Premium smartphone flagships cost as much as 2-3 times more than their mid-ranged counterparts. In today’s market, the advantages of a more expensive phone are less distinct than ever. Here’s why even buyers that appreciate high-end builds and a buttery smooth software experience should think twice before paying top dollar for the latest and greatest.
First of all, it used to be that more affordable phones ran disastrously bloated and buggy versions of Android, or had noticeably insufficient hardware. Now that we’re nearly a decade into the touchscreen smartphone era, lower-shelf devices have had time to catch up. Budget-minded phones have steadily improved over the years; some of them are downright impressive.
These “flagship killer” efforts have been led by companies like the ambitious Chinese startup OnePlus, but they’ve also trickled down to more run-of-the-mill makers. We consider the OnePlus 3T one of the best current values on the smartphone market, and starting at US$439, it’s $200-$300 less than its top-shelf competitors. Yet it boasts a slew of both on-trend and techie-pleasing specs and features, such as a large 5.5-inch display, high-quality camera, great performance, attractive aluminum build and a near-stock version of Android Nougat.