Finally, the Android specs race may be over

What is the Android specs race? It is the phrase we use to refer to the mad dash to put the highest clocked processor, biggest RAM, and generally the highest numbers for any feature in smartphones as their selling point. Each next generation smartphone comes bristling with higher specs figures – more cores, higher clock number, more RAM, more megapixels, more everything. There is a current bucking of that trend by manufacturers. Let me show you.

xiaomi mi 5

The most powerful smartphone in the world today is not deca-core or octa-core device. The processor is not clocked at 2.5 GHz either. What it has is a combination of Dual-core 1.8 GHz Kryo and dual-core 1.36 GHz Kryo CPUs. So, let’s just call it a quad-core processor clocked at about 1.6 GHz. Those specs are a lot lower than some other heavy weights that the Mi 5 beat to clinch the number one spot.

The Galaxy S7 is powered by a Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo and dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo processor, while the Huawei Mate 8 is powered by a Quad-core 2.3 GHz Cortex-A72 and quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex A53. Yet, the Mi 5 beat them.

But note too that even Samsung’s champ is a combination of two dual-core units and clocked at what boils down to an average of 1.9 GHz. The Mate 8 is the one packing huge guns, yet the least powerful of the three. Note also that for several brands, their latest smartphones have processors that are clocked lower than their predecessors, yet deliver better performance.

Have you also noticed how camera megapixel count are not going through the roof any longer, and in some cases dropping? Yet, those smartphone cameras are delivering better quality images and videos? Of course, we have always said that megapixels are not the only factor in determining camera output quality.

Something is happening. Android OS is either getting better optimised out of the box from Google, or the manufacturers are learning how better to optimise it, or CPUs are getting super efficient, or a combination of all these. All the devices run either 3GB or 4GB of RAM though, which is still high. But there is no doubt that there is a gravitation from flashing the highest specs in the Android world.

Of course, we are also still getting bigger screens and bigger RAM. But at least a significant part of that mad race to put the highest clocked processor, highest megapixel camera, and others like that, in Android phones as unique selling points is waning. Hopefully, the Android specs race is over as manufacturers focus more on the experience than raw specs.

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3 comments

  1. You failed to mention “bigger battery”. Manufacturers seem to all agree that bigger isn’t better when it comes to juice. Even the HTC 10 launched with a “meagre” 3,000 mAh so yeah I dig your POV, OEMs are definitely getting the knack of beating out better performance from the Android OS.

    All i can say is, yeah it can only get better!

  2. I think it’s about optimising. Bigger isn’t always better. I have two phones running with 1GB RAM. One doesn’t stutter, slow down or freeze, even when I have a number of apps open and running at the same time. On the other, if I have more than 3 apps open at the same time, it’s like watching a computer timer, trying to decide its next move.

    I’d like to think that Google is making it easier for manufacturers to optimise Android on their devices. I don’t get why a phone has to have 2GB or 4GB in order to operate at its best.

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