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Mobile Phones 

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Mobile Phones: specifications, types

Main display

Specs of the main (and most often the only) display installed in the device.

In addition to the basic properties — such as size, resolution (according to it, screens are conditionally divided into HD, Full HD, Quad HD and UltraHD), type of panel (most often IPS, OLED, AMOLED, Super AMOLED, Dynamic AMOLED,), presence or absence of a sensor, etc., more specific features may be indicated in this list. Among them are the shape of the surface ( flat or curved), the presence and version of the Gorilla Glass coating (including the top-tier v6 and Victus), HDR support and the refresh rate (frequency above 60 Hz is considered high, predominantly 90 Hz, 120 Hz and 144 Hz) . Here is a more detailed description of the specs relevant to modern display...s:

— Size. Traditionally indicated in inches. A larger display is more comfortable to use: more data can fit on it, and the image itself looks larger. The downside of increasing the size of display is an increase in the overall size and cost of the entire device. Today, smartphones with screens of 5" or less can be considered small, 5.6 – 6" is already a medium format, and many modern models have a size of 6.5" or even more. Classic phones that do not have touch displays do not need a large display — the size usually does not exceed 3".

— Resolution. Screen resolution is indicated by its dimensions (vertical and horizontal) in dots (pixels). The larger these dimensions are (with the same diagonal) — the more detailed and smoothed the picture looks, the less visible individual pixels are on it. On the other hand, increasing the resolution increases both the cost of the display itself and the requirements for the phone's hardware. It is also worth noting that the same resolution on screens of different sizes looks different; so when evaluating detail, it is worth considering not only this parameter, but also the PPI number (see below).

— PPI. The density of dots (pixels) on the screen of the device. It is the number of dots per inch (pixels per inch) — the number of pixels for each horizontal or vertical segment of 1 ". This indicator depends on the size and resolution at the same time, but in the end it is the PPI number that determines how smooth and detailed the image on the display is. For comparison, we note that at a distance of about 25 – 30 cm from the eyes, a density of 300 PPI or more makes individual pixels almost invisible to a person with normal vision, the picture is perceived as a complete one; at greater distances, a similar effect is noticeable at a lower point density.

— Display panel type. This parameter is indicated only for relatively advanced displays that are superior in performance to the simplest LCD screens of feature phones. The most widespread nowadays are the following types of panels:
  • IPS. The most popular technology for the screens of modern smartphones. It provides a very decent image quality, viewing angles and response speed, although it is somewhat inferior in these specs to many more advanced options (see below). On the other hand, IPS also has important advantages: durability, even wear, and also a rather low cost. Thanks to this, such screens can be found in all categories of smartphones — from low cost to high-end.
  • AMOLED. Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel technology developed by Samsung. One of the key differences between such panels and more traditional displays is that they do not require external illumination: each pixel is its own light source. Because of this, the power consumption of such a screen depends on the properties of the displayed image, but in general it turns out to be quite low. In addition, AMOLED panels are distinguished by wide viewing angles, excellent brightness and contrast ratios, high colour reproduction quality and fast response time. Due to this, such screens continue to be used in modern smartphones, despite the existence of more advanced technologies; they can be found even in high-end models. The main disadvantage of this technology is the relatively high cost and uneven wear of the pixels: dots that work longer and more often at high brightness burn out faster. However, usually this effect becomes noticeable only after several years of intensive use — a period comparable to the life of the smartphone itself.
  • Super AMOLED. An improved version of the AMOLED technology described above One of the key improvements is that in Super AMOLED screens there is no air gap between the touch panel and the display located under it. This made it possible to further increase the brightness and image quality, increase the speed and reliability of the sensor response and at the same time reduce power consumption. The disadvantages of such panels are the same as the original AMOLED. In general, they are quite widespread; most smartphones with similar screens belong to the middle and top categories, but there are also low-cost models.
  • OLED. Various types of panels based on the use of organic light emitting diodes; in fact — analogues of AMOLED and Super AMOLED, produced not by Samsung, but by other companies. The specific features of such screens may be different, but for the most part they are, on the one hand, more expensive than popular IPS, on the other hand, they provide higher image quality (including brightness, contrast, viewing angles and colour fidelity), and also consume less energy and have small thickness.
  • OLED (polymer). Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screens, which do not use glass as a base, but a transparent polymer material. We emphasize that we are talking about the basis of the panel; from above it is covered with the same glass as in other types of screens. Anyway, this design offers a number of advantages over traditional "glass" panels: it provides additional impact resistance and is great for creating curved displays. On the other hand, in terms of optical properties, plastic still falls short of glass; so screens of this type are often inferior in image quality to alternatives made using traditional OLED technology, and with a similar picture quality, they are noticeably more expensive.
In addition, screens in modern smartphones can be made using the following technologies:
  • PLS. A variation of IPS technology created by Samsung. In some parameters — in particular, brightness, contrast and viewing angles — it surpasses IPS, while it is cheaper to manufacture and allows you to create flexible displays. However, for a number of reasons, it is not particularly popular.
  • Super AMOLED Plus. A further development of the Super AMOLED technology described above. Allows you to create even brighter, more contrasting and at the same time thin and energy-efficient screens. However, most often such screens nowadays are simply referred to as "Super AMOLED", without the "Plus" prefix.
  • Dynamic AMOLED. Another AMOLED improvement introduced in 2019. The main features of such panels are increased brightness without a significant increase in power consumption, as well as 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space and compatibility with HDR10+; the last two points, in particular, make it possible to reproduce modern high-low-cost cinema on such screens with the highest quality. The main disadvantage of Dynamic AMOLED is traditional — the high price; so such panels are found mainly in top tier models.
  • Super Clear TFT. A joint development by Samsung and Sony, which appeared as a forced alternative to Super AMOLED matrices (the demand for them at one time significantly exceeded production capabilities). However the image quality of Super Clear TFT is somewhat lower — but in production such panels are noticeably simpler and cheaper, but in terms of performance they still surpass most IPS screens. However, nowadays, this technology is rare, giving way to AMOLED in different versions.
  • Super LCD. Another alternative to various kinds of AMOLED technology; used mainly in HTC smartphones. Similar to Super AMOLED, such screens do not have an extra air gap, which has a positive effect on both image quality and the clarity of sensor responses. A notable advantage of the Super LCD is its good power efficiency, especially when displaying bright white colour; but in terms of overall colour saturation (including black), this technology is noticeably inferior to AMOLED.
  • LTPS. An advanced type of TFT panels, created on the basis of the so-called low temperature polycrystalline silicon. It allows you to easily create screens with a very high pixel density (more than 500 PPI — see above), achieving high resolutions even with a small size. In addition, part of the control electronics can be built directly into the panel, reducing the overall thickness of the display. The main disadvantage of LTPS is the relatively high cost, but nowadays such screens can be found even in low cost smartphones.
  • S-PureLED. A technology developed by Sharp and used primarily in its smartphones. Actually, the technology of the panels themselves in this case is called S-CG Silicon TFT, and S-PureLED is the name of a special layer used to increase transparency. S-CG Silicon TFT is positioned by the creators as a modification of the LTPS technology described above, which allows to further increase the resolution of the display and at the same time build more control electronics into it (up to a whole “processor on glass”) without increasing the thickness. Of course, these screens are not cheap.
  • E-ink. Panels based on the so-called "electronic ink" — a technology common primarily in electronic books. The main feature of such a screen is that during its operation, energy is spent only on changing the image; a still picture does not require power and can remain on the display even in the absence of power. In addition, by default, E-Ink panels do not glow on their own, but reflect external light — so their own illumination is not necessary for them (although it can be provided for work at dusk and darkness). All this provides a solid energy saving; and for some users, such screens are purely subjectively more comfortable and less tiring than traditional panels. On the other hand, the E-Ink technology also has serious drawbacks — first of all, a long response time, as well as the complexity and high cost of colour displays, combined with poor colour reproduction quality on them. Thus, in smartphones, such panels are a very rare and exotic option.
— Refresh rate. The maximum display refresh rate, in other words, the highest frame rate that it can effectively reproduce. The higher this indicator, the smoother and smoother the image is, the less noticeable the “slideshow effect” and blurring of objects when moving on the screen. At the same time, note that the refresh rate of 60 Hz, supported by almost any modern smartphone, is quite sufficient for most tasks; even high-definition videos hardly make use of high frame rates these days. Therefore, the refresh rate in our catalog is specified mainly for screens capable of delivering more than 60 Hz (in some models — up to 240 Hz). Such a high rate can be useful in games and some other tasks, it also improves the overall experience of the OS interface and applications — moving elements in such interfaces move as smoothly as possible and without blurring.

— HDR. A technology that allows you to expand the dynamic range of the screen. In this case, the range of brightness is implied — simply put, the presence of HDR allows the screen to display brighter whites and darker blacks than on displays without support of this technology. In fact, this gives a noticeable improvement in image quality: the saturation and reliability of the transmission of various colours improves, and the details in very light or very dark areas of the frame do not “drown” in white or black. However, all these advantages become noticeable only on the condition that the content being played is originally recorded in HDR. Nowadays, several varieties of this technology are used, here are their features:
  • HDR10. Historically the first of the consumer HDR formats, it is extremely popular today: in particular, it is supported by almost all streaming services with HDR content and is standardly used for such content on Blu-ray discs. Provides a colour depth of 10 bits (more than a billion shades). At the same time, HDR10+ format content (see below) can also be played on devices with this technology, except that its quality will be limited by the capabilities of the original HDR10.
  • HDR10+. An improved version of HDR10. With the same colour depth (10 bits), it uses the so-called dynamic metadata, which allows transmitting information about the colour depth not only for groups of several frames, but also for individual frames. This results in an additional improvement in colour reproduction.
  • Dolby Vision. An advanced standard used particularly in professional cinematography. Allows you to achieve a colour depth of 12 bits (almost 69 billion shades), uses the dynamic metadata mentioned above, and also makes it possible to transmit two image options at once in one video stream — HDR and normal (SDR). At the same time, Dolby Vision is based on the same technology as HDR10, so in modern tech this format is often combined with HDR10 or HDR10 +.
— Touch screen. Screen with a built-in sensor that tracks the touch of your fingers. Such equipment provides more features and often turns out to be more comfortable than classic controls (in the form of hardware buttons, keys, etc.). So, on the touch screen, you can display a wide variety of controls (on-screen keyboards in different layouts, icons, sliders, etc.), as well as change the location and appearance of these elements, adjusting them to a particular situation. Touchscreens are a must-have for smartphones these days, but touchscreens also can be found in some high-end phones as well.

— Curved screen. A screen that has curved edges to which the displayed image extends. In other words, in this case, not only glass is curved, but also part of the active panel. Displays where both edges are curved are sometimes referred to as "2.5D glass" as well; also there are devices where the screen is bent only on one side. Anyway, this feature gives the smartphone an interesting appearance and improves the visibility of the image from some angles, but it significantly affects the cost and can create inconvenience when holding (especially without a case). So before buying a model with such screen you should hold the device in your hand and make sure that it is comfortable enough.

— Gorilla Glass. A special high-strength glass used as a display cover. It has high durability and resistance to scratches, many times exceeding usual glass in these terms. It is widely used in smartphones, where large screen sizes put forward increased requirements for coverage reliability. Modern phones may have different versions of this glass, here are the features of different options:
  • Gorilla Glass v3. The oldest of the current versions is released in 2013; now found mainly in relatively inexpensive or obsolete devices. However, this coating also has undoubted advantages: this is the first generation of Gorilla Glass, where the creators have made a noticeable emphasis on resistance to scratches from keys, coins and other objects that the phone can “collide” in a pocket or bag. In these terms, the v3 version remained unsurpassed until the release of Gorilla Glass Victus in 2020.
  • Gorilla Glass v4. Version released in 2014. A key feature was that the development of this coating focused on impact resistance (whereas previous generations focused mainly on scratch resistance). As a result, the glass is twice as strong as in version 3, despite the fact that its thickness is only 0.4 mm. But here's the scratch resistance, compared with its predecessor, has decreased slightly.
  • Gorilla Glass v5. An improvement released in 2016 to further improve impact resistance. According to the developers, the glass of the v5 version is 1.8 times stronger than its predecessor, remaining intact in 80% of 1.6m face-down drops onto a rough surface (and a guaranteed impact resistance of 1.2m). Scratch resistance has also improved somewhat, but this material still falls short of v3 performance.
  • Gorilla Glass v6. Version introduced in 2018. For this coating, a 2-fold increase in strength compared to its predecessors is claimed, as well as the ability to endure multiple drops on a hard surface (during testing, v6 glass successfully endured 15 drops from a height of 1 m). The maximum drop height (single) with guaranteed integrity is claimed at 1.6 m. Scratch resistance has received almost no improvement.
  • Gorilla Glass 7. Original name for Gorilla Glass Victus — see below.
  • Gorilla Glass Victus. The "heir" of Gorilla Glass 6, released in the summer of 2020. In this coating, the creators paid attention not only to increasing the overall strength, but also to improving scratch resistance. According to the latter indicator, Victus surpasses even the v3 version, not to mention more sensitive materials (and compared to v6, scratch resistance is claimed to be twice as high). With regard to durability, it allows you to guarantee to endure single drops from a height of up to 2 m, as well as up to 20 consecutive drops from a height of 1 m.

Gorilla Glass

A special extra strong glass used to cover the displays and back covers of modern mobile phones. This material is several times stronger than ordinary glass and is highly resistant to scratches and impacts. Today you can find several versions of Gorilla Glass, here are their main features:

— Gorilla Glass 3 (2013). Despite its "venerable age", it is distinguished by high scratch resistance — it was possible to surpass this indicator only 7 years later in the Victus version.

— Gorilla Glass 4 (2014). Compared to the previous version, it has twice the impact resistance combined with less thickness (0.4 mm). But scratch resistance has decreased slightly.

— Gorilla Glass 5 (2016). Improvements in this version have further increased durability — it is 1.8 times higher than its predecessor, and can withstand drops from a height of 1.2 m (as well as up to 80% of drops from a height of 1.6 m, which is approximately the same as the level of the human ear).

Gorilla Glass v6(2018). Another version with an emphasis on increased impact resistance. Twice as strong as the 5th version, guaranteed to withstand single drops from a height of 1.6 m and multiple (up to 15 times in a row) from a height of 1 m.

Gorilla Glass Victus(2020). After v3, this is the first version of Gorilla Glass where the creators paid as much attention to scratch resistance as to shock pro...tection. In terms of ability to resist scratches, this material outperforms even v3 (and outperforms v6 twice). The impact resistance is claimed at the level of 2 m with a single drop and 1 m with multiple (up to 20 times in a row).

— Gorilla Glass Victus + (2022). An improved modification of the protective glass Gorilla Glass Victus, close to ceramics in terms of scratch resistance. So, according to the Mohs mineralogical hardness scale, the glass starts to scratch at the level of 7/10, while the original version of Victus scratches at the level of 6/10.

Brightness

The maximum brightness in nits provided by the smartphone display.

The brighter the display, the more readable the picture remains on it under intense ambient light (for example, outdoors on a clear sunny day). Also, high brightness is important for the correct displaying of HDR content. However, a large amount of brightness affects the cost and power consumption of the screen. Manufacturers can specify standard, maximum, and peak brightness values. At the same time, an equal sign cannot be put between the maximum and peak brightness. The first indicates the ability of the screen to produce the specified brightness over its entire area, while the peak one — in a limited area and for a short time (mainly for HDR content).

Display-to-body ratio

The ratio of the screen area to the total front panel area of the phone. Simply put, this spec describes how much of the front panel is occupied by the screen; the rest is the bezels.

This indicator is given exclusively for smartphones with touch screens — it is for them that it is most relevant. The larger the percentage of the body is occupied by the screen, the thinner are the bezels, the neater the smartphone looks and the more convenient it is to work with it with one hand. As for specific numbers, the average values are 80 – 85%, the higher values allow us to talk about a thin bezel, and more than 90% — about a “bezel less” design.

Separately, we note that this parameter has nothing to do with the aspect ratio of the screen. The aspect ratio describes only the display itself — its proportions, the ratio between the larger and smaller side of the rectangle. (The most popular screen sizes in modern smartphones are 16:9, 18:9, 19:9, 19.5:9 and 20:9).

DCI-P3

Percentage of the DCI-P3 colour model coverage by a smartphone screen.

