It seems like almost every year we see some manufacturer up the ante in terms of smartphone RAM capacity. While 8GB is just beginning to become the baseline in many traditional computers and laptops, phones are catching up surprisingly quickly. Just last year, Vivo unveiled the first device with 6GB of RAM, with other more mainstream manufacturers following along over the course of next year. This trend has continued at a rapid pace, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

See also:

How did we end up with smartphones packing 8GB RAM?

January 6, 2017

It seems that Huawei (or least some of its top executives) don’t think that this advancement is necessary, however. In a recent post on the Weibo page of Lao Shi, an executive at the company, Shi discusses that he believes 4GB of RAM is plenty for a phone to run smoothly. He says that many Huawei devices actually run better with 4GB than a 6GB model would, and that the most important thing to do to a smartphone is optimize the operating system to be efficient as possible.

Shi cites Apple’s iPhone, noting that iOS doesn’t need a huge amount of RAM to run smoothly, and that the company has simply optimized the OS to work fantastically with smaller amounts of available memory. He says that adding more RAM only rises the price of a device ‘exponentially’, and that it is simply not worth pushing the boundary of this hardware in our mobile devices.

Do you agree with these statements? I would be hard pressed to ever say that we shouldn’t aim higher, as required hardware will almost always increase as we make our devices more powerful. While this isn’t directly related, take NVIDIA’s GTX 970 GPU for example. The company got in a lot of trouble for selling a 3.5GB DDR5 card as a 4GB one, and many defended the company saying that we would never need 4GB of graphics memory anyways. Now with graphics constantly improving and 4k making a much more common appearance in homes, we are far past this 3.5GB mark for many titles, and the company is now selling 6, 8, and 12GB cards as commonplace.

Let us know your thoughts on this statement. Do you think we will ever have to surpass 4GB of RAM in our smartphones?

David Imel
David Imel  is a 21 year-old technology enthusiast hailing from Smartville, Califorina. He moves a lot so he's probably not really living in any one place. David loves Android, Writing, Computer Hardware, Mechanical Keyboards, Super Smash Brothers: Melee, and many other geeky things. He attended the University of California: Santa Cruz from 2013-2017 and now writes articles like no tomorrow.
  • patrick

    I totally agree.

    • My name is….

      Will you agree in three years though?

      Noone needs today, but its future proof to have more than 4

      • Jay Sangster-Hawkins

        No need to future proof a phone. It’s something you upgrade every 2 years or so anyway. When it’s necessary, all flagships will have more RAM.

        • Happy

          Smartphones do not change so dramatically in 3 years. Makes are including small elements like this of planned obsolescence and have convinced you that you should upgrade every 2 years, but the only thing you are doing is dumping a lot of pollution into the atmosphere every two years to have the same gadget with marginally better specs.

        • My name is….

          So, you throw away your flagship phone when you upgrade?

          The real question is why not put more than 4gb ram?
          What do u got to lose huawei? money? Space on the phone?
          Customers because you cant sell your next phone?

          I got 1+3, 6gb ram is useless now but i will be thanking them in two years because the phone will still be a beast

      • Wezi427

        Most phones are no longer supported after 2 years anyway, future proofing isn’t really necessary. Software optimization is more important.

  • My oneplus 3t experience begs to differ…

    • dizel123

      So you didn’t have a good experience with 4GB of RAM on the 3t but when you increased the RAM it got better?

    • tiger

      Yet got OWNED by iPhone 7 in speedtest….

      • George Hampton

        not by the speed tests I’ve seen guy… guess you need to grow up from phonebuff to the real life tests from Lb…

        • tiger

          Be careful because iPhone 7 uses their lower power cores to open simple apps (e.g. FB, Twitter) and use their higher powered cores for complex or demanding apps. You can see that 7/7+ lags behind initially on Phonebuff tests due to this.

          So the “other” speed tests are flawed because it does not show the true power of the A10 chip.

          You need power in demanding apps, not opening simple ones. This is where Android falters badly, even with more RAM.

          • George Hampton

            going by phonebuff no one is purposely opening all those app in the exact same order. I like the others because they test each app side by side vs in a preset opening order. that proves nothing IMO… rather see the power it has on each app.

          • tiger

            Everyone can open an app…even a flip phone can open a simple app in a timely manner. But can the processor take the LOAD and do it fast enough? Can a processor/phone open a heavy/demanding app in a timely manner? Can a phone KEEP an opened app in memory without kicking it out?

            Those are important questions! And those questions are where Android fails…rather miserably.

            And this is why Phonebuff test is quoted heavily by all publications.

