The difference between features and capabilities.

Various technical means, machines, equipment are usually characterized by the presence of functions and capabilities. What is the specificity of these characteristics?

What is a function?

Under function in the context of considering the characteristics of any technical means, machine or equipment is understood as a key, stably used consumer option. For example, if we are talking about a cell phone, then its main functions will be:

  1. reception and transmission of voice within the framework of communication sessions between subscribers;
  2. reception and transmission of SMS;
  3. receiving and transmitting mobile traffic;
  4. ensuring the operation of specialized applications.

The presence of functions in this or that apparatus predetermines its competitive advantages in the market. As a rule, more functional solutions are significantly more expensive - provided that the implementation of certain technological options will be carried out in the devices in a sufficiently stable manner, without failures.

What is opportunity?

Under a possibility in the context of considering the characteristics of a technical device means a consumer option, in principle accessible to a person, but not necessarily used by him on a regular basis.

For example, a cell phone may have features such as:

  1. turning on the speakerphone;
  2. use of an answering machine;
  3. ensuring that mobile application functions are enabled;
  4. Changes the color scheme of the on-screen menu.

Thus, opportunity is the potential for the implementation of a particular function.


The main difference between functions and capabilities, if we consider both concepts in the context of studying the characteristics of any technical means, is that the former are more consistent with the consumer options of the device that are used regularly, by default. In turn, an opportunity is only a potentially used option, but at the same time it reflects the presence of a particular function in a device.

Thus, the concepts of "function" and "opportunity" are extremely closely related. At the same time, in many cases, the use of a device's capabilities involves the use of several of its functions simultaneously.

For example, the fact that the phone has the ability to activate the speakerphone indicates that the device has such functions as sending sound to the speaker (while it must be installed on the phone), as well as providing receiving sound from a distance through a microphone.

Another example: negotiating on the mobile version of Skype - as a possibility - requires the phone to have such functions as:

  1. receiving and transmitting voice;
  2. receiving and transmitting mobile traffic;
  3. Ensuring the operation of mobile applications.

There is a term “functionality”, denoting the fact that the concept of function and capability should be considered precisely in the context of consumer options of a device, machine or equipment.

The fact is that both terms in question are characterized by the fact that they can be used in a variety of contexts. The concept of "function" is often used in mathematics and physics. "Opportunity" - in various humanitarian disciplines. Therefore, in order to give, relatively speaking, the reader of a technical article or manual to understand that we are talking about some kind of household device, the phrase "functionality" is used.

Having determined what is the difference between the functions and capabilities of a device, machine or equipment, we fix the conclusions in the table.


Function Option
What do they have in common?
Opportunity - the potential for the implementation of a function, one or more
What is the difference between them?
The term corresponds to a stably activated consumer option of a device, machine, equipmentThe term corresponds to a potentially activated consumer option of a device, but always at the expense of some functions, often several at the same time