This space has a wider range of colours than the standard sRGB "triangle". In general, the DCI-P3 colour space corresponds to the Adobe RGB model, but with a shift to red. In fact, a high coverage rate means high-quality colour reproduction of the screen and allows finer processing of the images received from the camera of a mobile device.

DxOMark test

DxOMark is an independent private research and development centre, which operates a department for evaluating the quality of mobile phone screens. DxOMark tests smartphone displays for comprehensive analysis, from image clarity and responsiveness to artifacts and rendering issues. After passing the test, the smartphone is assigned points for the quality of the screen.

Operating system

The term "operating system" refers to all types of firmware — both full-fledged OS like iOS and Android, used in smartphones, and software shells for regular phones (non-smartphones). The main difference between these two is that a full-fledged OS initially has more extensive features, and also allows you to install and remove various applications — from games and social network apps to specialized tools like photo and video editors.

Among modern smartphones, two operating systems are most widely used — Android and iOS. Here is a more detailed description of each of them:

— Android. Free open source OS from Google. Used by all modern manufacturers except Apple; presented in many versions — in particular, 10 Q, 10 Go Edition, 11 R, 11 Go Edition, Android 12, Android 12 Go Edition are relevant today. This OS is notable primarily for its full-fledged multitasking and an extensive range of available applications — Android surpasses iOS in both; on the other hand, in general, the quality of Android applications is somewhat lower due to the low requirements for them. Initially, Android has tight integration with Google services — the Google Play app and content store, Gmail mail, Google Drive...cloud storage, etc.; however, exceptions to this rule are possible. Note that the latest versions of this OS can be found on the market both in its original form and in one of two specific editions:
  • - Go edition. Modification of Android, designed for low-cost smartphones with "weak" hardware. Both the OS itself and standard applications (Assistant, Gmail, etc.) have been redesigned in this edition in such a way as to ensure reliable operation even with low performance. At the same time, the developers tried to preserve the features of full-fledged Android as much as possible — however, some specific fwatures in the Go Edition were still not available (for example, standard maps do not support step-by-step navigation).
  • - HMS. Edition of Android, used in smartphones from Huawei. Due to US sanctions against China, this company cannot fully cooperate with Google — in particular, use Google services (Google Mobile Services — GMS) in its Android smartphones. As a replacement, HMS — Huawei Mobile Services were introduced. These services include Huawei ID, AppGallery, equivalents of Google's core services (assistant, browser, cloud storage, music/video, etc.), and app developer tools.
As for individual versions of Android, here are the main features of the options that are relevant nowadays:
  • - Android 10. Version released in September 2019. This version introduced an expanded set of full-screen gestures (with the possibility of optimization in individual applications — in particular, disabling gestures on certain areas of the screen to avoid conflicts), a "dark" screen mode at the system level, a number of important security updates (including a separate encryption standard for weak devices that do not support the AES format at the hardware level), full support for 5G communications and improved capabilities for working with augmented reality. In addition, a number of solutions have been implemented to optimize the experience on foldable smartphones with a flexible screen.
  • - Android 11. Another major update, released in the fall of 2020. The main updates touched messages and notifications. So, a separate section "Conversations" for messages was created in notifications, it also became possible to display various correspondence in the form of a "bubble" on top of any running application (Bubbles feature). Do Not Disturb mode has been expanded — now you can add exceptions to it for individual correspondence. Other important innovations include a system tool for recording screen video, a single control centre for smart home components, quick switching between playback devices (phone speaker, wireless headphones, Smart TV, etc.), native support for Android Auto, as well as expanded the ability to control the access of individual applications to certain data.
  • - Android 12. A popular operating system released in 2021. The new concept of Material You is based on discreet colour palettes and minimalistic two-dimensional objects with advanced animation. The system theme now adapts to the colour scheme of user's desktop wallpaper (Monet feature), and instead of round settings icons in the notification bar, rectangular dice with rounded edges are now used. The designers also reworked the animation of flipping through desktops, plugging in a charger, and so on. In smartphones running Android 12, instead of precise geolocation, you can select approximate location information, and icons have appeared in the notification bar that signal the inclusion of a camera or microphone when using certain applications. The Privacy Dashboard option reveals information about which programs have accessed the camera and microphone. The NFC on mobile devices can henceforth be used as a virtual key for a car (Car Key). Another innovation in the system is the call to Google Assistant by long pressing the power button of the smartphone.

— iOS. Apple's own operating system, used only in the gadgets of this manufacturer. The main advantages of iOS over Android are, first of all, careful optimization for specific devices (which allows you to achieve good performance with relatively modest amounts of RAM), general usability and safety, as well as high quality applications. In addition, iOS updates are released regularly and are available for all devices (with the exception of frankly outdated ones that no longer can handle new versions of the system). On the other hand, this OS does not support multitasking and is as closed to the user as possible: in particular, applications can only be installed from the original store, there is no access to the file system, memory cards are not supported.

— HarmonyOS. Huawei's Universal Operating System, also known as Hongmeng. It is used in a wide range of devices: appliances from the smart home ecosystem, smart watches, smartphones and tablets. Harmony OS is a kind of add-on on top of Android without Google services. The app store for Harmony OS devices is called AppGallery.

— Proprietary. This term most often means the basic firmware installed in a regular phone (not a smartphone), usually, a push-button one. Such firmware has a more modest set of pre-installed programs than full-fledged OS; expanding this set is at best possible with Java-based universal mobile applications, and often additional applications are not supported at all. However, this cannot be called a disadvantage due to the specifics of the use of traditional phones.

Note that you can find devices with other operating systems, in addition to those described above. However, for the most part, these are either outdated models or devices with rare and uncommon types of firmware.

Stock Android

"clean" Android operating system/

The Android OS is open source, allowing developers to create various modifications of this OS, including branded builds and software shells. Such modifications can be quite advanced, but they often change or even limit the functionality of the original Android, and updates to such firmware are highly dependent on their creators and often fall back behind updates to the original OS. Thus, some users prefer to use "clean", stock Android, without any add-ons or shells; those devices are designed for them.

CPU model

The most popular nowadays are CPUs from Qualcomm and MediaTek. Among Qualcomm it is Snapdragon 450, Snapdragon 460, Snapdragon 480, Snapdragon 625, Snapdragon 632, Snapdragon 636, Snapdragon 662, Snapdragon 665, Snapdragon 675, Snapdragon 710, Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 730, Snapdragon 765G, Snapdragon 778G, Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 855, Snapdragon 860, Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 870 and Snapdragon 888. And Mediatek has a low-cost series MediaTek Helio P, a gaming MediaTek Helio G and a high-end MediaTek Dimensity(700, 800, 1100 and 1200).

Knowing the name of the processor model (CPU) installed...in the smartphone, you can find detailed data on a particular CPU and evaluate its level and general capabilities. This is especially true due to the fact that these capabilities depend not only on the number of cores and clock speed, but also on the specific nuances of the design.

CPU frequency

The clock frequency of the CPU that the device is equipped with. For multi-core processors, which are standard in modern smartphones, the frequency of each individual core is implied; and if the processor has cores with different frequencies (see "Number of cores") — usually, the maximum indicator is given.

In general, high performance smartphones have high frequency of the processor. However, note that this parameter itself is not directly related to the capabilities of the CPU: many other features of the chip affect the actual performance, and often a low cost solution with a higher clock speed turns out to be less performant than an expensive one, and at the same time, presumably, more "slow" processor. In addition, the overall performance of the system directly depends on a whole set of other factors — primarily the amount of RAM. Therefore, when evaluating a smartphone, it is worth focus not so much on the frequency of the processor, but on the general specs of the system and visual indicators like the results in tests (see below).

CPU cores

The number of cores in the processor of a mobile phone.

The core in this specific case refers to the part of the processor that executes one thread of commands. Accordingly, the presence of multiple cores allows you to work with multiple threads simultaneously, which has a positive effect on performance. At the same time multi-core CPUs are now found even in the most inexpensive modern smartphones — even chips with 8 cores are not uncommon among them, not to mention simpler quad -core and six-core solutions. And some modern processors can have up to 10 cores.

Theoretically, more cores can improve processor efficiency. However, in fact, the performance of the CPU (and the smartphone itself, eventually) depends on many additional factors. Thus the number of cores is purely a reference parameter. For example, a high-end quad-core processor may be much more performant than an inexpensive eight-core one. So you really should focus on overall level of performance and the results shown in various tests (see below)

It is also worth mentioning that individual cores of mobile CPUs may vary in clock speed, performance and power consumption. The classic version is 8 cores working according to the “4 + 4” scheme: 4 relatively “weak” and power efficient cores are responsible for simple tasks like Internet surfing, and ano...ther 4 – more powerful ones - turn on when high performance is required (for example, in games with advanced graphics). This scheme of work allows you to achieve the optimal balance between performance and energy efficiency of CPU.

GPU

The model of the GPU used in the mobile phone.

This module is responsible for all tasks related to graphics; accordingly, its specs directly affect the efficiency of processing a particular picture. This is especially noticeable in the example of modern 3D games. Therefore, the presence of a powerful video adapter is especially important for gaming smartphones. And knowing the model of the GPU, you can find detailed data about it and evaluate its capabilities.

RAM

The amount of RAM is one of the main parameters of the overall performance of the system: the larger it is, the faster the device works and the better it handles an abundance of tasks and/or resource-intensive applications. This is even more true due to the fact that large amounts of RAM are usually combined with powerful advanced processors. However, note that only devices with the same operating systems can be directly compared with each other, and in the case of Android, also with the same versions and editions of this OS (for more on all this, see "Operating system"). This is due to the fact that different operating systems and even different versions of the same OS can significantly differ in terms of RAM requirements. For example, iOS, thanks to a good optimization for specific devices, is able to work effectively with 2 GB of RAM(although this "unpretentiousness" has its downsides — first of all, the lack of full-fledged multitasking). For modern versions of Android, the regular edition (not Go Edition), the mentioned 2 GB is actually the minimum, but in general it is better to have at least 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM for such an OS. And in high-end devices with powerful hardware, you can also find more impressive specs — 6 GB, 8 GB or even 12 GB or more.

RAM type

The type of RAM installed in the smartphone.

All modern devices use LPDDR format "RAM" ( LPDDR4, LPDDR4x and LPDDR5). In addition to its miniature size, it differs from conventional computer RAM by supporting special data transfer formats (16- and 32-bit memory buses). But the versions of such memory may be different:

— LPDDR3. The earliest generation of LPDDR relevant today was introduced in 2012, and has been implemented in devices since 2013. Standardly operates at speeds up to 1600 MT/s (megatransactions per second) and frequency up to 933 MHz; the "enhanced" version supports speeds up to 2133 MT/s. Nowadays, this standard can be found mainly among obsolete devices, although some of them were released not so long ago and at one time belonged to the top level. Typical examples of devices with this type of memory are iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S4, Xiaomi Redmi 8, Huawei P10 Lite.

— LPDDR4. The successor to LPDDR3, officially introduced in August 2014 (although the first hardware developments were released at the end of 2013). The speed of work, compared with its predecessor, has doubled — up to 3200 MT/s; the frequency increased to 1600 MHz; while energy consumption was reduced by 40%. In addition, the data transfer format has changed — in particular, instead of one 32-bit bus, 2 16-bit buses are used — and some security improvements have a...lso been introduced. As of 2020, this memory can be found in fairly advanced smartphones, including flagship models from 2018 and 2019.

— LPDDR4x. An improved version of the LPDDR4 described above, which is primarily distinguished by reduced power consumption — it uses a voltage of 0.6 V instead of 1.1 V. In addition, some improvements have been implemented in this type of RAM aimed at increasing the speed (it reaches 4266 MT/s) and general optimization of work — such as single-channel mode for undemanding applications. Thanks to such specs, such memory has become noticeably more widespread than the original LPDDR4, for 2020 it can be found in the main devices of the middle and top tiers.

— LPDDR5. Further development of "mobile" RAM, officially announced at the beginning of 2019. The speed of operation in this version has been increased to 6400 MT/s, a differential signal format has been introduced to improve resistance to interference and errors, and dynamic frequency and voltage control, as well as some special commands, have been introduced to reduce power consumption. The use of such modules is typical mainly for high-end smartphones.

Storage

The volume of storage installed in the phone.

This volume directly determines how much data can be stored on the phone without using removable memory cards. This indicator is especially important for models that don't have memory card slots. However, even if memory cards are supported, built-in storage is still preferable: at least it works faster, and it usually has fewer restrictions on its use (in particular, most smartphones allow you to install applications only on storage).

As for specific volumes, the actual minimum for a modern smartphone is 16 GB ; less "capacious" devices nowadays are practically not produced. 32 GB is still considered relatively low, 64 GB is average, 128 GB is above average, and some high-end devices have 256 GB or even more.

Also note that the actual amount of memory available to the user will inevitably be somewhat less than the total, since part of the drive is occupied by operating system files.

Storage type

The type of the phone's storage.

The specification determines, first of all, the speed of the memory, and, accordingly, the performance of the device as a whole (especially when working with large amounts of data or resource-intensive applications). Nowadays, there are two basic specifications — eMMC and UFS; each of them has several versions. In general, storages with UFS 3.1 are the fastest and most advanced today, but they cost accordingly, and therefore are used mainly in premium smartphones. A more detailed description of these standards looks like this:

— eMMC. One of the simplest and most affordable standards for solid state memory — for example, this specification is used by most flash drives. In smartphones and other portable gadgets, this standard was generally accepted until 2016, when the introduction of UFS began; however, even now it is very popular — mainly due to its low cost and low power consumption. But the speeds of eMMC are noticeably lower than those of UFS. So, in the latest version of eMMC 5.1A (2019), the read speed is up to 400 MB/s, and the earlier and more common version of eMMC 5.1 provides up to 250 MB/s in read mode, up to 125 MB/s in sequential write mode and all only up to 7.16 MB/s with random writes (in other words, in application mode).

— UFS. A solid state drive standard designed to be a faster, more advanced successor to eMMC. In addition to the increased data exchange...speeds, the format of work has also been changed in UFS — it is fully duplex, that is, reading and writing can be performed simultaneously (whereas in eMMC these processes were performed in turn). Also, efficiency in random read and write mode has been significantly improved, which has a positive effect on the quality of work with applications. Specific data exchange rates and features of work depend on the version of UFS, nowadays you can find the following options:
  • 2.0. The earliest of the versions found in modern smartphones; was released back in 2013. Provides data transfer rates up to 1.2 GB/s, the maximum available in this version. The newer version 2.1 has the same speeds, but it is supplemented with a number of important innovations. Therefore, UFS 2.0 memory is rarely used in mobile phones.
  • 2.1. The first of the versions that are widely used in smartphones; was released in 2016. In terms of speed, it does not differ from version 2.0 described above, and the main differences are in some improvements. In particular, UFS 2.1 introduced storage status indicator (“health”), the ability to remotely update the firmware, as well as a number of solutions aimed at improving overall reliability.
  • 2.2. An evolution of the UFS 2.x standard introduced in Summer 2020. A key improvement is the introduction of the WriteBooster feature (originally introduced in UFS 3.1); this feature allows you to significantly increase the write speed and, accordingly, the overall performance in tasks like running applications.
  • 3.0. A version released in 2018 and implemented in hardware a year later. The throughput was increased to 2.9 GB/s per two lines (1.45 GB/s per one), new versions of the M-PHY electronic protocol (physical layer) and UniPro based on it were introduced, the reliability of working with data and the temperature mode of operation of the controllers has been expanded (in theory, it can range from -40 °С to 105 °С). UFS 3.0 is used mainly in fairly advanced smartphones, although in the future we can expect this specification to be extended to more modest models.
  • UFS 3.1. The successor to the UFS 3.0 standard, officially introduced in early 2020. It is positioned as a specification created specifically for high-performance mobile devices and aimed at increasing speed while minimizing power consumption. To do this, UFS 3.1 has a number of innovations: a non-volatile Write Booster cache to speed up writing; special DeepSleep power saving mode for relatively simple and inexpensive systems; as well as the Performance Throttling Notification feature, which allows the drive to send overheating signals to the control system. In addition, this standard may additionally provide support for the HPB extension, which improves reading speed.

Memory card slot

The type of removable memory card slot.

