What characteristics should you pay attention to when choosing a new smartphone
1. Modem and antennas
Of course, from any smartphone you can call and go online, but not all of them do it equally well. The modem is responsible for the quality of wireless communication and, given the introduction of 5G, this is one of the characteristics that you should pay special attention to.
The modem affects the maximum data transfer rate, both via cellular and Wi-Fi. Its specifications determine the ability to work in certain networks in other countries and support for two sim cards. In addition, the latest modules are more energy efficient, which means they consume less battery power.
No less important is the number of antennas. The more of them, the higher the speed and more powerful signal. Usually there are two or four antennas. So, 4 × 4 MIMO (iPhone XS and XS Max) implies four simultaneous data streams, while 2 × 2 MIMO (iPhone XR) means only two.
Blue and white lines – iPhone XS and XS Max (four antennas), orange and yellow – iPhone XR and X (two antennas) – pcmag.com
And despite the fact that all smartphones use the same new Intel XMM 7560 modem, due to the smaller number of antennas, the iPhone XR is twice as slow in data transfer speed. This is especially noticeable with a poor signal level of one or two divisions.
Unfortunately, due to the scarce information, it is rather difficult to compare modems from different manufacturers. But still try to clarify their specifications in the devices to which you look closely.
Wait for the tests, find out the number of antennas, the supported frequency ranges and the number of sim cards. After all, it is these differences that will really affect everyday use.
2. IPX degree of protection
The level of protection of a smartphone or any other gadget according to the IPX standard shows how they are protected from moisture and dust. The classification of penetration levels is established and regulated by the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The first digit after IP indicates the degree of protection of devices from solid particles (dust): 0 – not protected in any way, 6 – completely dustproof. The second figure shows the resistance to penetration of liquids (water): 0 – do not have protection, 8 – prolonged immersion in water. So, IP68 means complete protection against dust and moisture.
However, the moisture resistance of different manufacturers is interpreted differently and the eight in IPX8 does not always mean the same degree of protection. Therefore, you need to look at the data on the depth and time of immersion in the liquid specified in the characteristics of specific smartphones, and compare them specifically.
3. Charging speed
For everyone who charges the smartphone once a day in the evenings, this option is not very important. For those who constantly move during the day and have a limited amount of time, it becomes crucial.
The charging speed, especially wireless, depends not only on the smartphone, but also on the power adapter. For successful operation, support for the fast charging standard must be in both devices. All manufacturers use various technologies, but you can navigate by the power of the adapters and charging time.
As a rule, the specifications of the smartphone indicate the charging time to a certain level, as well as the power of the complete power adapter. It is indicated in Watts (W, W) and is the product of voltage (V, V) and current strength (A).
For example, if the output voltage of the adapter is 5 V, and the current is 2 A, then the power will be 10 watts. If the voltage is 9 V and the current is 1.67 A, the power will be 15 watts. Of course, the higher the power, the faster the charge.
4. Neural processor
Last year, manufacturers began to equip smartphones with AI systems, whose work is based on neural processors. By analogy with graphics chips responsible for processing graphics, they are designed for computing involving machine learning.
Neural processors allow you to recognize objects in the photo, automatically adjust the shooting parameters and sort the pictures in the gallery according to various parameters. Other examples of using AI in smartphones are voice recognition and data processing in augmented reality applications.
All the top gadgets have processors with AI to one degree or another. For example, Apple has the Neural Engine in A11 and A12 Bionic chips. Comparing AI engines from different manufacturers is difficult, but the fact remains: newer flagships work much faster due to data processing without uploading to the cloud.
5. HDR support
HDR technology provides a wider range of colors on the screen, making the picture richer, more voluminous and, more important, more detailed in the brightest and darkest parts of the frame. But to enjoy it, you need special content and support for the standard HDR smartphone.
Several options for implementing the technology are now available. The most popular, mainly because of its openness, is HDR10. The more advanced Dolby Vision requires licensing, so it’s less common. Although superior to HDR10 in terms of color and contrast.
So, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 uses HDR10, and the iPhone XS supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Everything is complicated by the fact that not all applications with HDR support work with any HDR-smartphone. However, with current models, most likely, there will be no problems.
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