My phone is bigger than yours. So what?

Summary:Hardware specs are dead. Comparing these between different phones is pointless, when we should be looking at what matters more.

It's time we declare hardware specifications dead.

The my-screen-is-bigger-than-your-screen or my-processor-is-faster-than-your-processor comparisons are irrelevant now, thanks primarily to Apple's sustained efforts to speak only about their own specifications or to gloss over them entirely.

Kristian Tuomikumpu created a spec sheet comparing the Nokia Lumia 920's specifications with the iPhone 5's specs. It's modeled after Samsung's spec sheet comparing the Galaxy S3 against the iPhone. The Lumia 920 trumps the iPhone 5 in pretty much everything: screen size, resolution, battery life, media file format support, cloud storage, and so on.

Here's my question: does it matter?

As a geek, I wish it did. But it doesn't. Until one of these manufacturers comes up with a revolutionary hardware change, these annual incremental changes mean nothing in terms of comparing different phones.

Here are a few of the major specs that people like to compare across phones:

Screen size. 4" versus 4.2" versus 4.5"--if you really care about screen size, you'll use a tablet for the next size up.

Screen resolution. Retina blah blah, PureMotion HD+ display, you can't tell a difference.

Standby time. I'd like to meet someone who actually has a smartphone that isn't charged before it has hit even 100 hours of standby time, let alone 225 hours.

Talk time8 hours versus 10 hours versus your battery is going to die from all the WhatsApping and Web browsing first

MegapixelsIt's fine for your amateur photo skills and if you have Instagram then even better. You're not a Pulitzer-prize winning photographer.

Front-facing cameraAside from self-pictures is anyone actually using these for Facetime or video calls?

LED flash. You know what's worse than shaky camera photos? Any taken with LED flash.

Siri/TellMe/Any voice command capability. You end up yelling at your phone in frustration regardless of the model.

So what are the things to focus on when comparing phones? The scenarios the operating system allows and the applications available.

Examples would be the way social networks are meshed together on Windows Phone, the sheer number of useful apps on iPhone, and the customizability of Android phones.

Why bother talking about specs?

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Apple, Mobile OS, Mobility, Nokia, Windows

About

Howard spent 14 years in the tech industry working as a programmer, evangelist, and community manager for Microsoft. In 2009, he had lived his "dream" of middle-management long enough and opened a Japanese restaurant called Standing Sushi Bar. Trading in stock grants and software licenses for raw fish and cash, he enjoys mixing his passio... Full Bio

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