In itself, the presence of such a slot allows you to expand the built-in storage of the device. This feature is especially useful given that large built-in drives are quite expensive — noticeably more expensive than removable cards. At the same time, we note that the design may provide certain restrictions on working with memory cards — for example, the inability to install an application on this card. These restrictions are usually directly related to the operating system used. And the speed of those cards is noticeably lower than that of the built-in storage. Therefore, there are phones without a memory card slot, so that there is nothing third-party in the operation of the device.

Separately, we note that in some devices for 2 SIM-cards, the slot for a memory card can be combined with a slot for a second SIM card. See "Card Slots" for details; here we note that if you want to use 2 SIM and a memory card at the same time, you should choose a device with a dedicated slot for a memory card.

As for the types of cards, microSD cards are the most popular nowadays: they are quite compact, inexpensive and available in a variety of volume options. However, relatively recently, Huawei introduced a new standard — Nano Memory (Nano SD). Among the advantages of such cards are a miniature size (corresponds to nan...oSIM), high capacity, as well as high speed (from 90 MB/s). On the other hand, so far they are mainly used in Huawei smartphones, and most often they are installed not in a separate slot, but instead of a second nanoSIM card. So it remains to be seen if this standard will become more widespread.

Maximum memory card volume

The largest volume of memory card with which the phone supports. For more information about the cards themselves, see "Memory Card Slot"; here we note that capacious cards often use advanced technologies that are not supported by all devices, and sometimes phones simply do not have enough power to process large amounts of data. Therefore, for the convenience of choosing in our catalog, the maximum supported volume is indicated.

In fact, there are cases when some devices may exceed the claimed characteristics — for example, working with 8 GB card with the claimed 4 GB of maximum capacity. However, it is worth focusing on official data, because, if officially supported volume is exceeded, normal operation of the card is not guaranteed.

Liquid cooling

The water cooling system of the smartphone is designed to increase the efficiency of heat dissipation. Good cooling allows the smartphone to perform properly at peak loads, without freezes or lags. The use of a liquid radiator makes it possible to improve cooling by an average of 4-6 °C compared to passive coolers. Water cooling is used in high-performance smartphones equipped with a performant CPU and GPU and multiple artificial intelligence co-processors.

Water cooling of a smartphone can have various design implementations. The concept of a radiator filled with refrigerant has gained the greatest popularity. In such a cooler, the liquid evaporates as it heats up and condenses in a separate heat exchanger, after which the liquid again enters the cooling radiator. Of course, if you want to increase cooling efficiency, that will increase the dimensions of the smartphone.

SIM slots

The quantity and types of removable cards (SIM, memory cards) that can be installed in the phone. On E-Catalog this parameter is specified only for devices that allow the installation of more than one SIM card — most often that means 2 SIM cards, however, you can find devices with three or even four corresponding slots.

Initially several slots mean that several phone numbers can be used on one device. Thus it is possible to combine personal and work numbers, separate plans for calls and the Internet, etc. in one device. However modern devices (especially smartphones) often provide the combined design “SIM + SIM / memory card " : one of the slots is intended only for SIM, the second can be used both for a SIM card or for a memory card such as microSD or Nano Memory (see "Memory card slot"). At the same time, there is no separate slot for a memory card in the device, so the user has to choose between the second number and additional storage. Therefore, if you want to use 2 SIM cards and a memory card at the same time, you should pay attention to models where this is directly stated.

It is also worth considering that individual slots may differ in the type of compatible SIM cards; see below for details.

SIM card type

The type of SIM card used in the mobile phone. The term SIM here means all types of cards for identification in mobile networks, including 3G networks, CDMA, etc. (although formally such cards may have other names). The type of such a card is primarily described by its form factor. Here are the most common options:

— micro SIM. The largest type of sim cards widely used in modern devices: its' size is 15x12 mm. It was introduced back in 2010, nowadays it is gradually being replaced by more compact and advanced nano-SIM and eSIM; nevertheless, it is still quite popular. Keep in mind that a microSIM card can be made by simply cutting a larger mini-SIM to the dimensions mentioned above. However this is associated with a certain risk and requires accuracy, so it is better to contact your mobile carrier to replace the SIM card with a suitable one.

— Nano-SIM. The smallest form factor of classic (replaceable) SIM-cards is 12x9 mm. In such cards the frames are cut off almost to the very chip. This standard appeared back in 2012, but it is still extremely common. Like microSIM, a card for a slot of this format can be made by cutting a larger SIM card, but this requires extreme accuracy and is not recommended.

e-SIM. This type of SIM card is an electronic module that is built directly into the device and cannot be replaced. To authorize in the network of a mobile carrier, you need to...make the appropriate settings in the eSIM. Those modules are able to save several sets of settings at once, which makes it easy to switch between different carriers — no need to bother with the physical replacement of the SIM card, just change the profile in the settings. Another advantage of such modules is compactness. However, before buying a phone with an eSIM, you should clarify whether this technology is supported by your mobile carrier — even nowadays, not every network is compatible with such modules.

— nano+eSIM. An option found in smartphones with two SIM cards. The built-in eSIM module in such a device is complemented by a slot for a replaceable nanoSIM card. The features of each of these card types are detailed above. It is convenient to keep the main phone number (s) on eSIM, and use replacement cards for temporary numbers. Such scenario may come in handy if you travel abroad a lot — you can install cards from local carriers in the traditional nanoSIM slot.

Test results

The test results are specified either by a younger model in a line or a particular model, made for a better understanding performance of phone models if you compare phones against these parameters. For example, the 128 GB model has test results, and the 256 GB model has no information on the network, and in both models you will see the same value that will give an understanding of the overall performance of the device. But if the editorial office has information for each model individually, then each model will have its test results filled out, and the model with bigger RAM will have bigger values.

3DMark Gamer's Benchmark

The result shown by the device when passing the 3DMark Gamer's Benchmark performance test.

3DMark is a series of benchmarks originally designed to test the graphics performance of a device; later, these tests were supplemented by checking the capabilities of the processor. Testing is carried out primarily in terms of performance in games (in fact, the benchmark itself is described as “a game without the ability to influence the process”), however, given that modern games can have very high requirements, 3DMark is a fairly visual tool for assessing the overall performance of the system . And since the latest versions of the test are made cross-platform, it also makes it possible to compare devices under different operating systems and even different classes (for example, smartphones with tablets). The more points this or that model received on this test, the more performant it is.

It is worth noting that the results of any benchmark are usually quite approximate, because. they depend on many factors that are not directly related to the system — from the load of the device with third-party programs and ending with the air temperature during testing. The error due to these factors is usually about 5 – 7%; therefore, it is possible to speak of a significant difference between the two models only if the difference in their indicators goes beyond those 5 – 7%.

AnTuTu Benchmark

The result shown by the device when passing the AnTuTu Benchmark performance test.

AnTuTu Benchmark is a comprehensive test designed specifically for mobile devices, primarily smartphones and tablets. It checks the efficiency of the processor, memory, graphics and I/O systems, thus providing a fairly visual impression of the capabilities of the system. The better the result, the more points are given at the end. And according to the AnTuTu rating, smartphones with more than 200,000 points are considered to have high performance.

Like any benchmark, this test does not give absolute accuracy: the same device can show different results, usually with deviations within 5 – 7%. These deviations depend on many factors that are not directly related to the system — from the load of the device with third-party programs to the air temperature during testing. So, it is possible to speak about a significant difference between the two models only if the difference in their indicators goes beyond those 5 – 7%.

Geekbench

The result shown by the device when passing the Geekbench performance test.

Geekbench is a specialized benchmark designed for CPUs, and since version 4.0 (2016) also used for GPUs. However, in the specs of portable gadgets, data on the CPU is usually given. During testing, Geekbench simulates the workloads that occur when performing real-world tasks, and tests both the capabilities of a single core and the efficiency of multiple cores running simultaneously. Thanks to this, the final results characterize the capabilities of the processor in everyday use well. In addition, the test is cross-platform and allows you to compare the CPUs of different devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs) with each other.

Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1 / METAL)

The result shown by the phone in the 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1 / METAL) test.

3DMark is a series of benchmarks originally designed to test the GPU performance of a device; later, these tests were supplemented by checking the capabilities of the CPU and RAM in general. Specifically, Sling Shot Extreme is one of the latest versions of 3DMark, released in 2016 for testing high performance devices and gaming smartphones, for which earlier tests are no longer enough. One of the main features of this benchmark is support of resolutions up to 2560x1440 (for predecessors, the maximum resolution did not exceed 1920x1080, or even 1280x720). In addition, as the name suggests, the test supports the OpenGL ES 3.1 (for Android) and Metal API (for iOS) specifications used in modern mobile video chips; and since mid-2019, support of the 64-bit CPU architecture has also been added to it. Thus, 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme allows you to reliably evaluate even the most performant and advanced modern smartphones. At the same time, the assessment is traditionally indicated in points: the more points, the better the result.

The results of any benchmark are usually quite approximate, because they depend on many factors not directly related to the system. The error due to these factors is usually about 5 – 7%; therefore, it is possible to speak of a significant difference between the two models only if the difference in their indicators goes beyond those 5 – 7%.

Lenses

The number of individual lenses provided in the module of the main (rear) camera of the device. Specified only if there are several lenses. At the same time, each «eye» has its own sensor and, in fact, is a separate camera; however, they can be used in conjunction, forming one image from data from several lenses, or mutually complementing each other's capabilities. As an illustration of the second case, the following example can be given: when using the zoom, the smartphone can automatically switch from the main optics to the telephoto lens when the magnification selected by the user exceeds a certain threshold.

The simplest version of the main module with several lenses is a dual camera, however, devices with 3 or more rear cameras are becoming more common (in some models, the number of lenses can reach six). Anyway, these cameras usually differ in specifications and perform different functions. So, an ordinary colour camera can be supplemented with a lens for black-and-white shooting, which improves contrast; in some models, lenses with different focal lengths allow you to choose the optimal viewing angle for certain conditions; information from an auxiliary lens (see below) is usually used to adjust the depth of focus on an already finished shot, etc. These details should be clarified separately, but anyway, several lenses mean more shooting options.

Main lens

Specifications of the main lens of the rear camera installed in the phone. In models with several lenses (see “Number of lenses”), the main one is responsible for basic shooting capabilities and does not have a pronounced specialization (wide-angle, telephoto, etc.). Four main parameters can be indicated here: resolution, aperture ( high aperture optics are quite common), focal length, additional sensor data.

Resolution(in megapixels, MP)
Resolution of the sensor used for the main lens. Low cost options are equipped with an 8 MP module and below, the majority of all models has a 12 MP or 13 MP camera, but there are also higher values, such as 48 MP, 64 MP and even 108 MP.

The maximum resolution of the resulting image directly depends on the resolution of the sensor; and the high resolution of the "picture" allows you to capture small details better. On the other hand, an increase in the number of megapixels in itself can lead to a deterioration in the overall image quality — due to the smaller size of each individual pixel, the noise level increases. As a result, the direct resolution of the camera has little effect on the quality of photos and videos — a lot also depends on the size of the sensor, the feat...ures of the optics and various design tricks used by the manufacturer. At the same time, we note that the more megapixels in the camera, the higher the likelihood that various additional solutions are implemented in it, aimed at improving the quality of the picture.

Aperture
Aperture describes the ability of a lens to transmit light. It is written as a fractional number, for example f/1.9. Moreover, the larger the number in the denominator, the lower the aperture ratio, the less light passes through the optics, all other things being equal. For example, an f/2.6 lens will be “darker” than f/1.9.

High aperture gives the camera a number of advantages. First, it improves the quality of shooting in low light. Secondly, it's possible to shoot at low shutter speeds, minimizing the effect of "stirring" and blurring of moving objects in the frame. Thirdly, with fast optics it is easier to achieve a beautiful background blur ("bokeh") — for example, when shooting portraits.

Focal length(in millimetres)
The focal length is a distance between the sensor and the centre of the lens (focused to infinity), at which the most clear image is obtained on the matrix. However, for smartphones, the specifications indicate not the actual, but the so-called equivalent focal length — a conditional indicator recalculated using special formulas. This indicator can be used to evaluate and compare cameras with different sensor sizes (the actual focal length cannot be used for this, since with a different sensor size the same real focal length will correspond to different viewing angles). (It is also worth saying that the equivalent focal length can be noticeably larger than the thickness of the case — there is nothing unusual in this, since this is a conditional, and not a real indicator).

Anyway, the field of view and the degree of magnification directly depend on the equivalent focal length: a larger focal length gives a smaller field of view and a larger size of individual objects that fall into the frame, and a decrease in this distance, in turn, allows you to cover more space. In most modern smartphones, the focal length of the main camera ranges from 13 to 35 mm; if compared with the optics of traditional cameras, then lenses with equivalent focal length up to 25 mm can be attributed to wide-angle lenses, more than 25 mm — to universal models “with a bias towards wide-angle shooting”. Such values are chosen due the fact that smartphones are often used for shooting in cramped conditions, when a fairly large space needs to fit into the frame at a small distance. Enlargement of the picture, if necessary, is most often carried out digitally — due to the reserve of megapixels on the sensor; but there are also models with optical zoom (see below) — for them, not one value is given, but the entire working range of the equivalent focal length (recall, optical zoom is carried out by changing the focal length).

Field of view(in degrees). It characterizes the size of the area covered by the lens, as well as the size of individual objects "seen" by the camera. The larger this field, the more of the scene gets into the frame, but the smaller the individual objects in the image are. The field of view is directly related to the focal length (see above): increasing this distance narrows the field of view of the lens, and vice versa.

Note that this parameter is generally considered important for professional use of the camera rather than for amateur photography. Therefore, viewing angle data is given mainly for smartphones equipped with advanced cameras — including in order to emphasize the high class of cameras. As for specific values, for the main lens they usually are in the range from 70° to 82° — this corresponds to the general specifics of such optics (universal shooting with an emphasis on general scenes and extensive coverage at short distances).

Additional Sensor Data
Additional information regarding the sensor installed in the main lens. This item can specify both the size (in inches) and the sensor model, and sometimes both parameters at once. Anyway, such data is provided only if the device is equipped with a high-end sensor. With the model, everything is quite simple: knowing the name of the sensor, you can find detailed data on it. The size is worth considering a little more.

The size of the sensor is traditionally indicated in fractional parts of an inch — accordingly, for example, a 1/2.3" sensor will be larger than 1/2.6". Larger sensors are considered more advanced, as they provide better image quality at the same resolution. This is due to the fact that due to the larger sensor area, each individual pixel is also larger and receives more light, which improves sensitivity and reduces noise. Of course, the actual image quality will also depend on a number of other parameters, but in general, a larger sensor size usually means a more advanced camera. For comparison, we note that the mentioned 1/2.3" are initially the standard sensor size for classic digital cameras of the "compact" class, but in modern smartphones there are also larger sensors — 1/2" and even 1/1.7".

Ultra wide lens

Specs of the ultra wide-angle lens of the main camera installed in the phone.

These details are relevant only for cameras with several lenses (see "Number of lenses") — and not all, but only those where there is a lens with a small focal length (much less than in the main lens) and, accordingly, wider viewing angles. It is called ultra-wide. In the same paragraph, four main parameters can be indicated: resolution, aperture ratio, focal length and additional sensor data.

Resolution(in megapixels, MP)
The resolution of the sensor used for the ultra-wide lens.

The maximum resolution of the resulting image directly depends on the resolution of the sensor; and the high resolution of the "picture" allows you to capture small details better. On the other hand, an increase in the number of megapixels in itself can lead to a deterioration in the overall image quality — due to the smaller size of each individual pixel, the noise level increases. As a result, the direct resolution of the camera has little effect on the quality of photos and videos — a lot also depends on the size of the sensor, the features of the optics and various design tricks used by the manufacturer. At the same time, we note that the more megapixels a camera has, the more likely it is to implement various additional solutions aimed at improving image quality.

As for the specific resolution of ultra-wide optics, it can co...rrespond to the number of megapixels in the main lens (see "Main lens") or be lower, sometimes quite noticeable (for example, 2 MP with the main optics more than 20 MP). This is due to the fact that an ultra-wide-angle lens often plays a secondary role, for which a small resolution is more than enough.

Aperture
Aperture describes the ability of a lens to transmit light. It is written as a fractional number, for example f/1.9. Moreover, the larger the number in the denominator, the lower the aperture ratio, that is, for example, an f/2.6 lens will transmit less light than f/1.9.

