Does the processor matter when buying a smartphone?
When buying a new smartphone, there are many variations to consider. There are people who buy phones according to their design, according to their camera or according to (obviously according to their price). Many of you will say that also according to its power and processor because the reality is that it is not the same to have a device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 than with a Kirin 990, but the truth is that most people do not have an idea of what type of processor a phone has.
A while ago, a market study by the Global Web Index firm showed what were the main concerns of consumers when buying a smartphone. This study, even if it has been around for a while, the truth is that it is totally valid today and confirms that an average user does not care much about the processor of a smartphone – surely they will not know the difference between an Exynos or a Snapdragon– since you just want your new acquisition to work well.
Should we care about the processor when purchasing a smartphone?
The summary of the study is that consumers care about the phone battery, storage space, camera, and go fast. And beware, because going fast does not mean that you must have the best processor on the market. Let’s take an example with Samsung. Although its most powerful device is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, its best-selling smartphone during this first quarter of 2020 has been the Galaxy A51. As for specifications, the S20 Ultra wins by a landslide, but that does not matter to people. The A51 has good autonomy and good performance, and that is worth it to people.
But we are not going to deceive ourselves either. The Galaxy A51 is much cheaper than any high-end Samsung and that is also taken into account. Not everyone can spend 1,000 euros on a high-end and that’s why they bet on cheaper phones. But let’s do another test. Let’s take an average user, that typical user who does not know the specifications and we are going to give him a OnePlus 8 Pro with his Snapdragon 865 and a Huawei P40 Pro with his Kirin 990.
Virtually everyone here knows that the Snapdragon has a much higher performance than the Kirin, but surely this average user will not find any difference. You can say that the OnePlus is somewhat faster but you will not know much more or the reasons for it. You will see that your applications like WhatsApp or your social networks open just as quickly on both terminals and the rest will not matter. You will also see that the camera of both devices is very good and that the battery lasts longer in one than in the other, but it will not give it much more importance. This user will not say, like AnTuTu, that the 865 is far superior to any other processor since this user cares about the technical parts between zero and nothing. He wants a nice smartphone, that works well and that lasts the battery.
Hence, perhaps those of us who know the subject the most should look less at numbers and more at user experience. Because at the end of the day the processor is one more element of a complex machinery and by itself does not make one phone better than another. Because honestly and on a day-to-day basis, the difference in performance between the different high-end products on the market is practically negligible.