Why you should pay attention to smartphone specs

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There is a school of thought that seeks to propagate the idea that smartphone specs are not important, especially to the everyday user (who make up the bulk of the market). We are told that because the iPhone is an example of how specs do not matter (sic), that nobody needs really care about specs.

smartphone specs

Some reasons why smartphone specs are important

When people push such ideas, they conveniently forget a few things:

  1. specs tell users that an iPhone does not support microSD card, lacks USB mass storage, and needs iTunes to synchronise and store media
  2. it is specs that tell us everything else that the iPhone is capable and incapable of compared to other smartphones
  3. smartphone specs tell us that one camera phone offers 4k video and another VGA (and there is no way that the latter will produce better videos than the former)
  4. specs tell me that one smartphone can do TV-out, and another cannot
  5. it is because of specs that the buyer looking for superior performance knows to avoid a 512 MB Android smartphone

The issue is not that specs are unnecessary. The problem is often that of trying to compare specs between oranges and apples. And that is an effort in futility. Specifications in themselves give us an overview of what to expect from different smartphones.

Smartphone specs are not just about manufacturers trying to score points. Specs serve a very useful purpose. Of course, like any good thing, anyone can abuse and hype it to further their goals. But specs matter. A lot.


In everything else in life, specs matter: processed foods, drinks, housing, aircraft, automobiles, computers, home electronics, clothing, etc, etc. Specs will always matter, because people have specific needs, and not all products within a product category will meet those needs.

A comparison of specifications may not always give an accurate picture of how two competing smartphones perform, but specs will help prospective buyers determine upfront whether the phone they are contemplating purchasing is likely to meet their needs. Whether it meets the specific needs better than a competing phone is a different question entirely.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

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  1. the problem is people sometimes place too much importance on the spec sheet and there’s a common belief that bigger/more = better. which isn’t true. that’s part of the reason why there’s a specs race among Android OEMs. more cores, faster processors, more RAM, bigger screens, successive bumps in camera resolution etc. problem is an increase in specs doesn’t always translate to an improvement in UX, and sometimes the bump in specs is just a marketing gimmick (eg 4K video capture on phones with HD/2K displays, processors that can’t run at advertised frequencies for 15 mins before thermal throttling comes into play, cameras with high megapixel counts and no OIS etc). that’s why an experienced user looks beyond specs, specs are important but they’re only one part of the equation that is UX. software being another critical part of said equation

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