High aperture gives the camera a number of advantages: it allows you to shoot at low shutter speeds, minimizing the likelihood of “shake”, and also makes it easier to shoot in low light and shoot with artistic background blur (bokeh). However, for an ultra-wide lens, such features are not as important as for the main camera — such lenses usually have a specific purpose, and their small aperture is often more desirable, which allows you to increase the depth of field. So in general, this parameter is more of a reference than practically significant when choosing.

Focal length
The focal length is a distance between the sensor and the centre of the lens (focused to infinity), at which the most clear image is obtained on the sensor. However, for smartphones, the specifications indicate not the actual, but the so-called equivalent focal length — a conditional indicator recalculated using special formulas. This indicator can be used to evaluate and compare cameras with different sensor sizes (the actual focal length cannot be used for this, since with a different sensor size the same real focal length will correspond to different viewing angles). (It is also worth saying that the equivalent focal length can be noticeably larger than the thickness of the case — there is nothing unusual in this, since this is a conditional, and not a real indicator).

Anyway, the viewing angle and the degree of magnification directly depend on the equivalent focal length: a larger focal length gives a smaller viewing angle and a larger size of individual objects that fall into the frame, and a decrease in this distance, in turn, allows you to cover more space. Ultra-wide optics, by definition, must have very short focal lengths — smaller than the corresponding main optics. However, "ultra-wide" focal lengths typically range from 13 mm to 26 mm; such values are not rare among the main lenses. At the same time, there is nothing illogical here — the point is the ratio of focal lengths in each individual smartphone. For example, a camera with a 25mm primary lens can carry a 16mm or 17mm ultra-wide lens; and models with a primary lens less than 24mm usually do not have additional ultra-wide optics at all, since the existing lens perfectly plays this role just fine. Also note that the difference between these types of optics is not as significant as one might imagine; and in some devices, both focal lengths are generally the same, while the difference in specialization is achieved due to the features of image processing in each lens.

Field of view(in degrees) It is the size of the area covered by the lens, as well as the size of individual objects "seen" by the camera. The larger this angle, the more of the scene gets into the frame, but the smaller the individual objects in the image are. The field of view is directly related to the focal length (see above): increasing this distance narrows the field of view of the lens, and vice versa.

Note that this parameter is generally considered important for professional use of the camera rather than for amateur photography. Therefore, the field of view data is given mainly for smartphones equipped with advanced cameras — including in order to emphasize the high class of cameras in this way. As for specific values, ultra-wide-angle optics, by definition, have very wide angles — from 107° and above; in some models, this figure reaches 125°.

Additional Sensor Data
Additional information regarding the sensor installed in the ultra-wide lens. This item can specify both the size (in inches) and the sensor model, and sometimes both parameters at once. Anyway, such data is provided only if the device is equipped with a high-class sensor. With the model, everything is quite simple: knowing the name of the sensor, you can find detailed data on it. The size is worth considering a little more.

The size of the sensor is traditionally indicated in fractional parts of an inch — accordingly, for example, a 1/3.1" sensor will be larger than 1/4". Larger sensors are considered more advanced, as they provide a better image at the same resolution. This is due to the fact that due to the larger sensor area, each individual pixel is also larger and receives more light, which improves sensitivity and reduces noise. Of course, the actual image quality will also depend on a number of other parameters, but in general, a larger sensor size usually means a more advanced camera. However, in ultra-wide lenses, the sensors are generally noticeably smaller than in the main ones — for example, the mentioned 1/3.1" and 1/4" are quite common options. This is primarily due to the secondary role of such cameras.

Telephoto lens

Specs of the telephoto lens of the main camera installed in the phone.

These details are relevant only for cameras with several lenses (see "Number of lenses") — and not all, but only those where there is a lens with a large focal length (much larger than in the main lens) and, accordingly, relatively high magnification. In the same paragraph, four main parameters can be indicated: resolution, aperture ratio, focal length and additional sensor data.

Resolution(in megapixels, MP)
The resolution of the sensor used for the telephoto lens.

The maximum resolution of the resulting image directly depends on the resolution of the sensor; and the high resolution of the "picture", in turn, allows you to display small details better. On the other hand, an increase in the number of megapixels in itself can lead to a deterioration in the overall image quality — due to the smaller size of each individual pixel, the noise level increases. As a result, the direct resolution of the camera has little effect on the quality of photos and videos — a lot also depends on the size of the sensor, the features of the optics and various design tricks used by the manufacturer. At the same time, we note that the more megapixels a camera has, the more likely it is to implement various additional solutions aimed at improving image quality.

As for the resolution of a telephoto lens, it is, usually, somewhat lower...than that of the main optics (see "Main lens") or corresponds to it. It does not make sense to provide higher values for a number of reasons — in particular, because a wide-angle main lens requires a fairly significant supply of pixels for digital zoom, and this is not so critical for a telephoto lens — its zoom level itself is quite high.

Aperture
Aperture describes the ability of a lens to transmit light. It is written as a fractional number, for example f/1.9. Moreover, the larger the number in the denominator, the lower the aperture ratio, for example, an f/2.6 lens will transmit less light than f/1.9.

High aperture gives the camera a number of advantages: it allows you to shoot at low shutter speeds, minimizing the likelihood of “shake”, and also makes it easier to shoot in low light and shoot with artistic background blur (bokeh). However, for a telephoto lens, such features are not as important as for the main camera — such lenses usually have a specific purpose, and in this case a large depth of field is often more desirable, achieved just at a small aperture. So in general, this parameter is more of a reference than practically significant when choosing.

Focal length
The focal length is a distance between the sensor and the centre of the lens (focused to infinity), at which the most clear image is obtained on the sensor. However, for smartphones, the specifications indicate not the actual, but the so-called equivalent focal length — a conditional indicator recalculated using special formulas. This indicator can be used to evaluate and compare cameras with different sensor sizes (the actual focal length cannot be used for this, since with a different sensor size the same real focal length will correspond to different viewing angles). (It is also worth saying that the equivalent focal length can be noticeably larger than the thickness of the case — there is nothing unusual in this, since this is a conditional, and not a real indicator).

Anyway, the viewing angle and the degree of magnification directly depend on the equivalent focal length: a larger focal length gives a smaller viewing angle and a larger size of individual objects that fall into the frame, and a decrease in this distance, in turn, allows you to cover more space. And since telephoto lenses must provide more magnification than the main optics, they, by definition, have a longer focal length. However compared to classic telephoto lenses for digital cameras, this distance is small — about 50 – 60 mm, or even less than 40 mm (which for a conventional camera corresponds to medium-focus and wide-angle optics, respectively). But this cannot be called a disadvantage, given the peculiarities of filming on smartphones. In addition, there are exceptions — smartphones with "long-range" optics of 80 mm or more, which is already quite a decent indicator for a traditional camera.

Field of view(in degrees) It characterizes the size of the area covered by the lens, as well as the size of individual objects "seen" by the camera. The larger this angle is, the more of the scene gets into the frame, but the smaller the individual objects in the image are. The field of view is directly related to the focal length (see above): increasing this distance narrows the field of view of the lens, and vice versa.

Note that this parameter is generally considered important for professional use of the camera rather than for amateur photography. Therefore, the viewing angle data is given mainly for smartphones equipped with advanced cameras — including in order to emphasize the high class of cameras in this way. Specifically, in telephoto lenses, these angles are relatively small — we recall that high magnification in such optics is achieved precisely by narrowing the field of view. In most cases, the size of this field lies in the range of 45 – 52°.

Additional Sensor Data
Additional information regarding the sensor installed in the telephoto lens. This item can specify both the size (in inches) and the sensor model, and sometimes both parameters at once. Anyway, such data is provided only if the device is equipped with a high-class sensor. With the model, everything is quite simple: knowing the name of the sensor, you can find detailed data on it. The size is worth considering a little more.

The size of the sensor is traditionally indicated in fractional parts of an inch — accordingly, for example, a 1/3.4" sensor will be larger than 1/4". Larger sensors are considered more advanced, as they provide a better image at the same resolution. This is due to the fact that due to the larger sensor area, each individual pixel is also larger and receives more light, which improves sensitivity and reduces noise. Of course, the actual image quality will also depend on a number of other parameters, but in general, a larger sensor size usually means a more advanced camera. However, it should be said that sensors in telephoto lenses are generally noticeably smaller than in main lenses — for example, the mentioned 1/3.4" and 1/4" are quite common options. This is mainly due to the secondary role of such cameras — small sensors are cheaper. In addition, with long-range shooting, a large sensor, for a number of reasons, is not as important as in a regular one.

Additional lens

Specs of the additional lens installed in the device.

An additional lens is the one that is not covered by any of the three categories described above (main, tele-, ultra-wide), but is used directly for taking photos and videos (that is, it is not an auxiliary one — see below). In this case, the specific features of such a lens may be different. In some models, modules for a specific purpose are installed — for example, "portrait" optics with a longer focal length than the main module (however, less than that of a telephoto lens). In other devices, you can find additional modules of standard specialization — for example, the second telephoto lens, which differs in specs from the main one; data on such modules is also given here.

The meaning of particular specifications is described in detail above, in the paragraphs regarding the main lens, telephoto lens and ultra-wide optics. Here we note some nuances that directly relate to additional modules or are worth re-mentioning:
  • Resolution (in megapixels, MP). In itself, high resolution only increases the detail and does not necessarily improve the quality of the picture. However, numerous MPs is often a sign of an advanced camera, where various additional solutions are used to improve quality.
  • Aperture. Written as a fraction, such as f/1.9; the larger the number in the designation, the lower the aperture ratio and the worse the light transmission of the lens. These optics are more expensive, bu...t offer better image quality and more overall performance.
  • Focal length. Specified in millimetres. Directly affects the viewing angle and specialization of the lens: short focal lengths are typical for "wide-angle" and lenses for general use, significant — for "portrait" and telephoto lenses.
  • Sensor size. Specified in fractions of an inch, such as 1/2.8". A larger sensor is more expensive and takes up more space, but provides better image quality.
  • OIS. An abbreviation for "optical image stabilization". See below for more details on such systems, but here we note that they are typical mainly for advanced cameras: optical stabilization is more complicated and expensive than digital, but more effective.

Auxiliary lens

The presence of an auxiliary lens in the module of the main (rear) camera of the smartphone. Common to all auxiliary lenses is that they themselves do not shoot, but only supply the main camera with some useful additional data. But the types of this data and, accordingly, the methods of using auxiliary cameras can be different.

So, in some smartphones, an additional lens of a very small resolution is installed, which is used to obtain special information about the depth of field in some shooting modes (primarily in portrait mode). This format of work gives a number of interesting features — in particular, it allows you to change the depth of focus on an already finished image, moving the focus to a particular subject. Another interesting option is the so-called ToF (time of flight) cameras, which work on the principle of rangefinders and are capable of creating 3D models of various objects (including reading facial expressions from the user's face). There are other options, such as a black-and-white secondary camera for greater dynamic range and a fast aperture for better low-light performance.

Macro lens

The presence of a macro lens in a smartphone. In some models, this feature is performed by a separate specialized lens, in others — by the lens of the main camera, which operates in a special mode.

Macro photography, for which such lenses are used, is a special mode that allows you to get very large and detailed images of miniature objects (for example, dew drops or a small insect). This mode is most often used as an artistic tool, but it can also be useful for other purposes, such as scientific ones. And the presence of a full-fledged macro lens means that the smartphone has quite advanced capabilities for such shooting. At the same time, the main camera is considered a macro lens only if it is capable of performing macro photography from a distance of 3 cm or less.

Thermal imager

The thermal imager allows you to get a thermal map of the area, which is superimposed on the image from the main camera. That is, the thermal imager and the smartphone camera work in conjunction. The scope of the thermal imager is very wide. Thanks to the thermal sensor, it is possible to detect: places of heat leakage from the building; heating wiring; the presence of animals in the area when it is already dark, etc. To use a mobile thermal imager, special software is provided, similar to the smartphone camera program. Of course, the capabilities of a mobile thermal imager are much inferior to the potential of individual thermal sighting equipment. In particular, a thermal imager on a mobile phone gives a picture with a minimum resolution, within about 80x60 pixels. It can be used in phones for construction workers and in some cases can replace a professional thermal imager.

Full HD (1080p)

The resolution and maximum frame rate provided by the phone's main camera when recording Full HD (1080p) video at normal speed, without slow motion (if available).

The standard resolution for this format is 1920x1080; but there are other resolution options, though they are almost never found on mobile phones. Note that this can be either the maximum resolution or one of the relatively simple options in addition to more advanced standards (such as UltraHD 4K). At the same time, Full HD is considered a decent resolution by modern standards, and at the same time, it can be supported even by fairly simple and inexpensive smartphones.

As for the frame rate, there are actually two options: — Full HD 30 fps and Full HD 60 fps. A higher frame rate allows you to achieve very smooth dynamic scenes — even fast-moving objects are seen as clearly as possible, with almost no blurring. However, 30 fps also have its advantages — it allows you to reduce the size of videos shot. Therefore, in smartphones with 60fps support, it may be possible to reduce the frame rate to 30 fps. Speeds above 60 fps are used for shooting slow-motion video (slow-mo); see "Slow-mo" for more on this.

Slow motion (slow-mo)

The frame rate supported by the phone in slow motion (slow-mo).

In general, such shooting is called "high-speed" because it is carried out at an increased frame rate (more than 60 frames per second). As a result, when playing at normal speed (60 fps and below), the video looks slow (hence the name “slow-mo”). Such slowing down can be used just for fun, and as an artistic tool, and even for scientific purposes — to capture movement that is too fast for human perception. Anyway, the higher the slow-mo frame rate, the more you can slow down the video and the more advanced the camera is in this regard; the minimum value nowadays is actually 120 fps, and in advanced devices this figure is 480 fps and even more(in some models — more than 7000 frames per second). On the other hand, the higher the frame rate, the more performant the GPU should be; and this, in turn, affects the price of the device, sometimes quite noticeably.

Also note that slow-mo shooting can only be available at certain resolutions, which are not always the maximum; these points can be directly specified in the specs of the smartphone.

Ultra HD (4K)

The resolution and maximum frame rate provided by the phone's main camera when shooting UltraHD (4K) video at normal speed, without using slow motion (if available).

UHD 4K is the most advanced high-definition video standard in widespread use (there are more advanced standards, but they are almost never found in smartphones). It includes several resolution options; in smartphones, 3940x2160 and 4096x3112 are most common.

The frame rate determines how smooth the video will look, how clearly fast moving objects will be visible in it. With normal (not slow-motion) shooting in modern HD standards, including UHD, two options are actually used — 30 fps and 60 fps. The second option allows you to achieve very smooth video, with good motion detail in the frame and almost no blurring in dynamic scenes. However, such a frame rate in this case requires high processing power, so the ability to shoot Ultra HD 4K at 60 fps is found mainly in high-end smartphones. Speeds above 60 fps are already intended for shooting slow-motion video (slow-mo); for more on this, see “Slow-mo”, here we note that slow-mo is quite difficult to implement in smartphones in 4K resolution, again due to high hardware requirements.

> 4K

The maximum resolution and frame rate provided by the main camera when capturing video better than 4K.

Smartphones with this feature most often use the 6K standard, which assumes a resolution of 6144x3240 or 7680x4320. This resolution places very high demands on the hardware, and the standard itself (as of 2020) is only gaining popularity. Therefore, there are few devices with its support so far, mainly top-level models.

As for the frame rate, the higher it is, the smoother the video is; more than 60 fps is used to create slow motion videos. On the other hand, an increase in speed increases the requirements for the hardware of the device. Thus, when working with resolutions above 4K in smartphones, the frame rate usually does not exceed 30 fps, and in some models it is only 15 fps.

Image stabilization

Optical stabilization. Image stabilization is carried out by a system of moving lenses and gyroscopes, which compensates for small shifts and shaking. Thus, the image formed by the lens hits the sensor already stabilized. The main advantage of such systems over electronic ones is the ability to use the entire area of the sensor, which has a positive effect on the quality of images. On the other hand, optical stabilizers are noticeably more complex and expensive, so they are mainly used in high-end smartphones equipped with top-tier cameras.

