Tech Terms Explained in Ways We All Can Understand



Gorilla Gadgets Tech Terms Glossary 

Terms Index

1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE Inductive Charging Pixel SIM
Airplane Mode Jailbreak Pixel Density Standby Time
Bandwidth Launcher POP3 TDMA
Battery Cycling Lightning Cable Power Bank Tempered Glass
Cache Lithium Ion PPI Tethering
Capacitive Touch mAh Privacy Screen Protector TPU
CDMA Mbps Proximity Sensor Type-C
Charging Amps Megapixel QHD UI
Dual Core MicroSD Qi Wireless Ultra HD
Extended Battery Miracast Quad Core USB
GPS Multi-Touch RAM UX
GSM NFC Resolution VPN
Hexa-core OE RFID Widget


1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE: You see the term 4G in cell phone advertising almost every single day, but what is the difference between 3G and 4G? The “G” simply refers to what generation the tech is. 1G was the 1st generation cell phone connection. It was only capable of voice and it was an analog connection. 2G was the 2nd generation, this still was only able to transmit audio, but the quality was much better than 1G. With the 3rd generation 3G the phone was able to transmit voice, data, and video. It was also capable of web browsing. With the most recent generation 4G speeds and quality were greatly improved and Full HD and Ultra HD video was possible. 

Airplane Mode: What is airplane mode and why should you use it? We get that question all of the time. Airplane Mode prevents your device from receiving phone calls and text messages. It turns off your cellular radio, your WIFI, Bluetooth, and GPS. This mode not only makes sure that your phone does not affect the planes navigation system but also saves your battery.


Bandwidth: Bandwidth is also known as “Data Transfer Rate” and it is the amount of data that can be transmitted from one point to another. It is quantified in “bits per second (BPS)” “million bits per second (MBPS) and Gigabits Per Second (GBPS). You may see this in your home wireless internet router. Different functions require varying amounts of bandwidth. See Mbps definition for more info. 

Simplified example: Think of bandwidth like a hose. A garden hose has limited bandwidth but still gets the job done, but a fire hose has way more bandwidth and can spray much faster. (Send information much faster) 


Battery Cycling: On every battery we sell, we advise you to cycle your battery when you first receive it, and every few months after, to get the best results. But what is battery cycling? Battery cycling is charging your battery all the way to 100% and then use it all the way to 0% with no charging it in between. Check out our Battery 101 Guide for tips. What this does is allow your phone to adjust to the new battery. 

Why should I cycle my phone battery? 

Answer: This will give you more accurate readings when you look at your battery percentage and maintain healthy battery performance.


Cache: Cache is not what rappers make rain. Cache is the temporary storage of digital information. Cache allows your computer or mobile device to multi-task easier and be able to seamlessly switch between different applications. The cache temporarily stores your program data and makes it easier for your system to access at a later time. This limits the amount of bandwidth you use, and limits the taxation on a server. Your cache will fill up from time to time, so be sure to clear it every so often. If you sometimes ask yourself, why is my device running so slow? Your cache or RAM is usually the issue. 

Simplified explanation: Cache is like your temporary memory. Cache would be like you trying to remember a grocery shopping list. If your “human cache” is cleared, you can easily remember the list, but if you also have a hundred other lists in your memory accessing the grocery list will be difficult for you.


Capacitive Touch: You may have seen the term “capacitive touch” on your smartphone’s spec list or on a review, but what is capacitive touch? This type of touch screen uses an electric field to detect the touch of your fingers. It does not rely on pressure, you can lightly touch the screen and it will still register. The way that it works is simple, your screen emits and electric field and when you touch the screen your finger breaks the electric field, therefore registering your finger presses. 

What does this really mean? This means you do not have to press your phone screen hard to register a touch.


CDMA/GSM: This is the type of technology that phone companies use to let your mobile device access their data networks. CDMA is used by Sprint and Verizon while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. GSM was the original SIM card user, this allowed you to transfer you SIM card into a new phone quickly and easily. 

Honest opinion: We recommend you not worry about this and let you cell provider handle all of this for you.


