Smartphone jargon explained

Understand what your phone’s going on about…
Smartphone jargon explained

We love our smartphones. But just like all of the great loves throughout history, it can be too complex to understand entirely. If you’ve ever found yourself pondering what GPRS could possibly stand for, or what bezels mean to you – then it’s time for you to get to know your little lovely a little better.

Here’s a list of common (and not-so-common) smartphone jargon along with easy-to-understand explanations.

The 3 Gs (3G, 4G and 5G)

3G was introduced in 1998 and gave handset handlers internet access at higher speeds than ever before. It took downloading music and video to a whole new playing field. If you still use 3G on your phone, you’re in good hands.

4G is the current standard, and what a standard it is. It’s capable of super-fast mobile internet speeds of up to 300Mbps (more on the cryptic Mbps later). But take it from us for now, that’s pretty fast. It’s how you get to watch crystal-clear Netflix shows on the train.

5G is on its way, and rumour has it, it’ll offer speeds hundreds of times faster than 4G. And, get this - it could even make wired internet connections a thing of the past. We could be looking at a completely wireless future, people.


We know GPS stands for ‘Global Positioning System’ but what’s the A about? That stands for ‘Assisted’. This basically means the mapping software you’re using assists you by speeding up the process of finding your location – so you get your directions loads faster.


It’s hard to see why they abbreviated ‘Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode’ – but they did, and that’s where AMOLED comes from. These types of screens were designed to out-do LCD screens. They’re loads sharper and way more battery efficient. Thanks, Active Matrix Organic Light – you get it.


You can find bezels on the outside frame of your phone’s screen. So, the smaller the bezels, the more of that sweet, sweet edge-to-edge display your phone will have.


Dual-band means that a phone is capable of switching between two different radio frequencies. This comes in very handy when you’re using your phone abroad. And, lucky for us, all new UK mobiles are dual-band.


If you’re on 2G, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) pops up in the top right of your screen to boost its capabilities. It signals that your phone is ready to send and receive data as fast as it possibly can.


Does your phone’s camera have a HDR setting? If so, ‘High Dynamic Range’ lets you capture photos with a high contrast between the lightest and darkest parts of the image.


Mbps is all about internet speed. It stands for ‘megabytes per second’. Here comes the technical part: a bit is a digit of data with a value of 0 or 1 – and a string of 8 bits equals 1 byte. And, a megabyte is 1,048,576 bits. So, if your 4G is running at 300Mbps (we won’t do the maths), you’re laughing.


Megapixels are a way of measuring the quality of your camera. It’s often assumed that the more megapixels it has, the better the camera – but that’s not the only thing to think about. Sure, megapixels matter but the amount of light a lens lets in is equally as important.


This stands for ‘Milli-Ampere-hour’ and is used to describe the total amount of energy a phone battery can store for a specific time, typically an hour. In general, the higher the number before mAh, the longer the battery will last for that period of time.


Bokeh or Portrait Mode makes photographs visually appealing by blurring the background of the subject. The out-of-focus areas not only enhance whatever it is you’re photographing but also add a real professional touch. And if you’re wondering where the word came from, the Japanese word for blur is boke.

So there you have it. Did we miss any jargon terms off the list? Is there a feature your phone has that you just don’t get? Make yourself heard in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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