Specs, Specs, Specs

22 10 2017

and why we should ignore most of them.

Smart phones are not only defined by their specs. When it comes to iPhones and their rivals they most often don’t matter nearly as much as some manufacturers may want you to believe. The problem isn’t limited to the manufacturers. More important are the news spread by tens of thousands of tech bloggers and lots of unbiased online magazines.

Self-appointed experts most often still don’t get it right when they ask “Which … is better?”, show us the specs, tell us that “The winner is …” and ridiculously enough ask “What’s your take? Leave a comment”.

The only way to get an entire picture of devices is to look at hardware and software. It’s an entity. The operating system for example mainly determines the energy consumption of a device. If it’s optimized a battery with less energy may last longer than the one with a better specification. A shining example is iOS 11 in a liaison with an iPhone 8. It lets the 8 (1,821 mAh battery) run 2 hours longer than the iPhone 7 which sports the bigger battery (1,960 mAh battery).

Camera …

Albert Einstein’s saying

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

is so true for the megapixel discussion.

Cameras with more megapixels usually sacrifice image quality in certain ways. Normally when you pack so many pixels so close together, it creates artifacts called “crosstalk”: inaccurate colors and noise in your images. Apple’s team worked on new techniques to maintain image quality and size despite the extra megapixels, including a technology called deep-trench isolation, which separates photo diodes and helps to maintain accurate, precise colors. The image quality is a matter of optimizing the processing of a large number of information taken by the camera and its sensors.

Processor …

The same situation applies to many other specs, like processors. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a Octa-core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10nm processor.

Some fanboys say “Wow!

other not tech-savvy users ask *What?*.

(You should hear the rising tone and the keen sound when they ask “What?”.)

Nobody knows what these processor specs mean in every day life when using Google+ or surfing through the Web. Sure, the device is fast but none of the rivals are slow.

And the iPhone 8 has a A11 Bionic …

Whatever. What we know so far is that it crushes the rivals by far but does it help when I read my mails or check my bank account? Definitely not but AR, VR, and ML are coming. A beast may help. But even a beast has to take the existing hardware into account. Optimization is the keyword here as well.

What you don’t find in a spec table …

The build quality, the design, the UX, the ease of use, the timeframe the operating system is maintained, the pros and cons of the environment in which a device runs, the reselling price, the compatibility with devices of other family members, the ability to install company specific apps in the context of BYOD, etc.

Summary …

At the end of the day there is a purchase decision if you don’t want to go back to using smoke signals. It’s a complicated matter and it’s always up to you. All big manufacturers make good devices so forget the spec sheets and think about your priorities.

One more thing …

Steve Jobs made this belief of Alan Kay to one of the core principles of Apple:

“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”

It helps to boost the user experience.

Thanks for dropping by.


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