I am reviewing a few android tablets online and I would like to know which hardware spec (for example, CPU speed, RAM capacity etc) has the most significant impact on the smoothness (aka fluidness) of the tab..

  • Won't this become obvious once you've used all the tablets you're reviewing?
    – Dan Hulme
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


It's not that simple. The 'headline' specs certainly matter, but so do a lot of things they don't print on the spec sheet: the RAM controller speed, the CPU and GPU L2 cache sizes, the power management settings, etc. It might have a 2 GHz quad-core CPU, but that's no use if it's always underclocked for power or heat reasons, or it's always waiting for the RAM. Cheap Chinese devices in particular often have good specs on the spec sheet, but they pair those with the cheapest components they can find, to keep the price down.

The quality of the software integration is a big factor. Old, buggy drivers, or wrong settings chosen by the manufacturer's software people, can really reduce performance. If they've also changed the system apps (particularly the launcher or the system UI), or included some always-running crapware or spyware, that'll slow things down too.

Really, the number on the product description that's best correlated with smooth performance is the one after the dollar sign.

  • thanks.. I like that part about the number after the dollar sign. ;) However, could you please point out some of the other features that "they don't print on the spec sheet"? I'd like to do some research.
    – mahela007
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 16:01
  • It's not always easy. Samsung's Note 3 was caught for enabling a gpu/cpu overdrive when the system detects a benchmark running. Lags due to missing or disabled eMMC TRIM support only manifests after many weeks of use.
    – ce4
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 16:57

The most impact on smoothness improvements had newer Android releases, notably 4.1 Jelly Bean, but 4.2 and 4.3 also added new techniques to make it more smooth (Project Butter in 4.1, triple buffering in 4.3, eMMC TRIM support in 4.3).

Almost all recent hardware has 1GB+ RAM, a sufficient graphics processor and multiple cores to enable smooth UI operation.

Usually, the premium line is best, but in general look at devices with recent Android versions. Google's Nexus line has the best support here.

  • thanks. I am more interested in the hardware for now.. I assume the amount of RAM has a significant effect ?
    – mahela007
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 16:03
  • RAM doesn't speed up the UI, it only let's you do "heavy task" switching without app restarts (due to memory pressure). Say: chrome with many tabs <-> 3d game <-> Google plus and more. A faster dual core is better than a slower 4-core CPU. Only games may really benefit from 4+ cores. TRIM support and the Android version had a far more noticable effect for me than any of the above (on recent spec'ed hardware).
    – ce4
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 16:17
  • Don't settle for anything less than 4.1. Choose a device with good future upgrade support (Nexus or other top tier lines). See youtube.com/watch?v=Q8m9sHdyXnE
    – ce4
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 16:19

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