Today, almost everyone owns a smartphone and performs many daily tasks with it.
It’s so ubiquitous that we can’t imagine our lives without it.
Our use of smartphones has increased to the point that they’re almost replacing standard desktops and laptops.
A question arises here: is a smartphone a computer?
Is A Smartphone A Computer?
Yes, a smartphone is a fully integrated, miniaturized computer.
A computer is any device that can receive input, process it based on in-built programs, and store and display the output.
A smartphone can do all these tasks in addition to having a few more gadgets, making it capable of doing more.
It has the same basic hardware, such as CPU, RAM, memory, storage, and software components, such as operating systems and applications.
Therefore, it can do anything a computer does, only in a more portable case.
Wherever you are, you can check your emails, browse the net, write notes, play videos, edit photos, etc., on your smartphone.
In terms of functionality, a smartphone has even more capabilities than a computer.
It can function as a GPS, portable camera, compass, flashlight, modem, and, more than anything, a mobile telephone.
Therefore, many people use it as their primary computing device.
However, a smartphone normally has less processing power than a contemporary computer, so it might not be able to replace a computer completely.
For example, if you need a computer for programming or running heavy games, you’d better stick with your standard desktop tower or high-end laptop with more processing power and a bigger screen.
Also, a smartphone might disappoint you if you like to multitask on your PC.
Now let’s explore some of the similarities and differences between the two in detail.
What Are The Similarities Between A Smartphone And A Computer?
We can call a smartphone a mission-specific computer.
It has almost the same internals as a computer and many of the same features in a more user-friendly and smaller size.
Although smartphones aren’t exactly the same as computers, they have many similarities.
1. Internal Components
Even the phones we used in the past had a CPU, internal memory, keypad, microphone, speaker, and LCD.
We can also see these internal components with varying capabilities in a computer, making the computer capable of performing different computing tasks.
Modern smartphones have an advanced version of these internal components along with a few others, including multiple cameras and light and touch sensors.
The power of these internals determines how powerful a smartphone or computer is.
That is why today’s flagship smartphones are more powerful than supercomputers from ten years ago.
Computers process the data they receive and show the results on a screen, and so do smartphones.
The screen works as the main interface between the computer and the user, allowing you to see the results of your computing tasks.
In computers, the input channels are separate from the display, while in most smartphones, this display is both the keyboard (input channel) and screen (output channel).
Both computers and smartphones are highly programmable devices.
You can install new software on a computer to add to its functions.
For example, you can install Microsoft Word to process texts or Photoshop to edit photos.
Similarly, smartphones have microprocessors that coordinate their functions thanks to programmed instructions in smartphone applications.
Every application you install on your smartphone gives it a new set of instructions and adds to its capabilities.
Bluetooth and USB are the means to connect two computers and transfer data from one to the other.
Bluetooth and USB enable the connection of two devices nearby.
Even desktop computers can have Bluetooth connectivity thanks to external adapters.
Smartphones, too, have the same connectivity options.
These connections make data transfer much easier, even on the go.
5. WiFi Connection
Today, the internet has such a significant role in our lives that most electronic devices, even home appliances such as dishwashers, have a WiFi connection.
Computers and smartphones can connect to WiFi too.
This connection allows you to browse the net, check social media, and use other features that need an internet connection on both your computer and smartphone.
6. Electrical Power
Both smartphones and computers are electronic devices and need electrical power to perform.
A desktop computer must always be plugged into a wall outlet to run.
However, a smartphone has an internal battery that should be plugged in and charged after a certain period of use.
What Are The Differences Between A Smartphone And A Computer?
A smartphone is a computer, but in many regards, it can even be better.
High-performance computers have a strong CPU that uses a lot of electricity.
A powerful desktop tower has a thermal design power (TDP) of more than 450 watts, so it has to be plugged into an outlet while in use.
This power usage generates a lot of heat and needs powerful heat sinks, fans, and liquid cooling.
On the other hand, a smartphone runs on a battery and uses power more efficiently.
Therefore, it can’t have a CPU as strong and power-consuming as that of a computer.
Although smartphones are rapidly improving in power and performance, standard desktop computers still perform better due to their consistent access to electricity.
Most desktop towers can connect to monitors of different sizes, features, qualities, and costs.
Therefore, you can choose a monitor matching your requirements and budget.
In contrast, a smartphone’s screen is contained and can’t be easily changed.
It’s also generally much smaller than the smallest laptops.
3. Battery Life
Even the most efficient laptops can’t compete with a flagship smartphone in battery life.
A smartphone has fewer and less power-hungry components and also a smaller screen.
Smartphone apps are also lighter and more optimized for the hardware, making the battery last much longer.
Even the most basic desktop computers or laptops come with 256 GB of hard drive storage, which goes above 1 TB for the high-end ones.
On the other hand, although some flagship smartphones have up to 1 TB of internal storage, most come with 16–128 GB.
