What contributes to smartphone performance?
One of the most important factors when choosing a mobile device is how well you can expect it to perform. One might just look at the type of processor, the number of cores, or the amount of RAM, however, there are plenty to consider if we’re looking at overall performance. Here are some of them.
The processor used by a smartphone is one of the biggest contributors when it comes to its performance. After all, it’s the engine which is responsible for a wide-range of processes from handling calls and texts to running your favorite apps. Not all processors are made the same though and come from different manufacturers – Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and Apple, to name a few. They use different architectures, the number of cores, and clock speeds depending on the device that’s going to use them. Nowadays, it’s no longer enough to just call them processors as they are now part of a system on a chip (SoC) that contains other components like the GPU, coprocessor, and modem – all of it working together to drive the features on your smartphone.
The RAM or the random-access memory is also an important component to consider as it handles the necessary background process the phone needs to run the moment you switch it on. This is the reason why your device’s RAM is already partially consumed upon boot up. That said, the bigger and faster the RAM, the smoother the performance especially in multi-tasking since the device still has plenty of room to run other demanding features and applications.
Storage, or more specifically, your internal memory, is where your device stores your photos, videos, music, files, installed apps, and system files. Like with the SoC and RAM, storage has also evolved which is mostly evident in its Read/Write speeds. Most smartphones in the market use eMMC chips but some high-end smartphones now use the faster UFS 2.0, like in the case of the Huawei P10. Performance-wise, a faster storage type allows devices to utilize high-end features like seamless 4K video recording and playback.
The same concept can be applied when using microSD cards. MicroSD cards come in different capacities, classes, and speeds. These differences sometimes don’t play well on certain devices, that’s why some device manufacturers opt to remove them in their products like the OnePlus 3T and Xiaomi Mi 6. But in case microSD cards are supported, make sure that you use a high-speed card (avoid using anything below Class 10) to make sure it does not impede your device’s performance.
Software plays a critical role in the performance of the device. If the operating system is optimized, it’ll be able to run on devices with specs that can be considered mid-range like in the case of the iPhone’s iOS, or more recently, Android O’s Android Go Experience. Mobile OS developers, as well as device makers, need to make sure that the system/software can take advantage of the device’s hardware while at the same making sure that it’s not eating resources more than it should, like by removing bloatware, eliminating file fragmentation, and optimizing background processes. The same goes for apps that you download and install on your phone.
Next, we have the battery, because what’s the point of having a good set of hardware if it can’t last that long, or worst case scenario, malfunctions and explodes. Our current battery technology is in need of an upgrade as the lithium-ion powering our devices can’t last that long. The good news is scientists and researchers are already working on it. For now, we’ll have to settle with power-efficient processors, quick charging, and power-saving features.
Temperature can also affect the device’s performance especially if it becomes too hot or too cold. While it’s normal for the device to become warm while being used, excessive temperatures can trigger CPU throttling to prevent overheating. Heat also doesn’t play well with batteries as it can degrade its performance over time or, in worst case scenario, cause it to malfunction. You can read our article on “Tips to Avoid Smartphone Overheating“.