Are mid-range phones emerging?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by nj-morris, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. nj-morris macrumors 68000


    Nov 30, 2014
    5 signs that it's happening:

    1: Already released or rumoured phones. I can name 5. Moto X Play/Droid Maxx 2, LG Class, Nexus 5X, HTC One A9, Samsung Galaxy A9. A spotlight is being put on these phones, because they manage to appeal to a wide audience while still being mid-range. I think these phones have the potential to be the true flagships for the respective companies.
    2: The average user has low standards. It's why Apple is so popular. Not that the iPhone is bad, but the reason it succeeds is because it focuses on what customers actually want, and because it's easily adaptable. Most customers don't need the things that are specific to high-end phones until they can adapt to it.
    3: Effort is being put on the new Snapdragon 600 series processors. The 616 and 617 seem good, and the leaked benchmarks of the 620 seem to be great, in fact it's about on par with the 810. If they can get that kind of performance without sacrificing the low power of the 600 series processors, that would be amazing.
    4: Good battery life. Basically all high-end phones this year have been criticised for having bad battery life. The Snapdragon 600 series processors are much more conservative with battery life. Look at the Moto X Play. Allegedly goes for 2 days on a single charge. Now that might be pushing it a bit, but it's a good thing for other OEMs to live up to. And with phones getting smaller footprints and lighter, this is exactly what we need.
    5: Low price tag. Now I know, there are some pretty competitive prices on high-end phones these days, but for most of them it's still pretty high up. With point 2 in mind, the average user is likely to save up $100/$200 on a still great phone.

    Think about it. These points pretty much prove that mid-range phones have a high chance of dominating the mass market. Sure, the high-end phones will still be there for those who want them, but soon we'll have quite a few phones that we can recommend to average people. This year we already have Motorola, LG, Google, HTC and Samsung, arguably the five best phone OEMs, so maybe we'll get companies like OnePlus (the OnePlus X is outdated, not mid-range), Sony or even Apple creating phones like these.
  2. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    Your point 2 doesn't make much sense when combined with your remark about Apple as the average user who buys an Apple phone doesn't have low standards but puts high value on the brand name. With Apple prices going thru the roof in Europe with the 6 series I see more people with iPhone 5 models and very few with 6. Price is most likely still the number one factor for a lot of people.

    Chinese brands are also pushing sub-400 euro phones with flagship specs and some of these are starting to enter western markets as well, most likely forcing other manufacturers to put out better midrange phones.

    Smart phone performance has also gotten to a point where you don't need the latest and greatest for a smooth ride. It also seems that the flagship is moving towards the phablet size.
  3. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    Yes, and I hope so too.

    The main key was stated in OP's reason #2. Low standards. That's it. Most mobile users in any platform don't even utilize their phone to their full potential or even half that. The other key is price.

    Most flagship specs will trickle down to budget phones after 2-3 years. I am waiting for the 2013-2014 flagship specs to get into the more reasonably sized, budget phones by 2016-2017. Current flagships are overrated, overpriced, and overkill. We don't need "5.7 displays with QHD or UHD when memory capacity isn't increasing.

    We live in 2015 where we can purchase a Motorola Moto E (2nd gen) for $50 which can outperform a Samsung Galaxy Note II in daily tasks from three years ago except in camera and screen resolution. And those OLED will fade or burn-in anyway. These next few years, a decent phone shouldn't cost more than $150-$200 with no contract.