Charging Amps: Not all chargers are created equal. Taking a deeper look at your charger’s specifications can help you make sure you are using the right charger for the right device. A basic charger only charges at 5V and with a 500mAh output. This is very low and will charge your device very slowly. This is mostly used with older phones. The original iPhone charger charges at 5V but at 1000mAh (1.0A) this is still relatively slow to today’s standards. For iPads, tablets, and most newer phones the new standard output is around 2100mAh (2.0A). This is the lowest level charger you should use for a tablet or new smartphone. New quick charging chargers have been released that charge at 3000mAh (3.0A) these chargers are only compatible with the newer smartphones, but can charge your phone from 0%to 100% in under an hour. 

Explained: 1.0A minimum for older phones (2.0A is optimal) 2.0A and above for your tablets and larger devices. For quick charging, if you have a device that supports quick charging, use it. 3.0A charging will make a huge difference.

Dual Core: This is a CPU configuration that has two processing cores that are separate, but work together, and share a single circuit. One core might handle the heavy lifting and the second does the basic tasks. One core might automatically shut off when it is not needed to save battery life. This processor type is starting to show its age but is still featured in a good number of mobile devices. 

Bottom Line: If you are looking at a new device that says it has a dual core processor it is a very old cell phone, and we would not recommend purchasing that phone if you are doing anything other than basic functions.  


Extended Battery: What is the difference between an extended battery and a regular battery? The answer is quite simple. An extended battery is usually twice the battery capacity of a typical battery but is bigger and slightly thicker. It is not unlikely that you receive 24+ hours of battery life with an extended battery. If you hate charging your phone every few hours, this might be the battery choice for you. 

Why should I use an extended battery? Answer: If you don’t mind the slightly thicker and heavier device, this is a great option to significantly improve the battery life of your smartphone. It is easy to install easy to use and make an instant difference in your battery life.

GPS: Stands for Global Positioning Satellite. This is a 24 satellite network that was originally designed for military use, but in 1980 was made available to the public. 

What is GPS really do on your phone? GPS today is used on all of your navigation applications like Waze or Google Maps. GPS is also used for certain social applications, like Facebook, Yelp, Instagram and more. It also allows you to check in to the gym on Facebook every time you go, so your friends can see how fit you are.


HDMI: HDMI stands for “High Definition Multimedia Interface” and is the only way for you to experience “HD” resolution. Those red, yellow, and white cables are a thing of the past. HDMI cables can transfer both audio and video data through one cable. 

Why should I use an HDMI cable? It makes the picture and sound of what you are watching twice as good as a standard cable. If you have a Blu-ray player you have to have this cable to even use the player.

Hexa-Core: If you have no idea what the difference is between a dual core and hexa-core processor it is really simple. A dual core has two cores, and a hexa-core has six cores. The more cores a processor has, the more it can do at once, and the quicker you can do each task. A hexa-core processor can run ultra HD video and high quality mobile games. 

What does hexa-core processor really do for my device? Navigating through your home screens, running apps, and playing games will be buttery smooth. The “more the better” phrase applies to processing cores.


HTML: While some people speak Spanish, English, French, or German, HTML is actually a language too. HTML stands for “Hypertext Markup Language” which is the language of computers. This language tells a webpage or an application what font, what color, what size, pictures, and text content to display. It also tells a computer how other functions should react to a user’s behavior. HTML can also be used to track a user’s behavior through a webpage or mobile application. 

HTML Simplified: This is one of the languages that programmers use to tell computers what to do.


Inductive Charging: If you have no idea what the difference is between inductive charging and wireless charging? There actually is no difference, it is precisely the same. Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. The energy that is transferred is used to charge or power a device. Inductive charging works with two coils that transfer energy between the two. Inductive charging is not new (it has been used on electric trains for years, but is new to the smartphone market, and we feel will be standard on all new smartphones. 

What does inductive charging mean for the average smartphone user? This technology allows you to place your phone on a charging pad and start charging. No cables, no hassle.


