Phone specifications tell only half the story

So recently I called a 720p screen on a 6.95 inch smart-phone ‘beautiful’ and I had a ton of people come for me saying I wasn’t a tech reviewer, that I knew nothing about phones and some even unsubscribed from the channel.

Why? Because in their books, a 6.9 inch 720p screen was appalling and can never look good. So in turn anyone who says a screen like that looks good or beautiful didn’t know what they were talking about and didn’t deserve their views or subscription.

As a smart-phone reviewer I have used a lot of phones with different screen sizes and specifications and I have over the years realized that the numbers don’t always matter. As smart-phone enthusiasts we are sometimes inundated with the numbers on a device that we don’t give that device the attention or time it deserves simply because in our books it doesn’t meet that specification that’s approved.

Recently, the Samsung Galaxy S20 ultra was under fire for the lack-luster performance of the cameras. That phone has a 108MP shooter and some of the best Camera specs on paper that you would have thought that it would take the best photos and that it’s focus speed would be instant. But, it had one of the worst focusing problems on any modern phone in recent times. It just would not lock focus on subjects. Meanwhile I had an almost two year old Redmi Note 7 that took incredible pictures even at 1/6th the price of the S20 Ultra. Load the G-Cam on the Redmi Note 7 and the results become even better.

Samsung promised to improve this with software updates, which they have, but honestly, the focus still isn’t fast and I get occasional focus hunting issues.

There are sub $400 phones that take better pictures than a number of flagship phones these days but looking at the specs on paper, you’d never agree. The Pixel 4a for one.

Optimization

In web and mobile development, the focus is on making the app compatible across multiple browsers and platforms, rather than being compatible with hardware specs. The hardware specs help in how smooth the app runs, but ultimately the goal is majorly cross platform compatibility.

Apples iPhones have had way lower RAM over the years compared to Android phones, yet still out performs a great number of Android phones. Why? Why doesn’t the Android device with the larger RAM win? The keyword here is optimization. IOS has been so optimized to work with the hardware found in iPhones that they have become very efficient.

This optimization can also be applied to a supposed crappy device with disappointing specs. Allowing that device perform to the best of its ability. I have used some low end Xiaomi phones and they run way smoother than some more expensive android phones with lack luster optimization.

MIUI and the famous Pixel Experience ROMs are examples of well optimized android ROMs that run smoothly even on low end devices. And thanks to the Pixel experience ROM, my Redmi Note 7 is still very fluid and packs the most recent android updates.

So recently when I reviewed an android phone with a 6.9 inch 720p IPS LCD screen with a Helio G70 processor, I said the phone ran smooth and that the screen was beautiful. And I got a lot of backlash. Which I understood, because obviously they had in their minds the minimum specifications that they thought would qualify as okay.

Meanwhile they had neither seen the phone nor had hands on time with the device.

So is it right or okay to call a 6.9inch 720 screen beautiful?

Yes, if the colors are accurate and well calibrated, and the screen looks good to the human eye, then yes you can call the screen beautiful or gorgeous. That’s your perspective.

The screen on the iPhone XR is testament to the fact that numbers aren’t everything.

Jonathan Morrison a popular US based YouTuber debunked this misconception when everyone in one of his YouTube videos picked the supposedly crappy iPhone XR sub 1080p screen over an actual 1080p screen. I mean no one pick the higher resolution 1080p screen as the better screen. They all thought the iPhone screen looked better.

Optimization guys.

Conclusion

I think its time we began to understand that specification isn’t everything in a smart-phone. It’s the overall optimization of both software and hardware that really makes a great phone.

If we base our purchase decisions on specs alone, then we may have missed an opportunity to pick a phone that would have been truly made for us.

This video was borne out of the need to give people proper perspective on the things that matter.

Some phones look very good on paper but are terrible performers in some aspects, while some look terrible on paper but are excellent all-round performers.  

So when next you want to purchase a new phone, think of all the things that matter to you in a phone. Not what the spec ninjas say. If you want long battery life and media consumption is high on your needs, then you should be looking for a phone with a big battery and a big screen (preferably an AMOLED screen). If taking pictures are your thing then focus on the camera. If price is your concern and you need all the rest, then do the research.

Also try to visit the closest store to play with these devices before taking a decision on which phone is best for you. In other words, don’t judge a phone by the numbers you see in the spec sheet, take time out to have an in-hand experience, then make your choice.

Phone specs are just half of the story.

I hope this article was worth it and hope it also helps you determine what features in a smart-phone you need the most.

I’ll also love to hear from you in the comment section of this video. Your thoughts matter.

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