With sensor shift. Stabilization, carried out by shifting the sensor "following" the shifted image. Like the optical one described above, it is considered a fairly advanced option, although in general it is somewhat less effective. On the other hand, sensor-shift systems also have serious advantages — first of all, the fact that such stabilization will work regardless of the specs of the lens. This means that the lens can be without an optical stabilizer thus making the optics simpler, cheaper and more reliable. In addition, sensor shift is somewhat simpler and cheaper than traditional optical stabilizers.

Optical zoom

The presence of optical zoom in the main camera of the smartphone (in several lenses modules — at least in one lens, usually the main one).

Such an magnification is carried out due to the movement of the lenses in the camera lens: shifting the lenses reduces the viewing angle, as a result, the objects remaining in the frame look larger. This is more effective than digital zoom, when a separate section of the image from the sensor is stretched over the entire frame: optical zoom allows you to use the entire area of the sensor and shoot at full resolution, regardless of the zoom level. On the other hand, moving lens systems are quite complex and expensive, and it is difficult to achieve powerful optical zoom in smartphones due to size limitations. Therefore, this feature is found mainly in advanced devices with advanced photographic capabilities, and even there the optical zoom ratio is small — from a certain moment the camera switches to digital zoom or to a separate telephoto lens (this format of operation also happens).

This feature should not be confused with camera zoom (see below): optical zoom is carried out using only one lens, without switching between cameras.

Camera Zoom

The degree of magnification provided by the phone by changing the main cameras — switching from optics with the smallest focal length to a lens with the largest focal length.

For details on phones with multiple lenses, see "Number of Lenses" above. Here we specify what kind of approximation the most “long-range” main camera provides compared to the lens with the widest viewing angle. For example, if a smartphone has three main cameras — main, ultra wide-angle and telephoto — this paragraph will indicate the difference between the last two, thus it is possible to identify smartphones with a good zoom, which we think should be considered at the 4x magnification level. This means only the increase in the original, raw image, which occurs due to switching between lenses; software solutions (digital zoom) are not taken into account. And if one of the compared cameras has an optical zoom (see above), the original specs are taken for comparison, without using the zoom.

The actual magnification of the cameras may not correspond to the magnification indicated by the manufacturer, as these are different characteristics; see "Claimed Magnification" for details. Also note that this feature should not be confused with the already mentioned optical zoom: the latter is carried out by means of only one lens, without switching between cameras.

Claimed magnification

The degree of magnification of the main camera, claimed by the manufacturer.

This paragraph contains the figure indicated in the specs of the phone by the manufacturer. Note that the specific meaning of this spec may be different — depending on the design features and the specific brand. So, in models with one lens, the specs of the optical zoom are usually indicated here (see above). If there are several main cameras, the magnification due to switching between them can be taken into account, and the claimed figure may differ significantly from the actual magnification by the cameras (see above). For example, in some models, the manufacturer indicates the difference between "long-range" and ordinary cameras, while in the item "Zoom cameras" a distinction is made between "long-range" and wide-angle optics; in such cases, the first digit will be less than the second. The opposite situation is also possible — for example, if a telephoto lens is equipped with an optical zoom, the manufacturer can take teleoptics data at maximum zoom for calculations, while the camera zoom is indicated without taking this feature into account.

Flash

The presence of a flash on the main camera of the phone.

Flash is a lamp for illuminating the photographed scene, it significantly expands the possibilities of shooting. In particular, it allows you to shoot in low light and against bright light. In addition, the flash can usually also be used as a flashlight(see "Options"), which eliminates the need to install two light sources in the phone.

DxOMark test result

The result shown by the main camera of the smartphone in the DxOMark ranking.

DxOMark is one of the most popular and respected resources dedicated to expert testing of cameras, including smartphones. According to the test results, the camera receives a certain number of points; The more points, the higher the final score. The DxOMark top in our catalog includes devices that score at least 80 points; and a score of more than 90 points allows us to consider the camera of device a high-end one, even if the device does not formally belong to “camera phones”.

Form Factor

The form factor of the front camera determines, first of all, the features of its location.

Note that this parameter is specified only for those models where the location of the front camera differs from the traditional one (above the display, in the upper bezel). Nowadays, you can find such form factors of such cameras: teardrop, notch, retractable, in the display (island), under the display (hidden). Here is a more detailed description of these options:

— Teardrop. The camera is located in a signature cutout on the top side of the display. Such a cutout is small (slightly larger than the module itself) and is shaped like a drop hanging from the top edge of the screen — hence the name. Thanks to this arrangement, the camera takes up very little display space, and most devices with this feature have a very large screen-to-body ratio (see above) — 80% or more (although there are exceptions).

— Notch. The notch is also at the top of the display; however, unlike the “drop” described above, such a cutout is quite large — it usually houses not only the camera, but also the ear speaker, as well as proximity and light sensors. The fashion for this design was set by the iPhone X released in 2017, so devices with a notch are sometimes called “iPhone clones”. However, this is not ent...irely correct — most of them are completely independent devices, similar to the iPhone X only with a cutout at the top of the screen.

— Retractable. A camera that is completely hidden inside the phone and is pulled out of it only for the duration of use. In modern devices, such a camera is usually built into a small movable module, which, if necessary, “pops up” from the top end of the device. This design allows you to allocate maximum space for the screen on the front panel and significantly reduce the thickness of the top bezel; at the same time, the retractable module can be large enough, which allows you to install an advanced camera in it. The disadvantages of this option are the complexity of the design and the relatively low reliability (due to additional moving parts).

— In the display (cutout). The camera is located on a round cutout at the top of the display. Such cameras differ from the teardrop cameras described above in that the cutout does not come into contact with the edges of the screen. This design also allows you to significantly reduce the thickness of the top bezel and allocate maximum space for the display.

— Under the display (hidden). The most advanced of modern front camera form factors: the module is completely hidden under the display. Thanks to this, the lens on the front panel is almost invisible (except that the screen area under which it is located can slightly stand out from the rest of the image). Such a design is very expensive to implement, and therefore is found mainly among flagship models.

Lenses

The number of lenses provided in the front camera of the smartphone. The classic version is one lens, so this parameter is indicated if this number is more than one; usually such smartphones have two, less often three front lenses, each with its own sensor (that is, in fact, several separate front cameras). At the same time, we note that the IR camera for FaceID (see "Data input") is not considered the second (third) lens.

The point of using multiple lenses is to enhance the overall shooting experience and/or improve image quality. The specific implementation of these ideas in different smartphones may be different. For example, there are smartphones where the second lens has a very low resolution and a purely auxiliary function — it is used to obtain service information about the depth of field, which allows you to change the focus point even after shooting, on an already finished photo. Other options include optics for measuring colour depth (RGB-depth) and improving the colour reproduction of the main camera; an optional extra wide-angle lens that will be useful for selfies in tight spaces, etc.

It is also worth noting that a separate case is represented by three front cameras in devices of the “clamshell” or “foldable screen” type (see “Body Type”). In such devices, the lenses can be divided along the sides of the device — most often two lenses are...installed on the inside, and one on the outside. Thus, you can quickly take a selfie without opening the case, and for more advanced features, you can use the internal module.

Main lens

Resolution of the main lens of the front camera installed in the phone. For models with several lenses (see "Front camera" — "Number of lenses"), the main one is the one responsible for the main part of the shooting and does not have a pronounced specialization (auxiliary, ultra-wide-angle, etc.).

Initially, the front cameras were intended for video communication, but nowadays, for many users their only function is still taking a selfie. Therefore, although the resolution of such cameras is generally lower than that of the rear ones, however, among them there are also very solid indicators — 8 MP, 13 MP, and in specialized "selfie smartphones" — 16 MP and even 20 MP and higher. Lower values — 5 MP, as well as 2 MP — are typical mainly for low cost and frankly outdated devices.

Keep in mind that the resolution of the sensor itself determines only the detail of the images and does not affect the overall quality of photos and videos; on the other hand, a higher number of megapixels often means a more advanced camera, with a number of technical features designed to provide high quality images. Therefore, on the one hand, it makes sense for lovers of high-quality selfies to look for front modules with a higher resolution; on the other hand, cameras with the...same resolution can differ significantly in the final quality of the photos and videos. So if the ability to take a selfie is crucial for you, you should look not only at the number of megapixels, but also at the actual examples of pictures from a particular camera (for example, in reviews).

Aperture

Aperture of the main lens of the front camera installed in the phone. For models with several lenses (see "Front camera" — "Number of lenses"), the main one is the lens which is responsible for the main part of the shooting and does not have a pronounced specialization (auxiliary, ultra-wide-angle, etc.).

This parameter is indicated by a fraction, for example f/1.7; the smaller the number in denominator, the higher the aperture ratio, the more light the lens is able to transmit. In theory, a better aperture improves low-light performance, reduces motion blur, and can be useful for creating beautiful background blur; however, in fact, looking for a fast front camera(f/1.9 and better) makes sense mainly in cases where you plan to take selfies often and in large quantities and want to achieve the maximum quality of such pictures.

2nd lens

Resolution of the second front camera installed in the smartphone.

See "Number of lenses" above for details on dual cameras. As for the resolution of the second camera, it can be different in smartphones of a similar level, since additional cameras can have different purposes. For example, if the camera is responsible for processing service data about focus and depth of field (so that these parameters can be changed on the finished image), it does not need high resolution. And if the camera is used directly for shooting (for example, black and white, to increase aperture) — then the meaning of the resolution is the same as in the main camera, for more details, see "Main lens" above.

Aperture (2nd lens)

Aperture of the second front camera of the smartphone.

For more information on multiple front cameras, see "Number of lenses" above. Aperture describes the ability of a lens to transmit light. It is written as a fractional number, for example f/1.9. Moreover, the larger the number in the denominator, the lower the aperture ratio, that is, for example, an f/2.6 lens will transmit less light than f/1.9.

High aperture gives the camera a number of advantages: it allows you to shoot at low shutter speeds, minimizing the likelihood of “shake”, and also makes it easier to shoot in low light and shoot with artistic background blur (bokeh). However, for additional cameras, this parameter is not as important as for the main one — such cameras can have a specific purpose, which does not always require high aperture. So in general, this parameter is more of a reference than practically significant when choosing.

Full HD (1080p)

Front camera capabilities of shooting video in Full HD(1080p)

This paragraph indicates at least the resolution of the filming; theoretically, the Full HD format covers several resolutions, but in fact, among smartphones, there are no other options other than 1920x1080. Also, the maximum frame rate can be specified in the specs. In general, the higher it is, the smoother the video will look; an indicator of 30 fps in this sense is considered normal, 60 fps is very good. And if the device supports a shooting speed of 120 fps or more, this means that it is capable of shooting slow-motion videos.

Ultra HD (4K)

Capabilities of the front camera for shooting video in Ultra HD (4K) resolution.

This paragraph indicates at least the resolution of the filming; The 4K standard covers several options for resolutions, in mobile devices it can be found, in particular, 3840x2160 and 4096x3112. In addition, the maximum frame rate can be given in the specs. In general, the higher it is, the smoother the video will look; an indicator of 30 fps in this sense is considered normal, 60 fps is very good. And values of 120 fps and above allow you to shoot slow-motion video, but in the case of 4K, this possibility practically does not occur due to high hardware requirements.

Optical stabilization

The presence of an optical stabilization system in the front camera of a phone.

Such a system smooths out trembling and lens shaking due to movable lenses and gyroscopes that track small movements of the phone and compensate them. Its main advantage over electronic stabilization is that the optical method does not require a reserved space on the sensor and allows you to use its entire area, which has a positive effect on image quality. In addition, an optical stabilizer can be used in combination with an electronic stabilizer, which ensures maximum efficiency. On the other hand, such systems are quite complex and expensive. Therefore, the presence of optical stabilization of the front camera means belonging to a high class of devices designed specifically for high-quality selfies.

Flash

The presence of a flash on the front camera of the phone.

This feature is especially useful for selfie enthusiasts who want to capture clear, well-lit self-portraits regardless of the ambient light. The most popular use of a flash is to illuminate at dusk or in the dark (for example, in the evening or in a dark room). It can also be useful when shooting against bright light, when the face is in shadow and without additional illumination it would be hard to see.

Note that in some smartphones, the screen can play the role of flash for the front camera — at the time of shooting, it lights up with a bright white light. However, this feature is not considered a flash.

DxOMark test result

The result shown by the front camera of a smartphone in the DxOMark ranking.

DxOMark is one of the most popular and respected resources dedicated to expert testing of cameras, including smartphones. According to the test results, the camera receives a certain number of points; the more points, the better the result. And the result of 80 points or more allows us to consider the model as the DxOMark top among front cameras.

Communication standards

Communication standards supported by the mobile phone. In the modern world, several standards related to different generations are actively used: GSM, 3G, 4G (LTE)(with or without VoLTE), 5G, CDMA. They vary in both specs and prevalence in different countries:

— GSM. The earliest of the communication standards found in modern telephones. Belongs to the second generation (2G). Allows you to make voice calls with acceptable sound quality, as well as transfer data at speeds up to 474 Kbps (using EDGE technology). Nowadays, GSM is considered completely obsolete, it has been almost universally replaced by more advanced standards of the next generations (3G, 4G, etc.). However, 2G support is found in most modern devices — not so much because of practical necessity, but because of technical features. The fact is that almost all communication standards that are relevant nowadays are add-ons over GSM, and modules for working with these standards are almost guaranteed to be compatible with GSM as well.

— 3G. In a broad sense, the 3G category (third generation communications) includes several standards. However, in the east european mobile phone market, this term refers specifically to the connection of the UMTS format. This standard is a development of GSM, such networks are often deployed on the basis of ready-made networks of the 2nd generation and can also ser...ve GSM phones without problems. Specifically, UMTS provides data transfer rates from 2 to 70 Mbps, depending on additional technologies implemented by a particular operator. This is already comparable to fixed Internet access; so, despite the spread of newer standards, 3G communication and phones for it are still quite popular — especially since such devices are compatible with 4G and 5G networks.

— 4G (LTE). Communication 4 generations based on the LTE standard; other 4G standards are not used in mobile phones. LTE is a further development of 3G (UMTS), deployed on the basis of the same technical base, but operates at higher speeds — up to 173 Mbps, which is comparable to a full-fledged broadband Internet connection. LTE networks are commercially operated in many countries of the world, but not in all; therefore, before buying a 4G-compatible phone, it's a good idea to check if it will be possible to use all its features in your area. Also note that voice calling over LTE ("VoLTE") is a separate topic; see below for details.

— 5G. Further, after 4G, the development of mobile communication standards. In the official specifications of this generation, a peak speed of 20 Gb/s for reception and 10 Gb/s for transmission, guaranteed speed (at high network load) of 100 and 50 Mb/s, respectively, as well as a number of solutions aimed at improving reliability and overall connection quality. A set of such solutions includes, in particular, multi-element antenna arrays (Massive MIMO) and beamforming technologies (Beamforming) at base stations, as well as the possibility of direct communication between subscriber devices. With all this, this standard allows to reduce energy consumption in comparison with its predecessors.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the rumors about the dangers of 5G communications for health. According to modern scientific data, such a connection does not pose a danger to the human body, and the rumors mentioned are conspiracy theories that are not supported by any weighty arguments.

— VoLTE. VoLTE is not a separate communication standard, but a technology used in devices with 4G LTE support (see above). The name of this feature stands for "Voice over LTE", which corresponds to its main specifics. The fact is that initially the LTE standard was created for data transmission (in other words, Internet access) and did not support classical voice communication in mobile networks; this format of operation is still found in some models of 4G phones. To remedy the situation, VoLTE technology was created. It allows you to use all the capabilities of 4th generation networks when talking on the phone, providing very clear and high-quality sound transmission. So if you plan to frequently use voice calls in LTE networks, you should pay attention to devices with this feature.

— CDMA. CDMA networks are known to users primarily by the activities of cell phone networks that provide the opportunity to receive a mobile phone with a direct city number. At one time, these networks competed with GSM and more advanced standards based on it, but as mobile communications developed and became cheaper, CDMA operators for the most part curtailed their activities in the voice communications market and switched to mobile Internet access services. It is worth noting here that the EV-DO Rev.A and Rev.B data transmission technologies available in CDMA networks are capable of providing connection speeds at the level of third-generation networks (up to 3.1 Mbps in the first case and up to 14.7 Mbps in the second), so in some places these services were promoted under the 3G label. However, this connection should not be confused with UMTS-based 3G (see above) — these are two fundamentally different standards that are incompatible with each other. Roughly speaking, if we are talking about 3G in a mobile phone, usually, we mean UMTS, but 3G modems more often use CDMA (EV-DO).