          • George Hampton

            OK and you still don’t realize no one opens apps like that… and the fact that only phonebuff shows the iPhone winning should be a dead give away. no other YouTube channel speed test that way… but anyway you paid 1000 and we paid 400… your choice guy

          • tiger

            But then again, iPhones are officially supported for around 5 years…OnePlus 3T?

            All comes about even, don’t you think? You spend $400 every year or two to upgrade. I spend ONCE in 5 years and i enjoy 60fps gaming, full support, and able to keep apps open in memory for those 5 years of ownership.

            Hmm, it looks like i may come out ahead of you financially now that i think about it.

            Thanks for reminding me about my choice.

          • George Hampton

            yes iOS is fast but I refuse to pay 1000+ for something 400 can efficiently do plus the 3t can achieve a much higher storage capacity… but again your choice for paying 500+ more for a few secs

          • tiger

            I can pay even cheaper than 3T for a Walmart phone that can open apps too….

          • George Hampton

            man I’m talking fast just like the iPhone… again you cannot justify that… a few secs really worth $500+ more? and I bet you don’t even go near iOS core apps… bet ya use Google… again paying more for a Google ecosystem… your choice guy

          • tiger

            It is amazing how much you ASSUME…and then just fail.

            Nope. Avoid Google services as much as i can. No end-to-end encryption, no go. I do use Google Translate because there is no iOS equivalent. That’s about it.

          • tiger

            Google ecosystem? LOL that’s a good one! Perpetual changing messaging apps. What is the count at now? 5 messaging apps or so?! An ecosystem that is just lost in where it wants to go.

          • George Hampton

            OK wait you said you paid 400 for the iPhone 7plus? lies dude… and again the 3t 64 GB price is even lover than the 32gb iPhone. and dude the one plus 1 got the 7.0… and sadly you’d have to get another iPhone when a new spec comes out when one plus 1 had that long ago… heck iPhone 6 just got the NFC… and where is split screen for iOS? where is USB OTG? where is anything besides FaceTime on iOS? oh yeah you get iOS which is beginning to look alot like Android. oh what happened to slide to unlock… rather have the 3t tap to wake… the one plus 2 had that… but again keep paying 1000 for things we already enjoy… you still have not justified paying 1000 for your phone… and bull crap on that 5 year support… last I checked iPhone 5 and 5s have horrible user experience with iOS 10… yet people with the one plus 1 amd 2 are having a much better time with Android 7… so ios 11 will probably cripple the 7… like it’s done in the past to get it’s users to buy the next one. dude that’s already been proven by it’s users… reason iOS jailbreak is precious. no need for that on this side…

          • tiger

            You’re an idiot. READ my post again.

            5s runs great on iOS 10…where are you getting this info?

            5 runs badly iOS 10 because iOS 10 is optimized for ARMv8 architecture…and iPhone 5 processor is not ARMv8. I bet you that you have no idea what i am talking about…but trust me, you’re an idiot.

            iOS Jailbreak…LOL. What is rooting? Custom ROM? You’re an idiot.

            NFC…is what again? Oh yeah, Android Pay was useless before Apple Pay came on board and showed Android how to set it up properly!! TouchID…what did you guys have before? Moto Atrix and its retarded implementation?!

            Dude you’re an idiot. Go ahead and pay $400 every damn year for a subpar crap…i will keep mine for 5 years and experience premium experience for all those 5 years.

          • George Hampton

            lol dude only iOS users have to name call because they cannot justify paying 1k for a phone… let alone the most broken phone. but dude obviously you never have had a OnePlus device nor any other device from Huawei. guess you still think of Android as Walmart phones… and wow you can copy and paste specs. do you even know what they all have… and fyi again OnePlus 1 as well as Huawei devices at prices as low as 250 from a few years back are also getting Android 7.0 and dude the iPhone 7plus are already chipping just like the iPhone 6 and 5… so much for that premium for 5 years if you can even last 1. iOS only has the optimization which is slowly being taken by OnePlus as well as other Android phones and dude Google wallet is the reason NFC has been added to terminals… we’ve had them in places well over 2 years before iOS came up with Apple pay. guessing you live in rural places to never get to see them. and since the iPhone cost well over what we Pay, shouldn’t our phones be able to tie and match on performance? again you got ripped. and dude iOS is the most easily glitched and hacked os… 3 emoji can render and iPhone useless. good luck blocking all those #s that send you that. and nope iOS 10.3 didn’t fix that. yet we don’t have that issue. no one has reported their data going rouge on Android, only speculations. yet iOS had the worst data leak in history (those poor celebrities)… and dude stop lying it’s YouTube vids everywhere showing how iPhone 5s are constantly crashing and respring. and actually to clarify US Android devices are not easy to root anymore. and we don’t pay 400 every year. we don’t use the “jump” or “next” or whatever you guys use to get the next iPhone every year (like you do lol) sad you have to resort to that just to keep up. iOS even has the audacity to fight over slide to unlock then throw it out of the OS completely just to mimic yet again an Android 4.0 lock screen… keep “jumping” and “nexting” to that iPhone whatever imitation to Android. pretty soon the finger scanner will be on the back and have on screen navigation. and AMOLED screens… so guess that’s another 1k you have to spend in 2017 whereas we already have that… saves yet another 1.4k this year lol.