IP Waterproof Rating: IP in a waterproof rating refers to “Ingress Protection” that refers to how protected a device is to foreign bodies (dirt, dust, water, etc.). For example: the new Galaxy S7 has a IP68 rating. The first number “6” refers to the phone’s resistance to dust and dirt and the second number “8” refers to the waterproof resistance. The higher the number, the more protected it is. Just because a device is waterproof, there are still limitations. Check your user manual for more information on just how waterproof your device is. 

What does the waterproof rating mean for the general consumer? This number dictates where you can safely take your phone when it will not be damaged by water, dirt and dust.

Jailbreak: When you jailbreak your smartphone, you are modifying your phone’s software to allow you access files that you would normally not get access to. With access to these files, you can change your phone in news ways, including removing unwanted system apps, using phones with different mobile phone carriers, and installing programs that you normally would not be able to use. You can even modify your phone’s look, feel, and drastically tweak your phone to improve battery performance. This is similar to “rooting your device” for Android devices. 

Recommended insight: If you are not familiar with your smartphone’s settings we do not recommend you try this. You can void your warranty or worse, make your phone unusable.


Launcher: A launcher on an Android device is the part of the Android interface that lets you customize your home-screen, icons, notifications, and overall functionality of your phone. Some of our favorite launchers are Nova, Google Now, Apex, and Themer. If you hate the way that your home layout is when you first got your smartphone, these launchers give you the ability to customize just about everything, from icon sizes, transition animations, colors, layouts and so much more. 

Simple insights: The first time we get any new phone the first thing we install is a new launcher. You can customize almost everything to your liking.


Lightning Cable: You might own an iPhone but had no idea that your charging and sync cable was called a “Lightning Cable.” A lightning cable is Apple’s proprietary cable that replaced the original dock connectors of the iPod. If you have any old iHome or other audio docks, they are now obsolete (sorry). The cable has a small processor in it that allows it to be plugged in no matter what direction it is facing. Micro USB cables can only be inserted one way. These lightning cables are actually very expensive and are actually slower than the original dock connectors. 

Bottom line: If you own an Apple product you must buy this overpriced cable. The positive of this is that if you buy a good cable it should last you a long time.


Lithium Ion: A Lithium-Ion battery works by moving lithium ions from a negative electrode to a positive electrode inside the battery. The ions move from the negative electrode to the positive, when you use it and then back to the negative when you charge it again. What makes a lithium ion battery better? A lithium-ion battery is more stable than regular batteries, and they don’t contain dangerous battery acid or lead in their construction or functionality. 

Do I have a lithium ion battery on my phone? If you own a smartphone it has a lithium-ion battery inside.


mAh: The most common question we get asked is, what does mAh mean? The term mAh stands for Milli Ampere Hour. In layman’s terms, this refers to the battery’s energy storage capacity. 

The simple explanation: Think of it as fuel for a battery. It is like your gas tank in your car. The bigger the gas tank, the more fuel you can put in it, and the longer distance that you can drive. Most newer cell phone batteries range from 2000mAh-3800mAh in capacity. You can find extended life batteries on our site, and those batteries range from 3800mAh-6500mAh. That’s a big gas tank!


Mbps: Some refer to WIFI as the greatest invention of the last hundred years. We all pay our monthly internet bills and most of have no idea what each internet speed tier really means. You may have seen the term “Mbps” on your internet plans. What does Mbps mean you ask? MBPS refers to “mega-bits per second” and tells you how much data can be transferred per second. The higher the number, the better performance you will see. 

The simple breakdown: below you will see the necessary Mbps ratings for something most of us do, stream countless hours of Netflix.

0.5 Mbps: This is the lowest possible speed you need for minimal web browsing, limited video.

3.0 Mbps: This is the lowest recommended speed for standard definition Netflix streaming. (It will still be very choppy)

5.0 Mbps: This is the lowest recommended rate for HD quality streams.

25 Mbps: This is the lowest speed you need to stream Ultra HD 4K video

*These speeds are based on a per user basis, and multiple people on your internet network will limit your speed.


