Every year we see more and more improvement in the mobile technology sector but have we reached a point where the smartphone is actually more powerful than the laptop I write this on? Well that’s what we’re here to find out. We’re going to compare devices and see which wins in different components and areas. The focus will be on modern flagship smartphones and Ultrabooks. An Ultrabook is defined by their inventor Intel as “a thinner and longer-lasting laptop that doesn’t compromise on performance”. This summarises to me the nearest example in cutting-edge laptops designed for home use.
The LG G5, the newest in the LG phone G-series, has a battery of, according to Telefonica, 20 hours talk time, but other sources are saying with heavy constant use its only 7 hours, as we all know with battery power it has to be taken with a pinch of salt and is often significantly lower than stated but these are the facts. The LG gram, the newest ultrabook from LG, has a battery of 7 hours. So comparatively, and with proper use, both devices are actually on par in terms of power sustainability. However, LG were slated greatly for their previous battery life in other models so would have researched and focused more on battery development this time round. I myself had an LG G3 and the battery was astoundingly bad, dying within only 4 hours of usage. You do think, with the larger size of the LG and its greater technology, the win would go to the laptop but being a full HD display and an i7 powering the ultrabook you can understand the issue. Another comparison is the Samsung S7 and the Macbook pro both having 9 hours battery life which shows just how neck and neck the comparison is. The battle for the longest battery is one than neither technology’s really excel in and indeed all devices feeling the plight of the battery.
Processing power has often been an issue in the smartphone world, trying to make a more powerful chip to handle the higher demands of the modern device whilst not compromising on battery life. They have come on leaps and bounds since the original smartphone though, this technically being the IBM Simon but commercially the Apple iPhone. A comparison showing the sheer difference in technology would be that Apple’s flagship iPhone, the 6s, has the A9, a dual-core 1.8ghz processor and 2GB RAM and the MacBook Pro sports a quad-core i7 Processor running at 2.5GHz with 16GB RAM, decimating the iPhone in processing power and memory, obviously. The i7, an integral part of any modern ultrabook, surpasses any smartphone chip including the previously discussed A9 and the very common Snapdragon chipset, this is just due to the level of expectation we have of our laptops compared to the phone, from streaming content to multitab browsing, music and resource heavy programs.
Portability and display
Mobile devices these days are much more powerful than ever before, capable of handling most tasks we require and there’s no question that a smartphone is obviously more convenient. However, for a smartphone to seriously take over the laptop in terms of preference, the phone would need a keyboard docking station and this would seriously hinder the benefit of the smartphone. Screen quality is almost visibly on par with both modern smartphones and ultrabooks having HD displays, but the pixels per inch (ppi) is really quite different with the Microsoft Surface Book having 267 ppi but the Samsung S7 has 576 ppi. This, according to research, is nothing more than a gimmick after a certain point as the human eye cannot differentiate anything higher than 300ppi.
So there we have it, have we reached a point where the smartphone has made the laptop an outdated and unnecessary piece of equipment? No we haven’t, or at least most of us haven’t gotten there yet for day to day tasks. The smartphone has definitely dominated portability, on-the-go work and in particular browsing the web, with Google now even filtering search results via mobile-friendliness forcing companies into the mobile market but word processing, file editing and other more complex tasks are easily won by the laptop due to processing power, usability and screen size. One thing’s for certain, I myself, and I’m sure many others, wouldn’t want to lose either of my devices and definitely need both on a daily basis.