Mid-range is the new flagship

Apple sells massive amounts of the SEs and Google hits a sweet spot with the 4a. Will the pandemic switch manufacturers’ focus to more budget friendly devices?

Manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei and LG have always had multiple options in the mid-range and budget categories. Now that Apple, OnePlus and Google are all pushing into the same space with their offerings, a budget-minded buyer has more than ever to choose from.

It takes years to make a smartphone from start to the shelves. That means that neither Google, OnePlus nor Apple has made their latest budget phones because of the pandemic. The current situation just makes the new budget phones much more interesting to larger audience.

Apple has supported their devices brilliantly with updates for more than five years. It means that there are a lot of people still using iPhone 6 to 7. Those devices are definitely starting to show wear and tear at this point. The new iPhone X era devices are a big step to the new swiping navigation and face recognition. The iPhone SE is a great choice for those who want to stick with the fingerprint scanner or just save money.

Pixel 4a in the other hand is the best smartphone main camera that money could buy. And the money needed is $350. That is a steal for those who don’t care about high refresh rate screens or gaming on their phone. I could easily switch to the 4a from my 4 XL today and be fine. I would actually be more than fine because I currently only have 64 GB of storage and the only 4a version is 128 GB.

OnePlus Nord is another of these great new budget phones. It’s what started OnePlus. Making sacrifices for the price. It has plastic body like the first one and it’s priced at half of the most flagships. Nord is a great option for those who can buy it.

Meanwhile, Samsung has a dozen of A-series devices on multiple affordable price points and they are selling decently. Nokia (HMD Global) only sells mid-rangers and entry level devices at the moment. LG is missing from the flagship game. Sony has the Xperia 10 II and a bunch of Chinese manufacturers are targeting the sub $500 price.

A while back, one could justify buying the flagship every two years because the price was $600 to $800. Now it’s doubled, starting from. I mean look at the price of the new Note 20 Ultra and it’s sibling Note 20. The Note 20 is basically a joke with a plastic back, 60 Hz and 1080p display at a thousand dollars. But the Note 20 Ultra, their actual flagship starts at $1299 with 128 GB of storage. Last year’s iPhone is at the thousand dollar mark with 64 GB.

With the current yearly price increase, the flagship phone will soon be a luxury item, not a normal person’s choice for the next two years. That brings us back to the mid-rangers. One can do almost everything with the $350 Pixel that one can do with a $1299 Note 20 Ultra. Now that we can’t go out and show off the mystic bronze, why would we buy the Note?