Android: Dual Cores, Quad Cores and Lags

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samsung galaxy note display

I am a very ardent fan of Android. Currently, I use a Samsung Galaxy Note which also runs Android. It is my second Android smartphone. In as much as I love Android passionately, there is something that bothers me about this platform.

You see from time to time, my Android phone lags and that bothers me. Here are the reasons why it bothers me.

My Samsung Galaxy Note, for example, runs Android 4.0.3 (better known as Ice Cream Sandwich) and is a dual core device with 1.4Ghz per core. That alone for a mobile device is powerful. Still it has not stopped the lag throughout the interface. I thought that it could be the Touchwiz UI that Samsung imposed on the phone that was behind the occasional pauses when using the Note, so I went ahead and flashed stock Android to it – and there it was again! Subtle, but still present was the lag from time to time.

Even in Mister Mobility’s review of the HTC One X, he raised the issue of occasional app pauses and freezes! I may be a geek and forgo/overlook the lag in the interface but what happens when a regular user buys a 90k+ phone only to discover that from time to time he/she has to tap something twice or thrice before it responds. Also do not forget that the One X is a quad-core processor device.

From time to time I have to reboot my Galaxy Note before I can get some apps or widget to work. The most frequent occurrence is with my torchlight widget. Most times when I tap it so as to make use of the led light near the camera, it doesn’t respond until I do a full reboot.

Not Peculiar To Android
Certainly I know that other smartphones lag too even it is for a millisecond. The only difference is how frequent it is. Going by the amount of time I have seen Blackberry devices lag, by now, some Blackberry users must think that it is normal for phones to occasionally “load” by bringing up a spinning circle in the middle of the screen.

I haven’t had experience with any iOS device hence why I cannot say anything about it but if you do own one what is your experience with lag like? [Both the iPad 1 and iPad 2 lag too. See Romance with Apple iPad turns Nightmare – Editor]

With the amount of power that we have built into smart devices these days, it still amazes me that my favourite platform, Android, has still not been able to combat something that is so vital to the user experience. At least Blackberry animates the lag in form of the rolling circle. Android? Just pretend that it isn’t there.


  1. It is great you pointed this out, Emmanuel. It is something I’ve noticed on Android. Android is great quite alright. Superb features but that lag and the UI flow doesn’t come the way I am used to on iOS. However, it is the only alternative I have to iOS, and when I finally retire my Belle device, I’d move to Android.

    My Nokia Belle device also lags too. Just as much as you’ve noticed, or if not more. However, I have not encountered as much lag from my iPad. It seems to flow suavely right at most of the occasions. Though there’re instances that you have occasional lag too. But a rare occurrence.

    ” [Both the iPad 1 and iPad 2 lag too. See Romance with Apple iPad turns Nightmare – Editor]”

    @Editor, that article that you so quoted was from the review of the iPad 1. So it wouldn’t be right to use same source that both the iPad 1 & 2 lag!

  2. @afewgoodmen, you’re belle lags cos of the older hardware. 600mhz processor. I’m on a 1.3ghz processor and its pretty fast here. everything is so swift without lags…

  3. Can’t say I’ve noticed it, maybe because I’m so used to the lag on my Blackberry, on every other device it is negligible.

    I’m sorry, but is lag on a device that big a deal? I’m more concerned about it freezing or crashing or bricking.

  4. Afewgoodmen,

    @Editor, that article that you so quoted was from the review of the iPad 1. So it wouldn’t be right to use same source that both the iPad 1 & 2 lag!

    I owned and used the iPad 2 as well, and found no significant difference. In fact, it was so similar that I don’t remember doing a separate review of the iPad 2.

  5. Noni,

    I’m sorry, but is lag on a device that big a deal? I’m more concerned about it freezing or crashing or bricking.

    From experience, lag appears to be a big deal to a lot of people.

    But talking about freezing and crashing, those happened a lot on my Samsung Galaxy S II and less often on the HTC One X, but they happen all the same.

  6. I’m sorry, but is lag on a device that big a deal?

    My thoughts-exactly !

    The freezing and crashing on certain platforms may not necessarily be an OS thing.

    One way to confirm the root cause is :

    hard reset and use the phone squeaky_clean for a while. Thirdparty apps are often the culprit, especially horribly_coded ones -on an allcomers’
    OS like Android

  7. If “lag” is waiting for minutes, I understand, but how long a lag are we talking – seconds? Micro-seconds? Are lags app-specific, device-specific or OS-specific?

    In this era of instant gratifications, maybe our expectations seem to be no different.

  8. We have grown so familiar with our devices and the operating systems powering them that we forget they are still electrical/electronic gadgets, and more importantly, if they are built by humans and also meant to be operated by humans, then these lags and freezes will never go away.

    I do have lags occasionally and freezes very rarely. If you don’t know how to handle those occasional lags, then you probably will be experiencing more freezes. Get URSafe CPU Monitor from the Google Play Store to help you with a visual cue on the activities of the CPU so you don’t keep bombarding the device/processor with instructions when busy with other activities.

    If Apple cannot completely eliminate these things, then you can be sure it is not trivial to eliminate. And do remember that as processors become more powerful, the OSes become more complex and powerful to take advantage of the processor power and in effect, widening the margin for error.

  9. eyebeekay is gradually becoming a believer, hallelujah somebody.

    @eyebeekay, you ve been sounding like an advocate for android of recent, are we safe?

  10. @Efe, I am not blind to the good points of Android. Neither am I deaf to the worrisome aspects!

    Opportunity costs, I guess!

  11. I used to have a bit of the lag issue on my s2, though very uncommon. Since I started running cyanogenMod, hardly do I experience such again. Been thinking of when I last had to click an icon twice ….. can’t remember. I experienced some lags with the iphone4 but learned the iphone4s is quite better.

    I think to a large extent most lag problems are caused by third party apps. Discover them, uninstall and get a better app alternative.

  12. My nokia 701 running belle fp1 very rarely lags. the speed using normal built in apps is top notch! dis was not the situation tho when i was running the belle that came with it.

  13. You guys didnt watch Click on BBC world? these rouge apps have a life of their own,they execute at their own pace,even if you have a 6GHz tricore processor

  14. @jujukemist, please what is the time schedule of that click program on BBC? I love it but only Bump into it most times. Need to

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