How do you choose your new phone in relation to the price?

 How do you choose your new phone in relation to the price?

How do you choose your new phone in relation to the price?
How do you choose your new phone in relation to the price?

 How do you choose your new phone in relation to the price?


You can buy a new smartphone for less than $100 up to over $1500. But what are the important factors that combine price and features?


Smartphones come at different prices, ranging from under $100 to over $1500, with something available for everyone. But what is the amount you should spend on a new phone? What features can you expect at each price point? And most importantly, what is the right price for you? Let's find out.


Phones under $100: Suitable for children or seniors

Buying a new smartphone for less than $100 is not recommended unless you are buying it for children or seniors. 


At this price, manufacturers have little incentive for innovation, so the best you can get is a phone that can barely get you through your day with average usage.


Expect poor performance, a subpar camera, weak battery life, low build quality, a mediocre screen, and modest storage. For this reason, instead of buying a new phone at this price, it is better to buy a used phone with a limited budget that will at least work reliably and won't cause major inconvenience.


Expected features:

  • Dual rear camera setup; 8-megapixel main and front-facing cameras; 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
  • 2GB RAM; 32GB storage with a microSD card slot.
  • High-definition LCD with thick bezels.
  • 5000mAh battery.
  • Plastic body. Headphone jack.
  • Micro-USB charging port.


$100 - $200 phone: Designed for basic functions

Things improve significantly when you jump from under $100 to $200. People buying at this price range are looking for basic functions, especially good battery life and decent storage. However, the cameras, build quality, and performance remain poor. 


This price point is suitable for you if your usage is limited to web browsing, social media, light gaming, and casual photography.


Expected features:

  • Triple rear camera setup; 48-megapixel main camera; 16-megapixel front-facing camera; 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
  • 4GB RAM; 64GB storage with a microSD card slot.
  • FHD LCD display; 90Hz refresh rate.
  • 5000mAh battery; 15W wired charging.
  • Plastic body. Headphone jack.
  • Rear capacitive fingerprint sensor.
  • USB-C 2.0 charging port.


$200 - $300 phone: Value for money

The $200 - $300 price range is where you have the best chance of finding the best value. Most of the best-selling phones in this segment come from Chinese phone manufacturers.


You can also find some strong deals from Samsung. Phones at this price point are not only packed with all the essential features but often feature unique designs to distinguish them from other options.


Expected features:

  • Quad rear camera setup; 48MP main camera; 16MP front camera; 4K video at 30fps
  • 6GB of RAM; 128GB storage with a microSD card slot
  • FHD+ AMOLED display; 90Hz refresh rate; hole-punch front camera
  • 5000mAh battery; 25W fast wired charging
  • All-plastic body; headphone jack
  • Rear or side-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • USB-C 2.0 charging port


Phone in the $300-500 Price range: Flagship Lite

The $300-500 price range is extremely exciting, as it's where flagship Lite phones are born. The goal here is simple: to offer key specifications at an affordable price. OnePlus popularized this trend, but with more brands entering the market with their killer flagship products, this price range has become more competitive than ever.


Phones in this price range target a tech-savvy audience that understands specifications and some jargon. They can handle most advanced mobile games well, although not flawlessly.


Expected features:

  • Triple rear camera setup; 64MP main camera; 13MP front camera; 4K video at 30fps
  • 6GB of RAM; up to 256GB storage; no microSD card slot
  • FHD+ AMOLED display; 120Hz refresh rate; hole-punch front camera
  • 5000mAh battery; 25W fast wired charging
  • Aluminum and plastic body; no headphone jack; IP67 rating
  • In-display optical fingerprint sensor
  • USB-C 2.0 charging port


Phone in the $500-700 Price range: Spec Beast

In the $500-700 price range, you're paying a premium for an exceptional product. Despite delivering flagship-level software prowess, they tend to focus more on core specifications and less on features that may not show up on spec sheets.


Therefore, apart from stunning performance, you can also expect excellent build quality, IP68 rating (dust and water protection), cleaner and louder speakers, better software optimization, incredible cameras, and improved touch responsiveness.


Expected features:

  • Triple rear camera setup; 50MP main camera; 32MP front camera; 4K video at 60fps
  • 8GB of RAM; up to 256GB storage; no microSD card slot
  • FHD+ AMOLED display; 120Hz refresh rate; hole-punch front camera
  • 5000mAh battery; 25W fast wired charging; wireless charging
  • Aluminum and plastic body; no headphone jack; IP68 rating
  • In-display optical fingerprint sensor
  • USB-C 3.2 charging port


The phone is priced at $700 - $1000: Flagship Performance

Although it's possible to find phones below $700, most modern flagship phones fall within the price range of $700 to $1000. This is also where the competition between Android and iPhone intensifies.


