5 hardware specifications to check when you buy a smartphone

If you are looking at getting a new smartphone, its hardware specifications are an important factor to consider.

The hardware specs of your smartphone determine everything from signal strength to app performance.

While there are other important factors to consider when purchasing a smartphone – such as camera features, IP rating, and display type – the components inside the device are what define its performance.

Five important hardware specifications you should check when looking at a new smartphone are listed below.


A device’s processing power is largely dependent on its system-on-chip (SoC), which comprises a central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU).

High-end smartphones usually sport the latest chips from Qualcomm, MediaTek, or their own proprietary silicon.

The number of physical cores and frequency of the device’s processing units define its processing power, with chips like Samsung’s Exynos octa-core processors offering better performance than chips found in budget devices.

Some manufacturer-built SoCs include other features, such as Huawei’s Kirin 970 chipset – which includes a built-in machine learning processor.

Reading up on the CPU and GPU of your device’s chipset, along with its other built-in features, will allow you to get a good idea of its performance.

Network capabilities

While a device’s connectivity support is related to the chipset it runs on, it is important to determine the network capabilities of a smartphone.

If you are looking for the fastest data transfer speeds available, you will need to ensure your smartphone’s modem supports LTE connectivity.

Additionally, you should check the smartphone’s maximum speeds on its LTE band.

This is rated in categories like Cat6, Cat11, and Cat18, with the general rule being the higher the number, the better the speed.

LTE-Advanced devices are faster than standard LTE phones, and the LTE-A designation is an important specification to look out for when choosing a high-speed device.



The amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) a smartphone has directly affects its performance, especially when running multiple apps, background processes, and intensive programs.

If you do not want your smartphone to run slowly under heavy loads, get a device with a fair amount of RAM.

Modern devices have quite a lot of RAM, with even cheaper smartphones sporting at least 2GB. The demands of modern smartphone operating systems and apps have grown accordingly, however.

If you are going to use your device for intensive processes like gaming or augmented reality, aim for a smartphone with a decent amount of RAM. The current standard for high-end phones is around the 4GB mark.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 block diagram


Storage is an important specification to consider when purchasing a smartphone, especially if you take and share many images or videos.

Additionally, users who consume media on their phone or enjoy downloading a host of applications may need a relatively large amount of storage.

Many devices come with 64GB of internal storage as standard, but this can quickly fill up with high-quality images and 4K video.

If you need more space than a smartphone’s integrated storage can provide, look for a device which supports a microSD card for expandable storage.

You must also check the size of the microSD card it can support – Example: 128GB microSD support.



Battery life is critical to most smartphone users, and this component depends on a variety of factors.

The capacity of a smartphone’s battery is measured in mAh, but how long this lasts the user is influenced by display type and chipset power consumption.

A high-end flagship device with a QHD+ screen and power-hungry chipset will not get much mileage from a 2,000mAh battery, but a feature phone with a custom OS and no touchscreen could last for weeks with the same cell.

Finding the right balance between performance and battery life is important, although some powerful devices opt to sacrifice a slim design and boost their battery capacity to deliver both.

Users must also look out for fast-charge and wireless charging support, which can make their recharging times shorter and easier.

Huawei Mate 8 battery

Now read: Your smartphone will become much smarter in 2018

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5 hardware specifications to check when you buy a smartphone