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The Minimum Specs For a Fast Smartphone in 2018

mastermind

Buying a smartphone in 2018 isn’t easy because there are a variety of devices on the market. Making sure you buy a smartphone which is fast, and remains fast for a long time, is even more difficult, but today I bring you some tips to help identify and avoid the weak performers.

 

iPhones

 

In this blog, I will be primarily talking about Android devices, but given the popularity of iPhones, I will take a moment to talk about the current iPhone lineup. My personal recommendation is to not buy an iPhone which Apple isn’t currently selling, so this restricts us to the iPhones 6S, 6S+ and SE at the low end of the scale.

 

apple.pngSource: apple.com

 

The iPhones 6S, 6S+ and SE all have 2GB of RAM and Apple’s A9 CPU, which isn’t far behind the A10 Fusion CPU in the iPhone 7. In terms of performance, the iPhones 6S, 6S+ and SE should be fast devices for a few years yet. Historically, Apple have provided 4 to 5 years of iOS support for the iPhones from their release. If Apple follows their track history, support for the iPhones 6S, 6S+ and SE should easily last until 2020. In my opinion, this makes them the minimum iPhone models you should buy in 2018. If you do buy an iPhone, I would also suggest upgrading to 32GB or more, because 16GB fills up incredibly quickly.

 

Androids

 

There is far more variety in the Android market of smartphones, which makes it more complicated when choosing a smartphone. The two crucial components to look at are the CPU and the RAM. There are other parts of smartphones which play a part in the speed, such as the storage type and the OS, but these are slightly less easy to gauge before buying. If you want to find out about the specifications of a smartphone, I suggest trying gsmarena.com or the manufacturer’s website.

 

RAM

 

In 2018, I think that 2GB RAM is bare minimum you should consider if you want a good smartphone experience. The Android OS itself consumes a large amount of RAM, and 1GB simply doesn’t leave enough space for your apps. In my opinion, 2GB is great for everyday tasks, and it leaves enough leg room for most apps you might throw at it.

 

1GB_RAM.pngMy old smartphone running out of RAM

 

If you have the option, getting 3GB (or more) is a good idea, even if you don’t need it right now. Most people hang onto their smartphones for 2 years or longer, so it’s best to future-proof wherever possible. If you’re the type who tends to use lots of apps, particularly social media apps, then 3GB will be great for you. Social media apps are continuously running in the background to retrieve messages and notifications, so the extra RAM allows them to do that while not slowing down your device.

 

CPU

 

There are many different ways of ranking the CPU in a smartphone, but the clock speed is always a good place to start. The clock speed is measured in GHz and it tells us how many instructions the processor can execute each second. Long story short, the higher the better. I would recommend ~1.4 GHz as the lowest for a fast experience.

 

Another measure of the CPUs ability is how many cores it’s got. Octa-core CPUs are making their way into many different smartphones nowadays, so there is no reason to settle for a quad-core CPU, especially when the price gap is so small. Even the Moto G5 manages to pack an octa-core Snapdragon 430 for under £150.

 

qualcomm.jpgSource: theverge.com

 

Snapdragon CPUs are very common in smartphones, and they tend to perform well across the board. The current lineup includes 4xx, 6xx and 8xx series CPUs, where the middle digit indicates the generation and the last digit is for minor variations of the same chip. Here’s what you need to know about the various generations:

 

  • The 4xx CPUs provide good performance for everyday tasks such as using social media apps and light web browsing, particularly the newer Snapdragon 430.
  • The 6xx CPUs are one step above, offering better performance and premium features such as 4K recording and faster 4G LTE speeds.
  • As you may have guessed, the 8xx CPUs are top-of-the-line. They offer the best performance and features in current Smartphones, particularly the Snapdragon 835 which is used in many of the latest flagship devices, such as the Google Pixel 2.

 

Storage

 

While the storage capacity doesn’t play a big role in the speed of a smartphone, running out of storage certainly does. Shockingly, there are still some smartphones being sold with 8GB of internal storage, which is completely insufficient. It’s easy to fill 8GB of storage just by updating the pre-installed apps, forget about installing your own apps. 16GB is the bare minimum amount of storage you should consider, but I usually recommend 32GB of storage for a painless experience. Remember, MicroSD cards are only good for storing photos, videos and music - not apps.

 

Conclusion

 

If you're buying a new smartphone in 2018, ensuring it has a minimum of 2GB of RAM is very important, because the RAM holds all of your active apps. Running out of RAM makes smartphones crawl at a snail's pace, so we should avoid this at all costs. Future-proofing is also important, you should think about how long you want to keep your smartphone and whether it will stand up to the test of time.

 

Did you enjoy reading today’s blog? If you did, why not check out some of my others, click the links below:

 

An Overview of Technology in 2017

Get Notifications On Your Wrist - Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review

Best Apps To Store Your Gift Cards

 

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Will is a tech fanatic who likes coffee and music. He posts every Thursday morning.


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9 Comments
aspirant

i would have said 4GB is the new bare minimum now that we're into 2018.. however do agree with a lot of your views..

vanguard

Thanks for info.

CPU and RAM are always a buy the most you can afford.

Cheers

mastermind

Regarding Ram, 2gb is a bare minimum in my opinion. 3gb good enough. 4gb we can talk gaming.

guide

Thanks some very good advice, however I would have gone further and put 32gb as the bare minimum storage (16gb is virtually useless to most users)

prophet

Great blog Smiley Happy

 

2GB RAM is most definitely the bare minimum for 2018 but Android smartphones tend to have 4GB and the iPhone X right behind with 3GB.

Previous iPhones have 2GB and work perfectly so it's still good enough but, no doubt, the more the better Smiley Happy

 

As for storage, 16GB is definitely not enough these days. It may work for some but I think no less than 32GB should be considered.

 

 

 

governor

Good advice. 3GB RAM and 32GB storage minimum. Buying a model one or 2 models down from the latest and greatest will always provide the best value for money.

prophet

Will use this as a check list when I get a new phone 

I wouldn't recommend any phone running a Snapdragon 4xx series, you gotta go for at least the 6xx series if you want it to last more than 2 years

supporter

Storage will become a standard 64GB by the end of this year