'Mid-range' smartphones aren't very 'mid-range' anymoreAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
If you had asked me two or three years ago what I thought about mid-range smartphones, I would probably tell you that unless you really wanted a cheap, unreliable phone to not even bother with it. If you want a decent phone that is speedy, durable, and frequently updated for the next two years then you need go with something a little more high-end. However, the more I look at these ‘mid-range’ smartphones we see today they’re really not that mid-range at all – they’re actually rather decent.
I’ve been focusing a lot on the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One in excess lately – you can’t really help it in this industry. Every other corner on the internet (at least, the areas I browse in) usually has something to say about either device. While I could talk about which specs intrigue me the most and what I like about each device for a good long minute, sometimes you get blinded by all the media attention and completely forget that there is an entire separate half of the market that you’re not even paying attention to – the mid-range smartphones.
So, out of curiosity I went looking to see what the ‘mid-range’ end of smartphones had to offer these days. Of course, there was nothing to find from Apple (at this point in time) so there’s not much to talk about there – but when it comes Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry there are plenty to choose from and most of them have pretty good specs that could make one think twice about going for that expensive but popular Galaxy, or to check out the mid-range HTC that’s just begging the frugal shopper to take it home instead.
For example, I stumbled across an article from Android and Me earlier today that discusses new leaked details about a ‘mid-range’ smartphone from HTC. With it being in the middle and all, I expected to see something like dual-core, 5-megapixel camera, maybe 1.3-megapixel on the front, decent battery, and the like. Instead I found that it really is just a lightly watered-down version of the HTC One. This new phone from HTC supposedly has: Boomsound speakers, Beats Audio integration, 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera, Sense 5, and runs on a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor. I think the biggest thing that deems it mid-range is that there’s only 1 GB of RAM, but at the same time it’s still surprising to me that this is what we call mid-range now.
Now, that’s an exceptionally borderline mid-range smartphone if you ask me – and certainly not all of them are like that. When looking up examples from Windows Phone and BlackBerry I came up with results that I might expect to see at this point in time.
To be more specific, BlackBerry’s recently announced mid-range Q5 smartphone running on BlackBerry 10.1 will run on a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, has a 5-megapixel camera, and 2GB of RAM. Sounds decently mid-ranged for 2013. However, at the same time you look at the BlackBerry Q5, which is claimed to be a mid-range device, and compare it to the Q10, a high-end BlackBerry device, and you notice that there’s not a lot of differences between the two. The Q10 also has a dual-core processor (albeit 1.5 GHz instead of 1.2) and the same 2 GB of RAM. It also runs on the same software. The only other major differences is hardware design, internal memory (8GB vs. 16GB) and the megapixel count (5-MP vs 16-MP). There isn’t a huge difference between the two.
When it comes to Windows Phone, the first few results pointed me in the direction of the rumored HTC Tiara, which would come with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and an 8-megapixel camera. A little bit different from the BlackBerry Q5, but still considerably mid-range compared to its more powerful siblings like the HTC 8X.
My own phone, my beloved iPhone 4S, runs on similar specs to these mid-range devices. It makes sense given that this phone is coming up on two years old, but even at almost two years old it still runs rather well. It’s more than I can say for any other phone I’ve owned in the past, that’s for sure. It just seems that we’re getting to a point where mid-range doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad – and I suppose in some ways it even throws that whole “You get what you pay for,” phrase out the window.
I can’t be the only one that thinks this is kind of crazy, right? I mean, even with a dual-core processor these phones aren’t really that bad anymore – they still run pretty well, in my opinion. Maybe it is just me.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think that mid-range smartphones are starting to shine a little brighter? Would you consider purchasing any mid-range smartphone on the market today or would you rather stick to the higher end flagship devices? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Image via BlackBerry, CNet, Techno FAQ