It is without a doubt that flagship smartphones of 2020 are the best of the best. When choosing the right smartphone, one can never go wrong with the top devices from Samsung, Apple, Huawei, OnePlus, or Google. But is that always the case?
It is apparent that the prices of top-tier smartphones are over the top this year. For example, a base model Samsung S20 costs US$999 [AU$1,573], and for the average person, that might be too much. Besides, not everyone needs all the bells and whistles included in these flagship devices.
With that being said, mid-range smartphones are getting better. According to popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee, “Cheap phones are getting better and good phones are getting cheap.” Gone are the days wherein mid-range smartphones suffer sluggish performance and inferior components.
Cheap phones are getting good. And good phones are getting cheap.
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) October 28, 2015
Without further ado, here are the top five reasons why a mid-range smartphone is the better buy this year.
1. Mid-range devices pack a complete package
Flagship devices have the latest and fastest components available. Top-tier processor – check. The huge amount of RAM – check. Lots of storage – check. Sharp camera – check.
However, mid-range smartphones are more than capable of doing everyday tasks such as browsing, gaming, and productivity. Some mid-range smartphones even have features that are already gone on flagships such as the 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD expansion slot.
Smartphone OEMs are even bringing features that were previously found on flagship devices. Mid-range smartphones such as the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max even has a quad-camera module at an affordable price point. In-display fingerprint scanners and quick charging are also available on these budget devices.
Basically, a mid-range smartphone can do all things that a flagship can do at a fraction of the price. The camera might not be as good in low light conditions, or it stutters after 20 apps open, but still, it works.
2. Premium designs are now available on cheaper devices
Midrange devices are getting better designs nowadays. Even a mid-range smartphone looks like a “premium” device right now with all-metal body or glass back designs. There are no more cutting corners when it comes to these budget devices.
The latest design trends such as high refresh rates, teardrop notch or hole-punch display are now seen on affordable smartphones. Even the bezel-less display that was first seen on top-tier devices is now available on sub-$500 devices.
3. The mid-range cameras work as good as flagships
These past two or three years, the difference between a flagship smartphone camera and a mid-range device is barely noticeable. There might be differences under certain lighting conditions, but most of the time, people take photos on daylight.
When uploaded on social media, one cannot really tell whether a photo is taken by a $1,000 device or a $400 smartphone.
Another example is the Pixel 3A. For its price, the photos that this Google device takes is comparable to flagship devices from last year.
4. There is always an active online community
Mid-range devices are much more accessible. Because of this, once a smartphone gets released, Facebook community groups pop up immediately.
Since a lot of people use these kinds of smartphones, online support is not a problem, and when a problem arises, tech enthusiasts have the answer most of the time.
These online communities are also responsible for software mods such as the Gcam. These mobile developers port the Google camera to cheaper devices, and it further improves the camera quality of budget devices. It also adds more features such as night sight, portrait mode, and better panorama.
5. Mid-range smartphones do not break the bank
This is the most obvious argument when getting a mid-range device. For most consumers, $1,000 is a lot of money for a mobile device that gets obsolete in a few years, or even months like OnePlus. It really does not sound practical.
More often than not, a $500 smartphone and a $1,000 device do not have a very noticeable difference whether in terms of camera or overall experience.
6. 5G connectivity is now coming to mid-range smartphones
Another reason why skipping this year’s flagships is the 5G connectivity. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G is one of the reasons why flagship prices soared to the top this year. Just like previous tech trends, 5G connectivity will creep down to mid-range devices. Patience is the key to purchasing smartphones this year.
Some flagships have better software support and updates though, and that is the only downside that might turn off some people.
Mid-range devices are really getting better and better, but this should not refrain you from getting a flagship device. There will always be comparisons between flagships, mid-range devices, or entry-level smartphones.
Either way, purchasing a smartphone will always be under the buyer’s discretion.