If you’re shopping for a new smartphone, you might feel like you need a geek-to-English dictionary just to understand the lingo. Some also have been faking it, acting as it they have some geek in them and know this lingo, you just might know one or two. Megapixel this, gigahertz that, terabyte this. All this could make your head spin. Am I right?
If you’re one of the many looking to upgrade your smartphone this summer – but need a bit of help to understand what all the tech specs mean — look no further than this following glossary of popular mobile terms and acronyms.
4K: Many new smartphones have a rear-facing camera that can shoot “4K,” which refers to video with four times the resolution of 1080p HD. In other words, the video contains more than 8 million pixels (little dots) compared to roughly 2 million. You’ll best appreciate this bump up in detail when playing back the video on a 4K TV. Be aware, 4K takes up a lot more storage on your phone and uses up more battery power.
aptX: Regular Bluetooth is fine for hands-free calls, but subpar when it comes to streaming music to your headphones or speaker. This is because it’s difficult to send large files through a small “pipe” without sacrificing sound quality. Smartphones with aptX, however, can reduce the size of audio so they can easily flow through the wireless pipeline, delivering near CD-quality audio over Bluetooth.
Always-on display: For added convenience and to help with battery preservation, a few Android smartphones today have an “Always-on display,” which shows you notifications on the screen – such as date and time, calendar appointments, text messages and emails, recent calls, and more -- without needing to wake up the phone.
IP67/IP68: The Ingress Protection (IP) rating system shows you how much protection your tech has from the elements. Phones that are IP67-certified means the device and connectors can withstand up to 3.2 feet of water for up to 30 minutes (and are dust-resistant, too). An IP68-certified device can withstand “more than” 3.2 feet of water, but it varies by device. To err on the side of caution, consider these phones ideal for splashes, rain, sweat, and accidental submersion. Don’t go swimming with your phone.
LTE: Long-term evolution, or LTE, is an industry term that refers to higher data speeds – comparable to (or even faster than) your home's broadband Internet connection. Sometimes referred to as 4G speeds, all major phone carriers offer LTE phones, tablets and Internet sticks or pucks, all of which grant you fast downloads, streaming and uploading in supported (mostly urban) areas.
Gorilla Glass: From Corning, Gorilla Glass is a tougher screen technology that can withstand the bumps and knocks of everyday life. With the latest version, Gorilla Glass 4, Corning says it could withstand 3-foot drops onto rough surfaces 80% of the time, which they claim is up to twice as good as competitive glass designs. It’s still a good idea to go with a case to protect the entire phone from accidental drops.
mAh: Short for milliamp, this refers to the capacity of your smartphone’s battery. Generally speaking, the higher the milliamp (mAh), the longer the phone will last between charges. There are other variables that can affect battery performance, such as environmental conditions (such as heat), operating system and applications (software), processing power, and more. A rule of thumb: the bigger the number, such as 2800mAh compared to 1900mAh, the longer the phone’s battery will last.
Marshmallow: Android 6.0, or “Marshmallow,” introduces a number of improvements and new features tied to the overall user experience. A few highlights: tap and hold the Home button to activate “Now on Tap,” which provides contextually-relevant info and apps based on what you’re doing on the phone; a “Doze” feature automatically puts the device into a sleep state, but still takes calls and messages; use your fingertip or thumb to unlock your phone and shop on Google Play; new keyboard refinements; and more.
NFC: Near-field communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless technology that allows for two NFC-enabled devices to make a digital handshake, by simply placing them within 1.5 inches of one another. There are many applications, such as tapping your phone to make a payment on a retailer’s contactless terminal, quickly pairing a phone with NFC headphones, or two compatible phones quickly exchanging contact information.
Push-to-talk (PTT): Some phones today support push-to-talk – which may be advertised as “PTT,” for short – which have a walkie-talkie-like button on the side that instantly connects you to a preprogrammed person or group. Popular among workers “in the field,” especially if they’re wearing protective gloves, PTT phones are almost exclusively Android-based, therefore iPhone fans can’t take advantage of this feature.
SIM: A SIM (“Subscriber Identity Module”) is a small white card inside your phone. It's what enables cellular service with your provider. It also stores your phone number, and other info. When you upgrade your phone, simply pop out the SIM, which is usually found in a small slot in the side or on top of your phone, or underneath the battery, and insert it into a new phone. They’ve become smaller over the years: from SIM to mini SIM to microSIM to nano SIM. Some phones offer dual SIM support, so you can pop in a second card, perhaps having one number for personal use and one for work, or using a local SIM when traveling.
Super AMOLED: There are two major smartphone screen technologies on the market – AMOLED and IPS LCD – and each has their own benefits. With AMOLED, individual pixels are lit separately on top of a thin film transistor array that passes electricity through organic compounds; colors and bright and blacks are deep as portions of the screen can be turned off (like an LED TV). Super AMOLED reflects less sunlight than AMOLED, while IPS is said to show more accurate colors than AMOLED/Super AMOLED — but the latter excels in contrast (blacks), and energy efficiency
Wireless charging: While the name is a little misleading as your phone isn’t charging up over airwaves (yet!), smartphones with a “wireless charging” feature can be powered up by placing it on top of a compatible base at home, in the car, at the office, in an airport, or at a restaurant. In other words, no USB cable is needed. Phone carriers often sell these small pucks to place the phone on top of to charge up, plus IKEA now sells furniture with this feature built in. A catch: you likely have to remove your case for this to work.
Now you too, can talk like a techie but have some idea of what you’re talking about.
Read Article (Marc Saltzman | uastoday.com | 05/21/2016)
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