Megapixel: The basic definition of a megapixel is one million pixels. Digital images are made up of tiny mosaic tile like elements that make up the pictures. The more pixels in an image the higher quality and resolution the picture is going to be. The quality of a photo also relies on other factors, like lighting, focus, and image clarity (camera settings, steady hand etc.). 

The bottom line: The more megapixels your camera is, the better Instagram pictures of your meals you can take.


MicroSD: MicroSD is the smallest and most widely used form of expanded storage used on smartphones, tablets, cameras, music devices and more. We recommend you avoid low quality MicroSD cards. You have to look at more than just the GB capacity of the SD Card. You need to look at the data transfer speed as well. Slow cards can actually make your phone sluggish. You need to use at least a 6MB transfer rate for your card if you are planning on recording HD or Full HD content, and a 10MB transfer rate for Ultra HD quality. If you are just going to use your Micro SD card to store photos on your phone, speed isn’t much of an issue. 

MicroSD cards simplified: This card lets you store more photos, videos, MP3’s and more. Just don’t buy a low quality card.


Micro USB: Micro USB is one of the most universal cables that are used for today’s smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The Micro USB cable is used both to charge devices, as well as transfer data between two devices. Lots of cell phone companies have tried to create their own unique cable types, but they all come back to Micro USB eventually. These cables are inexpensive, and all work just about the same. We can’t say the same thing about lightning cables. 

Bottom line: This is the most universal cable for most Android smartphones.


Miracast: You may have seen something called Miracast on your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV. But what is Miracast, and what does it do? With Miracast, you can mirror your phone or your tablet on your TV or computer monitor. Whatever you see on your device will be casted to the bigger screen. 

Why use Miracast? Answer: This is ideal for presentations, sharing photos with family, or if you’ve always just wanted to play Candy Crush on the big screen.


Multi-Touch: Multi-touch is the ability of your touch screen to track multiple touches to your screen. You can touch the screen with all of your fingers and the screen will register all of those touches at the same time. 

How is this used by the everyday user: Playing your virtual piano app is running using this feature.


NFC: You may have seen the NFC button on the top of your phone’s drop down menu. But you might be asking yourself, what is NFC and why should use? NFC is actual more functional and less of a gimmick than you might think. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it allows two devices to communicate and share data without the need of a cable or even to touch the other device. 

What makes NFC so great? Answer: With this technology you can send files, interact with tags or make payments in stores and restaurants. You can even send money to someone with your phone in seconds. (Samsung and Apple Pay use this method) Pairing your device to a wireless speaker with NFC takes only seconds, without you fumbling with any Bluetooth settings.


OEM: There term OEM means “Original Equipment Manufacturer” and can often be a misleading term. The term OEM means that a different company actually manufactures a product. 

What does this term OEM mean to the average person? Answer: A factory might make Toyota parts for Toyota, but they are not a part of the Toyota company. It is seen a lot in electronics, where plants make Samsung batteries but are not a part of the company.


OTA: The term OTA stands for “over-the-air” this is the most widely used way that your phone receives a software or firmware update. Whenever you see a notification saying that is time to update, you will be doing the update OTA. You can still manually update your devices, but you must connect your device to your computer and do the update manually.


Pixel: A pixel is the basic unit of visible color on a screen. A pixel is one small part of the overall display. EX: For a 1080P display the resolution is 1280PixelsX1080Pixels (That is the number of pixels horizontally times the number of pixels vertically) for a total of 2,073,600 pixels. That is a lot of pixels!


Pixel Density/PPI: What is pixel density and why does it matter? Pixel density is the number of pixels per centimeter on your screen. You will also see pixel density shown as PPI. Pixel density is more important than size or even screen resolution. 

Why should I care about PPI? Answer: The higher the PPI specs of a display, the denser the pixels of that screen will be, making the screen clarity even better. No jagged edges, just smooth pixels.


Power Bank: This is a mobile charger that you can charge your other devices with, without the need of a wall socket. They go by many names, portable charger, battery pack, external charger, but most likely they all function the same. You may see these power banks listed with mAh specifications. 