It is worth noting that the GSM, 3G and 4G standards (in that order) are, in fact, stages in the development of mobile networks of the same type. In fact, this means that a phone with support for a later standard, by definition, supports earlier ones — for example, a device with LTE is able to work with both GSM and 3G.

You also need to remember that different ranges can be used within the same standard, and not all of them can be supported in a mobile device. However phones officially sold in a certain country are usually optimized for local networks, and there should be no problems with them. But if the device is planned to be imported from another country, and it was not intended for the local market, it makes sense to first clarify the compatibility by bands. Otherwise, a situation may arise when the device simply “does not see” the network, although formally it will be compatible with a certain communication standard.

4G (LTE)

The 4G (LTE) mobile connection speed supported by the device.

All modern LTE equipment is assigned one or another category (Cat.3, Cat.4, Cat.6, etc. up to Cat.18 and Cat.20), on which the data transfer rate directly depends. This paragraph specifies both this category and specific speed indicators, moreover, in two parameters — for reception and for transmission. The transmission speed is always much lower, but given the specifics of mobile Internet access, this moment is usually not critical.

Note that equipment with different speed categories will be quite compatible with each other, however, the throughput will be limited by the capabilities of the slower device. It is also worth saying that this paragraph indicates the theoretical maximum; practical indicators can be noticeably lower (depending on the quality of the network coverage, the features of specific electronics).

Communications

Types of communications supported by the device in addition to mobile networks.

This list includes two types of specs. The first is directly the communication technologies: Wi-Fi (including advanced standards Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)), Bluetooth(including the latest Bluetooth v 5), NFC, USB OTG, and infrared. The second variety is additional features implemented through one or another communication standard: this is primarily aptX support(including aptX HD), DLNA multimedia technology, and even a built-in walkie-talkie. Here is a more detailed description of each of these specs:

— Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n). Initially, Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that can be used in modern phones both to access the Internet through wireless access points and to communicate directly with other devices (in particular, cameras and drones). Wi-Fi is a must for smartphones, but is extremely rare in traditional phones. Specifically, Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) provides data transfer rates up to 600 Mbps and uses two frequency bands at once — 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, which makes it compatible wi...th earlier 802.11 b/g standards, and with more new Wi-Fi 5 (see below). Wi-Fi 4 is considered a relatively modest standard by modern standards, but for most tasks it is still quite enough.

— Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). Wi-Fi standard (see above), which is the successor to Wi-Fi 4. Theoretically, it supports speeds up to 6.77 Gb / s, and also uses the 5 GHz band — it is less congested with extraneous signals and more immune to interference than traditional 2.4 GHz. For compatibility purposes, a smartphone with a Wi-Fi 5 module may support earlier standards, but this point needs to be specified separately.

WiGig (802.11ad). Further, after Wi-Fi 5, the development of Wi-Fi standards, which differs primarily in the use of the 60 GHz band. In terms of maximum speed, it actually does not differ from Wi-Fi 5, however, a higher frequency increases the channel bandwidth, so that when several gadgets are connected to one common device (for example, a router) at the same time, the communication speed does not drop as much as in earlier standards. On the other hand, an 802.11ad signal is almost incapable of passing through walls; manufacturers use various tricks to compensate for this shortcoming, but the best communication quality is still achieved only with line of sight. There is still relatively little equipment for the WiGig standard, and it is not compatible with earlier versions of Wi-Fi; therefore, smartphones usually provide support for other standards.

— Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). A standard developed as a direct development and improvement of Wi-Fi 5. It uses bands from 1 to 7 GHz — that is, it can work at standard frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (including with equipment of earlier standards), and in other frequency bands. The maximum data transfer rate increased to 10 Gb / s, however, the main advantage of Wi-Fi 6 was not even this, but further optimization of the simultaneous operation of several devices on the same channel (improvement of the technical solutions used in Wi-Fi 5 and WiGig). Thanks to this, Wi-Fi 6 gives the smallest drop in speed among modern standards when the channel is loaded.

— Bluetooth. Direct wireless communication technology between different devices. In mobile phones, it is mainly used to connect headphones, headsets and wrist gadgets like fitness trackers, but other uses are possible — remote control mode, direct file transfer, etc. Modern mobile phones may have different versions of Bluetooth, here are their features:
  • Bluetooth v2.0. The oldest of today's standards, providing only basic features and communication speeds up to 2.1 Mbps. It is extremely rare, among individual models of low-cost phones (not smartphones).
  • Bluetooth v2.1. An updated version of the 2.0 standard, which received a number of improvements regarding the compatibility of different types of devices and connection security. More popular than its predecessor, but also used mainly in low-cost models, mostly non-smartphones.
  • Bluetooth v3.0. A version in which a high-speed channel of 24 Mbps was added to the basic capabilities of Bluetooth 2.1 — for exchanging large amounts of data. At the same time, the Bluetooth module automatically determines the amount of transmitted information and selects which connection to use — regular or high-speed.
  • Bluetooth v4.0. A fundamental update (after version 3.0), which introduced another data transfer format — Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). This protocol was developed mainly for miniature devices that transmit small amounts of information, such as fitness trackers and medical sensors. Bluetooth LE allows you to significantly save energy with such a connection.
  • Bluetooth v 4.1. Development and improvement of Bluetooth 4.0. One of the key improvements was the optimization of collaboration with 4G LTE communication modules so that Bluetooth and LTE do not interfere with each other. In addition, this version has the ability to simultaneously use a Bluetooth device in several roles — for example, to remotely control an external device while simultaneously streaming music to headphones.
  • Bluetooth v4.2. Further, after 4.1, the development of the Bluetooth standard. It did not provide fundamental updates, but received a number of improvements regarding reliability and noise immunity, as well as improved compatibility with the Internet of Things
  • Bluetooth v5.0. Version introduced in 2016. The key innovations were the further expansion of the possibilities associated with the Internet of Things. In particular, in the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol (see above), it became possible to double the data transfer rate (up to 2 Mbit/s) at the cost of reducing the range, as well as quadruple the range at the cost of reducing the speed; in addition, a number of improvements have been introduced regarding simultaneous operation with numerous connected devices.
  • Bluetooth v 5.1. Update of the 5.0 version described above. In addition to general improvements in the quality and reliability of communication, this update has implemented such an interesting feature as determining the direction from which the Bluetooth signal is coming. This makes it possible to determine the location of connected devices with an accuracy of up to a centimeter, which can be useful, for example, when searching for wireless headphones.
  • Bluetooth v5.2. The next update after 5.1 is Bluetooth 5 generation. The main innovations in this version are a number of security improvements, additional power optimization in LE mode, and a new audio signal format for synchronized parallel playback on multiple devices.


— aptX support. aptX technology was developed to improve the quality of Bluetooth audio. When transmitting sound in a regular format, without aptX, the signal is compressed quite a lot, which affects the sound quality; this is not critical when talking on the phone, but it can significantly spoil the impression of listening to music. aptX allows you to transmit an audio signal with virtually no compression and achieve sound quality comparable to a wired connection. Such features will be especially appreciated by music lovers who prefer Bluetooth headphones or wireless acoustics. Of course, in order to use aptX, both the smartphone and the external audio device must support it.

— aptX HD support. aptX HD is a further development and improvement of the original aptX technology, allowing you to transmit sound in even higher quality — Hi-Res (24-bit/48kHz). According to the creators, this standard allows you to achieve signal quality superior to AudioCD, and sound purity comparable to wired communication. The latter is often questioned, but it can be argued that, in general, aptX HD provides very high sound quality. On the other hand, all the advantages of this technology become noticeable only on Hi-Res audio — with a quality of 24-bit/48kHz or higher; otherwise, the quality is limited not so much by the specs of the connection as by the properties of the source files.

— aptX LL support. Modification of aptX technology, designed for the maximum reduction of delays in signal transmission. Encoding and decoding a signal when transmitting audio over Blueooth with aptX inevitably takes some time; this is not critical when listening to music, however, in video or games, there may be a noticeable desynchronization between the image and sound. The aptX LL technology does not have this shortcoming; it also gives a delay, but this delay is so small that a person does not notice it.

— aptX Adaptive support. Further development of aptX; actually combines the capabilities of aptX HD and aptX Low Latency, but is not limited to this. One of the main features of this standard is the so-called adaptive bitrate: the codec automatically adjusts the actual data transfer rate based on the properties of the broadcast content (music, game audio, voice communication, etc.) and the load on the frequencies used. This, in particular, helps to reduce power consumption and improve communication reliability; and special algorithms allow you to broadcast sound comparable in quality to aptX HD (24 bit/48 kHz), using many times less amount of transmitted data. And the minimum data transfer delay (at the level of aptX LL) makes this codec perfect, including for games and movies.

— USB host (OTG). The ability to connect external USB devices to the phone — flash drives, keyboards, and other accessories. The specific capabilities of USB OTG may vary, however, this function allows you to connect not only “mobile” peripherals, but also many USB devices originally created for computers (via a special adapter). Separately, we note that this feature should not be confused with connecting the phone to a computer (OTG is not required for such a connection).

— NFC. NFC is a wireless communication technology for ultra-small distances, up to 10 cm. One of the most popular applications of this technology in smartphones is contactless payments, when the device actually plays the role of a credit card: just bring the device to a terminal with contactless technology support like PayPass or PayWave. Another common way to use NFC is to automatically connect to another NFC-enabled device via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth: gadgets brought close to each other automatically set up a connection, and the user only needs to confirm it. Technically, other options are also possible: recognition of smart cards and RFID tags, use of the device as a travel card, access card, etc. However, such formats of use are much less common.

— DLNA support. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a technology that allows you to combine various home devices (from computers to home appliances) into a single network for content sharing and management. When a device supporting this technology is connected to a public network, the user can, for example, broadcast video from it to a TV screen, control the functions of an audio or video player (in other words, use it as a remote control) and even receive notifications from household appliances on the phone ( e.g. microwave). In mobile phones, DLNA connection is usually implemented using Wi-Fi technology.

— IR port. The infrared port looks like a small "eye", usually on the top of the phone. Such equipment allows you to turn your phone into a remote control for controlling various equipment — just install the appropriate application. At the same time, we note that among such applications you can find an option for almost any device — from TVs to air conditioners, hoods, etc. Accordingly, the "remote-smartphone" turns out to be very versatile.

— Walkie-talkie. Built-in radio module that allows you to use your phone as a walkie-talkie — to communicate over relatively short distances without the use of SIM-cards. Of course, for such communication, you will need another walkie-talkie (or a phone with this feature). The specific frequencies supported by the built-in radio module should be specified separately; however, all phones with this feature operate on one or more of the standard bands. In fact, this means that they are able to communicate not only with similar phones, but also with classic civil walkie-talkies — provided they match the supported bands. The communication range, usually, is quite small; however, built-in walkie-talkie can be very useful in situations where conventional mobile communication is ineffective or unavailable. Typical examples of such situations are being “far from civilization”, in an area of poor coverage, or traveling abroad, where roaming is expensive.

Inputs & Outputs

Inputs and outputs of the smartphone.

This paragraph usually specifies the type of charging and data port (most often it's microUSB, USB C or Lightning), and whether the smartphone has a mini-jack (3.5 mm)(there are devices without it). It can also indicate the interface of the USB C port up to the high-speed third version ( USB C v 3), the location of the 3.5 mm jack (headphone output) and additional ports for a more specific purpose.

The main ports are used primarily for charging the battery, for connecting various accessories to the phone and for connecting the device itself to the computer via a cable. 3.5 mm port (mini-Jack) is intended primarily for headphones and other audio accessories, although other usage formats are possible. Here is a more detailed description of the different types of connectors:

— USB C. A relatively new type of universal interface, a kind of successor to microUSB, which is increasingly used in mobile devices. USB C differs from its predecessor primarily in slightly larger dimensions and a convenient two-sided design: thanks to it, it does not matter which side to insert the plug. In addition, this interface allows you to implement more advanced functions than microUSB — in particular, certain fast charging technologies were originally created s...pecifically for USB C. USB standard supported by this type of connector can be specified separately. Today the options are:
  • USB C 3.2 gen1. The standard formerly known as USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 gen1. Provides data transfer rates up to 4.8 Gbps.
  • USB C 3.2 gen2. The current name for the standard, formerly USB 3.1, then USB 3.1 gen2. The connection speed on this interface can reach 10 Gbps.
  • USB C 3.2 gen2x2. A standard (formerly known as USB 3.2) that delivers twice the speed of "regular" USB 3.2 gen2, up to 20Gbps. Unlike previous versions, it was created specifically for the USB C connector.
— microUSB. A universal connector, which formerly was extremely widely used in portable devices (with the exception of Apple devices). It is less convenient and technically advanced than USB C, therefore it is gradually losing popularity; however, there are still quite a few devices with microUSB out there.

— Lightning. Apple's proprietary connector used exclusively in the iPhone. It has a double-sided design that allows you to connect the plug in either direction. In modern iPhones, it is used both as a universal one and for connecting headphones (in 2016, Apple abandoned the 3.5 mm audio output in their smartphones).

— Original port. The one that does not belong to the types described above. Nowadays, such solutions are extremely rare — standard interfaces are more convenient and versatile, as they allow you to use not only "native" accessories, but also solutions from third-party manufacturers.

— USB A. Full-size USB port — similar to those used in PCs and laptops for connecting various peripherals. It has a similar purpose in phones, it is mainly used for flash drives and other external accessories (the specific set of supported devices should be specified separately). Usually, it is supplemented with a more traditional universal connector like microUSB or USB C; in general, for a number of reasons, it is very rare.

— Magnetic connector. A connector that uses a permanent magnet instead of a standard plug system to hold the cable. Such solutions are used mainly in devices with water protection (see "Waterproof"), and most often — to charge the battery in addition to standard universal connectors (usually microUSB or USB C). The main convenience of the magnetic connector is that it does not need plugs to protect it from water. It simplifies the connection and disconnection of the charger, and secondly, the wear of the plugs on standard ports is minimized — they do not need to be opened and closed every time you charge the smartphone. However only a special “native” cable is suitable for a magnetic connector; but if this cable is lost or broken, it may be possible to charge in the usual way, through a traditional universal connector.

— Mods contacts. Contacts for connecting special additional modules that expand the functionality of the device. Such equipment is usually found in some rugged phones. The modules themselves are usually a kind of "cases" that are put on the back of a smartphone; in such a “case” there may be, for example, an additional battery, a gamepad or even a thermal vision mod.

— Mini-jack (3.5 mm). A connector primarily used to connect wired headphones and other audio devices (such as portable wired speakers). Such a connection is extremely popular among audio accessories (and not only for "mobile" purposes); so finding headphones, a headset or speakers for this connector is usually not a problem. In addition, the 3.5 mm jack can also be used for more specific tasks — for example, connecting a selfie stick, a card reader or exchanging data with wearable fitness sensors and other specific equipment. However, such features are rarely used and require the installation of special applications, but connecting headphones is the initial function of such a connector, available by default. So the mini-jack connector is often called the "headphone output".

— Location of the headphone output. The 3.5 mm output described above in modern phones can be located on the top, bottom or side of the device. However, the latter option is generally less convenient than the first two, and therefore is rare. And the choice for this indicator depends primarily on how exactly you are going to carry the phone and which side will be used to connect headphones to it; For different situations, the options will also be different.

Features

Additional features and capabilities of the device.

In modern mobile phones (especially smartphones) a very extensive amount of additional features can be provided. These can be both already familiar features, many of which are directly related to the original purpose of the device, as well as fairly new and/or unusual ones. The first category includes an emergency call button(often found on phones for the elderly), noise cancellation, FM receiver, notification light, a simple flashlight, a stylus, and a light sensor. The second category includes a face and fingerprint scanner (the latter can be located on the back cover, side panel, front and even right under the screen), gyroscope, advanced full-fledged flashlight, stereo sound, augmented reality support and even such exotics as a barometer. Here is a more detailed description of each...of these options:

— Stylus. The presence of a stylus in the delivery set — a special pen for working with a touch screen. Such screens are now quite convenient with finger control, but some tasks — for example, drawing or signing documents digitally — are still more convenient to handle with a stylus. Nevertheless, a real need for styluses rarely arises, so only a few devices are equipped with them — mostly top-class, with large screens. Usually, a special slot is provided in the body of such a device.