          • tiger

            Just to prove your idiocy…the celebrity leak was not iOS hack at all…google this: Ryan Collins.

            Now, do you see what a dumbass you are?

            Thanks…forgot what Android Pay was called…Google Wallet…used by how many? Oh yeah, one fanboy. LOL

            IOS hacked…you want talk about security and privacy…as an owner of Android device?!!! LOL. That was a good one!! Speculations? How about those flashlight apps that stole data…and they were #1 on Google Play!!!

            Oh yeah, video of 5s crashing…did you pull that out of your ass (again)??

            Hint: finger scanner is under the display on the next iphone…just saying that you’re an ignorant dumbass.

            Hint#2: iPhone 5s is on iOS 10 and will likely be on iOS 11 and 12. It’s chip, A7, still rivals some of the best of Android till this day. You guys have Vulcan yet? Geez, that is so 2013. LOL

          • tiger

            So, tell me oh smart one, do you know why A7 to A10 apple chips are so much more powerful than Qualcomm? How many instructions sets / cycle can S820 do? A7?

            Do you know why memory pipeline on Apple is so good vs. Android?

            Come on, show me your tech knowledge….

          • George Hampton

            in other words you paid 1k for a ps4 pro knock off lol… congratulations you played yourself yet again

          • George Hampton

            and dude try to talk without insults… why iOS users have to cuss and badmouth everyone when a 400 phone performance matches a 1k price tag phone… sounds butthurt to me

          • George Hampton

            oh and btw I also use a 7plus and it’s awesome… just find it odd that a 400 phone can keep up the pace .. for less that’s all I’m saying… time Apple lower that price… eventually we’ll be paying 1.5 to 2k for it

    • Rob Geeson

      Because we all need 437 concurrently working background apps?

      • *gasp*
        … and LIVE wallpaper…

    • SAM

      One Plus never uses 6gb ram. It operates on 4gb ram to save battery. Several tests on OP3 concluded that maximum open apps limit is set considering 4gb. What do you say now?

      • It has 6gb, it’s faster, I’m happy.
        I say more.
        All of it please. I’ll pay.

  • saksham

    i definitely agree ..there is about 3 gb of ram always free in my friend’s one plus 3t even when many apps are running . it may be required for a device which has many features like a samsung phone but a greatly optimised device like one plus 3 doesnt require it

  • Tim

    Right now we can’t even get the best android phone makers to decide if a device will have a headphone jack or removable battery, so how would they agree on this?

    • dizel123

      Almost every phone this year will have a headphone jack and almost none will have a removable battery, so I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about.

    • Toukale

      I will say most android phone will keep the headphone jack this year for sure. It is still too early for them to know if they can jump on that bandwagon yet. Just like the seal battery and how they all trash Apple for it and now all of them have embrace it the past few years. I look for them to take the same approach in a year or two.

  • Prits

    Agreed! My s6 edge+ works smoothly!

  • Flow

    They’re not wrong.

  • anshumaan

    in the its the optimisation.
    and for now 4gb ram is just fine.

    • libra89

      I agree about optimization. That makes a world of difference!

  • I guess I agree. It’s been smooth sailing with my 3GB Nexus 6P.

  • dizel123

    We all know that regardless of if it makes any difference in the user experience or not, MOAR SPECS is always better.

    • tiger

      Pure marketing…and Android users fall for it every year….

    • Andrés Montero

      Not necessarily, what about the price factor? And why, why do you want more? why do you NEED more?

      • Happy

        What price factor? How much does it cost to add 2GB of RAM? Peanuts. They sell you a 1000 Euro phone and are stingy to include 7 euro ram in it?

