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AH Primetime: Are Today’s Smartphone Specs Overkill for your Needs?

June 3, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

This week, Taylor Martin from PocketNow  put together a nice little editorial about how today’s smartphones are just overkill for your needs. While I do agree with him, I also disagree. Certainly specs on the most recent smartphones are way more than what we need, but does that mean we don’t want it? No. For instance, I have the Optimus G pro right here, which has a quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM not to mention the 1080p display. There’s also the Galaxy S4 that has a Exynos 5 Octa processor. That’s an eight-core processor. Now we don’t need to go into the specifics of it not being a “real” octa-core processor.

Compare the specs of your PC to the specs of your phone. How many of you have a quad-core processor in your PC? Probably the most of you. What about an octa-core? Probably just the hardcore gamers, right? So, what are you doing on your phone that you “need” a quad or octa core processor? Probably nothing. You can more than likely get away with doing many things with a good dual-core processor. Take the Nexus 10 for instance. That has a dual-core Exynos 5 processor and it is amazing.

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In Taylor’s article, he went on to say that we could probably get away with mobile phone specs from 2009. And well, he’s probably right. So what phone were you using in 2009? I was using the Motorola Droid. Personally, I can’t imagine still using a phone with those kinds of specs. It had a 600MHz single-core processor that was Cortex A8, along with 256MB of RAM and 133MB of internal storage. Could you imagine using a phone with those kinds of specs? Yeah, me neither.

So the question remains, are today’s specs overkill? I think yes. I know I’m not alone in this, but I always flash a kernel on my phone and underclock the processor. For instance, my Nexus 4 is supposed to run at 1.2GHz, I usually run it at about 1GHz. It does save quite a bit of battery life and I haven’t noticed much of a difference in performance. If you think that the specs we see in smartphones these days are not overkill, I’d like to know what you use your phone for. Not judging, just wondering. Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.