This has been on my mind since using the OnePlus 5 for over 6 months. Turns out buying a mid-range than a flagship for the higher price make no practical sense in terms of value for money. If we take the same example of OnePlus 5/5T a mid-ranger which comes with a price tag of $500 when compared to $1000 iPhone X does not seem worth.
Hold on Buddies, don’t start bashing me yet.
Let me explain in simple terms of value. Let’s say you buy the iPhone X, the latest and greatest piece of smartphone technology for a price tag of $1000. I have no grudge against Apple or iPhone in particular. But let me ask you, does the double priced iPhone X provide double the performance of OnePlus 5/5T?
In my honest opinion, it does not seem to provide double performance for twice the price. iPhone X might be a little better performer and have a more premium design. It has wireless charging which the OnePlus lacks and it also sports a more powerful camera. Still, it is not worth a grand.
Well, this might get me into some hatred for bashing the iPhone X, but looking at the premium Apple is charging it, is not a great value for the bucks you pay. Let me make it very clear to you, I am talking about value in this article. So please don’t hate me for calling iPhone X not worth the money.
Why Mid-Ranger Make Sense to Average User?
For an average user who might be using the smartphone for calling, social media, media consumption, and games and clicking photos on the go, a mid-range makes more sense. Also as the mid-rangers are slowly bridging the gap between premium flagships in terms of performance, it provides a better value.
I have always vouched for Mid-rangers simply because it can lack in some areas but for the price, they are the best deals. Take for the example we were talking earlier, OnePlus 5/5T comes with the same processor Snapdragon 835, same as the flagship Note 8 or Galaxy S8. However, the prices are very different. On one hand, the OnePlus5/5T is priced below $500 (₹ 33,000), on the other, the Note 8 comes at $950(₹ 67,900).
No doubt the Note 8 looks stunning; it has to be one of the best-looking smartphones currently on the market. But I am sure most Note 8 users are using a back cover for their device. Being a glass back smartphone has its own cons, the biggest is breaking the back glass which will cost a dime to replace.
Even the stats show that Mid-Rangers are more appealing to users these days than the flagships. OnePlus 5 being the highest selling flagship grade smartphone in India. In recent reports, Xiaomi has overtaken Samsung as the highest selling smartphone brand in India. So, you see people are slowly learning the fact that the top tier brands charge a premium for their brand name and not for the actual performance. And the mid-rangers like the OnePlus or Xiaomi do provide a great performance not much different from the flagships but do not charge a premium.
The Changing Smartphone Market Scenario
Earlier the smartphone market was dominated by the Likes of Samsung and Nokia. Later it was just Samsung with its wide range of smartphones. Samsung has the most confusing and diverse line-up than any other brand. I remember just a few years back, Samsung mid-range phones were terrible. They were slow, laggy, skipped sensors, battery issues and yet they were selling like hot cakes. Why? People had no other option. Not everyone can pay $800 (₹50000) for premium flagships and mid rangers lacked the performance.
Fast forward few years and we have brands like OnePlus, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Motorola, etc. An interesting report claims that OnePlus 5 was the highest selling premium grade smartphone in India overtaking Samsung and Apple. Premium grade here means the top of the line specs which OnePlus 5 did not shy away from. It has the best processor with 6GB RAM which was unheard of along with great Dual Cameras.
This shows people now have shown faith in the Chinese smartphone brands and moved away from the notion of Chinese brands means inferior quality. However that has changed drastically, Chinese makers have grown to understand the needs of the users better and provide quality at lesser prices.
Comparing my OnePlus 5 to my friends Note 8 which is approx double the price, I found no major difference in performance. Apart from looks of the device and the infinity display, both seemed to perform better. Note 8 was also difficult to grip with one hand due to its size and slippery back. On the other hand, OnePlus 5 was more comfortable to use without the fear of losing close to $1000 by a drop.
The Online Market Influence
I talked about how Samsung and Apple charges a premium for a smartphone with similar specifications. But one thing you have to bear in mind, Samsung and Apple have a big offline market chain along with the extensive promotion. OnePlus did use celebrity endorsement but it was not close to what Samsung has been doing. It all adds up to the cost of the device and thus top-tier brands get the chance to put premium price tags.
However breaking the Samsung’s usual practices, it launched the new Samsung Galaxy A8 plus which is an online exclusive device. See the difference yourself; it has been launched at a price competing for the OnePlus 5T with great specs and design. Earlier Samsung would have charged a premium for the same.
No doubt they make one of the best devices like the Galaxy Note 8 or the iPhone X. But remember others brands like OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Motorola are catching up with the design and performance. A big reason why the brands like OnePlus or Xiaomi can provide great devices at such aggressive prices is online marketing. These brands do not emphasize on the offline chain but depend on online mediums.
This offers the brands to have more control over the pricing and keep it aggressive for the customers. Cutting down the distribution cost make it more flexible for the brands to charge less. I have always supported the online market simply because it cuts the middlemen and thus reduces the price. Price is a big determinant in today’s competitive market.
Every other day new device is launched that has something interesting to offer. Just last week Honor 9 Lite was launched with four cameras and 18:9 display at just ₹10,999. It looks no less than a Note 8 or iPhone X.
So What You Should Choose?
I think you have already made your mind here to go for either a mid-range or a flagship this year. In every aspect of daily usage, a mid-ranger will not lag too far behind a double priced flagship. In some cases, you may find a mid-range performing better than a flagship with a higher price tag.
Not to confuse you or discourage you from purchasing a flagship. I simply wanted to point to the fact that the Mid-ranger are getting better and catching up with the flagship without the hefty price tags. I will be more excited about a new Xiaomi device or next OnePlus smartphone than an iPhone. Simply because I cannot afford a $1000 smartphone and I can get similar or a little less performance for half the price. And spend the money I save on a holiday trip or buying some accessories for the smartphone.
Below I will list down some mid-range smartphones that impressed me. Also keep an eye here for latest updates about new and upcoming phones. This year is going to be exciting in terms of smartphones.
Let me know your point of view in the comments below about the comparison. Do not forget to share this article with people you love and care. Help them save money and give you a treat on the money saved.
See you soon Buddies, take care.