Have you ever found yourself in a muddle while shopping for a new smartphone? Looking at the specifications sheet, tons of questions must be racing your mind before you spend your hard earned money to buy yourself the perfect smartphone.
Smartphones today are not just confined to making a call or sending a text message, they are much more feature packed. Considering the specifications, there’s a litany of technical terms and jargon that are absolutely hard to interpret. Fortunately, we’re here to help you with all the smartphone specifications and make sense of it all.
AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a display technology used in smartwatches, mobile devices, laptops, and televisions. OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) describes a specific type of thin-film-display technology in which organic compounds form the electroluminescent material and active matrix refers to the technology behind the addressing of pixels.
Because the black pixels completely turn off, AMOLED has contrast ratios that are significantly higher than LCD.
Retina display is a brand name used by Apple for its series of IPS LCD and OLED displays that have a higher pixel density than traditional Apple displays.
CAPACITIVE TOUCH SCREEN
A capacitive touch screen is a control display that uses the conductive touch of a human finger or a specialized device for input.
Unlike resistive and surface wave panels, which can sense input from either fingers or simple styluses, capacitive touch screen panels must be touched with a finger or a special capacitive pen or glove. The panel is coated with a material that can store electrical charges and the location of touch to the screen is determined by the change in capacitance in that location.
GORILLA GLASS PROTECTION
You normally come across phones build with Gorilla Glass 3,4 or 5. Gorilla Glass is a brand of chemically strengthened high performance glass developed and manufactured by Corning.It is designed to be thin, light and damage-resistant. Close equivalents to gorilla exist, including AGC Inc. Dragontrail and Schott AG Xensation.
SCREEN TO BODY RATIO
The screen to body ratio is a simple specifications terminology that tells you how much of the total surface of the device the screen represents when viewed from the front.
For example, a device with a ratio of 75% would have 3/4th of the front visible part as a screen surface and 1/4th as the body surface.On the other hand, a device with a 100 ratio would have all screen and no visible body when looked at from the front.
The aspect ratio of a device is simply the ratio of the width and the height of a display. It is expressed in the form (x:y). Common aspect ratios for displays include 5:4, 4:3, 16:10 and 16:9.
|Version Number||Version Name|
|Android 1.0||No code name|
|Android 2.0 to 2.1||Eclair|
|Android 3.0 to 3.2||Honeycomb|
|Android 4.0||Ice Cream Sandwich|
|Android 4.1 to 4.3||Jelly Bean|
|Android 5.0 to 5.1||Lollipop|
|Android 7.0 to 7.1||Nougat|
|Android 8.0 to 8.1||Oreo|
|Android 10.0||Android 10|
The Apple “A” series is a family of SoCs (System on Chips) used in certain models of iPhone and iPad. They integrate one or more CPUs, a graphics processing unit (GPU) and other mobile computing electronics within a single physical package. They are manufactured by Samsung and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company)
|CHIPSET||DEVICES FEATURED IN|
|Apple A4||iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th Gen)|
|Apple A5||iPhone 4S, iPod touch (5th Gen)|
|Apple A5X||iPad (3rd Gen)|
|Apple A6||iPhone 5, iPhone 5C|
|Apple A6X||iPad (4th Gen)|
|Apple A7||iPhone 5S, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3|
|Apple A8||iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 4,|
|Apple A8X||iPad Air 2,|
|Apple A9||iPhone 6S ,iPhone 6S Plus,|
|Apple A9X||iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2015)|
|Apple A10 Fusion||iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPod touch (7th Gen)|
|Apple A10X Fusion||iPad Pro 10.5 (2017)|
|Apple A11 Bionic||iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X|
|Apple A12 Bionic||iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR|
|Apple A12X Bionic||iPad Pro 11, iPad Pro (12.9-inch)|
|Apple A13 Bionic||iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max|
Snapdragon is a set of system on a chip (SoC) semiconductor products for mobile devices manufactured by Qualcomm Technologies Inc. These semiconductors are embedded in various system devices, including Android, Windows Phone. They are also used in cars, wearables and many other devices. In addition to the processors, the Snapdragon line also includes modems, wi-Fi chips and mobile charging products.
Exynos is a set of System-on-Chips (SoCs) developed by Samsung Electronics . It is a continuation of Samsung’s earlier chipsets.
Kirin chip is an intelligent mobile phone chip solution fully owned by Huawei. It is a leading level chipset in the world due to its performance and energy balance. It facilitates speed and smooth experience and effectively improves the energy efficiency ratio.
A megapixel means one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and camera phones is often measured in megapixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million total pixels.
A high number of megapixels matters most when zooming in or cropping a photo. For example, some phones let users “zoom in” without losing quality, without an optical zoom lens. They do this by simply cropping an 8-megapixel photo from the center of the original 24-megapixel image captured by the camera.
Photos with more megapixels have large file size and therefore can take longer to transfer or send and take up more storage space.Most cameras and camera phones have an option to take photos at lower resolution (smaller size), if desired. This may useful for saving storage space.
PIXEL SIZE (µm) SPECIFICATIONS
Pixel size specifications for smartphones fit into a very narrow range between one and two micrometres (or microns, abbreviated as µm) in horizontal or vertical direction. Again, the larger you go, the more light each pixel captures. This is why a smartphone camera with a 2.0 micron pixel size performs a lot better in dark conditions than another smartphone camera with 1.12 micron pixel size. It’s simply because the pixels are larger and can collect more light.
HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE (HDR)
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a photography technique that has found its way into many phones’ cameras over the last few years. With HDR activated, the phone actually takes multiple shots when the shutter button is pressed. Each of these photos are clicked at different exposures, so the set will have an underexposed photo that is too dark, an overexposed photo that is too bright and another somewhere in the middle.
Based on each of these different exposures, the phone will then generate a combined image that is more balanced than an ordinary photo.
Most phones save the original copy of the image alongside the HDR one, so one can choose the best of two.
A telephoto lens is a type of a long-focus lens in which the physical length of the lens is shorter than the focal length of the lens and they are great for bringing distant scenes and subjects closer. Telephoto lenses affect the relative size of the subject with respect to the background making the background look bigger and closer to the subject.
Ultrawide Lens offers a wider angle of view of 65° to 180°. It can fit much of the foreground, as well as the surrounding elements in the photo so, the field of view starts becoming wider than what ‘normal’ lenses offer. They are useful when you want to include more elements into the frame, add more context and provide an environment to your subject.
BATTERY & CHARGING SPECIFICATIONS
BATTERY CAPACITY (mAH)
mAh (milliampere hour) is commonly used to describe the total amount of energy a battery can store at one time before the battery needs recharging.
4000 mAh means it can supply 4000 mA (milliampere) current for an hour or 8000 mA for half an hour or 400 mA for 10 hours or 200 mA for 20 hours and so on.
To explain further how long a smartphone battery will last before running out of charge:-Consider Xiaomi note 4.
It has battery capacity of 4000 mAh.
With flight mode activated and screen off, it draws a current of 20 mA(approx.)
So in this condition it can last for 4000/20= 200 hours
With 30% screen brightness, continuous 4G data use and YouTube streaming, it draws a current of 300 mA(approx.)
So here, the battery will last for 4000/300 = 13.3 hours.
Now, when a 4K video is recorded, with 4G on and 60% screen brightness, it draws a current of 700 mA(approx.)
So the charge will last for 4000/700= 5.7 hours.
So, a battery rated for more mAh will power a phone for a longer amount of time, given the same usage pattern. The compromise is that batteries with more mAh are generally physically larger and heavier.
USB-C, MICRO USB AND LIGHTNING
These are the three connector port standards you’ll find on modern smartphones. These are used for everything from charging the device to being used as a replacement for audio jack (listening to music).
USB-C or Type-C is the newest standard, appearing on latest Android devices. USB-C can be plugged in through either orientation and it also delivers power and data faster as compared to its predecessor, Micro USB(Still appearing on many Android devices).
Lightning, on the other hand, is exclusive to Apple, only used in the company’s own mobile devices. It is also reversible and can be used through either orientation.
None of these connectors can be used in place of one another.
QI WIRELESS CHARGING STANDARD
Qi wireless charging is an open interface standard that defines wireless power transfer using inductive charging over distances of up to 4 cm (1.57 inches). The system uses a charging pad and a compatible device,which is placed on top of the pad.
Mobile device manufacturers that are working with this wireless charging standard include Apple, Samsung, Google, Xiaomi, Asus, Huawei, Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, LG Electronics, Motorola and Blackberry.
Accelerometer is a sensor that facilitates the user to switch the orientation of the app screen in a smartphone or tablet. The primary objective of the mobile phone accelerometer is to adapt to the orientation change as per the devices’ position change from portrait to landscape and vice-versa.
A Gyroscope can be described as a device that is used to define a reference direction and provide navigation stability. Similarly, a Gyro sensor is present in the smartphone to sense velocity and acceleration of angular rotation. All mobile games that we enjoy playing, use motion sense in our phones, tablets which is facilitated with a Gyroscope Sense. Similarly, it is also necessary in a smartphone to watch 360 degree videos or photos.
A proximity sensor detects how close the phone is to a physical object, such as your ear. This sensing is done to reduce display power consumption while one is on a call by turning off the LCD backlight. This also helps to detect and skip accidental touchscreen taps. Proximity sensors can be used to recognise air gestures and hover manipulations as well. For example, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comes with “Easy screen turn on” setting which uses the devices’ proximity sensor to automatically turn ‘on’ the screen when the user hovers its hand over the sensor without actually touching the device.
WATER RESISTANCE (IPxy)
Most phones these days are dust and water resistant—the ability to withstand splashes or submersion, upto a given depth for a specific amount of time. This capability is expressed in terms of something called an IP (Ingress Protection) rating.
IP ratings are numeric terms like IP67 or IP68 that denote the strength of the device’s dust and water resistance. Ratings extend from 1 to 6 for dust & dirt and 1 to 9 for water. The first and second digit in the rating indicate how well it withstands the exposure to solid particles and liquids respectively. The first number represents protection against dust,dirt and sand while the second is related with water. So, an IP67 rated device will not be as resistant to water as an IP68 rated device but both will provide same resistance to dust, solids rating ‘6’ being common to both.
Dolby Atmos is the name of a surround sound technology by Dolby Laboratories that was introduced in June 2012. It is there to improve the audio experience on your smartphone.
These are the most relevant specifications that users should consider when looking for a new device. Hopefully, we contributed our best in making it a lot user friendly to understand smartphone specifications and make the best possible choice in your next purchase.