What Dual- and Quad-Core Processing Speeds Means to You
Single. Duo. Quad. What is your smartphone capable of?
If you’re like most smartphone users, your decision to buy a new phone is based on a few simple factors, such as price, screen size and quality, aesthetics, and the provider’s coverage area and plan costs. Another factor to think about is the processor. What are dual- and quad-core processors and why might they matter? Let’s take a look to see which one is best for you.
When tech specs matter
Once you start looking beyond the phone’s physical dimensions and price, you’ll discover a thing or two on the technical side that you may find very useful. One element that has become increasingly important is a phone’s processing power. That’s where dual core vs. quad core comes in.
It wasn’t too long ago that smartphones included a single-core processor. They had one CPU, or central processing unit, often referred to as a computer on a chip. Beginning in 2012, many smartphone manufacturers began to offer devices with dual-core processors, and not long after that, quad-core processors. In theory, the more processors, the faster, as they can divide up the work you’re asking the phone to do.
Caring about processing power
In one significant way, computers, whether they reside on a tiny chip or take up a large amount of room, haven’t changed since their invention. To a large extent, they can only do what applications tell them to do.
A quad-core processor is faster than a single- or dual-core processor only when it’s running an application that’s been developed to take advantage of its abilities. Most applications today are still written for single- or dual-core processing, and while most of the time this simply means the quad-core’s extra power goes unused, there are other instances when the application performs better with dual-core processing power.
There’s more to a chip than simply its number of cores. Some chips, for example, are designed with a focus on using less power, which preserves battery life. Others are built to handle specific tasks, like graphics management. Some sacrifice speed in favor of increased reliability, while others are designed for speed alone.
A smartphone with a dual-core processor may perform beautifully, as it enables you to quickly switch tasks. One core may be at work on your web browsing while the other is basically just standing by. A call comes in, and the second core gets to work. Both your web browsing and your phone call continue without a hitch.
A quad-core processor allows your smartphone to run the latest, greatest, most complex apps, such as an intricate, graphics-heavy videogame. It can also mean business-oriented functions that require speed perform more smoothly. Video calls have better image clarity and solid audio, and the processor also has the ability to handle other functions in the background.
Memory is also crucial—a phone that comes with 16GB or 32GB of memory is able to store lots of information on board. This means that you can carry lots of apps, documents, graphics, and audio and video files with you all the time, enabling apps to grab data with almost no delay. For apps that require access to the Web, more memory often allows apps to “cache” data (for example, Web pages or streaming video and audio) to use in the future. This translates to better streaming of audio and video, and less delay when surfing the Web.
New Motorola Droids: the best of both worlds
The Droid Maxx by Motorola and Droid Ultra by Motorola take advantage of both dual-core and quad-core capabilities in a sophisticated fashion. Each features a dual-core CPU, which runs most apps, while also sporting a quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU). The Droid Maxx comes with 32 GB of RAM and a 3500 mAh battery that can last up to 48 hours without a recharge. The Droid Ultra is very similar to the Maxx, but it comes with 16 GB of RAM and a battery that provides up to 28 hours of use.
Buy what you need
The new Motorola Droids may be the perfect choice for you if need power and speed combined with a longer battery life. Or, you can consider some quad-core powerhouses, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note® 3, which is terrific for users who need a big screen and the ability to watch a video in the foreground while surfing the Web in the background.
This article was written by an author contracted by Verizon Insider's Guide to provide helpful information on wireless technology. The thoughts, opinions and suggestions of the author may not necessarily reflect those of Verizon Wireless.DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.