    It is like films. A 6.0-7.0 rated fiilm on IMDb can be just as enjoyable as a 8.0+ film. Most of my favorites are in that lower spectrum because I can enjoy something more that isn't always technically better. If you are under the mercy of contracts, I can understand upgrading to flagships although OEM's provide multi-flagships every year now which makes your flagship dated after six months. For most who hate contracts or want to spend their money more wisely, that lower range can provide 100% contentment without spending an arm and a leg for a gadget that is built for obsolescence. And your expectations and OCD are alot lower for those lower budget phones too.
  4. nfl46 macrumors 604


    Oct 5, 2008
    Yes. I think most are sick of tired of spending $600+ on a device when you have devices that's in the $300-$400 range that do just as much. These mid range phones are getting so good that it's hard to justify spending that extra $200-$300 on a high end flagship. Luckily, for Android users, the flagship prices drop really quickly after a few weeks. You could get a brand new Edge+ for $599 now on eBay... That's way lower than the retail price.
  5. nj-morris thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 30, 2014
    So HTC have just unveiled the One A9, and people are too preoccupied with its resemblance to the iPhone to care about the phone itself.
    For $399, it looks pretty decent. The Snapdragon 617 seems good, and it's built quite well. I have a few gripes with it, but it is mid-range. It fits in quite well with the points that I made, and it's a good example of what a mid-range device should be like.
    Now let's hope Samsung do it right with the Galaxy A9.
  6. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    Ugly like an iPhone?
  7. nfl46 macrumors 604


    Oct 5, 2008
    True! You should see XDA and Android fan sites...they are heavily criticizing HTC for the A9...I'm thinking, "Wtf, its a mid-range device for $399...calm down." Its not meant to be their high-end flagship, but rather their mid-range flagship. But, then again, most Android users, are spec-driven. If it doesn't have beef up specs, they aren't interested.
  8. EU.E=MC2, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015

    EU.E=MC2 macrumors newbie


    Oct 21, 2015
    The majority of consumers are price conscious.

    Apple's success with the iPhone was and still is related to the 2 year contract method. Most of the people agreeing to a two year contract were trick into believing they were receiving a free phone or a discounted phone. So, most consumers agreeing to and signing a two year contract would opt for the most popular option (Apple or High-End Android).

    Example: One of many people I spoke to about cellphone plans and over cost, made the statement "I got this phone for one penny $0.01". But, yet that person was/is paying $80+ a month for the same plan that cost $35 - $50.

    I found people are opting to keep their current phone longer because they are more aware of the price and the savings that can be had by simply keeping their current device or opting for a lower cost option.

    Look at all the financing plans. Apple knew and knows this, that is why they started a financing plan and the reserve for pickup only, just like they did with the Apple watch. iPhone sales have met a new match! The price conscious consumer.

    In the end! The majority of consumers see the price and a good percentage of that time opt for a low cost option! In this case, keep the current phone to it dies and save money or opt for a low-cost mid-range option. Also, a good percentage of consumers could care less about specs, most just care about the Apps they use everyday and most of them are cross platform now, IOS and Android. Even Windows Apps are growing (The surface friendly ones).

    Edit: Just look at the iPad! Great device, but never matched iPhone sales. Just ask around and most of the responses will be related to up-front cost/price.
  9. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I think a lot of it will depend on where manufacturers cut corners on the mid range. Things like battery life and NFC (if Android/Apple pay catch on) could be real deal breakers over the design of the devices.
  10. Truefan31, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015

    Truefan31 macrumors 68040


    Aug 25, 2012
    The subsidy method wasn't just successful for the iPhone, it was for all flagship smartphones. iPhone sales are again higher this year so far so I don't really see consumers having an issue getting an iPhone or that iPhone sales have met their match.

    The buying model is changing, specifically in the us. But again the iPhone remains the highest selling flagship smartphone so it's pretty obvious people still want and buy them. Not saying mid tier devices aren't growing but Apple is in a unique position where because they don't license iOS people have to buy iPhones to get it. Android has multiple oems which they basically fight over the same pool of customers. I think Samsung is learning this lesson, hence the slash in prices on their s6.

    And while many apps are cross platform iOS still has the best overall app ecosystem.

    Why would anyone ever expect iPad sales to be on par with iPhone sales? That's ridiculous.
  11. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    Well, as far as i can tell, at&t is the only carrier still offering phone subsidies, and thats only through at&t direct.
  12. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012

    What turns me off:

    Battery Size
    Screen to Body Ratio

    I keep checking out the cheap Desire 626 in a Verizon store. Darn thing performs very well each time I played with it and I may well pick up one just to mess with regardless of some of the similar hot buttons of mine above.
  13. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    I think that is a huge point. Dropping $600+ every year or more often gets to be annoying for your average person.