— Face scanner (FaceID). A special technology for recognizing the user's face — not just by photographing, but by building a three-dimensional model of the face based on data from a special module on the front panel. This technology is constantly being improved, nowadays it is able to take into account the change of hairstyles and facial hair, the presence of glasses, makeup, etc. At the same time, the recognition of twins and children's faces still remains weak points (they have fewer individual features than adults ). The main use of a face scanner is authentication when unlocking a smartphone, entering applications, making payments, etc. At the same time, other, more original use cases are possible. For example, in some applications, the face scanner reads the user's facial expressions, and then this facial expression is repeated by an emoji on the phone screen.

— Fingerprint scanner. It is used mainly for user authorization — for example, when unlocking the device, when entering certain applications or accounts, when confirming payments, etc. As for different location options, the most popular nowadays are scanners in the back of the device — to such a sensor you can touch with your index finger without releasing the smartphone from your hands and practically without changing your grip. The scanner on the side works in a similar way, but most often you need to run your finger over it to operate, and not just touch it. This format of work is provided both to avoid false positives during regular holding (usually the scanner is located just under the thumb of the right hand), and because of the small area of the sensor, which does not allow reading a sufficiently large fragment of the print without moving the finger. The sensors on the front panel were quite popular some time ago — in particular, thanks to Apple, which was the first to tightly implement fingerprint recognition in its gadgets; "Apple" smartphones still traditionally use the front location of the scanner. However, such an arrangement inevitably increases the size of the bottom frame, so another option is gaining popularity nowadays — scanners installed directly under the screen and not taking up extra space on the front panel.

— Google AR Core. Smartphone support for Google AR Core augmented reality (AR) technology. This technology is used to work with AR in Android smartphones. Read more about augmented reality and special technologies below.

— Apple AR Kit. Smartphone support for augmented reality (AR) technology Apple AR Kit. This technology is used to work with AR in Apple smartphones running on iOS. Read more about augmented reality and special technologies below.

— Support for special augmented reality technologies. The general idea of augmented reality (AR) is to add certain additional elements to the image of the real world that is visible on the screen of the device, "embedded" in the real world and looking like a part of it. One of the most famous examples of AR is the game Pokemon Go, where the player had to use the camera to look for virtual Pokemon in a real area. Other applications are navigation (displaying a "guide line" directly on the smartphone screen over the image from the camera), interior design (the ability to virtually fit one or another object into an existing environment), car repair (highlighting key details, "X-ray vision") etc. However, in this case, we are talking not just about the ability to work with AR applications, but about support for special augmented reality technologies — usually Google AR Core or Apple AR Kit. The peculiarity of these technologies is that they expand the possibilities available to both users and software developers. So, users get a more extensive set of AR applications, with more advanced abilities; and the developers of such applications can be not only large companies, but almost everyone, including individual specialists.

— Stereo sound. The ability to play full stereo sound through your phone's own speakers, without external audio devices. There must be at least two speakers for this task. This complicates the design and increases its cost, but it has a positive effect on the sound quality: the sound is more expressive and detailed than when using a single speaker, it has a volume effect, as well as a higher volume.

— FM receiver. Built-in module for receiving radio stations broadcasting in the FM band. Some devices also support other bands, but FM is the most popular nowadays (due to the ability to transmit stereo sound), it is in it that music radio stations usually broadcast. Note that some devices for reliable reception may require the connection of wired headphones — their cable plays the role of an external antenna.

— Notification indicator. Physically separate light beacon, pulsating or being constantly lighted up in response to incoming notifications of missed calls and received messages (including the ones from instant messengers and social network clients). Also, the indicator light usually signals a low remaining battery level and lights up during the battery recharging. The implementation of the notification indicator can be different: for some phones it is single-colour, for others it has colour coding of signals, flexibly adjustable for certain events through the settings menu. The light beacon allows you to visually comprehend the presence of incoming notifications without having to turn on the smartphone screen.

— Emergency call button. A separate button designed for use in critical situations. The specific features of such a button may be different, depending on the model: sending “alarming” SMS to selected numbers, automatically receiving calls from these numbers or calling them in turn, turning on the siren, etc. Anyway, the “emergency” button is usually clearly visible, and its presence is especially useful if the phone is used by an elderly person (in fact, in specialized devices designed for elderly, this button is almost mandatory).

— Noise suppression. An electronic filter that cleans the user's voice from extraneous noise (sounds of the street, the rumble of the wind in the microphone grille, etc.). Thus, the person at the other end of the line hears only the voice, with virtually no extra sounds. Of course, no noise reduction system is perfect; however, in most cases, this feature significantly improves the quality of the speech transmitted by the phone to the other person.

— Gyroscope. A device that tracks the rotation of a mobile phone in space. Modern gyroscopes, usually, work on all three axes and are able to recognize both the angle and the rate of turn; in addition, this feature almost necessarily means the presence of an accelerometer, which allows (among other things) to detect tremors and sharp movements of the device. This provides advanced control options — in particular, gyroscopes are indispensable when working with augmented reality (see above) or when using VR glasses into which a smartphone is installed.

— Flashlight. The ability to use the phone as a flashlight. We emphasize that in this case we are usually talking about the simplest version of a flashlight — when this feature is performed by the flash of the main camera, which is turned on through the software settings. More advanced lamps are indicated in the specs as a "full-fledged flashlight" (see below).

— Full-fledged flashlight. The presence of an advanced flashlight in the phone — more powerful than the usual one (see above). The specific design and capabilities of such a flashlight may be different. So, in some devices, a separate LED (or a set of LEDs) is provided on the upper end, and this light source is used only as a flashlight. In others (mainly smartphones), we are talking about a special design of the flash: it consists of several LEDs, and only a part of them is usually used to illuminate when shooting, and all at once to work in flashlight mode. And the additional features of such a light source may include a laser pointer, beam focus, brightness control, etc. Anyway, most models with this feature are rugged devices with increased resistance to dust, moisture and shock (however, there are exceptions).

— Light sensor. A sensor that monitors the level of ambient light. It is mainly used to automatically adjust the brightness of the screen: in bright ambient light, it increases so that the image remains visible, and in twilight and darkness it decreases, which saves battery power and reduces eye fatigue.

— Barometer. Sensor for measuring atmospheric pressure. By itself, the barometer only determines this pressure at the current time, but the methods of using such data may be different, depending on the software installed on the phone. For example, some navigation applications can determine the elevation difference between individual points on the ground by the difference in atmospheric pressure at these points; and in weather programs, barometer data can improve the accuracy of weather forecasts. Also, this feature will be useful for weather-sensitive people: it signals a change in the weather, allowing you to more accurately determine the cause of ailments and take measures to eliminate them.

Navigation

Navigational features provided by a device, usually a smartphone.

It is almost mandatory for a modern smartphone to have a GPS module and a digital compass. In addition, aGPS is often provided to speed up work, and Dual GPS to improve accuracy; also GLONASS compatibility provides additional versatility and reliability. Here is a more detailed description of these features:

— aGPS. An auxiliary feature that allows you to speed up the start of the main GPS receiver. To work for its main purpose, such a receiver must update data on the location of navigation satellites; Obtaining this data in the classical way, directly from the satellites themselves, can take quite a long time (up to several minutes). This is especially true for the so-called "cold start" — when the receiver starts up after a long break in operation, and the data stored in it has become completely outdated. aGPS (Assisted GPS) allows you to receive up-to-date service information from mobile network — from the nearest base station (this feature is supported by most mobile networks nowadays). This can greatly speed up the startup process.

— GPS module. Navigation module that allows you to determine the current coordinates of the device through the GPS satellite navigation system. GPS is the oldest and most common of these systems. The standard accuracy of modern receivers of this...standard is about 6 – 8 m, and with the use of special technologies — several decimetres. As for the GPS-modules in phones, they only provide the current location; How this data is used may vary depending on the operating system and installed applications. Among the most common options are map navigation (including track recording), geotagging photos and posts on social networks, searching for various objects nearby (attractions, transport stops, shops, hotels, cafes / restaurants, emergency services, etc.) , displaying the user's location (for example, to a taxi or delivery service), etc.
Notes to this paragraph may indicate additional systems supported by satellite receivers — for example, the European Galileo system. The exception is the Russian GLONASS, compatibility with which is specified separately (see below).

— Dual GPS. Additional feature found in modern GPS receivers (see above). Such receivers do not operate at one frequency, like traditional modules, but at two ("L1 + L5") — thus receiving two signal packets at once and comparing them with each other. This type of work significantly improves positioning accuracy — in some cases up to 10 – 20 cm. In addition, Dual GPS allows you to correctly process signals reflected from tall buildings — this increases efficiency in dense urban areas. However, it is worth noting that it is not always possible to use all the advantages of this feature. Full support for L5 is available only in the European Galileo system; in GPS (as of 2020), only about half of the satellites carry out such broadcasting, and in GLONASS it is not expected before 2030. In addition, compatibility may be limited by the capabilities of the smartphone: for example, in some models, Dual GPS mode becomes available only after a firmware update.

— GLONASS. Ability to use the GLONASS satellite navigation system. It is a Russian alternative to the American GPS, also providing global coverage. In standard mode, it almost does not differ in accuracy from GPS (about 5 – 10 m), but in special modes it is noticeably inferior (2.8 m versus 30 cm). Therefore, in modern smartphones, GLONASS is practically not used as the main navigation system — usually compatibility with it is provided as an additional feature of the GPS module. The ability to receive signals from two satellite systems at once has a positive effect on the quality of navigation, especially in dense urban areas, indoors and in mountainous areas: the number of dead zones decreases, the satellite search time decreases, and positioning accuracy improves.

— Digital compass. An electronic analogue of a conventional compass: a module that allows you to determine the direction to the cardinal points. Usually, it uses the same principle of operation, and the design is based on a miniature magnetic sensor. Along with the GPS module, it is an almost mandatory feature for modern smartphones. However digital compasses for the most of them are not accurate — but this drawback is not critical, since in the case of a smartphone, such accuracy is extremely rarely required.

Battery capacity

The capacity of the battery that the mobile phone is equipped with.

Theoretically, the high capacity of the battery allows the device to work longer on one charge. However, actual battery life time will also depend on the power consumption of the gadget — and it is determined by the hardware specs, the operating system, special solutions provided in the design, etc. So in fact, phones with capacious batteries in general have "long battery life”, however, the actual battery life can differ markedly even for two models with similar characteristics. Therefore, for an accurate assessment, it is better to focus not on the battery capacity, but on the operating time in different modes directly claimed by the manufacturer (see below).

Operating time (PCMark)

Due to the fact that manufacturers claim a very conditional operating time (in an unknown mode, with unstated brightness indicators and phone settings) in the specs of their gadgets, which is more marketing and is not confirmed in reality, we decided to display a more accurate picture. The operating time indicated in this paragraph is the result of the PCMark Work 2.0 Battery Life benchmark, which evaluates energy efficiency in five work formats: web surfing, video viewing/editing, photo editing, working with text documents and working with data (extracting them from different file formats, building charts). These are the main tasks that a smartphone is supposed to perform in everyday life. And thanks to this testing format, the results very accurately correspond to the actual battery life of the gadget with active use during the day; knowing those results, you can fairly reliably estimate how long the battery will last if you “don’t let go of the phone.”

DxOMark test

Mobile phone battery testing by the independent organization DxOMark allows you to get an informed assessment of the device in terms of the quality of the battery used and its performance. The tests take into account the dynamics of charging, energy efficiency, performance in various scenarios for using a smartphone (the load is simulated in games, during video streaming, voice calls, etc.). The final rating is formed according to the results of three parameters: battery life, charging diagram and efficiency of consumption of accumulated energy reserves. After passing the test, the phone is given points for the quality of the battery.

Fast charging

Fast charging technology supported by the device.

By itself, fast charging, as the name suggests, reduces the charging time compared to the standard procedure. For this, increased voltage and/or current strength is used, as well as a special "smart" process control. But the possibilities and features of such charging may be different, depending on the specific technology used in the device. The same technology must be supported by the charger — this is the only way to guarantee the proper operation. However some types of fast charging are mutually compatible — but this point should be clarified separately, and compatibility is not always complete.

Here is a brief description of the most popular technologies nowadays:

— Quick Charge (1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0). Technology created by Qualcomm and used in smartphones with Qualcomm processors. The later the version, the more advanced the technology: for example, Quick Charge 2.0 provides 3 fixed voltage options, and version 3.0 has a smooth adjustment in the range from 3.6 to 20 V. Most often, devices with a newer version of Quick Charge are also compatible with older chargers, but for full use, an exact match in versions is desirable.
Also note that certain versions of Quick Charge have become the basis for some other technologies, such as Asus BoostMaster and Meizu mCharge. However, again, the mutual compatibility of devices supporting these technologies...needs to be clarified separately.

— Pump Express. Own development of MediaTek, used in smartphones with processors of this brand. Also available in several versions, with improvements and additions as it develops.

— Samsung Charge (Samsung Fast Charge, Adaptive Fast Charging). Samsung's proprietary fast charging technology. It has been used without any changes since 2015, so it looks quite modest against the newer standards. Nevertheless, it is able to provide good speed, especially for the first 50% of the charge.

— Power Delivery (Power Delivery 2.0). "Native" fast charging technology for the USB C connector; can be used in smartphones of different brands equipped with such a connector. Also note that Power Delivery is supported not only by chargers and power banks, but also by separate USB ports of computers and laptops.

— Asus BoostMaster. Proprietary technology used in Asus smartphones. The specs are similar to Quick Charge 2.0; noticeably inferior to many more modern formats, but generally quite effective.

—Meizu mCharge. Meizu proprietary technology. It is interesting, in particular, because it combines Quick Charge from Qualcomm and Pump Express Plus from MediaTek; compatibility with these technologies needs to be specified separately, however, problems in this regard do not occur so often.

— Huawei PowerUp. One of Huawei's proprietary technologies. Formally similar to Quick Charge 2.0, but used with both Qualcomm and other brands of mobile CPUs, so compatibility is not guaranteed. In general, it is considered obsolete, gradually being replaced by more advanced standards like the SuperCharge Protocol.

— Huawei SuperCharge Protocol. Another proprietary technology from Huawei introduced in 2016; for 2021 is available in several versions. In some devices, the power of such charging exceeds 60 V — not a record, but a very solid indicator.

— Honor SuperCharge. A technology used mainly in advanced Honor smartphones. Until 2020, this brand belonged to Huawei, so Honor SuperCharge is, in fact, the same Huawei SuperCharge Protocol, only with improvements (at least in devices released after 2020).

— OnePlus Dash Charge. A relatively old proprietary standard from OnePlus. An interesting feature is that in some devices the effectiveness of Dash Charge is practically independent of the use of the screen: when the display is on, the battery charges at almost the same rate as when it is off. Technically a licensed version of OPPO's VOOC, however, these technologies are not compatible. Since 2018, Dash Charge has been gradually superseded by Warp Charge.

— OnePlus Warp Charge. OnePlus proprietary standard, released in 2018, including to replace Dash Charge. It is positioned as a technology that can function effectively even with intensive use of the smartphone — in particular, during games.

— Oppo VOOC. OPPO technology, used both in branded smartphones and in equipment from other brands. Available in several versions; The latest (for 2021) version of SuperVOOC is for 2-cell batteries and is sometimes listed as a separate technology called Oppo SuperVOOC Flash Charge.

— Oppo Super Flash Charge (SuperVOOC Flash Charge). Development of Oppo VOOC technology. One of the fastest (for 2021) charging technologies, it allows you to charge a 4000 mAh battery in just over half an hour. Provides for the use of special two-cell batteries.

— Vivo Flash Charge. Proprietary technology from Vivo. It features high power and speed: the process of charging a 4000 mAh battery takes only 13 minutes.

— Realme Dart Charge. Proprietary Realme brand technology. It has average, by modern standards, indicators of power and speed.

— Motorola Turbo Power. Motorola proprietary technology, found in almost all modern smartphones and tablets of this brand, as well as in separate devices from Lenovo. Available in several versions. It 's not super fast, but in general it has quite decent specs; in addition, devices with Turbo Power are also fully compatible with chargers that support Quick Charge (version 2.0 and higher).