Here, you're paying for impressive specifications and hardware and special features like 8K video support, QHD resolution, LTPO display, and other advanced technologies. Phones in this segment are known for their high reliability, come with distinctive features, and take extra measures for privacy and security.


Expected features:

  • Triple rear camera setup: 50-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel front camera, 8K video recording at 24 frames per second.
  • 12GB RAM, storage capacity up to 512GB, no microSD card slot.
  • LTPO QHD AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, hole-punch front camera.
  • 5000mAh battery, 65W wired fast charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging.
  • Glass and aluminum body, no headphone jack. IP68 rating.
  • In-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor or face unlock.
  • USB-C 3.2 charging port.


The phone is priced at $1000 - $1500: Powerhouse

For a price of up to $1500, you'll get the absolute best. At this high price point, you can expect features that can't be replicated at any other price range. This means stunning cameras, unique designs, exceptional performance, tighter integration with the ecosystem, and specialized features.


The goal here is to achieve maximum convenience and eliminate the need for other tech tools. For example, computational photography replaces digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs), 1TB storage replaces external hard drives, and robust build quality eliminates the need for back covers and screen protectors.


Expected features:

  • Quad rear camera setup: 108-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel front camera, 8K video recording at 24 frames per second.
  • 12GB RAM, storage up to 1TB, no microSD card slot.
  • LTPO 2.0 QHD AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, hole-punch front camera.
  • 5000mAh battery, 65W wired fast charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging.
  • Glass and aluminum body, no headphone jack. IP68 rating.
  • In-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor or face unlock.
  • USB-C 3.2 charging port.


Price of a phone above $1500: Foldable Devices

Above $1500, you're looking exclusively at foldable phones with a book-style design, such as the Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Honor Magic V2, which offer a wide main screen and a cover display resembling a regular smartphone screen.


While it's certainly possible to get a foldable phone for less than $1000, as we covered in our comparison between the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy S23, foldable phones are more about fashion than practicality. However, foldable devices open up a whole new level of productivity and entertainment with their massive main screens resembling tablets, allowing for multitasking and improved immersion.


However, in the grand scheme of things, foldable devices are still a relatively new invention, which means they come with some drawbacks such as reduced durability due to the fragile main screen, higher repair costs, lack of dust resistance, and worse battery life compared to flagship phones. These are just a few reasons why foldable devices have not become mainstream yet.


Expected features:

  • Triple rear camera setup: 50-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel front camera, camera cover display, 8K video recording at 24 frames per second.
  • 12GB RAM, storage capacity up to 1TB, no microSD card slot.
  • LTPO 2.0 QHD AMOLED main display, 120Hz refresh rate, hole-punch front camera.
  • 5000mAh battery, 65W wired fast charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging.
  • Glass and aluminum body, no headphone jack. IP68 rating.
  • In-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor or face unlock.
  • USB-C 3.2 charging port.


What is the appropriate price for you to buy a new phone? 

Depending on your usage needs, the suitable price will vary. The increase in specifications is not entirely linear in smartphones; some advanced features can be replicated in budget phones, while others cannot. Additionally, remember that having good specifications alone doesn't always tell the whole story.


If you're a casual user, there is no benefit in buying an advanced phone like the Galaxy S23 Ultra or iPhone 14 Pro Max since you won't likely make use of those premium features anyway. In this case, you should look for a phone in the $200-300 range to get the most value.


If you're a power user, you need a phone that can handle daily heavy usage both internally and externally. This means excellent performance, great battery life, and superb build quality. So, look in the price range of $500 to $700, but also keep an eye out for promising flagship killer products.


If you're a gaming enthusiast, you care more about performance, cooling systems, and gaming-focused features rather than the camera or water resistance. In this case, you can purchase a gaming phone within the same price range, around $500-700.


If you want a premium phone with special features that can easily last for around five years, look for flagship phones priced around $700 to $1000. Beyond $1000, the spec upgrades are not significant, but if you want that advanced experience or better camera performance, it's available.


You should only go above $1500 if you are certain that you need a foldable phone. Honestly, it might be better not to buy a foldable phone at all, at least until most of its drawbacks are addressed.


Choose the price that suits you.

Regardless of your budget, you can always find a good deal when buying a new phone. Smartphones have evolved rapidly in recent times to the point where you don't need to spend a lot of money to get a good overall experience.


For the average consumer, we do not recommend going below $200 or above $700; try to avoid both extremes. Feel free to refer back to this guide when you're in the market to buy a new phone to assess your needs more clearly.

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