on the Apple website here.

Is a Liquid Retina Display better than a regular retina display?

Credit: Apple

Not really.

While there are some older iPad and Macbooks that are capable of matching the iPhone 11's liquid retina display for pixel density, almost all the the HD and Super HD Retina displays found in the last several generations of iPhone have the X's Liquid Retina Display beat for resolution.

What's more, the OLED-based Retina displays found in the iPhone X (Amazon), iPhone XS (Amazon) and iPhone XS Max (Amazon) boast significantly higher pixel-counts, brightness and contrast-ratios.

You can check out our feature on the Top 5 iPhone XS Alternatives here.

This article was originally published in November 2018. It was updated by Fergus Halliday on the 31st of August 2020.