    Also, silicon is outpacing software, so mid range can be a great performer, compared to previous years where only flagship android devices had a prayer of providing a decent user experience.

    Truth be told, I probably won't be going with the highest end android devices again going forward. Devices like the Moto X, and A9 are my likely contenders going forward.
  14. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    That's a good point, but there are also many people who are now more comfortable with spending half of a device's value in order to use the newest one every year.

    It'll be interesting to find out how many consumers will go for upgrade plans versus other options.
  15. nj-morris thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 30, 2014
    Sorry to revive the thread, just making a few updates.
    So the Moto X Play has been released in the USA as the Droid Maxx 2. I've always thought that the Play is the true Moto flagship, due to the far better battery life, thinner and lighter, water resistant, etc. Nice to see it come to the USA.
    Another interesting announcement was the LG G Vista 2. 5.7-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 615 with 2GB RAM, 16GB expandable storage, so typical mid-range specs. But the value is allegedly 'revolutionary' so we should be seeing a decent price tag.
    More info here:
  16. Palladium SG macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2015
    $400 for a "midrange?" Import a Redmi 2 Enhanced Global Edition, see past the supposedly low end raw specs and be amazed by the real world performance to the point that you would wonder why you even want to spend more than $130 on an Android phone unless you are that tiny niche that *must* have the best camera or frame rates in super heavy 3D games.

    I speak from first hand experience.
  17. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    We are reaching a point with where smartphones offer higher resolution than our TV's and computer displays. And it is getting harder to pocket them. And iOS has been around for 8+ years. Android for 7 years. Both platforms are mature now that iOS9 and Marshmallow are not mandatory updates.

    So yes, I want to see the midrange market succeed as 2013-2014 flagship specs will start trickling down to midrange devices after 2-3 years. For a subsidized country like US, flagships will still matter to get the highest discount and resell value thanks to the carrier stranglehold there. For prepaid dominated countries, I think midrange is already emerging thanks to companies like Xiaomi, Meizu, and ASUS.

    But the general smartphone market has reached complacency and redundancy. Nothing excited anymore. For the NEXT 30-40 years, this is what it will like be for the rest of lives? Staring at a screen to text, social media, selfie, game, etc? Another new gadget to replace every two years. I thought actual 2015 would be alot cooler than this but it isn't even as aspiring as Back To The Future Part II's vision. I am waiting for the next great invention after god damn cell phones. I don't feel wearable technology is the next best thing.

    Robots? Teleportation for faster travel? This fad of staring at phones needs to go away. We kill boredom with phones and yet it creates another boredom staring photo albums on Facebook, sharing links, and hoping you get likes from it.
  18. I7guy macrumors Core


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    Not sure what your point is.

    How many Notes and Galaxy's did Samsung sell at the launch in the US? How many iphone 6S did apple sell at launch? Didn't seem to be a lot of price conscious consumers.

    I'm also not sure (not that anybody really knows) of how many people went shopping for an iphone and came back with a less expensive non-apple model. The carriers are aware of how expensive phones are and now you can finance your phones, which doesn't really favor apple in the least; or maybe it does favor them as now you can pay off your idevice, but you can also pay off your Galaxy. Apple joined the fray with their own plan as well.

