CHARLOTTE, NC – There’s a ton of hype in Charlotte-area cell phone stores as more 4G phones roll out into this huge 4G area. But is 4G the right aspect upon which to focus? For locals, it seems almost a necessity to be on the fastest possible network, but that’s not true everywhere.
The two biggest technical factors consumers seem to follow when purchasing their newest smartphone are network speed (3G versus 4G) and CPU (single-core versus dual-core). If the buyer lives in a 4G area, or even an area listed as getting 4G by the end of the year, it seems like a no-brainer to go for connectivity. But what does the buyer really gain? 4G connectivity means that songs, movies, and apps download more quickly. It also means that data fetches, used by many apps to update their ‘current’ screen, happen almost instantly. All of this sounds great until you realize that developers and designers have been building for 3G for years and will continue to do so for at least two more years. Smaller file sizes, less frequent fetches, and data streaming are all used to maximize the happiness on a ‘slower’ 3G connection. Most folks without 4G probably don’t miss it.
CPU speed, however, affects everything a phone does. Whether it’s changing home screens, opening a stored web page, or running a game, the CPU is critical to a smooth, jitter-free experience. Though most apps are not currently designed to fully utilize both cores, they soon will be. Additionally, current apps will be updated to take advantage of the extra horsepower. Though few apps will actually require dual-core hardware, most will be able to use two cores by the end of this year or shortly after. Also, the phone’s performance in hand is relevant and advantageous regardless of the network connectivity in the surrounding area.
In conclusion, if you are media heavy and tend to download a lot of large files, 4G may be your primary concern, though data caps will soon become your enemy. But, for the majority of users, buying better hardware in the form of a dual-core CPU will serve up a more meaningful improvement for the next two years (when your new contract expires and amazing new devices are available).
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