Here is a quick guide for the average Jo to see what power bank is right for you, based on the mAh capacity.

5000mAh and Below- These power banks contain about 1.5 full charges depending on your phone’s battery size.

8400mAh-This size is better if you don’t want to have to charge your power bank every day. This will offer you around 2.5 full charges.

11,000 and Above: This is for the power user. For most people you will get about 3.5 charges out of this power bank before you have to charge it again.


Privacy Screen Protector: Privacy screen protectors was made up of a specially treated material that is tinted. This specialized material limits the viewing angles of your phone so that only you can see what you are doing on your phone. 

Why should I use a privacy screen protector? Answer: This keeps your information private and you can visit those cat clothing store sites without the added embarrassment of people seeing you.


Proximity Sensor: The proximity sensor on your device is used to detect the presence of a nearby object. It is used by your phone to turn the screen off when the phone gets close to your ear while making a call. It is also used if you have a feature on your phone that pauses a video or turns off the screen when you look away. 

Simple explanation: The proximity sensor makes sure you don’t accidentally press something with the side of your head.


Quad HD: Also known as WQHD (Wide Quad High Definition) This is four times the number of pixels as 720P (1280X720 pixels). The resolution of Quad HD is 2560X1440 pixels.

What does quad HD do for my phones performance? Answer: Photos of your Great Aunt Jenny’s vacation photos on Facebook are going to, unfortunately, be very detailed.


Qi Wireless: See also Inductive Charging. Qi wireless is the technology that powers most smartphone’s wireless charging capabilities. It uses inductive charging that sends energy between two coils and the energy transferred is used to charge your device. The newer devices have this feature, but it will soon be standard on most devices. There are cases and wireless charging adapters available to give your device this wireless charging ability if you have an older device.

Quad Core: See dual core and hexacore. This is a processor that has four cores that are separate but work together to run your device. Each core might be responsible for different types of tasks. These types of processors will turn off unneeded cores when you are running easy tasks to save battery life.


RAM: Ram stands for “Random Access Memory” and is the number on reason why your phone is running slow, or running fast. Ram basically allows you to do multiple things at the same time. It saves necessary data of all the programs you are running so you can quickly access them. 

Simplified: Think of it like an art desk. You have a drawer that you store all of your art supplies that is your computer, or mobile device. You decide to make a painting, so you take out a variety of colors of paint. You put a small amount of each on your palate. You now have quick access to all the colors without taking out each color individually out of your drawer.


Screen Resolution: Screen resolution is the number of horizontal and vertical pixels on a display screen. This applies to televisions, computer monitors, phones, tablets and anything else with a display. On a computer monitor the higher the resolution, the more you can see on the screen without scrolling. Have you ever noticed on your computer monitor that when you change the resolution everything become bigger or smaller? This is screen resolution in action. 

What is the difference between screen resolutions? Answer: The more pixels the clearer your picture is going to be. This applies less to smaller screens, but the bigger the screen is the more significant screen resolution becomes.


RFID: RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID is used in the same way that a barcode, or magnetic strip on your credit card is used. This is better than a barcode because it does not have to be directly scanned like a barcode. As long as you are near enough to the RFID reader, it will scan.  

Everyday example: Imagine walking in to the grocery store and being able to pay without taking out any cash or any card, it will all be set to your RFID chip. (Conspiracy theorists think this is part of the New World Order, but the technology is still cool.)


ROM: What does ROM stand for? Rom stands for “Read Only Memory” and is a little different from RAM. This memory is used to store the basics of all of your programs and data. It stores all of the data needed to boot up your computer and software. ROM is temporary storage and ROM is more permanent. 

Simplified answer: ROM is in your garage, it stores all the tools your need but you have to keep going in and out of the garage in to grab each individual tool. But RAM is like a tool box, where everything is right in front of you and organized giving you quick access to all of your tools.


Root: Root in the technical sense is the primary directory of all of your files on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Root is also the term used for a user “jailbreaking” their device. By “rooting” your device you are giving yourself access to this “root” directory that primary users don’t have access to. 

