Even if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy and don’t follow the smartphone market, you almost definitely either own, or know someone who owns, a phone made by a huge brand such as Apple, Samsung, or LG.
Can cheaper smartphones be a good alternative?
In fact, many people are hardly even aware that other, cheaper, alternatives exist, and that some of them are very similar in features and capabilities. There has been a market for less expensive options made by smaller brands for a number of years, and it is worth exploring whether or not it is worth forking out a fortune of your hard-earned money on a phone that is very similar to one of these cheaper models but with an Apple or Samsung logo.
Although these alternatives generally haven’t captured the public’s imagination in the way that their larger competitors have, many of them are certainly competitive.
You may have noticed that larger brands seem to constantly increase in price with each release – far faster than they increase in power or capability!
Big brands are charging you more than necessary
The latest models of Apple’s iPhone product range from approximately $700 to over a whopping $1000, and Samsung’s newest Galaxy models are almost as expensive! There is a widely-spread misconception that this must mean that the products are far superior technologically, but when researching and comparing technical specifications to those of cheaper phones, this often proves not to be the case. Ok, we have to be fair here… cost of materials have gone up. This teardown of the popular iPhone Xs max shows that it costs Apple around $20 more than the year before that. Still not enough to make it feasible for the end-consumer price increase.
So if Apple and Samsung’s flagship phones aren’t much superior to those of other, smaller brands, why are they so expensive then? One reason is that these huge tech companies spend billions of dollars a year on marketing and advertising their products – and this cost is added onto the cost of their phones for the consumers.
Can a cheaper smartphone really do it?
If you want a powerful smartphone product that meets all of your needs but flinch at the idea of spending a grand on an iPhone X, mid-range phones are well worth looking at and you will likely find that they are often just as useful and even stylish as their more expensive counterparts. A while back, we wrote a review on this mid-range smartphone which might be a good alternative.
It wasn’t too long ago in the past that mid-range smartphones usually meant outdated operating systems, painfully slow performance, and low-quality cameras. However, this has changed in recent years, and the technological gap between cheaper and more expensive smartphones is closing faster than you might think.
A shift in mid-range smartphones quality
Generally speaking, the mid-range phones of today include HD screens, faster performances, and good quality cameras capable of capturing good quality photos and video footage. Brands such as Motorola have really stepped up their game in recent years, and they aren’t the only ones – new brands with good products are appearing all of the time. That is true even in the smartwatch market with the xWatch and this budget friendly alternative coming out.
The quantity of RAM in cheaper phones is usually the same as that of expensive ones nowadays, and let’s be honest – how often do most of us use apps that really push our phone’s capabilities to their limits?
We can’t pretend that there are no differences at all to be noticed – for example, the iPhone X has wireless charging and facial recognition of course. However, as cool as these features are, are they really important enough to justify the vast difference in price?
Should you really open up your wallet and buy the latest flagship phone?
Even if you are desperate to own a phone by one of the big names, you can also often get hold of an only-slightly-older-than-brand-new model for far less money than the very latest one! Depreciation is incredibly fast in the technology industry, and companies are under pressure to make sure that their customers are constantly upgrading to the newer models more often than is actually necessary in most cases. A lot of the “improvements” are gimmicks or purely cosmetic changes, and last year’s model will still run all of the same apps and receive all of the same updates.
It has been a trend for a few years now that improvements in flagship smartphones are slowing in rate while price jumps are increasing. Mid-range smartphones, on the other hand, are rapidly catching up in terms of capability while still remaining much more affordable.
Of course, you may love the iPhone X’s wireless charging, or watching movies and TV in super-sharp HD. However, if you are on a budget, or simply would rather spend that extra few hundred dollars on a vacation or on hobbies or socializing, it is probably best to avoid the most expensive smartphones on the market and purchase a different brand or an older model!