Don’t Be A Spec Whore; This Isn’t A Spec War

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It used to be that the best phone in the land was the one with the best specs. However, that was a time when cavemen with Gingerbread and iOS 3 roamed the earth and grunted when they saw someone with a lesser phone than them. These days every phone has the same specs and it’s hard to make sense of what’s the best except for by what features it has. However, every now and then a new phone will come out that’s not the same as everyone else. HTC will build a phone with a 4 MP camera or Motorola will build a phone with a Snapdragon S4 Pro in it when everyone else is using Snapdragon 600′s. When this happens the internet explodes. Today we come together to study the spec whore and why he needs to become extinct.

What Is A Spec Whore?

Spec Whore (n.): A techie that refuses to buy a device because it isn’t using the absolute cutting edge hardware, disregarding the fact that it can potentially be better in a lot of ways than competition that does use the cutting edge hardware.

Spec Whore Lucille Image

What Is The Issue?

For almost two years now, phone hardware, like computer hardware has begun to plateau. Not to say that hardware manufacturers like Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, and MediaTek aren’t consistently improving their products and building new chips that have new features and higher clock speeds every year, they are. However, if you consider the fact that this year’s offerings aren’t really a huge step up from last year’s, it’s a bit unreasonable to throw a fit when something is released with anything less than the current leader from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 801 chipset. To quote TrustedReviews.com:

The step change between the 800 and 801 isn’t huge. It is more of a slight evolution. The benefits we should see in phones and tablets powered by it will revolve around slightly faster performance for opening apps and multitasking and in high-end 3D gaming.

In essence, crying every time an OEM doesn’t include the absolute greatest in terms of hardware is just nonsense. Take for example, the Motorola Moto X. It was released in August of 2013 amid a time when the Snapdragon 600 was the current best hardware available with the Snapdragon 800 just around the corner but it was using the Snapdragon S4 Pro (plus some other fun stuff added by Motorola) which was the hardware to beat of 2012. This is what TheDroidEffect had to say about the Moto X on release day:

 C-mon Motorola, you are not Apple and cannot give consumers mediocre specs and expect them to pay top dollar. You have no idea how many time’s I’ve been to a store like Verizon, T-Mobile, or ATT and hear the sales rep pitch a phone that is top of the line.  Just a few weeks ago I heard a guy tell a woman “Don’t buy the Note 2, the LG Optimus G Pro is newer and has better specs”. Do you honestly believe people are going to want to pay premium price for yesterday’s technology.

Of course, we now know that the Moto X is a great device (my personal favorite and daily driver as of today). Just because it had “year old specs” doesn’t mean that it’s not an excellent phone. All of this hoopla over the fact that it didn’t have the latest SoC and a 1080p screen? If it does everything that you want a smartphone to do, why do you care what hardware makes it tick?

Stop It. Just Stop It.

The computer market is a great example of what to look forward to. Do you instantly declare a computer garbage if it doesn’t have the latest generation Intel i7 Processor? Of course you don’t, because those types of things don’t matter as much anymore unless you require some very high level computing (or you’re a gamer, in which case you’re probably more concerned with the graphics card anyway). The point is, we’re reaching that point in the smartphone industry as well and it’s time to give manufacturers a chance to prove themselves before you discard them as useless before even seeing what it can do. Just like benchmarking is dead, so is the spec war, so lay down your weapons and go home.

About Author

Nick is an tech enthusiast, programmer and general geek. He attends the University of Maryland, College Park full time but still has plenty of time to keep up with all of the tech gossip that is going around!

  • Archana Sharma

    Nice article. As an average user, I am anxious about common specs like camera mega pixels and all..am sure there are many like me out there. This should help calm some nerves haha.

    (some people might take offense to certain words used in your article, just a little something to take care of)

    • http://techdissected.com/ Nick Schiwy

      Archana, I’m glad you liked the article. You raise a good point with the MP of cameras, people got angry about the HTC One when they first introduced Ultra Pixels and the 4MP camera that it uses. However, it should be noted that HTC with it’s new One M8 is selling so well that they might even turn a profit this quarter for the first time in a while. These OEMs want to make money, their job is to sell a product that people will want to buy. Putting something on the shelves that is subpar is detrimental to sales and therefore they wouldn’t do it intentionally. They know what their competition is and they will adjust their design accordingly, so worrying about specs of any kind is still silly from my perspective.