Charger power

The power at which the phone is charged in normal mode.

The higher the charging power, the less time spent on it (with the same battery capacity). But this parameter does not directly affect compatibility with chargers: modern devices are able to work with “chargers” of both higher and lower power. At the same time, in the first case, the battery controller will automatically limit the charging current, and in the second, charging will simply take more time. Accordingly, the standard charger may be of less power. And when looking for a third-party charger, you should focus on the allowable charging power indicated in the specifications — this will give the maximum guarantee against malfunctions.

Charging time

Battery charging time claimed by the smartphone manufacturer. Indicated for the "native" charger, usually wired; when using third-party chargers, the numbers may differ (usually in the direction of increasing time)

In modern mobile phones, the charging time is traditionally indicated in the format “X% in Y minutes”. This time can be given both for a 100% charge (that is, for a full charge of a battery set to zero), and for a partial one — for example, "50% in 30 minutes" or "60% in 34 minutes". Such a partial designation is convenient, first of all, in cases where there is not much time for charging, but 100% charge is not required — it is enough for the device to work long enough to get to the main charging point. However, note that the numbers in such designations do not correspond as accurately to the capabilities of the battery as it might seem. The fact is that the batteries of mobile devices have an uneven charging rate: at first (if you charge from zero), it is high, and as it approaches 100%, it gradually decreases. Two points follow this. Firstly, the claimed speed is achieved only when charging the battery from 0%; if the battery is not completely discharged, then the time will be longer. Simply put, the designation, for example, "50% in 30 minutes" is valid only for the option "from 0% to 50%"; other similar cases (say 20% to 70%) will take noticeably longer. Secondly, the rate of full charge will not be strictly proportional to the rate of partial char...ge. For example, the same "50% in 30 minutes" does not mean "100% in 60 minutes" — in the second case, the charging time will also be longer.

Due to all this, only phones that have the same number of percentages given in this paragraph can be compared with each other in terms of charging time. Also note that some manufacturers give both parameters in the specs at once — partial and full charge time. This designation is the most reliable and clear.

Wireless charging

The ability to charge your phone wirelessly — without the use of cables and connectors for power transmission.

The working range of wireless chargers is usually only a couple of centimeters, and the phone must be placed directly on the "charger"; however, it is still more convenient and faster than fiddling with connecting wires, and the connectors do not wear out. On the other hand, this possibility significantly affects the cost of both the devices and the chargers. In addition, it is difficult to achieve high power in a wireless format, which significantly limits the charging speed; There are exceptions, but again, they are not cheap. Another nuance is that in some situations the phone can “slide off” the charger platform (for example, due to vibration during an incoming call). Thus, this feature is usually combined with classic wired charging, and wireless chargers are rarely included in the original package — it is assumed that it is more convenient for the user to buy them separately if such a need arises.

Wireless charging power

The maximum wireless charging power supported by the phone.

For wireless charging in general, see above. And the speed with which the battery will be charged directly depends on its power. For comparison: the power of conventional wired charging most often does not exceed 10 watts, and for most popular fast charging formats, this figure is in the range from 15 to 30 watts. At the same time, nowadays, similar values can be found among wireless charging systems — the development and improvement of technologies has significantly increased the power of such systems. However, note that in order to use all the possibilities of wireless charging, you will need a charger of the appropriate capacity — and such devices are far from always included in the smartphone package.

Wireless reverse charging

A feature that allows you to use your phone as a power bank battery — a source of energy for charging other gadgets. The process is carried out wirelessly — for more details, see "Wireless charging". Also note here that a phone with wireless reverse charging will not replace a full-fledged power bank (both due to a small supply of “extra” energy, and because of the very low efficiency of wireless charging). However, this feature can be useful for emergency of recharging miniature devices such as smart watches or wireless headphones.

Type of body

— Monoblock. The body is one single piece. The most suitable option for models with a touch screen, however, it is also very popular in push-button devices — monoblocks themselves are inexpensive, but at the same time they are very reliable, convenient, practical and go well with almost all the features of modern mobile phones. In addition, such cases can be quite thin. So, among modern smartphones(almost all of which are monoblocks) there are models with a depth of 8 mm, 7 mm and even 6 mm or less. 9 mm is considered a significant depth, and values of 10 mm or more are typical mainly for devices where a large depth is indispensable, such as shock-resistant models in reinforced cases, as well as smartphones with very high-capacity batteries.

Folding. The case, which opens when used, is similar to a book or shell flaps: on one half of the “clamshell” there is a screen on the inside, and a numeric keypad on the other. Separately, we note that such phones should not be confused with models that have a foldable screen.

— Foldable screen. A rather unusual type of housing found in several smartphones. Such devices usually cons...ist of two wings, like the "clamshells" described above; however, they can be folded either horizontally or vertically (depending on the phone model), and the screen occupies both halves of the case at once and bends when folded. When folded, the screen can be located both inside and outside the device (in the first case, another display can be installed from the outside, allowing you to use the main features of a smartphone when folded). Anyway, this layout allows you to achieve a much larger display size than in monoblocks, and at the same time maintain compactness and ease of carrying. On the other hand, foldable screens are complex and expensive, and therefore they are used extremely rarely, mainly in top-tier devices.

— Slider. Such a body consists of two parts capable of sliding relatively to each other. In the classic slider, the top part, with the screen and navigation buttons, slides up to reveal the keyboard. The main advantage of sliders compared to monoblocks is compactness, and the disadvantages are increased depth and lower reliability due to the gradual wear of the opening mechanism. In modern smartphones, such a case is practically never found, and in phones it is gradually “leaving the stage”.

— Side slider. A kind of slider (see above), in which the upper half of the body, when opened, does not move up, but to the side. This option was used in early smartphones, because it allowed to combine a large display and a convenient QWERTY keyboard in one device (see "Data input"); but with the development of touch screens and their increase in size, it has lost its relevance.

— Double sided slider. A kind of slider (see above), in which the upper part of the body can move both up and down. When moving up, it usually opens the numeric keypad, and when moving down, additional stuff, such as player control buttons or built-in speakers. Due to the complexity and high cost, such cases were not widely used.

— Rotary. Quite an original case type, including two varieties. The first option is similar to a slider, but when opening / closing, the body halves do not move, but rotate relative to each other, similar to how it happens with the hands of a clock. All their advantages and disadvantages are similar to the same sliders, but they often differ in their original design. The second variety resembles an ordinary monoblock, but the lower part of the case in such models is able to rotate around the longitudinal axis of the device. Due to this, when turning the part under the screen, instead of a numeric keypad, there are special controls (most often the player control buttons). Due to the high cost and excessive complexity, this option is almost never used today.

Waterproof

The presence of moisture protection of the device; also in this paragraph, the specific level of such protection according to the IP standard is usually specified — for example, models with indicators IP67, IP68 and IP69 are classified as waterproof.

The two digits in the IP designation indicate the levels of protection against adverse factors. At the same time, moisture protection is directly indicated by the last digit, but the first characterizes the level of resistance to dust and other contaminants. In modern mobile phones, you can find the following levels of protection:

5 — dust resistance (dust can get inside in small quantities that do not affect the operation of the device);
6 — dust protection (dust does not penetrate inside at all).

Lower levels of protection in mobile phones are not indicated (such device will no longer be dustproof, and there is no need to specify its specs). However, there are models that have an X instead of first digit — for example, IPX7. This means that this device has not been certified for dustproofing, although in fact the level of such protection can be quite high. So, in our example, moisture resistance of 7 means the possibility of complete immersion in water, which means that such a case is closed very tightly from dust too.

As for moisture resist...ance, here the options:

— 2. The minimum level specified for mobile phones is protection against drops at an angle of up to 15° from the operating position of the device (usually screen up). Allows you to withstand moderate rain without strong winds.
— 3. Protection against drops at an angle up to 60° (medium rain with strong wind against the screen position).
— 4. Protection against splashes from any direction (rain with strong wind regardless of the position).
— 5. Protection against water jets from any direction (showers, storms).
— 6. Protection against wave impacts and strong water jets.
— 7. The minimum level that should be considered real water resistance. Allows you to endure short-term (up to half an hour) immersion under water to a depth of 1 m.
— 8. Possibility of long-term (30 minutes or more) immersion to a depth of more than 1 m, with continuous work in the immersed state. Specific depth and time limits may vary.
— 9. Protection against high temperature water jets (possibility of intensive washing with hot water under high pressure).

In general, a higher level of protection, on the one hand, provides an additional guarantee in case of adverse situations, on the other hand, it affects at least the price, and often also the dimensions and weight of the device. Also note that a waterproof phones can also be made shockproof (see below) — this is not necessary, but it is often found in models designed for use in extreme conditions.

Shock protection

Special shock protection provided in the design of the phone.

The specific level of such protection may be different, but at least it allows phone to endure falls on a hard surface from a height of about 1 – 1.2 m without consequences. In many models, this height can be more significant; these details should be clarified separately. Keep in mind that usually this means the body here; the screen may have other shock resistance specs, they depend primarily on the coating (see "Main display"). And if you need maximum durability, it is best to fit the screen with a special protective accessory.

Anyway, shock-proof devices are designed mainly for users who often have to be in extreme conditions: mountain climbers, military, rescuers, etc. Thus, such models are usually also waterproof too (see above).

MIL-STD-810

Initially , MIL-STD-810 is a set of specifications that establishes certain levels of protection for electrical equipment from environmental factors. The standard was developed for testing military equipment for the US Army in order to maintain performance in various adverse conditions. It imposes quite stringent requirements on the test subjects: the level of product resistance to impacts during drops and shakes is checked, vibration tests are carried out, the device is tested in a wide temperature range, in rain, in fog, under the influence of sand, dust, etc. However, the MIL-STD-810 label in "civilian" products does not always mean the highest degree of protection. This is due to the lack of strict regulation of the tests. So, the most ingenious vendors test the gadgets literally on one or two points of the extensive list and often deliberately do not cover which tests were passed. Accordingly, the specific features of such protection remain reliably unknown. The standard has been recognized since 1962. Each new version is indicated by a letter of the Latin alphabet at the end. The further the letter down the alphabet, the more recent the version of the certificate. Since 2008, the MIL-STD-810G specification was the latest, and in 2019 a new edition of the MIL-STD-810H standard was approved.

Bezel/back cover material

The materials of which the bezel (side edging) and the back cover of the device are made.

In our catalog, this data are indicated in two words — frame material and cover material. For example, a device with a glass back and metal edging would be labeled as "metal/glass" (bezel first, then lid). Two words are specified even if the same material is used for both elements — for example, "metal/metal" for an all-metal case.

The main bezel materials include plastic, metal, glass, rubber, and ceramics. Back covers are also made mainly of plastic, metal, ceramics or rubber, and among glass there is a special variety — Gorilla glass parts. Occasionally, more specific materials are used, such as leather. Here is a more detailed description of each of these options:

— Plastic. A fairly simple, inexpensive and at the same time versatile and practical material. Actually, nowadays there are many varieties of plastic on the market, which differ in price and practical properties; so that the general property of this material depends primarily on the price category of the device. The easiest...way to give cover an unusual design is using plastic, although this design is also found in other materials. In general, all types of plastic in modern phones can be divided into glossy, matte, fluted and soft-touch. The gloss looks the shiniest, but dirt is very noticeable on it (first of all, fingerprints), moreover, such cases tend to slip in the hands. Matte surfaces are not as good-looking, but they are less sensitive to dirt. Soft touch is a special kind of matte plastic: due to the specific surface texture, this material is perceived as soft to the touch, similar to rubber. Also, it is perfectly held in the hands and almost does not slip. Fluted plastic is considered the most reliable in this regard — with signature notches on the surface; however, not everyone likes the look and feel of such surfaces when held.
As for combinations with other materials, plastic frames can be provided in metal and glass cases — for a secure hold; and plastic covers can be supplemented with metal or rubber frames for increased reliability.

— Metal. Usually metal most often means aluminium alloy. This material combines high strength, low weight and good thermal conductivity (the latter is especially important for removing heat from the hardware of performant smartphones). Metal cases are relatively rarely made in bright colours, but such a design is also possible; in addition, even without additional coloring, this material looks good. In general, it costs more than plastic, but nowadays even low cost phone models can be made of metal. At the same time, the metal frame can be combined with almost any cover material, however, such frames are especially popular in models with a glass back panel — the metal gives the case additional strength. Metal covers are found mainly among all-metal cases, less often in combination with a plastic frame (it allows you to reduce the cost and improve the permeability of the case for communication signals).

— Glass. Phone cases usually use special tempered glass of increased strength (a special kind of such glass — Gorilla Glass — is indicated separately, see below). Theoretically, glass is more sensitive to shock than most other materials, but in fact it is still quite difficult to break such a surface. At the same time, these cases look quite stylish and unusual. Their disadvantages include a rather high cost, as well as the signature features of glossy surfaces — the tendency to slip out of hands and "collect" dirt, especially fingerprints. In terms of specific body parts, glass is most often used for back covers; they are often complemented by frames made of more durable material (usually metal). But glass frames are usually part of all-glass cases — other design options do not make sense for a number of reasons.

— Gorilla Glass. A special type of high-strength glass from which back covers can be made. For glass in general, see above; and Gorilla Glass features are detailed in the Main Display section. We only note that, as in displays, different versions of such glass can be used in the rear panels of the case, differing in resistance to shock and scratches.

— Rubber. Usually, in this case we are talking about a body or a frame made of a hard material (plastic or metal) with an additional rubber coating. The use of such a coating is an unmistakable sign of a phone with a high degree of protection — waterproof, and often also shockproof. Rubber is the optimal material for such devices: it perfectly resists both moisture and shock, well insulates the hardware from cold and heat, while such a surface is pleasant to the touch and does not slip in the hand. The main drawback of this material is its bulkiness: the rubber coating must be quite thick, so that it noticeably affects the dimensions of the device. Thus, it makes sense to pay attention to this option in occasions where security is more important for you than compactness. At the same time, we note that the rubber case can be combined with a metal frame, and the rubber frame can be installed on a plastic device; these options also turn out to be quite reliable.

— Ceramics. Ceramics is material made by sintering raw materials at high temperatures. Mobile phones use special high-strength types of such materials. The advantages of ceramics include a stylish appearance and good reliability in most situations. On the other hand, such compositions are still quite sensitive to impacts (especially point impacts), they tend to slip in the hands, and they are not cheap. Therefore, ceramics is rarely used in modern mobile phones — mainly as a fashion material in fairly advanced models. Most of these models combine a ceramic lid with a metal frame; all-ceramic cases are noticeably less common.

— Leather. A rather rare and specific material, used mainly as a design solution. Leather covering in such cases is provided for the back cover, while the frame is made of metal or plastic. This material gives the device a solid appearance, emphasizing the status of the owner; in addition, it is pleasant to the touch and does not allow the device to slip out of the hand. However, leather is expensive and not reliable: it is easily scratched and torn even with light contact with sharp objects, and is also prone to abrasion. Therefore, such cases are not popular even among high-end phones.

Back cover

Type of surface on the back of the phone.

Glossy. Cover with a smooth shiny surface. Such a surface is inexpensive, while it looks stylish and catchy — especially if it is made in a bright colour, such as red or yellow. In addition, it is easiest to give a glossy cover an unusual gradient colour(several colours with the transition from one to another). On the other hand, fingerprints and dirt are very noticeable on the gloss surface, also it tends to slip from hands, which increases the risk of dropping the device.

Matte. A slightly rough surface that does not shine like gloss and appears duller. At the same time, fingerprints and other contaminants are less visible on such a surface, and it slips less; and the lack of gloss is a virtue for those who appreciate a discreet design. The specific features of the matte surface depend on its material: for example, "soft-touch" plastic is often used in plastic products, soft and pleasant to the touch and at the same time hard in itself.

— Gloss or matte. This option means that the device is available in several design options: some provide a glossy surface of the back cover, others — matte. Thus, the user can choose. On the advantages and disadvantages of both, see above.

Corrugated. Surface with clearly defined irregularities; it can be either a...small textured pattern or rather large protrusions (the latter is found, in particular, among “protected” smartphones). Anyway, the corrugated surface provides a secure hold in the hand and hides dirt well, however, such covers are somewhat more expensive than matte and even more than glossy ones.
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