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Why spending $1,000 on a smartphone is absolute madness in 2019

Why spending $1,000 on a smartphone is absolute madness in 2019

There was a time when you could pay less than $600 for a new iPhone or buy the latest OnePlus for less than $400, but now it is almost impossible to find the latest flagship from Samsung, Huawei or Apple under the $700-1,000 mark. However, it is absolutely not necessary to spend four figures on a smartphone, even in the high-end segment.

High-end smartphones have become terribly expensive, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. This trend of rising prices for flagships seems not to have stopped in recent years and if you do not believe me I invite you to look at the prices of the various terminals announced for the start of the school year: £999/$1,049 for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, $999 for the iPhone 11 Pro (add $100 more for the Max version) and €1,099 (we don't know the UK/USA price) for the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. By way of comparison, the Galaxy Note 4, Mate 8, and iPhone 6S were launched at prices of $540, €450 and $649 respectively in 2015.

Not that long ago, my colleague Steffen described the problem of premium smartphone pricing in his article. In addition to the fact that I share his opinion on the need for Apple, Huawei, Samsung and Co to urgently adjust the prices of their smartphones, I can also certify that there is no longer any need to spend $1,000 on a smartphone.

androidpit samsung galaxy note 10 plus 16
It costs you $1,049 to get the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ / © AndroidPIT

Differences now play on the details

Yes, the market has changed. Like it or not, the mobile phone industry is currently experiencing a form of stagnation. A technological stagnation where innovations are no longer as important as they once were, but also an economic stagnation with a market that has reached saturation point in Europe. Indeed, in 2018, smartphone sales stopped increasing, according to two data analysis companies, Strategy Analytics and Counterpoint Research.

The new high-end devices no longer present innovations that can take the breath away from high-tech fans and create the need to renew your smartphone. They can no longer create the new trends and features that we will use in the future (with the exception of folding smartphones). If we look at the latest devices presented by the brands (but this also applies to the future Google Pixel 4 and OnePlus 7T Pro), the differences with previous generations are very small. They are now based on the size of the notch, the number of sensors for the camera or the refresh rate of the screen.

While these improvements are welcome, they do not make the purchase of a new device necessary, even if the smartphone currently in use is more than two years old. If I take the example of the camera, the main differences with the flagships launched two or three years ago are in the night shots. And during the day, it is not necessarily obvious for a non-expert to detect the differences between a Galaxy Note 10 Plus and a Galaxy Note 8.

Two OnePlus 7Ts for the price of an iPhone 11 Pro

In recent years, we have also seen the emergence of a new range of smartphones that are rather high-end in terms of their characteristics without being marketed at an excessive price. These new types of smartphones are particularly difficult to define since they are stuck between the mid-range and high-end. For me, these are the devices you can buy if you still want an excellent smartphone. Honor, OnePlus or Xiaomi are specialized in this genre.

Let's take the example of the OnePlus 7T just announced in India and which should be officialized on October 10 in Europe during an event in London. In terms of performance, the smartphone has nothing to envy to smartphones at over 1,000 dollars with an impressive spec sheet: Snapdragon 885+, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 90 Hz screen, ultra-fast recharging (0 to 70% in 30 minutes), fingerprint reader under the screen, it's all there. All this for the price of $599. So, in terms of photos, the OP7T is less efficient but do the differences really justify this price difference? For the price of an iPhone 11 Pro Max, you can buy two OnePlus 7Ts (one for you, one for your partner). Why do you keep asking yourself that question?

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7T Back
The OnePlus 7T offers excellent value for money / © AndroidPIT

5G is coming

Spending more than $1,000 in 2019 on a smartphone that is not compatible with 5G can be embarrassing. Even if the operators' network and offers are in their infancy, this will certainly not be the case next year and the year after. However, most users who buy a flagship at more than 1000 bucks will continue to use their devices in one or two years without having the opportunity to benefit from the fastest mobile network available. That isn't going to look too smart.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy Fold In Use 3
At the moment, only folding smartphones can justify a price higher than $1,000, and only if the screens are solid / © AndroidPIT

Conclusion: buy smart!

When purchasing a new smartphone, the choice of purchase period is also always very important. Even if merchants offer promotions or deals all year round, there are several good times to do business: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas... Also avoid rushing out for a flagship. If you want to buy a smartphone that offers the best value for money at the moment, I would also strongly advise you to look at the best smartphones from last year.

What do you think about the rise in prices? Are the components and design of the big flagships equal to the price these manufacturers are asking for? What top price would you pay for a smartphone in 2019?

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Mark
    • Admin
    2 months ago

    Unless they bring back the removable battery I will never pay over 500 for a phone. Paying a 1000 buck for something that is only designed for 2 year lifespan is insane. I paid about 700 for my Note 4 but it is still going strong thanks to the removable thanks, which I have 6 of now.

