samsung galaxy a53 standing - Best budget camera phones

Skip the flagships; now is a good time to buy a mid-range phone

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

It used to be that mid-range Android smartphones were a tough proposition, due to underpowered processors, a meager amount of storage and relatively high price tags. It also didn’t help that the Android platform itself was in need of optimization at the time.

Fortunately, things have steadily improved over the years, to the point where there’s never really been a better time to buy a mid-range smartphone. Don’t believe me? Let me explain.

Fantastic hardware

nothing phone 1 back on wood

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

You only have to take a look at the design and specifications today to realize that modern mid-rangers deliver great hardware. Sure, most of these devices are still made of plastic, but we’re seeing some devices with premium glass backs instead (like the Poco F4). And even if a phone has a plastic design, today’s devices also have innovations such as glass and even matte plastic.

Modern mid-rangers tend to offer more durable hardware too, with the Samsung Galaxy A53 and Google Pixel 6a offering IP67 ratings for full water resistance. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find IP53/IP54 splash-resistant designs for $400 and under. That’s more than can be said for mid-range phones from just two or three years ago.

Modern mid-range smartphones have made great strides in terms of specifications and design.

Pop the hood and you’ll find some impressive improvements here too. Modern budget-level devices provide silicon that is more than capable of playing some demanding games if needed, while everyday tasks are generally smooth as well. It’s also not uncommon to find 6GB of RAM or even more on today’s mid-range phones compared to 3GB or 4GB on phones a few years ago. This increased memory allocation allows users to more efficiently juggle multiple apps simultaneously while also opening the door to more advanced features such as high-resolution shooting modes and advanced gaming.

We’re also well past the point where 32GB of storage was the expected allocation, as 128GB budget phones are commonplace now. The only real downside in this regard is that we’re also seeing some mid-range devices ditching the microSD slot.

We’ve also seen LCD panels relegate to the sub-$250 level for the most part, with high-refresh-rate OLED displays a fixture in the mid-range. Throw in big batteries, reliable main cameras and a respectable amount of RAM and it’s clear you’re getting a capable phone for $300 to $500.

Even better software

google pixel 6a screen in hand

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Hardware development isn’t the only reason to choose a mid-range phone today over a flagship handset. Several OEMs also offer long commitments on software updates in line with high-end smartphones.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy A53 offers four OS updates and five years of security patches. At the same time, the Google Pixel 6a comes with three OS updates and five years of security updates. The Nothing Phone 1 also joins the party with three OS updates.

That’s not to say that update commitments are good across the board today. For example, Motorola’s phones have woeful support for software updates, while OnePlus and Realme aren’t much better either. But the situation is definitely better than two or three years ago, when the Pixel 3a line and Pixel 4a were the only budget devices that received respectable update promises.

Many modern mid-rangers offer performance Android skins, while some also offer long update promises.

An update commitment is one thing, but actually getting the update is quite another. Mid-range phones still take a while to get the latest OS updates, but there are encouraging signs nonetheless.

The Pixel 6a has already received Android 13, while the Samsung Galaxy A53 will receive the update before the end of the year. We’ve also seen more brands offering beta software for those who can’t wait for a stable release. For example, Samsung has also tested the One UI 5 beta on last year’s Galaxy A52, Realme is bringing Android 13 beta software to some mid-range phones before the end of the year, and Oppo is bringing its Color OS 13 beta to a variety of cheaper phones before 2022 is out .


Redmi Note 11 screen on gray floor

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Another important factor that makes mid-rangers worth buying today is that the pricing is still very competitive for what you get. In fact, the US Consumer Price Index recorded a 22% annual decline in the average value of smartphones. This was due to devices getting better rather than prices actually falling. It’s still hard to argue against this logic, as these phones really do get more powerful processors, more cameras, better camera sensors, more RAM/storage, and higher-quality screens.

Do you think now is the best time to buy a mid-ranger?

341 votes

Anyway, the point is that while premium smartphone prices have shot past the $1,000 mark and haven’t looked back, mid-rangers are increasingly offering greater value for money. And longer update commitments also mean these phones will get better and better over time, getting new features and optimizations over the next three years or more.

Of course, there will still be plenty of people who don’t mind paying a premium for a full-fledged flagship phone, be it for the cameras or the latest internals. But we’re closer than ever to getting 90% of the flagship experience for a fraction of the price.

Some mid-range phones worth buying

google pixel 6a back cover - Best budget camera phones

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Now that we’ve looked at why modern mid-range smartphones are worth buying, what about recommended devices? We’ve got you covered with a few picks.

  • Samsung Galaxy A53 ($450): Do you like the idea of ​​a Galaxy flagship but don’t want to spend a ton of money? That’s where the Galaxy A53 comes in, launching at $450 but often available below this price tag. Expect a capable if unspectacular Exynos 1280 SoC, 5,000mAh battery, 120Hz OLED display and IP67 water/dust resistance. The phone also has an impressive update promise, in line with Samsung’s flagships.
  • Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 ($399): Motorola has plenty of decent mid-range phones in its stable, and the Moto G Stylus 5G is one of the best choices if you’re in the US. Notable features include a large battery (5,000mAh), a quad rear camera system, an included stylus, and 128GB of expandable storage. However, it has some drawbacks, such as the ho-hum processor, slow charging and the lack of an OLED panel.
  • Nothing Phone 1 ($499): The debut phone from Nothing just about makes the cut in terms of pricing, but it’s actually a good first effort. Nothing’s Phone 1 has a powerful Snapdragon 778G Plus SoC, a solid 50MP+50MP dual camera system and a 120Hz OLED display. But the handset stands out from almost all other devices thanks to the unique “Glyph” back.
  • Google Pixel 6a ($450): There are plenty of reasons to buy the Pixel 6a, especially given that it’s often sold for below its $450 launch price. Expect the Tensor processor, offline voice input, good camera quality, waterproofing and a long update promise. Saying that, you’re missing out on the flagship line’s high refresh rate display, faster charging, wireless charging, and 50MP main camera.

It’s worth noting that there are many more decent mid-range devices out there, depending on your region. You can check out our roundup of the best budget phones for a more comprehensive look.

#Skip #flagships #good #time #buy #midrange #phone

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *