Two years ago, when I chose my current smartphone my two main considerations were screen size and power. After looking at a few 3.2 to 3.7-inch models, I decided I wanted something larger. The smaller screens where great for calls and SMS, but given that I planned to use the web browser and photo editing apps, a larger display is more comfortable to use.
After trying several models, I found performance of many lower cost models to also be a bit sluggish. The HTC Desire's, Samsung Galaxy S and Apple iPhone 4 with their 1 GHz processors and 512 MB or more of RAM were the way to go. Two years later, the 1 GHz processor and 768 MB of RAM on my HTC Desire HD still runs every app I use adequately. What I did have to do was root the HTC Desire HD so that it could run Ice Cream Sandwich, later Jelly Bean. What made the device less relevant was not the 1 GHz processor but the end HTC deciding not to upgrade the phone past Gingerbread.
Today, even low cost smartphones powered by a dual core processor on a Qualcomm S4 play or Mediatek chipset will satisfy the needs of most users. It is really only the hard core gamer who will miss not having a quad core processor.
I remember back in the late 90's when I would upgrade my processor of my desktop every year, and the performance benefits merited the expenditure. Today, I keep laptops for 3-5 years. Not being a gamer I do not feel the improvements of newer and faster processors.
With smartphones, I really do not feel compelled to upgrade because of processor speed. With a HTC Desire HD, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 5 on hand, used by different members of my family, the additional speed has not impressed me all that much. But than again, none of us game much on the phone. The additional processing power is most evident in photo editing apps.
What has been more impressive are the gains in the battery life (Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 5) and improved displays (Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 5). When it comes time to upgrade, where I really want more speed is in terms of data. LTE for my next phone is a much have for me.
|The Sony Xperia V won't beat the Google Nexus 4 in benchmarks, |
but it does have a better camera and internet connectivity.
Newer smartphones do need more power, but that is really in terms of GPU power to run the higher resolution displays which we are seeing in upcoming handsets.
Dual core and quad core processing are nice marketing tools. For most of 2012, manufacturers showed off benchmarks, but did not highlight new productive apps which take advantage of the additional speed. Really all this power adds very little to in terms of actual productivity. Display quality, battery life, software support, the quality of the camera and connectivity features will be more relevant to the buyer in 2013.