  • Rusty H. 2 months ago

    1000 bucks for a phone is idiotic, but, there are a lot of idiots in the world. Typically, when I'm in the market for a new phone, I wait until a new model is announced, then by LAST year's model, typically at a greatly reduced price. Smart phones, are "good enough". All they do now is increase the speed of the CPU, not needed, increase the brightness of the screen, not needed, cover the back with glass & flashy colors, that get covered up by a case to protect it, so what's the use there? Everything now is about how colorful & stylish it looks. I'd rather they go back to a plastic back case, make the d*mn thing black and be done with it.

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  • iSheep care nothing about what the latest apple phone doesn't do. They care about the logo and the fancy shmancy, psychologically named features that are announced at the latest WWDC (Wide World of Dumb Cunts) meeting. Us Fandroids have more freedom than iSheep do and we're proud of it. My new phone has THREE TIMES the RAM of the apple phone 11 Pro PLUS 256GB of Internal Storage (plus an additional 2TB of External Storage via SD Card), the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Processor AND an In-Display Fingerprint Scanner (to name just a handful of the awesome and amazing features). 😉👌

    Also, 5G Technology ⚙. 😏


  • For the price, I'll go for something between $500 and $600 from one of the 3 : OnePlus, Xiaomi or Huawei, and that has been on the market for at least 6 months to let me know what's really good about it, and most importantly what's not.


  • Every year phones change one way or another, cameras are being pushed as the main attraction, it's a phone not a digital camera, then the screens , high resolution oled, the human eye can only detect so much, you waste money of higher resolution, now 5g around the corner, it's crazy and nonsensical to buy £ 1000 phones


  • Agreed points


  • Mark
    • Admin
    2 months ago Link to comment

    Unless they bring back the removable battery I will never pay over 500 for a phone. Paying a 1000 buck for something that is only designed for 2 year lifespan is insane. I paid about 700 for my Note 4 but it is still going strong thanks to the removable thanks, which I have 6 of now.


  • 1000 bucks for a phone is idiotic, but, there are a lot of idiots in the world. Typically, when I'm in the market for a new phone, I wait until a new model is announced, then by LAST year's model, typically at a greatly reduced price. Smart phones, are "good enough". All they do now is increase the speed of the CPU, not needed, increase the brightness of the screen, not needed, cover the back with glass & flashy colors, that get covered up by a case to protect it, so what's the use there? Everything now is about how colorful & stylish it looks. I'd rather they go back to a plastic back case, make the d*mn thing black and be done with it.


  • $1000 for a phone that's worthless as soon as it's dropped...


  • When I got my Pixel 2 I didn't pay full price for it. It was brand new and Google has updated it with most of the latest and greatest features through os updates. It has nightsight, which is the big update for Samsung and Apple phones recently. I am not a gamer so my Pixel 2 does pretty much everything I want and need. But today I saw some comparisons and examples of their deep fusion photo processing for iPhone 11 and I'm impressed almost to the point where I want a new iPhone 11 pro. Ah but I need to see if there will be any black Friday deals. Sigh....... but I don't really need it.....Sigh. just my two pfennig........


  • RobCr 2 months ago Link to comment

    I believe most models do not have removable (easily replaceable) batteries.
    Shirley that means that they (the phones) will have a short (expensive) life ?


  • To many people, a smartphone is (just) a phone. To me, it's a small tablet that doubles as a phone.
    When I want such a cutting-edge computer, I must be willing to bleed.


  • About 2.5 years ago I shelled out around £200 on a Moto G5 and as yet I struggle to find any good reason to upgrade. I like having the fingerprint reader (which doubles up as a swipe sensor) on the front, it's fast enough (I don't play games), it has Bluetooth and NFC and even with only 3GB I haven't run out of room for apps. It's a phone and it does everything I need. Small wonder the market is slowing.


  • Sorin 2 months ago Link to comment

    A phone remains a phone even if it costs $100 or $1,000 or even $10,000. For the maniacs we have phones covered with diamonds, platinum, Swarovski, sapphire or nano carbon tubes, X say Y fiber and other crazyest. Also a phone is called !... and in fact they have nothing to do with phones, but rather a consultation in psychiatry.
    The performances that have now reached the phones, I mean both the processing power and the photo / video, are at a very high level. However, a phone is still a phone and it is quite complicated to use as a computer unit, just like a PC. For this you need accessories, which cost a lot so that they do not become interesting.
    That's why: a phone remains a phone !... only a phone !!


  • If you pay $1000 for a phone you must still live with mommy and have no bills..you got to be a dumb ass to pay that much for a damn phone that will be worth $300 dollars in a year.


  • Absutely correct. I would like to see something pleasant to the eye, reasonably priced and built to last for years.


  • $1000 on a phone is ridiculous. Most people don't need all the bells and whistles. They just need a basic phone such as one under $200. After all, a phone is not a laptop. If we need more power, get a laptop

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