Why you should thank your phone’s most undersung feature: Its processor

Your phone’s finest options rely in your chip.

Angela Lang/CNET

When you consider what you’re keen on most about your phone, what involves thoughts? Its sensible display screen, maybe, which makes motion pictures and video games a pleasure to look at. All the cameras on the back and front that seize your reminiscences. Maybe it is the all-day battery life that retains your phone buzzing alongside so you possibly can get pleasure from the entire above. But you owe all these must-have options to a chip roughly the scale of a fingernail.

No, a chip, or chipset, processor or SoC (system on a chip) because it’s typically known as, is not as horny as astrophotography or an edge-to-edge show, however with out it your phone would not work.

It’s this chipset that makes your apps open shortly, your video games play easily and your portrait photographs look astounding. Without it, you would not have the ability to securely retailer your bank card data (and one day your digital driver’s license) or unlock the phone along with your face.

If you recognize your phone, it is necessary to grasp all the things that the chipset does to energy your favourite options. Those chipsets embody the not too long ago introduced Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and 765 (which is able to run Android phones in 2020), Apple’s A13 Bionic for iPhone, Samsung’s Exynos 990 and Huawei’s 5G HiSilicon Kirin 990 processor.


Such a small chip is answerable for such a strong phone.


What your phone’s chip controls

A mobile chipset incorporates bunches of processors in a single unit. It’s lots like a computer’s motherboard, however in miniature. 

You’ll discover an space that homes the computing CPU, a GPU for processing graphics, an AI processor and a house for securely storing knowledge. There’s an ISP, a picture sign processor that handles images and movies and a devoted unit for voice management. 

You might also see a reminiscence hub, a modem to hook up with the web (this might additionally dwell individually) and an space that handles your phone’s many sensors.


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Here are some options that you’re going to see on 2020 telephones, because of the chip:

  • Ultrafast 5G obtain speeds
  • Up to 25% sooner processing speeds
  • Longer-lasting battery life
  • Support for as much as 200-megapixel cameras
  • 120Hz display screen refresh charge for super-smooth scrolling, animations and gameplay
  • Much sooner graphics for convention calls over 5G and real-time gaming
  • Faster AI processing, which could possibly be used for voice assistants and routinely adjusting digital camera scenes
  • Wi-Fi 6 assist for sooner web

For much more examples, listed below are 6 more cool, new features Android phones could get next year.

Just as a result of it is on the chipset, doesn’t suggest it will be on the phone

Phone makers typically discuss their low-light images, quick charging, and different options as in the event that they invented them. And certain, manufacturers like OnePlus, Google and LG all had a hand in customizing the best way options look and act on a completed system. That’s necessary. But more often than not, these manufacturers did not lay the muse. The chip did that.

For instance, in case your chip does not assist sooner Wi-Fi 6 web or a 200-megapixel digital camera, there is not any likelihood your phone can use both one if the corporate is not making a separate processor itself. 

But here is a mind tornado. Even if the chip helps these options, you nonetheless may not get them in your phone. 

Here’s why: Companies reminiscent of Qualcomm, MediaTek, Intel and AMD promote their chips (which are not only for telephones) to third-party system makers, who use the chips as they’ll. It’s the system maker that turns into answerable for turning the function on and ensuring all of it comes collectively within the closing product. 


If your phone has a fingerprint reader, it is as a result of the chip can deal with biometrics.

Sally Neiman/CNET

What does that imply for competitors?

In common, completely different chip makers are likely to have related options to their rivals, together with tremendous slow-motion video, assist for wi-fi charging and portrait mode images. 

There are some notable exceptions, reminiscent of safe face unlock on the iPhone X ($899 at Amazon): It got here two years earlier than the Pixel 4’s safe face unlock, which helps mobile funds.

There are additionally some manufacturers that make chips or processors in-house, reminiscent of Apple’s A13 Bionic processor, which powers the iPhone 11 ($699 at Amazon) telephones. That provides the model a leg up on constructing its personal options that different telephones haven’t got.

Samsung and Huawei even have a separate chip enterprise that sells elements to the phone enterprise. 


Apple’s proprietary Face ID function gave it the higher hand.

Angela Lang/CNET

Does it matter which chip your phone has?

You may not care whether or not your phone has the most recent chip or final yr’s so long as it has all of the options you need for the worth you are prepared to pay. And you would not need a premium processor on a $300 phone just like the Moto G7 — it might tank the battery and hike up the worth.

But if you happen to occur to know that your phone makes use of the newest chipset, you possibly can guess it will be sooner than one which makes use of final yr’s chip, that means it may have higher battery life with extra digital camera methods and it may have the ability to connect with the web sooner.

If you are ready to buy a new phone, we might help you determine the place to start out. But once you do, take a second to consider the highly effective chip that makes all of it occur.

Originally printed earlier this week.

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Tarun Banerjee

Professional Web Designer & Developer,Expert in SEO & Digital Market, Founder of Tech Hunt.

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