Honor’s latest smartphone promises to defragment itself: a very bad idea?

The Honor Magic 3, the latest flagship of the Chinese manufacturer, promises to maintain impeccable performance thanks to the use of an AI that will cleanly store all your data next to each other. A questionable marketing argument.

Honor has just presented this August 12, 2021 its brand new phone: the Magic 3. Sold from 899 euros, this high-end mobile marks the very first time that the manufacturer has released a device without the help of its former parent company. Huawei.

Honor wants to defragment your phone

The brand therefore had to hit hard to revive. The Honor Magic 3 embeds all the latest technologies, Snapdragon 888+ processor, three or four photo sensors depending on the version, a 120 Hz Oled screen and even technology to reduce the wear and tear of your smartphone in the long term and maintain impeccable performance. even long months after purchase.

Honor presents this innovation as an algorithm ” Anti aging Which will optimize the memory of your smartphone to maintain performance. Graphics and animations in support, Georges Zhao, CEO of Honor, ensures that this allows the Magic 3 to lose only 4% of its performance after 36 months of use, while other Android mobiles lose an average of 36, 6% of their responsiveness over the same period.

The graphic presented by Honor
The graphic presented by Honor // Source: Honor

The secret of such optimization? Tidy up all the bits next to each other, depending on the brand. Anyone who has ever defragmented their computer’s hard drive will recognize the graphics above.

Except that “tidying up” your data in such a way is useless on a smartphone. Worse, defragmenting your memory can be harmful to your phone. To understand why we must understand the difference between a hard drive, which equips old computers, and flash memory, which equips our current smartphones.

Unnecessary and harmful optimization

On a hard drive, the data is written on a rotating glass cylinder and a read head must find it and then transmit it to your computer. For example, if the data in a set is scattered around the cylinder, it will take longer for the read head to find all of it. In these circumstances, it is relevant to bring them together in the same place to minimize disc movements and avoid excessively long waiting times.

The inside of a hard drive with its platter (center) and read head (left) // Source: Dave Indech – Wikimedia Commons

The flash memory used in our smartphones does not use mechanical components. Everything is stored on transistors. This allows it to be much faster since no read head has to physically search for data on a location on the disk. As a result, it does not need to be “stored” since it is possible to access all the data simultaneously without being limited by physical constraints. This is why flash memory does not need to be defragmented.

On the other hand, the flash memory is limited in writing cycle. This means that if you move your data too often, it can tire the components. And since defragmentation does this very precisely, it is not recommended to do this operation on your smartphones and tablets.

This does not mean that Honor’s algorithms are not able to optimize the performance of your smartphone in the long term. Maybe the manufacturer has figured out a secret method to make sure their phones never get tired, but it’s clearly not through defragmentation.

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