Is RAM The Only Factor For Speed In Smartphones?

Buyers looking for smartphones with high performance tend to mostly look at RAM capacity. Although this may not be entirely incorrect, there are a few things that you may end up getting wrong in your selection.

This is no fault of yours, as hardware specifications on most tech devices are complicated and hard to understand. Spec sheets are filled to the brim with abbreviations like mAh, GB, GHz and more that hold little to no meaning to the average buyer. With this in mind, it’s easy to fall prey to the perception that RAM is the only factor that determines the speed of the phone.

Why is it a common misconception?

Smartphones that offer a higher RAM capacity often tend to have overall high-end hardware specifications. Manufacturers package their high performance devices in such a way that buyers get the most out of what they pay for. This has led to a large number of buyers only looking at RAM capacity as the benchmark for performance. This was rightly a good indication of performance in the past.

However, in recent times, smartphone manufacturers have caught on to this trend. Phones are being offered with high capacity RAM, but lower-end supporting components are touted as “high-end” or “gaming”. This makes it important to understand the other components that impact the speed and performance of your smartphone.

To help you make sense of it all, we breakdown key specs that you should be on the lookout for. With a plethora of foreign and Indian made smartphones available in the market, this article will help you understand which specs actually matter, and then make an informed decision.

Phone Display Quality

Most of your phone’s hardware is hidden from view. The only component that is tangible to the human touch is the phone’s display. In that regard, it makes no sense to have the top of the line hardware and cheapen out on the display. Unfortunately, display quality does not seem to feature on the list of priorities for most buyers, and it’s no surprise.

With so many different display types out there, it’s easy to get confused with what is good and what is not. The key abbreviation to look out for is PPI (pixels per inch). PPI is the number of pixels per square inch on the display. To make the most of your phone’s processing power (especially if you are paying top-dollar), look for a PPI of 400 at the least.

Processors: Cores and Clock speed

The processor is the heart of your smartphone, or rather the brain considering it is responsible for all of its operations. The speed of the processor is generally what makes your device feel fast. Processor speeds are calculated in gigahertz or GHz. However, processor clock speed is not the only defining factor that determines the device speed. Core count is another important aspect to consider.

A mobile device with a higher core count will outperform one with a higher clock speed. This is because most mobile apps are optimized to run on more than one core. A lower core count could result in a concept called bottlenecking, where your device feels like it’s being slowed down when running multiple apps simultaneously.

For example:

Mobile Device #1 Quad-core 2.4 GHz with 8 GB RAM

Mobile Device #2 Octa-Core 2.2 GHz with 6 GB RAM

From the example mentioned above, the 6GB RAM phone will be more powerful because of the higher core count, even though it has lower RAM capacity.

Today, most mobile processors are clocked at a GHz speed between 1.8 GHz to 2.4 GHz. But when it comes to processing cores, there is still considerable disparity in the market. In order to cut costs, some manufacturers are known to offer smartphones with fewer cores.

This has a detrimental impact on user experience (yes, even with 4GB or more RAM). Considering how demanding today’s apps are becoming, an octa-core (eight core) processor should be ideal to handle most tasks in quick time.

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

Another important factor to consider when talking about smartphone speed is the GPU. This is especially true if you are into graphically intensive tasks or like playing games. Unlike desktop computers and laptops, mobile phone GPUs are part of the processor.

This system is called the SoC, or “system on a chip”. Most SoCs are advertised like the Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs, which are usually found in high-end and mid-range smartphones.

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