UFS 4.0 storage: What it is and why should you care?

Get ready for faster speeds on your smartphone

UFS 4.0 storage: What it is and why should you care?

India is just getting introduced to 5G speeds, but what if we told you that data speed isn’t the only aspect on your smartphone that makes app installs, downloads and other tasks faster? Another core part of the process is your phone’s internal storage, and like most digital storage media, a smartphone’s internal storage too, has various speed classes. The latest speed class on the way to phones is UFS 4.0, and we’re here today to tell you all about it.

What is UFS storage?

UFS stands for Universal Flash Storage. It’s a universal standard for speed on the storage units that ship with smartphones and other gadgets. The standard came into existence in 2010 thanks to the UFSA (Universal Flash Storage Association), which was founded as an open-trade association to promote the standard. The first iteration, UFS 1.0 was introduced in 2011 with 300Mbps speeds.

Fast forward to 2023, and UFS 3.0 and 3.1 are currently the most common fast standards you’d see in phones. Th ese standards were introduced in 2018 and 2020 respectively and come with sequential read speeds of 2100Mbps and sequential write speeds of 410Mbps (UFS 3.0) and 1200Mbps (UFS 3.1). Your current phone, if purchased within the last few years, may already have UFS 3.0 or 3.1 if it is a higher-end device, while more entry level phones may still feature UFS 2.2 storage.

These storage speeds are used across various use-cases. Any data transfers and onboard tasks depend on how fast your phone’s storage is. The higher your UFS speed class, the faster your phone is at everything from changing your wallpaper to installing new apps and loading up large games.

What’s new with UFS 4.0?

UFS 4.0 is the latest speed class and is yet to make its debut on a smartphone. It was introduced by South-Korean tech giant Samsung, which also claims that UFS 4.0 will not just be twice as fast, but also consume nearly half the energy when in use. That’s a sequential read speed of 4,200Mbps and a sequential write speed of 2,800Mbps, as well as up to 46% lesser power consumption compared to UFS 3.1.

This suggests UFS 4.0 phones will be faster as well as more battery efficient, allowing smartphones to last longer on a single charge. With 5G quickly becoming mainstream in many regions, a lot of people are still getting used to the faster battery drain that 5G is often associated with. Power saved with UFS 4.0 will likely be able to restore the balance to some degree.

That’s not all. Samsung also claims to have improved the physical size of UFS 4.0 storage units, which can go up to 1TB. With a maximum length of 13mm, width of 11mm and just 1mm of thickness, UFS 4.0 storage will also be easier for brands to accommodate in their phones, helping phones be slimmer, or accommodate other components more easily.

Is UFS 4.0 storage a good-enough reason to upgrade your phone?

Well, no. Upgrading solely for UFS 4.0 speeds when the first phones come out is not advisable. While UFS 4.0 speeds will make your smartphone’s overall usage quicker in most use-cases, it alone is not important enough to upgrade your existing smartphone. This is because current gen UFS 3.0/3.1 storage speeds themselves are not exactly slow to begin with. Some of the fastest smartphones out there today still use UFS 3.1 storage and that’s good enough for most users for now.

As a rule, your decision to upgrade your existing smartphone should be based on at least a few more upgrades, like a bigger/better screen, a significantly faster chipset, or other hardware or software features.

That said, when you are looking to buy your next smartphone, keep an eye out for UFS 4.0 storage units, especially if it’s an expensive, flagship phone you’re planning to buy. No UFS 4.0 phones have been announced so far, but with Samsung confirming that UFS 4.0 storage units will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2023, expect the first few devices to launch by the end of this year or early 2024.

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