Hi-res is the abbreviated form of high resolution. It’s the opposite of lo-res or low resolution. As such, resolution generally refers to image quality. Hi-res images are usually better, more useful and desirable. So, what’s the difference? Also, if hi-res images are better, then why not use them in every application?
Hi-Res Digital Images
In essence, digital images are made of tiny coloured pixels or dots. Also, when you see an image on a screen, it’s usually optimised. Therefore, you won’t see the individual dots because they blend together, and optimisation ensures its size and pixel density is perfect for its current use. However, if you zoom in, then the tiny pixel squares will become apparent, especially at the edges. The lo-res image will become crunchy and jagged. That’s why, if someone sends you a picture via email, it can look perfectly usable until it’s printed larger than its screen size.
Lo-Res is Retro
Remember the awesome games from the late ‘80s? Pac Man and the Nintendo Super Mario Bros and the like? Those games were programmed to use lo-res images to save memory and processing power. This style was called ‘pixelated’ because it was easy to see the blocks of pixels. Today, most computer games are incredibly realistic because of greatly improved processing power, memory, and graphics resolution.
Hi-Res Images Versus Lo-Res
Basically, lo-res images have around 72-pixels, or squares of colour, per inch. This makes them perfect for computers because that’s the resolution of most PC screens. Also, it means they have smaller file sizes and therefore help website pages load more quickly. On the other hand, hi-res images are 300 pixels-per-inch (PPI). This resolution is great for printing decent quality copies, particularly for important business stuff. However, 300 PPI images on a website can mean sluggish load times and unhappy customers. If you’re not sure of an image’s resolution, open it in an image editing app and view the file properties.