Are 512 MB RAM enough for a smartphone to work ? (Test)

Several years ago we had the top level smartphones paired with 512 MB RAM (remember Samsung Galaxy S). Nowadays we are looking at devices with 4GB, which is a giant increase. Our smartphones became more of computers, than phones. There’s a huge variety of applications, games and widgets. More RAM means, that more apps can be loaded and run simultaneously. However the average smartphone user has about 25 downloaded apps on his device (up to 40 in South Korea) according to the statistics. We are still not sure why anybody needs 4GB RAM on a smartphone, but perhaps this could be a standard after a few years. What bothers us is how a smartphone with just 512 MB RAM can compete nowadays ? And so we decided to test how it performs in the hands of the ordinary user.

512 MB RAM smartphone performance test

We used Elephone G1 (the cheapest quad-core smartphone) as our test unit. The phone has 512 MB RAM and it’s a perfect candidate. We decided to use the statistic data as our target point (40 downloads). We chose applications, which are popular and can be used every day. We put lots of widgets as well. At the end we had 40 applications downloaded on our smartphone. We opened each of them at least once and signed up, where it was necessary. We added 9 different live widgets (like news, weather and so on) and we ended with 7 different screens. Oh, and we put a live wallpaper as well.

Believe it or not, but the result was not a disappointment. Our test 512 MB RAM smartphone managed to take all this and was still performing pretty smooth. Seems that the amount of RAM was enough. We noticed one trick, which probably is used by the manufacturer in order to keep the good performance. Our recent apps list was limited to 7. So no matter how many apps did we open, we still had just the last 7 in the recent list. The previous were ‘killed’ and not stored in the RAM memory.

Our available RAM memory never dropped below 130 MB, no matter what we did. We can say that we didn’t notice any difference between our 512MB device and a smartphone with 1GB RAM. We didn’t feel any RAM shortage. Looks like an entry-level smartphone with 512 MB RAM is not so terrifying as it sounds. Of course we had a quad-core unit, which also helped for the performance (and Android KitKat).

So we can say for sure, that a budget device paired with good processor plus 512 MB RAM(and at least KitKat) can do the job. We were skeptic, but it seems that there’s still place for smartphones with 512 MB RAM. You won’t get annoying lag and hiccups, but don’t expect a superb performance. It’s still just a budget device.


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