Smartphone specs demystified

Ever wonder what "capacitive touchscreen," "MicroSD" and "HSPA+" mean? We provide real definitions.

By Ginny Mies, Armando Rodriguez, and Mark Sullivan, PC World |  Personal Tech, smartphones

Many of today's cell phones use lithium-ion batteries; lithium is the chemical inside the battery cell that migrates to the cathode of the battery, releasing an electrical charge. Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable and last two to three times longer than alkaline batteries.

Larger phones tend to have 1500mAH lithium-ion batteries, while most smaller phones have around 1400mAH. (The current capacity of a cell phone battery is measured in milliampere-hours, or mAH.) Most of your battery's power goes to powering your screen; that's why phones with larger screens use 1500mAH batteries.

The battery that accompanies a phone is usually satisfactory for that model, but if you spend long periods away from electrical outlets, it's a good idea to buy a lithium-ion battery with a larger capacity than the one that comes with your phone. Note that talk and standby times vary depending on the number of apps the phone is running, the screen brightness, whether you have Wi-Fi/GPS or 4G turned on, and other factors.

Camera

Is there much practical difference in image quality between a picture shot with an 8-megapixel camera and one taken with a 5-megapixel camera? The megapixel count reflects the size of the camera's sensor--a small device inside the phone that converts an optical image into an electronic signal. The higher the pixel count, the higher the resolution of your photos. But you'll probably view most of your photos on your phone's display or on a PC, where the two resolutions are typically indistinguishable. If you plan on printing your photos, however, a higher megapixel count will make a difference.

As is true with point-and-shoot and digital SLR cameras, more megapixels doesn't automatically mean better image quality. Other factors that affect image quality include the quality of the camera lens (the Nokia N-Series phones, for instance, ship with lenses made by Carl Zeiss, a company that also makes lenses for high-end digital SLRs), the accuracy of the camera's autofocus features, and the camera's shutter speed (this is especially important if you're shooting a fast-moving subject). Shooting modes for various light environments (low-light indoors, evening, nighttime, etc.) can also help improve image quality.

4G and HSPA+ Service


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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