What this means to the “Average Joe” is that you now have access to certain root only applications, the ability to remove unwanted programs that cell carriers add to your device but don’t let you remove, and increased overall device performance. 

Rooting does carry a warning however. “Rooting” your device does void your warranty on some devices, and if you do not know what you are doing, can turn your phone into an unusable brick. We do not recommend “rooting” unless you have followed all of the necessary steps.


SIM: What is a SIM card? A SIM card is a smart card that has a unique identification number that is assigned to the owner. This card stores all of your personal data, and your device will not work if the card is removed.

 SIM cards simplified: Think of a SIM card like a Driver’s License or Identification Card but for your mobile device.


Standby Time: This is the amount of time that your phone or tablet can last without being used. If you are noticing issues with your battery draining when it is not being used standby time will more than likely be the problem. There are apps that can limit the numbers of apps running when your screen is off that significantly improves battery life. Check out Greenfiy or Cleanmaster. 

Standby time simplified: Say your tablet is at 79% when you turn off the screen and you go to sleep, the time you are sleeping is “standby time” and if your tablet has dropped more than a few percentage points in battery life when you wake then you may have a standby battery drain problem.


Tempered Glass: You may have seen a screen protector advertising tempered glass. But what exactly is tempered glass? This is a unique process that uses thermal and chemical processes and treatments that significantly increase the strength of the glass. This prevents scratches, dings, and protects from drops. 

Simple translation: You can try to scratch the screen with your keys but will not be able to make a scratch.

Tethering (WIFI): Doing this allows you to use your phone's data connection to turn your phone into a wireless router, and other devices can use your connection as you would wifi.

TPU Rubber: Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is any of a class of polyurethane plastics with many properties, including elasticity, transparency, and resistance to oil, grease and abrasion. Technically, they are thermoplastic elastomers consisting of linear segmented block copolymers composed of hard and soft segments. 

In basic terms: it is a soft rubber case that protects your phone from drops and absorbs shock.

Type-C: The newest USB cable to the market is the Type-C. But what makes the Type-C cable better? Well for starters the Type-C cable is four times faster than a standard cable in both data transfer as well as charging capability. It also has the same type connector on both sides that will soon make it one of the most universal cable types. It is still very new, but many think it will be the new standard for USB cables.


UI: The UI refers to the user interface. The UI is how you navigate around a webpage, an app, or a smartphone’s home screen.


Ultra HD: This is also known as 4K. The resolution of Ultra HD is 3840X2160. Take into comparison that standard 720p HD’s resolution is 1280X720. Now these numbers might not mean anything to you, but if you were to do a side by side comparison of these two resolutions, the difference would be staggering. 

Primary example: Think of it like making a giant LEGO creation. If you only have 100 LEGO pieces, there is only so much you could create, but with a 1000 LEGOS you could make something so much more awesomer (We know that isn’t a word).


USB: This stands for “Universal Serial Bus” which might be the most non-descriptive title we’ve ever seen. The only word that means anything out of those three is “Universal”. The cable was designed to be universal, and be able to work with a wide variety of different devices. No matter what device you have any cable will work and you don’t have to search for specialized cables or use 3 surge protectors to allow you to plug in all of your device chargers.


UX: While similar to UI, UX refers to the user experience. The user interface is how a page or app is laid out. The UX is how easy it is for the user to use your app, your site, or your product.


VPN: What is a VPN and why should I use it? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. When you access a public or even a private network the information on your device can be somewhat readily available with the right tools. By setting up a VPN, you are taking a public connection and mirroring it privately so only you, or whoever you give access to can connect to it. This not only protects your information but can also increase the speed of your connection because you are the only one that has access to it. 

Why should you use a VPN? Your credit card information is completely safe, your Netflix streams will be buffer free, and you will not have to worry about your internet speed going down at peak times of the evening.


Widget: A widget is basically a fancy shortcut. You can use certain features of an app without completely opening the app. 

Widgets simplified: You can see what foolish thing Kanye West is tweeting without actually opening up your Twitter application.