After years of complaining about rising prices, OEMs are finally listening to consumers. It could not have come at a better time due to the potential recession due to COVID-19. As is clear with the poor sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series, consumers do not seem to spend $ 1,000 + on a smartphone just for the latest specifications.
A “flagship for the budget” is a smartphone with the highest specifications offered at a more affordable price tag under $ 700. OnePlus once dominated this market, but the price circle has driven their main flagship over a large now.
Thanks to the release of the latest chips from the Snapdragon 700 series, OEMs finally have a SoC at their disposal with a great balance and power balance. And this year you will see the biggest competition in this segment, with options from OEMs such as OnePlus, Samsung and even Apple.
When Apple released iPhone 11, it was the first sub- $ 700 iPhone since 2017. They recognized the growing demand and released it at $ 699. What do you get at this price point? Two of the three rear cameras in the Pro series, a large battery and the same SoC for $ 300 cheaper.
Sales must have been excellent already as Apple returned to this segment again in a big way. The 2020 iPhone SE is like a Frankenstein iPhone, takes parts from its other flagships to create the ultimate iPhone at an unreal price, $ 399. For $ 400, you get an iPhone with internal flagships and some on-screen compromises, perfect for kids who want their first phone or adults who want to save some money.
When Google switched to the Pixel series from the original Nexus series “budget flagship”, it came with two significant changes: best in class cameras and a high price tag.
Then Google delivered a basket ball – Pixel 3a and 3a XL. Both priced under $ 500, these devices were advanced mid-range phones with a very similar camera function to the flagship Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Fans loved it, making it the best-selling Pixel phone in years. As a result, Google plans to release a successor, Pixel 4a.
One of the most significant for the upgrade is the uneven performance that moves from the Snapdragon 600 series to the Snapdragon 730, a “Budget flagship” SoC. The RAM is also upgraded to 6 GB, which makes the overall experience smoother. It still retains the amazing camera performance and headphone jack. And Google plans to sell this for $ 349, less than half the price of its current flagship.
In recent years, LG has tried to capture the magic once found in the G- and V-series. They tried everything from releasing several V-series in the same year to giving both devices a second screen case for free. But after these attempts not translated into sales, they finally return to the drawing board with a new design and much friendlier price tag.
To $ 599 LG velvet is a very attractive phone. It comes with Snapdragon 765G, so it has top-level performance and supports 5G. It has 6 GB of RAM, so you do not have to worry about apps having to restart when you return. It supports Quick Charge 4+ and even wireless charging, a rarity for phones at this price point. The rear cameras, with a 48 MP primary shooter, take great photos and even include LG’s infamous wide-angle camera to back it up with a depth sensor. It even has a headphone jack (sorry no Quad DAC) and stereo speakers for music lovers.
After three years of fulfilling its promise to support Moto Mods, the once beloved OEM unit can finally make units with a new design. Their first was the Moto Edge +, a $ 999 flagship exclusive to Verizon. But that price tag was a big barrier to entry, so they created a counterpart, Motorola Edge.
Motorola Edge and Edge + are practically the same phones. The same 6.7-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 1080p and 90 Hz refresh rate. It still has three cameras, one of which is telephoto, and the other is extremely wide. For rooters, Motorola has already released the source for the Edge, so custom ROMs can be developed. It still has stereo speakers and a headphone jack. It even supports 5G and dual frequency GNSS. And you get it all for $ 699.
So what is different? The biggest change is SoC, which uses the new Snapdragon 765G. Although they have the same number of cameras, the Edge does not use the 108 MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX, but uses the 64 MP Samsung ISOCELL GW1. It also comes with 4 or 6 GB of RAM compared to the Edge + 12 GB. There are also some differences, such as a slower USB port and a 10% smaller battery. But not all differences are subtraction; Edge gets dual SIM support, two more carrier supports (besides Verizon) and FM radio.
OnePlus once reigned supreme in this category, but in recent years their prices have gotten higher and higher, with the latest OnePlus 8 Pro finally narrowing the $ 1,000 barrier when purchased with maxed out specifications.
So now OnePlus has split its product line. The new OnePlus North, to $ 399, budgets differently. Instead of specializing in one area, it delivers great specifications everywhere that are not the very best, yet flagship caliber. This includes the refresh rate 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED, 8 GB RAM and Warp Charge 30T.
Unfortunately, this model does not get a wide version in the US. Instead, they offered ten devices to testers in the United States to review the phone, where some reviewers could keep the device. But rumors say they are planning to release a “North T” series of phones, which will likely go to US shores.
During the first quarter of 2020, there were four of the 10 best-selling smartphones in the Samsung Galaxy A series. While usually leaning more towards smartphones on smartphones and mid-level, Samsung released a flagship for the budget this year, the Galaxy A71 5G.
The Galaxy A71 5G uses the same Snapdragon 765G as many of the phones in this category. Samsung included many of its flagship parts in the phone, such as the 64 MP Samsung ISOCELL GW1 and a Super AMOLED Plus screen. The battery is the same size as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and supports the same Super Fast Charging technology up to 25 W. And this entire package is available for under $ 600.
More about the Horizon
The OEMs mentioned here are not the only ones releasing products in this category. The ASUS Zenfone 6 was released for $ 499, and its successor is likely to be released at a similar price tag. Nubia RED Magic has released top-rated gaming phones for under $ 500 in the US, with an upcoming 5S scheduled to be announced in the coming weeks. Google is also rumored to include its flagship series in this category, starting with Pixel 5.
It’s a wonderful time to buy a smartphone. You no longer need to spend a fortune to get the best camera, screen or performance. Your favorite OEMs all have budget-friendly options that are not the very best but offer comparable performance to their flagship at a fraction of the cost.
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