        • Andrés Montero

          MOAR SPECS? I refer to specs in general… That will be an excuse for the manufactures to charge a little bit more of money… Pfff, the phone it self may cost 150-250 Euro to produce but sells for 800+… What make you think that if they add more ram there is going to be just a 7 Euro difference, I do not think so

  • George Hampton

    honestly we don’t need more RAM… what Android needs is for Google to actually work on optimization vs trying to copy Samsung and Apple with gimmicks… shame that the pixel performs less efficient than a $400 Huawei honor 8… yet the pixel is directly from google

  • Louie Cafarella

    4 GB of RAM is plenty.

  • Cbadillogomez

    I agree!!!

  • Terminus124

    Yeah… but what’s the point of playing 4k video on a smartphone? There
    might come time in 5 or 10 years when even smartphones will use more RAM
    for games that are gonna look like modern ultra settings PC titles but
    that time is far away. It’s unnecessary now and companies do it to trick
    people into buying their latest models – there’s not much else to
    upgrade nowadays. Just camera, display bezels and RAM. Processors don’t
    use their full power and displays reached a point where you can’t
    recognize individual pixels because they’re so dense. Companies need some selling points, though. Otherwise, what’s the point in buying the newest Galaxy Sx or LG Gx?

  • I agree, Today There is no need for more then 4GB Ram, but what about SIx months from now? What about two year from now?

    • Andrés Montero

      Maybe 7000 GB RAM is enought for the rest of your life? Always thinking about the future

    • tiger

      Well, technically speaking, a two year old iPhone 6 with 1GB RAM can still beat a 2017 Android device….

  • John Smith

    For the time being, I share the same opinion.

  • just1box

    “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”

  • dembow

    Wait, doesn’t Huawei Mate 9 Pro come with 6GB of RAM?

  • Patrick Hennig

    Ever? Yes, simply because people are idiots. Honestly in my opinion I would never need more than the one gb I have atm in my entire life. Though this is not how capitalism works, so who cares. We will see 8gb Smartphones in the next couple years anyway, because Smartphone makers are running out of other ideas to promote their new ultimate Smartphones you definitely need right now to! I usw my phone for slight gaming, photos internet and stuff. You need the ram only for really intense games or ludicrous multitasking, which is not what Smartphones are intended to do anyway.

    • Ekansan Pikachan

      the thing is, some people actually want their phone to play an online game in 4k 60fps, while making spreadsheets and phone calls, and streaming porn, and then bitch about it.

  • Eric Wang

    Agreed. My Pixel runs at around 70-80% RAM most of the time while that extra 20-30% just sits around doing nothing

  • Screw those dumb fuqs at Huawei, they obviously don’t know how much RAM I need. I sure as hell won’t be buying their phone now that they’ve opened their mouth and prove they’re idiots by saying “more than 4GB is not necessary”. It wasn’t too long ago that many other idiots were saying no one needs more than 2GB of RAM in a smartphone.

  • tykazowsky

    I agree. The 3T is the best Android device I’ve ever used and is smoother than many other flagships with switching between apps in real, day-to-day usage. You can’t compare it to the iPhone because it’s a completely different OS. Can we compare it to other androids? Absolutely! And I would argue it performs admirably when compared to its other 4GB competitors

  • Harisankar Sony

    Absolutely right.

  • Apa lagi eek

    When i see this statement, i think huawei is dishonest.

    1. Exponentially?? I think 6GB ram compared to 4gb would only rise the price about $5.
    2. Future proofing. Just like the PC, the era of upgrade cycle becoming longer and longer. The median replacement cycle is now at 33 months and increasing. So, if i can afford 6gb ram device, i will certainly buy it.
    3. Experience. From my experience, apps developer (mainly games) were very eager to push the limit of the hardware, and having more/better ram is good.

  • Xa

    this video proves iphone is a joke, oneplus which costs 25% of iphone is just as fast, only a baka will spend so much on apple junk

    • Andrés Montero

      It is about the RAM thing son… are u on drugs?

      • Anon

        it doesn’t matter for oneplus because the price is still much lower than the iphone despite having more ram (which raises cost)

        • Andrés Montero

          Cost? Why are u even mentioning the Cost?

          • Anon

            well there is academic value in debating if 6GB of RAM has much impact over 4GB of RAM, but for consumers looking for a product, price is always important. the comparison between 4GB and 6GB RAM becomes and issue when consumers are considering if it is worth the premium to pay more for a 6GB model. this is assuming all other specs are constant and assuming higher specs = high selling price.
            in this case, the OP3T has 6GB of RAM but cost significantly lesser than the iphone. so that means that it is a non issue to have 6GB of RAM here, since it is cheaper.

          • Anon

            so if oneplus delivers a device with 6GB of ram for a lower price than a more expensive huawei with 4gb of ram, assuming all other specs and software are constant, a rational consumer will of course choose the oneplus with 6gb of ram. whether it works or not, it doesn’t matter, cuz it has more RAM and is cheaper.

