What does “pro” on smartphone names mean?

​​​​​​​Apple has launched the trio of 2019 iPhones with many new upgrades and improvements and also marked the first time in more than a decade of launching that the name of the iPhone has been changed.

Last year, the iPhone XR was priced as a "cheap" iPhone model, but so far, Apple has upgraded the XR to a standard iPhone 11. Last year's XS/XS Max duo has left the spotlight for 11 Pro/11 Pro Max.

In the world of smartphones, it is not uncommon for Android companies like OnePlus, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. to use the Pro brand for their devices. However, for Apple, this is the first time, which marks a new milestone. The company has officially placed the iPhone 11 Pro/11 Pro Max duo in line with Pro products such as Macbook Pro, iPad Pro, Mac Pro, and even iMac Pro.

At this point, many of us will ask the question: "What is a ‘pro smartphone’?" And "What are they special about being ‘pro’?" Taking a look around the Pro-branded smartphones available on the market today, we see similarities in the improvements they have compared to the standard versions.



The first is the camera when the pro versions come with more lenses. OnePlus 7 Pro provides users with a triple-camera cluster, while OnePlus 7 has only dual cameras. Huawei P30 Pro is equipped with up to four cameras instead of three on the P30. And the iPhone 11 Pro is no exception with the addition of a telephoto lens, while the standard iPhone 11 has only two normal and wide-angle lenses.

In addition, these versions are equipped with more RAM, even if the processor remains the same. On the P30 Pro, Huawei generously equips 8GB of RAM while the P30 has only 6GB of RAM. As for the iPhone 2019, Apple has not announced it officially, but many sources say that the iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max will be equipped with 6GB of RAM, while the standard 11 is 4GB RAM.

The final improvement is the upgrade to the screen. In the devices compared by The Verge, the Pro-branded models are often equipped with a more advanced screen with an overflow design, eliminating the "rabbit ears, water drops" designs, etc. with bigger, more curved screens and faster refresh rate. They even use quality OLED panels, more expensive than the regular version.


But the factors mentioned above cannot make your smartphone become "pro" more. Can a pro smartphone take high-quality photos like DSLRs or perform PC tasks on smartphones or produce an output video/recording sound as well as on a professional camera?

Smartphone manufacturers keep focusing on upgrading their hardware or tweaking their screens, forgetting that the phone is still too small and not suitable for carrying out replacement tasks for laptops, or jobs that require a big screen, which iPad can do.

Even if they are users in the creative, business areas, they still use smartphones only to perform common tasks such as making calls, texting, surfing the web, checking mail and playing entertainment games.

Most high-end smartphones today usually handle faster thanks to more RAM, more powerful chipsets, better screens and better usage time. But for the most part, they can only respond well to recreational gaming, daily use of users without being directed to specific work tasks.



In terms of meaning, the ‘pro’ mark here doesn’t indicate a device for professionals and professional users, but only for improvements and upgrades that are not available on the standard version. That means the pro version will cost more than the regular version.

This is especially true of the new iPhone trio, where the biggest difference between the pro and the regular is the screen (using the OLED panel on the pro instead of the LCD as on the regular version), frame material border (stainless steel and aluminum) and camera assembly (the most valuable upgrade compared to the standard iPhone 11).

Typically, the Macbook Pro has a stronger hardware configuration than the regular Macbook line. Or iPad Pro has a larger screen size, accompanied by ProMotion technology for the ability to fully exploit the use of the latest Apple Pencil.


But for many people, the Pro option is always the first choice while their usage needs are not too great. The most obvious is that students, they buy Macbook Pro just for writing documents, watching Netflix, or use iPad Pro just for entertainment instead of for advanced graphics work.

And the same will happen with the iPhone Pro when this is not a device specifically designed for professional tasks. It is simply an upgrade and those who have the financial resources will be willing to spend a large sum of money to own a high-end device.

There are some exceptions when Apple recently announced two MacPro and iMac Pro models targeted at professional filmmakers with high-end hardware. And of course, they come at a really expensive price.

In short, Apple and smartphone manufacturers use the pro mark only as a normal marketing method for those users who want to get new upgrades and spend a larger amount to own these devices.

In short, whether you're an editor, a photographer, a graphic designer, a programmer, or just an ordinary user, the best smartphone you have is just a smartphone.

By: Joe Cook

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