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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Is 4GB RAM enough for a smartphone?

Ok. Here it goes.

First of all, Random Access Memory works differently for Windows and other platforms. Let us just get that out of the hair first. For windows, the more free RAM you have, the more responsive that system is. That is just the short version. Windows desktop is programmed like that and many are used to it. So with that knowledge when you take an android phone in to consideration, you might think: “Well, this phone has only 3 GB Memory and I do not think that this is good enough but looks at that phone. It has 100 GB of RAM. It must be plowing through all the tasks that are thrown at it”. Right?………….. 

WRONG! See, Android O.S is written based off a Linux Kernel. The way that it is set up is to stuff up as many recently opened applications in to the RAM as possible and leave just enough memory for any other uses such as loading other apps, games etc. The number of apps that you can store in the memory of an android phone is what the amount of RAM can tell you, roughly speaking. Your phone will be more responsive if you are accessing apps that are already in the RAM of your phone. If you are opening something that is not in the RAM of your phone, then android has memory management features(far better now than what it used to be before) that will kill the apps that you don’t need right now and then make space to load the apps that you need right now. One more thing is also about the type of RAM that you use, its frequency and all but people seem to be oblivious to those aspects and only seem to concentrate on just the amount of RAM they have. Many will have heard the quote in Linux community that “Unused RAM is wasted RAM”.

Sadly that’s not the case with Windows though. For that, the more RAM you have the better.
Point is that Right now, if you buy a phone with say top end specs that anyone can offer. Let us take the example of something like Note 9 or even Galaxy S9+,S9 from Samsung that runs on Snapdragon 845 or Exynos SoC and have almost the same configurations throughout except for tweaks in some parts such as camera setup and some additional features that are really there to just market these things that are mostly the same.(It is absolutely ridiculous, the things that these companies say about how ridiculously different these models are but if you know your way around gadgets and software that it runs on, then you won’t have any difficulty in knowing that they are just trying to bullshit their way and trying their best to make you buy their products that are mostly similar in all aspects.

Not just Samsung flagships but there are other companies like Huawei, One Plus(Big one right now. No one saw that coming:)). They all have flagship models that run either the same components that power the other models of other companies or they might employ different parts to make up for the price that they are going to retail it for. One Plus uses Samsung’s display panels for their flagship phones and runs the Snapdragon 845 SoC with 6GB RAM but costs nearly half the price as that of Samsung flagships. Why it that? That is a good question. Reasons are many but some of it can be attributed to the type of parts used, how they source it, labor costs etc. etc. The most important aspect of production that affects the end user such as you and I is the software experience.

You see, the software that runs on a smartphone has a lot to do with how you experience your phone.Optimization is really what matters when it comes to making a phone better and responsive ultimately. If you do not have a phone that has optimized software on it, then it does not matter how many gigs of RAM you have, you are not going to have a good experience with it. Android is an OS that is released and that gets modded by many many people and companies. it gets patched by almost every company that releases their flagship phones. Everyone adds their own flavor to android and slaps their skins on it and puts them on to their phones and releases them in to the market. Some companies do a fine job of refining their Android versions to optimize for efficiency with their hardware. Samsung does a pretty good job of this that is why their latest flagship comes with 4 GB or memory(Galaxy S9). Generations of refining does that. It is not just them but LG with their G Series (ThinQ), has 4 GB in it too. They also have a 6GB version that is just there for those who do not mind shelling some extra cash and getting that peace of mind. That is simply it.

Those who praise Apple should know that developers for mac software have a pretty good idea about the hardware that they are developing that software for because apple works like a family. They really do not want you to go outside their compound and show your pretty little things to outsiders. They keep everything in the house. There are only a handful of hardware configurations that IPhone developers have to deal with when writing code for and so Apple is able to get away with 3GB of RAM on their latest Iteration of IPhone base model(XR)(Still do not know why the heck they removed that headphone jack and thanks to them now almost all the phones have copied that god awful notch on the top. IPhone at-least has its face ID system stored over there but some android phone like LG G7 thinQ has that notch there but there is nothing sophisticated in that region like that of IPhone in ThinQ but yet it has a notch.) IPhone XS and XS Max still have 4GB of RAM though. Point is that there is a reason because of which IOS is optimized like hell and it is simply because of the limited amount of h/w configurations. It makes optimizations easier compared to a OS like android that is spreading everywhere like SPAM. Android is everywhere. You might be surprised at where all you can find that OS. It is a little difficult to optimize it considering the gazillion configurations for the gazillion devices that run on literally everywhere on this planet. Adding to that if a company releases models of their phones every now and then, they need top class software teams working to optimize and patch Android versions and keep them up to date as much as possible and they also have to work with Google to make that happen. One Plus is apparently the only firm that provides reasonably fair software updates these days. Even Samsung lags a little behind when it comes to updating. Note 9 still runs on Oreo 8.1 at the time of writing this. LG is also not different. In fact they are even worse than Samsung.

For now, 4GB looks good but if you have some more cash to drain, go with the higher end models of phones. If you are someone who uses a lot of apps and plays a lot of heavy games then, you can go for 6GB or even 8GB variants of phones. There is also an android program called Android One that is just stock android minus all the bloatware that gets slapped on when individual companies take that base android and make it in to their own flavor. An example of such a device is LG G7 One and it is a good hardware configuration that has an 835 SOC, 4 GB RAM and the rest of the specs are more or less similar to their G series flagship, thinQ. Android One gets updated directly from Google and is free from LG bloatware. It runs pretty smooth and it recently got its upgrade to Android Pi and yet it is smooth as butter on 4GB RAM.

Original Author : AyyappadasV

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