          • Andrés Montero

            Totally agree but the first coment is only about how much RAM is enough

          • Anon

            1st comment is “Huawei is right. 6GB is a joke.”

            it sure is, for now at least. most apps today don’t use that much RAM and 4GB RAM phones are totally fine. yet the 1st comment brings up a video showing the OP3T, so we have to compare price between the 2, since specific phones are being brought up. the OP3T would be stupid if it cost more than the other 4GB flagships or the iphone, but it is much cheaper. so it’s a non-issue. I’ll gladly take that 6GB RAM, even if it only has a slight chance of future proofing.

  • George Hampton

    lol fingerprint under the display… Apple can barely get NFC correct let alone AMOLED… and dude you pay 1k for a gaming phone where as my ps4 does the work of that for even less… sorry that you only game on mobile with the volcan capabilities… and again show me one person who has stepped up who said their data was stolen… not one… try again… and dude I’m over it… you win iPhone forever… bet you cannot keep the 7 when the 8 comes yet I’m still content with my OnePlus 2… goes to show you that iPhone 8 will show you that you cannot do the same… you already wanting that AMOLED and finger scanner yet you just got the 7 lol… bye dude… seems Apple cannot keep you content lol… you played yourself… good day

    • tiger

      Are you stupid or just born that way? Geez.

      Huh? i have finger scanner already…solid state one too. AMOLED? Didn’t iPhone 7 display got crazy high scores from DisplayMate? In fact, it tied Samsung AMOLED for top spot…and pretty much dominates every other display (AMOLED or LCD). Crazy brightness and crazy accurate wide spectrum colors.

      IPhone 7 display is just fine…thanks for asking.

      OnePlus display? didn’t it rank like dead last…or was it Anandtech that made fun of it so much?! LOL

      Played myself? Dude, you just showed your ignorance! Celebrity hack? Oh wait, you got OWNED on that one…good job walking into that one!

      Feel free to answer the questions:

      So, tell me oh smart one, do you know why A7 to A10 apple chips are so much more powerful than Qualcomm? How many instructions sets / cycle can S820 do? A7?

      Do you know why memory pipeline on Apple is so good vs. Android?

  • George Hampton

    I’m still ROTFL from “embedded fingerprint scanner on iPhone” gonna put that where holographic keyboard sits as well as split screen and real one handed use… you are fun kid… I’m hoping you are a kid and not some adult

  • Melanie Fincham

    This is the same as Verizon claiming that none of their customers really needed unlimited plans. They cracked and went ahead with it anyway cause, guess what, people wanted it whether they NEED it or not.

  • Melanie Fincham

    Who keeps their phone 5 years? Who can? They do break and it’s not worth a repair. I have a 3 year old Samsung flagship and it’s okay, better than some…but I want an upgrade. I couldn’t imagine keeping the phone another 2 years because of all the drops and just kinda sick of having it after 3 years. I used to be so gke without kids and could afford an upgrade every year, but now that I can’t, I’ll get an Android phone for mid range price and keep it for probably around 3 years. I really don’t know how it’s possible for people to do this for 5 years though without salivating until dehydration sets in from all the great new features that come out EVERY year.

  • Ano

    Apps are be in uni more feature rich and power Hungary. I have e several apps that float in the background and cons side them a must I have almost maxed our my ram I have Samsung s6 edge. What I haecis not enough for me to I’ve always maxed our my pc ram too because of the apps I use

  • sdelfin

    People sometimes talk of much RAM future proofing the phone and that is true. However, the most important feature for future proofing a phone would be a replaceable battery, in my opinion. Software support would also be high on the list, whether official or via custom ROMs. The RAM won’t do a lot of good when the battery won’t hold a charge.

    While more RAM may be very useful in the future, I think there has been a rush to add it for the sake of marketing. And RAM is cheap, so it’s easy to add and I’ve been fine with it. But I’m also not interested in seeing it become an arms race. If the RAM will not be used, then it seems silly to keep adding more so quickly. Mobile operating systems already handle memory management differently from desktop computers for the purpose of being more efficient with less memory.

  • Scott Stephens

    The biggest reason they don’t want to add more RAM is simply leakage. More RAM means more power loss through leakage and less battery life. A bank of LPDDR can be power gated to save power, but if it has data present, as in scaling up and down based on demand, it would require a big move of data, which consumes power. More isn’t always better when it comes to a tradeoff with battery life. I think Huawei makes a good point that iOS seems to do just fine with 2gb and 3gb of memory. Its all about efficient OS algorithms and keeping fresh the apps that the user really cares about.