Flagship phones are judged on a lot of standards be it the camera, display or the battery, but storage standards are often overlooked. This is surprising given how much faster storage in smartphones makes a difference in day to day usage. Primarily in Android smartphones, we get to see eMMC and UFS chips, with UFS being the more premium offering.
Why UFS is Superior
Universal Flash Storage (UFS) isn’t bound by eMMC’s 8-bit parallel interface, so read and write operations are in a full duplex.
It is also substantially faster due to its superior architecture using M-PHY interface. This also gives smartphone vendors more control over power and speed tweak functions. Power consumption is also lower than the competition due to hardware level optimizations, UFS transfers data in high-speed bursts and its idle state has near-zero power draw.
This year we will see UFS 3.0 making its way into smartphones. Galaxy Fold was going to be the first device with UFS 3.0, but the launch was delayed due to quality issues with the units. If the benchmarks above are anything to go by, UFS 3.0 seems like a big jump from UFS 2.1.
OnePlus 7 Confirmed to Have UFS 3.0
OnePlus have built their brand around speed and even their design choices are speed centric, so UFS 3.0 makes perfect sense.
"OnePlus 7 Pro having UFS 3.0 storage means it’ll just be overall faster than comparable smartphones."
— Pete Lau (@PeteLau) May 5, 2019
This is impressive considering even the S10 and S10+ lack UFS 3.0 and the only phone announced with it was the Galaxy Fold, priced well over $2000 USD.
For the first time, OnePlus will launch two models together in May. This year we will get the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. The tweet above mentions “OnePlus 7 series will include UFS 3.0”, meaning it won’t be exclusive to the Pro variant.
This alone gives the OnePlus 7 an edge over many flagships launched so far this year. Faster, low latency storage is directly involved in making a phone snappier. Although the benefits of UFS 3.0 might not be obvious in day to day usage for someone already using a recent flagship, still there are some aspects which can vastly improve. For example, faster HDR+ photo processing along with better multitasking and battery life.
OnePlus 7 is probably using UFS chips from Samsung as they are the only ones mass producing at the moment. It can also be from Western Digital as they were sending out samples in Feb this year. Faster storage isn’t as marketable as an IP certification or wireless charging, but props to OnePlus for making phones on practical design choices which can directly improve performance.