How do Smartphone Manufacturers choose specs?

Haven’t you wondered why some phones cost less but have way more features than say relatively expensive phones? Don’t say “no”

In fact, this is usually how we tech enthusiasts value a phone. We check out the spec sheet and find out which one has the best specs but at a lower price. But why do those relatively expensive but less spec-heavy phones exist, in the first place?

Well, put on your seatbelts, turn on the DND mode, and watch the secret unfold in front of your eyes.

Let’s consider two phones: LG Velvet and Realme X3 Superzoom

Let’s talk about the similarities. They both run Android, both are roughly in the same price category.

Well, that’s it. Everything else about them is completely different. Don’t believe me? Take a look at their specs.

Realme X3 has a 120Hz LED screen, while LG Velvet has a 60Hz OLED screen. The X3 comes with larger RAM and Snapdragon 855+ (last year’s flagship processor), while Velvet comes with Snapdragon 765 which came out this year.

Realme has a dual hole-punch camera on the front, while LG has a single notched camera, also, Realme comes with a periscope camera with more optical zooming capabilities. LG, on the other hand, has wireless charging, an IP68 rating, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot.

Enough with the spec sheet analysis!

But by now you might have asked, why are these phones so different, though they cost roughly the same. Well, the answer lies in how these phones are sold.

Selling Process of Realme X3 Superzoom

Realme’s phones are mostly sold online. This means the user doesn’t touch or feel the phone until he/she buys. So the primary motive is to make a phone that creates a sort of trust within the user to buy their phones online. So how does Realme do this?

A. Knowing the audience

As people who buy online can’t touch or feel the device, they start relying on numbers. Impressing these people is the task Realme has to do next.

B. Creating Headlines

Specs like 120Hz screen, 12 GB RAM, Periscopic Camera, Snapdragon 855+ will quickly help Realme create a buzz in the media and also attract the tech-savvy users.

C. Creating a Positive Public Reception

The potential customers after finding out the phone through the headlines will first check out the spec sheet. Realme now makes sure that their spec sheet and website highlight how powerful the new phone is at least in terms of performance and camera.

D. Online Reviews

The potential customers will now watch videos about the phone, which will usually showcase benchmark tests and camera comparisons, which Realme phones will shine throughout.

E. Word of Mouth

All these will make a person feel that Realme X3 SuperZoom is a great phone, and the tech enthusiasts will spread the word.

The real challenge Realme faces in terms of product design are creating a product that is optimized to crack all the benchmark tests & scores, and have a shiny spec sheet as these sways the minds of their audience.

So where is the catch? Well as you can’t touch or feel the build and its quality, Realme usually tones this part down. They use plastic along the sides and the back of their phone making it structurally weak.

They also let go of good speakers and water resistance. The Realme X3 SuperZoom weighs much higher (above 200 grams :O). Also, though it features a 120Hz screen, it is just the same old LCD screen. And not a big deal-breaker, but it uses a poor vibration motor.

And I don’t need to say much about the software, right? Though the custom Android skin has come up a long way, we can’t ignore the bloatware and ads it brings.

But why doesn’t Realme tone these down? Well, users are only going to notice these after they buy the device, which by Realme’s side is a success.

Now let’s check out a different approach to product design, shall we?

Selling Process of LG Velvet

Most of the LG Velvet phones are sold offline. So, in order for the user to purchase this device, LG has to make sure that, one, the product stands out from others on a busy shelf, and two, make sure the user falls in love it with his/her first use. This is a completely different perspective when compared to Realme’s selling process. So how does LG Velvet win the hearts of its customers?

1. Knowing the audience

These are the people who don’t care about specs or performance much. They just want a phone that fits their needs, and feels easy to use. They walk into an offline store to buy a phone.

2. Standing Out from the Rest

For the customer to take LG Velvet out of a shelf, which sits with other phones, LG had to make sure its design stands out. There is no doubt that a regular customer will choose any other phone than LG Velvet. Its beautiful design and eye-pleasing colors help it add extra attention to it.

3. First Experience

The user now evaluates the product. He/she takes the phone only to find how premium it feels in his hand. It feels light and dense. The glass back and curved screen adds extra polish to the device. Everything to the always-on-display to the animated lock screen and vibrative haptic feedback he/she receives while unlocking the phone adds an extra premium feel to the experience.

4. Creating a Desire

All those experiences mentioned above along with the extremely great OLED display should create an instant desire in their heart to keep LG Velvet with him/her. If it does LG wins, else LG fails.

Nothing else matters here, the user doesn’t care about the gigabytes of RAM, geek benchmark scores of the processor, the refresh rate of the screen, or the megapixels of the cameras. All that the user cares about is the first impression he/she receives. The first touch, the first experience, the first selfie, the lag-free experience throughout these processes are all that the user cares.

LG will also have to add extra features like water resistance, headphone jack, and wireless charging to further lure the customer. And to achieve all these, LG will have to hire expensive and experienced product designers to design beautiful experiences.


Product designing is a fun topic. What we saw just now is a perfect example of how important product design is, even in case of a smartphone. I hope you have got a different perspective on how smartphone manufacturers choose the specs for their devices.

Did this make you respect the smartphone companies more or made you think that you were like a puppet in the hands of them the last time you bought a smartphone? Let’s hear it in the comments.





I don't think you must follow this guy

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

RED announces the Hydrogen One

The last LG phone’LG Velvet 2 Pro’ starts selling at 9 am on the 31st..

The last LG phone'LG Velvet 2 Pro' starts selling at 9 am on the 31st..

Google delays mandatory return to office beyond Jan. 10

A New Phenomenon Called “Chipping”

Apple just created the best Touchscreen Notebook

Neural Science and AR/VR limitations

Quantum Computing For Ai & Robotics — The Universal Agent of Change

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Denin Paul

Denin Paul

I don't think you must follow this guy

More from Medium

People Focused Project Management

The Service Side of Gasoline Prices

Future of Work — Top 10 skills required for 2025

Hip Hop Motivational #16 (Build Better)