      With regards to the language used in this article, I apologize if it’s offensive but I’ll tell you what I’ve told others: I understand and I apologize if it is offensive language, sincerely. Personally, I hate censorship of any kind and I believe in using the most powerful word possible if that’s what is necessary from my point of view. I feel like being upset because someone said a word is awfully silly and has no place in a modern and progressive world. I’m not going to change this article and I feel like it resonated with a lot of people but I will note the diversity of our audience in my future writing

  • Kriti Sharma

    Enjoyed reading your article albeit with a minor hiccup . Passions when become obsessions obscure judgement . And so is the case with techies obsessed with specs so much so that they refuse to accept anything but the latest . Having said that , I do believe that their fetish does not warrant the tag of Spec Whores , which seems too harsh and inappropriate to me . Moreover people might take offense of the word , perhaps the hardcore hardware fans themselves.

  • Ravi Patel

    You look like you’re a teenager, so I’ll forgive your total lack of sensitivity. Just throwing out words like this without even being aware of the ramifications. Let me ask you this, Do you know the woman that you’ve so shamelessly labelled a w***e in that image you’ve used? Do you know if she’s someone ‘s mother, sister, wife, daughter? What if someone did that with a picture of a female member of your family?

    I’m really surprised the Editor of this publication let this happen.

    • http://TechDissected.com/ Cliff Wade

      For the record, the image used is a still image of a GIF, taken from a TV show where the lady in the image uses the word.

      And, if you actually read the article, nowhere in it is it referring a woman being called a whore. A “Spec Whore” is actually a term used in the land of technology here in the USA and many other places. In this instance it’s NOT derogatory as most would know it or claim it to be.

      Definition 1: a woman who engages in sexual acts for money : prostitute; also : a promiscuous or immoral woman

      Definition 2: a male who engages in sexual acts for money

      Now, as you can see, it’s not just a word that can be used towards a woman. Had we have thought this word to be used in a vulgar way, we wouldn’t have published it. However, it’s all in the context in which you use it and in this particular case, it’s not vulgar, mean, derogatory or anything like that at all.

      Is it unacceptable in some cultures/countries? Sure, but not in all and again, it all depends on the context in which it’s used.

      So please, before you go and criticize someone for the use of a word, in which it’s really stupid for humans to be offended by a “word” or “words” in the first place, make sure you check to see where the image comes from, or the quote or how the word is used. It certainly makes a HUGE difference when it’s used one certain way as compared to others.

    • http://TechDissected.com/ Cliff Wade
    • http://techdissected.com/ Nick Schiwy

      As Cliff mentioned, the photo that you’re referring to is a still from a show called Arrested Development which was a primetime show on NBC about 10 years ago. I’m sorry you feel the need to jump to conclusions just because of the use of a word, it’s actually rather shameful…in any case, I’m 22 and an editor for this site, myself.

      I truly hope you won’t let this particular article turn you off to the site, the use of ‘whore’ in this context is completely innocent and has nothing to do with women (unless they’re women that happen to be overly obsessed with hardware specs).

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  • Ian Huey

    The MotoX is a great phone, no one is arguing that. The phone isn’t terrible due to the specs as it is a very optimized and fluid handset. However, It makes no sense that they charged pretty much the same price as many flagship phones with hardware that didn’t match up. I was watching the hangout after the MotoX was revealed with the price, and many of us were expecting the MotoX to be priced around or slightly below the Nexus 5 based on hardware alone. When it came out that the phone was more expensive, that was the real shocker. No one made a comment that the phone itself was terrible at all. The shock was simply at the retail price being charged. The price has now come down to a reasonable level with the X+1 around the corner. Once again, it’s not that the phone isn’t good, but that the price doesn’t match the hardware given. This isn’t a viewpoint from a spec whore, but from looking objectively at the specifications compared to the current handsets on the market. Would I purchase a MotoX? Of course, but the phone came into consideration now that it has come down to a reasonable price, or the price some may argue that the phone should have been released at.

    The analogy of a computer with an i7 is interesting. No we don’t call it garbage because it doesn’t have an i7 or the latest AMD GPU. However, does one expect a computer with an i3 or i5 to cost more than a computer with an i7? Of course not. I’d still buy an i5 desktop over an i7 desktop when it comes to specific applications and price. For example, an i5 can be better at gaming than an i7 computer when comparing with equal specs. However, I do not expect that i5 computer to cost more than the i7 or the same price.