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Why I think midrange phones are more exciting than flagships right now

Posted January 14, 2020 | Mobile | News


This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

Is it just me, or do all phones look kind of the same now? With flagships, in particular, it’s getting hard to tell one model from the other. On the Android side, we get glass backs and tall, curved-edge displays with either a small notch or a hole for the selfie camera. Inside, we also often find the same specs across most brands: the latest Snapdragon chipset, 6-8GB of RAM and a bunch of cameras. iPhones are even worse in this regard, barely distinguishable between generations, and performance-wise, you’re getting practically the same experience. In short: flagships are predictable and boring.

There are various reasons for that. One is that no manufacturer wants to take big risks with its premium devices – its main moneymakers – by omitting a feature users might expect or adding something that might deter users from buying its phone.

Another reason people these days don’t get as excited about flagships as they used to is the price. Even if there’s a cool new feature you might want, knowing that the price tag will be $1,000 and up cools your enthusiasm like a bucket of ice water.

Midrange is where the cool kids hang out

But where that’s no concern is down at the midrange level. Cheaper phones these days aren’t a synonym for crappy phones. They offer great value and often have an interesting twist to them. Midrangers are the quirky and hip phones of today. Motorola’s One line is a good example of that. The One Action, One Zoom and One Macro all have something to make them stand out from the crowd. Sure, not many users would prefer to have a phone with a niche camera, but there’s nothing wrong with having options.

Google’s Pixel 3a was a huge hit for its bread-and-butter approach: affordable price and awesome camera. And if the rumors are true, the Pixel 4a will be even better. It’s not often that we see a trimmed-down version of a phone selling better than its premium equivalent, but thanks to Google’s market strategy, here we are.

And let’s not forget the iPhone 9 (iPhone SE 2?). We’ve been expecting this phone for years, and so are many iPhone users waiting to upgrade their phones without having to spend upwards of $700. Despite having the same, familiar design, this new budget iPhone is exciting fans of smaller devices and the home button.

Personally, I can’t wait to get a hold of the OnePlus 8 Lite. After OnePlus phones got curved displays and climbed up the price ladder, the 8 Lite shapes up to be a back-to-basics phone for fans of the brand that aren’t so happy with its change of heart.

Midrangers are easy on your pocket and your mind

Midrange phones also come with a sense of freedom. Not that you should be careless with them, but perhaps you can skip on using a case and enjoy the aesthetic the designers worked hard to deliver without stressing too much about it. Plus, knowing that you’re being practical and getting something that offers a lot of bang for your buck brings great satisfaction.

Phone makers also feel less pressured when delivering midrange models since they usually impact the overall revenue less than flagships with their high profit margins. They can afford to test different materials, chips and camera arrangements without being judged too harshly by reviewers and users alike.

If I have to make an analogy, flagships are like upscale restaurants with a strict dress code while midrangers are your local pub where you go to grab a beer and have some fun. I know where I’d rather be, how about you? Share your thoughts about the current state of midrange phones below!



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