How often do you shoot 4K video (and do you enjoy it)? (Poll)

Remember when the Galaxy Nexus came out with the first 720p display on a smartphone, and we couldn’t believe such a high resolution could make its way to a handheld device? Those were simpler times. We’ve since standardized 1080p on most modern smartphones, and even QHD (some call it 1440p or 2.5K) is becoming prevalent on flagship devices like the Galaxy Note 5 and the Moto X Pure Edition. Earlier this month at IFA 2015, Sony announced the first 4K smartphone, the Xperia Z5 Premium, with an absurd 806 ppi over a 5.5” display … but what do you even do with all of that resolution? Well, why not watch 4K video?

LG G4 Review Camera

Most streamable video these days still maxes out at 1080p, and for good reason; 4K video not only requires significantly faster internet and better processing power to stream, but the files are much larger, and only the best cameras can produce reasonably good-looking content. Sure, the One M9 can technically capture 4K video, but with no hardware stabilization on the camera, and less than great image processing … well, it probably shouldn’t be your first choice. But the Galaxy Note 5, LG G4, and Moto X Pure Edition all shoot pretty great handheld 4K video, and a bit of image stabilization and color correction in post can make that video footage look even better. Even the upcoming iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will support filming of the Ultra High-Definition variety, bringing the format to more people than ever before. So now that recording 4K video with a smartphone is becoming a bit more widespread, the question is … how often do you actually use it?

While it’s certainly nice to have some extra resolution to play with, allowing for more detail and even some new tricks like lossless digital zoom if you plan on exporting in 1080p, there are also some downsides included. As mentioned before, the file size on UHD video is much larger than 720p or 1080p, meaning the precious storage space in your phone may become an even further-limited resource. This problem is mitigated if you use microSD cards, but as we all know, more and more phones are foregoing expandable storage altogether, and if yours is one of those handsets, this may be a bit more difficult to manage. Of course, you’re always encouraged to use cloud storage, but with 4K video files being as large as they are, it’s not only inconvenient, but it can become expensive to store everything online if you don’t already have a good amount of space reserved on Dropbox or Google Drive, and you’d better hope you have either WiFi or a generous data plan if you ever plan on streaming your content from the cloud. Shooting in 4K can also have a short-term impact on your phone’s performance, as Michael discovered in his Moto X Pure Edition review.

Has 4K recording changed the way you shoot and edit handheld video? Is it something you’ve reserved for only important moments, or do you always film in UHD just in case? Or do you immediately disable 4K video, perfectly content with 1080p? Cast your vote, and defend your position in the comments below!

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Hayato Huseman