    I kept my blackberry 4 years, 5s 2 years, with a purchase of a 6s and likely will get the iphone 7.
  19. hotspring21, Nov 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015

    hotspring21 macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2015
    How about "entry level Android phones emerging"? Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 which cost only $160 for example, has 5.5 1080p screen, octacore cpu (antutu bench 45K), 2GB ram, 16G + expandable SD storage, 5MP/13MP camera, removable battery among other features. I don't see much difference in terms of performance and features to mid range devices mentioned above. Some other outstanding entry level Android phones - Alcatel onetouch idol 3 ($150 cricket wirelsss), Asus Zenfone 2 ($200), Moto G ($180), Lenovo K3 Note ($160), Meizu M2 Note ($180). These great entry level phones offer everything flagships offered just 2 years ago (and then some!!) and they are getting better all the time. Bottom line - these days, most anyone can get a very satisfactory Android phone for just $200 or less.
  20. Billy95Tech Suspended

    Apr 18, 2014

    It's the same with Android tablets look at the LG G Pad II 10.1 which has just been announced in September this year and it will use a Snapdragon 800 CPU and 2GB of RAM and those specs was flagship 2 years ago in 2013 with that kind of specs like the Snapdragon 800 is still pretty high end even today!!
  21. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2012
    I can't help but wonder whether we will soon see the bottom drop out of the smartphone market.

    To date, Americans (and others) seem perfectly willing to pay US$600+ to have the latest and greatest smartphone technology, even if they only use 1/10th of the capability.

    As these lower priced smartphones become more commonplace, will we finally see people decide that they have better uses for their money?

    I understand how Apple or Samsung can crow about how many units they sell in the first week of a new model. But what happens three months later when their device is no longer state of the art?
  22. rohit.appdev macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2012
    Moto X Play battery life is awesome. Even with wifi and 4G enabled all day, it gives 1.5 - 2 days on single charge for normal use.
  23. nj-morris thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 30, 2014
    I respectfully disagree. There's a stark difference between mid-range and outdated. Take the Nexus 5. That is a phone that has the Snapdragon 800 and 2GB RAM, and it's fading into insignificance, and this is a Nexus we're talking about. My prediction is that the G Pad II won't even get Marshmallow.
    I feel LG don't care about their tablets. Putting outdated internals and widescreen displays is really not the way to go. If they put a Snapdragon 810 or 617 in their new tablet and put a 4:3 display, it could have a chance of boosting the tablet market.
  24. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    The only few reasons people pay higher than $200 for a smartphone are...

    - Better camera
    - Better display
    - Better SoC (for gaming)
    - Premium design/materials

    I think flagships is where carriers and OEMs make their real money. Imagine most phones including the flagships cost about $180-$220 to manufacture. Now imagine buying a $50-$200 packed with many of the core functionalities most consumers NEED. If a midrange phone cost only $50-$80 to manufacture, imagine how little the profit margin. Say even $30 to make and you buy it for $50? Very little compared to making an iPhone for about $200 and selling them for over $800+. Again, flagships is where carriers or OEMs make the most money and where tech reviewers have something exciting to write/hype about.

    For me, the CAMERA is the main difference in what separates flagships to themselves and the lower markets. Display is becoming an overkill thanks to becoming larger and higher resolution we don't need. I think midrange and entry markets is where SIZE is becoming an advantage over flagships other than their cheaper price. Better SoC is also quite overhyped like displays. Cores we don't need. Alot of marketing propaganda to make it a numbers game. How many people really need a Snapdragon 820 just to check their Facebook? Maybe for the advanced GPU for gaming but not everyone games on their phones. And premium quality/design can also vary. Long battery life and decent design can be found in low to high ranges.

    I am also NOT really into that Nexus stuff. It can be fast and smooth, but boring. Software updating becomes detrimental in slowing your phone or creating bugs within the next few years. Like I mentioned earlier, the main advantage buying a flagship is really based on the CAMERA's quality. Display, SoC, and premium can be subjective to anyone. And long battery life can range from entry level to flagships because of the more humble display size/resolution and SoC being used.
  25. nj-morris thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 30, 2014
    I think that we're at the point where the things that you mentioned are at a point in which they don't really need to be improved in high-end phones, at least for the average consumer. Then by 2016, the same will happen to mid-range phones, and that's one of the main driving forces behind mid-range emergence (see point 2 in my original post). So yes, high-end phones will continue to be popular, and companies will continue to sell them to people who want the latest and greatest tech, but they will likely pass on a lot of their popularity to the mid-range market.

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25 October 18, 2015