We can mark Mobile World Congress 2017 on our calendars as the official end of the Smartphone spec race. Finally, manufacturers are focusing on making well-built smartphones that have well thought out features users actually need.
I don’t want to jinx it, but I think the spec wars might be over!
Let’s face it, Benchmarks are bullshit! Countless companies have been caught gaming benchmarks, on more than one occasion I’ve even come across a benchmark mode. The truth is that a Smartphones performance is more related to how well a manufacturer pairs the hardware with the Android operating system. With all the custom versions of Android out there some are better than others at getting the OS to run smoothly. It’s the same with Camera, two phones with the same Sony sensor can have different results based on how well the company optimizes the software.
For a few years now mid range phone have quietly been ramping up to a place where the average consumer had more than they needed. But the race carried on and last year we saw LG release a modular phone that pushed the boundaries of innovation and Samsung had to recall the Note 7 because it kept exploding.
On mass, the entire industry seems to be focused on capabilities and performance and now how much RAM is under the hood.
Blackberry’s new flagship the KEYone was all about security, privacy and that good old physical keyboard. The Snapdragon 625 processor is the definition of mid range but was chosen because it’s battery consumption versus relative performance gains.
Since Sony has still not changed their design in 5 years they decided to focus on their new Motion Eye Camera which captures 960fps slow motion and has predictive capture which takes a photo even before you hit the shutter button! Of course, Sony still had their ZX Premium which does go toe to toe with any spec monster released on the market. So the hunt for high-end isn’t totally absent.
LG is standing strong behind its Snapdragon 821 processor in its new flagship G6, they worked with Qualcomm on bringing in a few features from the upcoming Snapdragon 835 so it’s a slight upgrade. Since it’s the 3rd smartphone will have built on this platform they’ve got a lot of the bugs worked out and are confident that good solid performance outweighs the benefits for building on an entirely new processor. And even thought the 821 isn’t the top of the pile it is still slightly ahead of some other very popular handsets like the Google Pixel & OnePlus 3T.
As cutting edge as Smartphones have gotten over the past few years, it still amazes me that every phone still came with atleast one compromise. The battery life, the camera, the quality of the display panel or the durability.