Some android smartphones have an expansion slot to add a separate memory card to provide removable storage.
Still, the main storage component cannot be upgraded like a computer.
A desktop computer is too big and heavy for you to move, so it needs to be fixed, preferably near a wall outlet.
Even the lightest laptops weigh at least 800 grams and aren’t easy to carry around all the time.
A smartphone is light enough to be taken anywhere and small enough to fit in your pocket or purse.
6. Boot Time
Smartphones don’t need you to switch them off whenever you’re not using them.
When you put your smartphone down, it will automatically lock down the screen to minimize its power usage.
Therefore, whenever you want to use it, you simply wake it up with different biometric options like touch, tap, and fingerprint or eye recognition.
However, it’s advisable to shut down your computer when you don’t plan on using it for an extended time.
The next time you want to use it, it will take a few seconds to boot.
7. Upgrade Options
All desktop towers give you a hardware upgrade option when you can replace old, weak, or malfunctioning components with more powerful ones.
You can even take everything out and custom-build your desktop tower with your preferred components.
In laptops, this option is limited but still available.
For example, you can replace an HDD with SSD storage for more speed.
On the other hand, smartphones come with all their components integrated into a cramped area, so upgrading isn’t an option.
Still, some will allow you to expand the storage capacity by adding a removable memory card.
8. Input Device
One of the key differences between a smartphone and a computer is their input device.
Most computers use a mouse and keyboard, while smartphones receive input via a touch screen.
Some modern laptops also have a touch screen interface for convenience.
Still, their main input devices remain a mouse and keyboard.
Desktop computers and laptops usually have Microsoft Windows, Linux, or macOS as their operating system, and these systems won’t run on most smartphones.
Therefore, most of your computer programs won’t work on your smartphone.
Computer software is more functional and produces higher quality results than smartphones.
Video and image editing, architectural rendering, and animating software in computers produce outputs that even the flagship smartphones can’t compete with.
Smartphones only have a few simple apps for such functions that lack accuracy and complexity and have a more limited set of tools.
A computer is also more convenient for such purposes thanks to its keyboards and mice.
If you want to do creative and complex work, such as architectural rendering and programming, you’d better go for a computer.
10. Hardware And Peripherals
Most computers have stronger hardware than smartphones.
A recent flagship smartphone can only compete with desktop computers and laptops from five years ago in computing power.
Also, peripherals, such as external hard drives and printers, only work with computers and aren’t generally compatible with smartphones.
However, recent technological advancements have resulted in wireless peripherals, such as speakers, that will work with both.
Can A Smartphone Replace A Computer?
Each season, a new wave of smartphones comes to the market that’s more powerful and capable than its predecessors.
Many people now use their smartphones to carry out many daily tasks, such as sending emails, editing photos, listening to music, and browsing the web.
It might seem that you can replace your computer with a high-end smartphone without missing much.
A flagship smartphone with multiple processors, powerful graphic hardware, and more than six gigabytes of RAM can rival a mid-range laptop in strength, but not the high-end ones.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro, with its A16 Bionic Chipset, is the fastest smartphone ever.
Still, it can’t rival the fastest and most powerful gaming computers in speed and computing power.
People who need a device for complex activities, such as software and graphic design, can’t replace their computers with smartphones.
Smartphones are more portable and suit those who are always on the move.
However, portability always comes with a cost.
Smartphones lack the convenience of a large monitor, which allows you to see texts with larger fonts and pictures with more resolution.
For example, can you imagine a writer writing their book on a smartphone’s tiny screen?
Also, multitasking is much easier on a computer, where you can have multiple windows open simultaneously to compare their data and reach a comprehensive result.
You can even add another monitor to your current display to get a wider view.
Although smartphones are technically computers and are ever-increasing in power and capabilities, it doesn’t seem they’ll completely replace PCs in many personal or professional settings in the near future.
However, they’ve replaced many gadgets, such as clocks, compasses, GPS devices, and radios!
Is A Smartphone Safer Than A Computer?
Smartphones are generally harder to hack than computers because you can’t find a phone via its IP address.
They still pose security threats.
Smartphones are convenient because of their mobility, but this mobility causes some security risks.
Smartphones have GPS devices that track our moves and save our location on apps that require access.
These apps may report our location to unknown parties and put us in danger.
Also, as we take our smartphones everywhere, their chance of being stolen or lost is much greater than our PCs.
Another security problem with smartphones concerns the applications we download on them from different sources.
Apple devices can only download their applications from the App Store.
Still, Android devices have open technology and can download apps from many sources, some of which might not be trustworthy.
Computers aren’t thoroughly safe either.
Although computers aren’t as portable as smartphones, won’t track your steps, or get lost easily, their complex software cause many security risks.
These complex software might have design flaws that cybercriminals can attack.
Therefore, both smartphones and computers pose security threats, and you must take sensible precautions to keep safe.
To start, choose a strong password, install an antivirus, and don’t open suspicious links.