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What's the Difference Between a Cellphone and a Smartphone?

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The main difference between cellphones and smartphones is their functionality. Smartphones can perform various tasks and operations simultaneously, while cellphones can only perform one task at a time. It is possible to reply to emails and listen to music while uploading files on the internet when using a smartphone, whereas cellphones can only do simple functions successively.

What is a Cellphone?

nokia 3310 cellphone
Nokia 3310, a famous Cellphone

A cellphone is any portable phone that utilizes cellular network technology to transmit data and messages. Cellular networks, which are made up of cells that are usually hexagonal, having at least 1 transceiver in a certain area, uses various radio frequencies to deliver data and information to mobile devices, such as mobile phones, which are the receivers.

What is a Smartphone?

iphone 13 smartphone
The iPhone 13, the most popular Smartphone right now

A smartphone is any mobile phone that can perform the functions of a computer. Typically, a smartphone is a touchscreen phone that can connect to the internet. It has its own OS or Operating System that allows the phone to run several downloadable applications. It is a computer that can fit into a pocket, as some would say.

Differences Between Cellphones and Smartphones

A smartphone is a cellphone. Because it still uses cellular networks to send SMS or to call via cellular networks. This means that a smartphone is a type of cellphone that has some different and advanced features from its predecessor. Even though the two share some key qualities, there are a lot of obvious differences that separate one from the other.


Cellphones are very simple and straightforward when it comes to the functions that are available for the users to use. The most common features of cellphones are a calendar, an alarm clock, monophonic ringtones, a basic or low-resolution camera, and a basic multimedia player that can be used to play music, view images, and play videos.

Smartphones have more superior features like downloadable applications. There are a vast number of applications that a user can download when using a smartphone. For examples, productivity applications such as office tools, editing softwares, and messaging apps for day-to-day business transactions. Also, there are games, movies, and other social media applications that can be accessed through Wi-Fi for the user’s entertainment.

Network Connections

To send data and information through cell phones, cellular networks would be the main bridge for 2 users to communicate with each other. Cellphones could also transfer files via wireless connections for they also support Infrared, for older iterations of cellphones, and Bluetooth, for the latest ones.

There are a lot of ways to connect and share information via smartphones. Aside from cellular networks and Bluetooth, smartphones can also connect to the internet by connecting to a Wi-Fi connection. If Wi-Fi isn’t available in the area that a user is currently in, mobile data connections could also be an alternative. 

User Interface, Performance, and Appearance

Cellphones are compact, light, and have more battery life compared to smartphones. They are more straightforward and durable. A cellphone can last a day or two without charging. This is due to the fact that cellphones are low in computing power and don't run applications that require more power.

Smartphones are more sophisticated and complex. The interface is highly customizable and has a lot of applications and folders with subfolders to workaround. Also, they are quite fragile and have less battery life compared to its counterpart. It uses a QWERTY-type keyboard rather than Numerical or Keypads. Because smartphones have more computing power, they are more likely to overheat when being used for a long time, while charging, or running a lot of apps simultaneously.

Storage and Processor

Smartphones have more storage and more powerful processors. This is due to the fact that the applications demand more computing power. Cellphones, on the other hand, don’t need to be advanced as they only run simple applications one at a time. Also, smartphones are designed to store large amounts of data. Cellphones, in comparison, are generally designed for communication purposes only. Cellphones can have up to megabytes of storage only while smartphones can have a storage space that is as big as 256 gigabytes.

Price and Demand

Smartphones are in demand right now. Since technology is rapidly increasing, people are now looking for gadgets that would make life easier and do their tasks efficiently. But efficiency and convenience come at a price. Smartphones are way more expensive than cellphones. Smartphones have a lot of functions that can replace some other gadgets that are designed for a certain task. The average price of a smartphone in the US is $208, while phones that have smaller or fewer features could amount to $58 on average.

Comparison Chart: Smartphones Vs Cellphones

Features & ApplicationsProductivity Applications (office tools, editing softwares, messaging apps)
Entertainment Applications(games, music, video, web browsing)
Calendar, Alarm Clock, Phonebook, Messaging, Calling
Performance & AppearanceCan run several tasks simultaneously, touchscreen, sleek, rectangular, Can run tasks successively or one at a time, uses a physical keyboard or keypad, comes in different shapes, compact
Storage & ProcessorHigh storage space, high computing power, fastLow storage space, doesn’t need to have a powerful processor because it doesn’t support complex tasks
Price & DemandHigh demand, high price ($208, US average)Low demand, low price ($58 dollars, US average)
Unique QualityCan perform functions of a computerLong battery life

Frequently Asked Questions

What Was The First Invented Cellphone?

The first-ever cellphone invented was the DyanTAC 8000X by Motorola engineer, Martin Cooper. It was released on April 3 1973. It required 10 hours of charging time for 30 minutes of talking time.

What Is The Most Famous Smartphone in The World?

As of March 2022, Apple iPhone 13 has the most sales share in the world. In the US for example, Apple iPhone 13 has 21% sales share followed by Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max which has 15% only. In the UK, Apple iPhone 13 has 29% while in second place, Apple iPhone 13 Pro has 10%. In China, 8% followed by Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max at 3%. In France, it has 18% while Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max has 12% shares.

What Is The Cheapest Smartphone in The World?

Freedom 251 phone is the cheapest smartphone in the world to date. It only cost under $4. It is manufactured in India. It has 8GB of storage and has front and rear cameras, too.


Mobile phones, whether smartphones or cellphones, really make our day-to-day lives easier. They make communication more convenient and easy. It lets us talk to people in distant places with just a press of a key. Although there are vast differences between the two, it is safe to say that they serve their purpose well; communication.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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