What’s a flagship smartphone? Usually, flagship means the best, or the most important, sometimes the most expensive, and often the one with the most features. What’s Apple’s flagship iPhone? Let me venture onto the limb of argumentation and declare iPhone 11 Pro Max to be the winner.
Why? Flagship features. Three cameras. Longer battery life. Excellent display. We’ve been down this road before. So, why do technology writers think you can get the same features for half the price? Or, one third the price of flagship smartphones?
Writers seem to be contrarian by nature, always looking for an angle or perspective of interest that differs from the riffraff of writing that would bore the pants off a politician.
Here’s an example of such contrarianism gone wrong. Matthew Miller:
The best cheap phones you can buy right now
Great, right. By itself that headline could be a way to find out which inexpensive smartphones– cheap is so 1999– are on the market and how they compare.
Here’s the other half of the same headline
Flagship features for any budget
Sorry, this isn’t my first bar-b-cue. Or, is it rodeo? Maybe picnic? Whatever because I know that cheap does not mean best, and flagship features should be the best and those are the ones you cannot get by being cheap.
Are you balking at the prices of the latest Apple and Samsung flagships? Consider one of these affordable alternatives. From $400 right down to free, our picks even include an iPhone. Sorry, no 5G.
Dissecting the sub-head is easy. Some people may balk at flagships because, well, usually, they’re the most expensive. Money is an object. As to 5G, well, it’s not really here yet and won’t be for a few years, and 5G smartphones come with higher price tags and less battery life.
Wait’ll next year.
In the middle you find flagship smartphone features that range from free to $400.
The new Coolpad Legacy… is designed with a large display, huge capacity battery with Quick Charge 3.0, high-quality plastic and glass materials, a microSD expansion card, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and even launches with Android 9 Pie out of the box. There have to be trade-offs made at the $130 price (now free on Metro by T-Mobile), but it’s hard to see where these compromises were made on the Coolpad Legacy.
That settles it. All anyone needs to turn a cheap smartphone into a flagship is the same features. Large display, battery, high-quality plastic, and glass, and last year’s Android OS. It’s so good and such a steal it’s free.
Anybody besides me see a hole in that argument for flagship features? Display. Battery. Plastic.
How about Motorola and nearly free?
The Moto G6 has a 5.7-inch display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, 12MP, and 5MP rear cameras, 8MP front-facing camera, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with a microSD expansion card slot, front fingerprint scanner, and a rather large 3,000mAh battery.
Flagship quality? Uh, no. From RAM to storage to CPU to battery, nothing smacks of flagship. Nothing.
What about an iPhone with flagship features and sub-$400 price tag?
The 128GB Apple iPhone SE is available now from Amazon in a couple of colors at various prices. You can also find some 64GB models on Amazon for a bit less. These are renewed phones that come with a 90-day Amazon guarantee.
Sounds like a subscription. It’s not. Renewed to Amazon means refurbished to the rest of us.
So far, all bargain basement products and not one flagship.
Google’s Pixel line of phones has been competing with flagships from Apple, Samsung, and Huawei.
No they haven’t.
As usual, tech writers fawn all over themselves to promote Google’s Pixels but customers head to the Apple Store instead. Apple sold more iPhones this past weekend than Google sold Pixels all of last year.
Google revealed the Pixel 3a at just $399 a few months ago, and the press has been extremely pleased with its performance. It’s a mid-level phone, but the standout camera from the Pixel 3 is included, so if you want the absolute best phone for under $400 that will be updated for years, then you can’t go wrong with a Pixel 3a in Just Black, Purple-ish, or Clearly White.
Nothng about any of those cheap smartphones smacks of flagship features… unless you consider flagship features to be on the order of a big display, plastic, a couple of cameras, and a headphone jack.