In 2017, the sheer volume of quality phones is something we have never seen before. Every manufacturer is finding their style and the internals is becoming better and also cheaper (unless you’re in the premium space). Nonetheless, one does not need to spend a small fortune to get a quality device no longer. Due to the technology changes, we have now created a new tier in the world of smartphones. The Super Mid Range tier.
Why does this matter for us here in the Caribbean? I am sure you have read some of my previous blogs where I have been very critical of some of the costs of some of these smartphones once they land here in Trinidad & Tobago. I believe the premium flagships have become more niche given the costs, and since the super mid-range devices are coming with the same internals as the premium handsets, it may be worth looking into these super mids instead of the latter.
Let us break it down, what exactly can be considered a mid range device these days? I would start with the processors. If a device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon between the 435-660, Kirin 600 series, Exynos 7800 series to name a few, that pretty much puts the device firmly into the mid-range category. These processors with every iteration aim to close the gap to their high-end, more powerful counterparts.
Some of the top midrange devices would include such devices like Motorola G5 Plus, Xiaomi Note 4x, Samsung A3, Oppo R11, Huawei P10 lite. These are the devices that would be capable for the everyday user. Specs are good, but most importantly, the one thing that no spec sheet can tell you is the type of experience the phone can provide and that is more important than whatever specs are inside the device.
The Super-Midrange is where there should be much excitement. We are now able to get the most powerful processors for as low as $400usd/$2700ttd(before landing), in the form of the Xiaomi Mi 6. There is very little that separates some of the top premium smartphones from these super midranges or budget flagships, depending on how you look at them. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to ask yourself, how much better is the Samsung S8 than the Oneplus 5? We know the S8 costs twice the price, but you have to know your uses for it to make sense to spend the extra cash. Remember, in other markets, they are grabbing the S8 for free while here in the Caribbean we have to overpay for some of these devices.
These super-midrange devices give us flagship specs with very little compromises. If any of you ever had the chance to check out last years ZTE Axon 7, you would know that besides some form of water resistance, that device offered no compromise. It did all that while costing $400usd/$2700ttd right out the gate.
So here in the Caribbean, the bulk of smartphone users should be covered when they pick up a handset that is a super mid-range or just your regular midrange devices. The budget phones and premium flagships are becoming more and more niche every year. This is great because now more users can get top quality products without having to break the bank, and since we constantly have to overpay for devices, it makes more sense to go this route. Hey, if you have the money and really want to grab an iPhone 7 plus, S8 plus, the new Samsung Note 8 coming out, go for it, they are great devices. I am talking to those who don’t want to spend more than $4500ttd and still want to get a device with an amazing experience and little compromise.
Some of the top super mid-range/budget flagships for 2017 would be Xiaomi Mi 6 (cheapest phone with a Snapdragon 835), ZTE Nubia Z17, Oneplus 5, Huawei Honor 9, LG G6, Huawei Mate 9 just to name a few.
Now warranty for these devices does get a little tricky. Huawei does have a head office here in Trinidad, but you must purchase one of the Latin American devices if you would like to get your warranty on your Huawei, and Samsung is essentially the same thing. However, since most people are ordering their devices online these days, you most likely would not get warranty unless you are ordering from a supplier who offers you are warranty.
Even still, the costs to ship the device and clear it upon its return is sometimes not feasible and it may be better for you to simply order the part yourself and pay a local tech to fix your device. Parts are available for most of the brands I spoke about in this article so you should not have to worry about part scarcity.
How do you guys feel? Do you think these super midranges are just all hype and falling short to gain ground on the premium flagships? Or are the days of phones costing over $700usd counting down? Let us know in the comments below.