Smartphones are everywhere these days. If my grandmother were alive, she probably would have owned one too. Yes! they are that many and that far wide spread. Chances are that you are currently reading this post on your smartphone or tablet rather than a laptop or desktop. That said, What qualifies to be a smartphone and how are they categorised?
Of course that is a huge question for debate but we can safely say, A smartphone should have an OS (operating systems) e.g. Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone among others. It should also have great connectivity options but mostly, it should be internet enabled. Without these two, a phone would hardly be considered smart. Smartphones can be placed in 3 categories. Entry Level, Midrange and High end. Each of these categories have specific features that make them belong to a particular category.
Today I will be showing you what qualifies to be a high end smartphone (in 2015) so that you know if you have one or not.
#1. RAM, ROM and Processors
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the memory on your device from which your apps and system functions run. The more apps you open, the more RAM is used up. So if your phone has say 2GB RAM, it will run more concurrent apps/operations than a phone with 1GB RAM. You have probably experienced this at one point when your phone tells you that it has low memory. That means that you have used up most of the RAM
ROM(Read Only Memory) is the memory on which your phone stores data like your images, Video and even apps. If you have less ROM, you can only install a number of apps and music and after a while, you may not even be able to update them.
A high end phone will have at least 2GB RAM 16GB ROM and a 1.8 Ghz quad core processor. Some smartphones have more than 2GB RAM for instance the OnePlus One has 3GB RAM. The Tecno Phantom Z has an Octa-core processor (8 processors) which is double the number of processors in a quad core. Bigger RAM and more processor clock speed (e.g. 2.0 Ghz) ensure that your phone is fast enough and can handle more operations at any given time.
It’s important to note that the latest iPhones have have 1GB RAM and 1.4Ghz Dual core processor but will perform as good or even better that phones with better specs because of their combination of software and hardware in one stack.
All high end phones will have at least 8 megapixel cameras. Some triple that and go up to 20MP like the Sony Xperia Z3. But we know that it’s not just about mega pixels but actual performance. We see the iPhone’s 8MP camera outperform so many other cameras with more mega pixels crammed into the phone. Some high end phones even shoot videos in 4K resolution or slow motion among other fancy features. All in all, high end phones have good cameras that capture crisp and clear photos plus stunning Videos in various conditions like low light or even fast moving objects.
The HTC One M9 has a different take on their camera. Instead of Mega Pixels, they have their own Ultra Pixel technology which translates into about 4MP on the front camera. They have not had good reviews but their camera has extra functionality that makes it awesome.
Display is a big deal because it is what you see and how crisp and rich it is. Images and Video on a smaller resolution is not as crisp as it is on a bigger resolution. There is a lot of marketing lingo out there for display technology like QHD, IPS, Super AMOLED, Retina display among others.
One thing High end phones have in common is that they all have a good resolution (or pixel density) with at least 1080 x 1920 resolution except the LG G3 that has it even higher (1440 x 2560 pixels with a 538 ppi pixel density)
We have seen phones get smaller and now bigger. Some of them with 6’ displays. It’s easy to confuse them with tablets so the term “phablets” was coined up to describe phones bigger than the normal phone but smaller than a tablet. When it comes to design, high end phones are made from more premium materials like Aluminium and Glass finishes or polycarbonate backs with Gorilla glass for a tough scratch resistant screen. The likes of Sony Xperia now have shutter proof technology. If your phone is made of plastic, chances are that it’s not really high end.
Batteries are really an issue across the board with many smartphones having batteries that can’t even last a day. The strength of batteries is measured in mAh (milli Ampere hour). The more the better. e.g. a phone with a 3000mAh battery will last longer on a full charge than one with 2000mAh. Lately, high end smartphones have longer lasting batteries or at least bigger milli Ampere hours of at least more than 2200mAh.
#6. Operating System
For a phone to qualify to be a high-end gizmo, it should be running the latest operating systems like Android 5.0 Lollipop from Google, iOS8.1 from Apple, Windows Phone 8.1 and Blackberry 10. Some high end phones may not be running the latest OS’s but will most certainly should be able to update to the latest OS.
Most High end phones go for $800 about UGx 2M but that is for the big brands like LG, Samsung, Apple, HTC and Sony. There are high end phones like the OnePlus one that go for as low as $249 and $249 or the Phantom Z that goes for $400 but are as powerful as any other high end smartphone. I guess brand and marketing positioning here dictates the pricing structure that vendors adopt for their devices.
Some 2014 High-End phones worth noting
- HTC One (M8)
- Samsung Galaxy S5, Note 4
- LG G3
- iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
- Huawei Ascend P7
- Sony Xperia Z3
- Tecno Phantom Z
- Oneplus One
So that’s the litmus test your phone must pass before it can be considered a high-end smartphone. Next time you walk into a store and you are looking for a high-end device, at least you have some pointers.