Recently, we’ve seen many offerings from lesser-known brands storm into retailers. These are cheap alternatives to smartphones from top brands, alternatives that offer a good measure of performance and features. The form factors aren’t too shabby, either, and many of these products are no longer outright rip-offs of the more familiar models. Still, even with comparable specs and considerable price differences, consumers are still better off with the more expensive flagship phones from recognized brands. Here are some reasons why.
Why a Flagship Smartphone is the Best Investment
Attention to detail
One way you’re getting your money’s worth out of a flagship phone is the fact that the manufacturer likely has a considerable fraction of its resources dedicated to that product. From development to after-sales to third-party support, the iPhones and Galaxy S4’s of the world come with extensive support.
The Android flagships, for example, likely get their software updates much sooner than their midrange and entry-level counterparts. Manufacturers realize that consumers paid big bucks to purchase these smartphones, and they really don’t like the outcry that rises from making customers wait too long.
You can knock the material used in the construction of the body, or you can hit the specs for lack of the highest-clocked CPU or a missing expandable storage slot; but if there’s one thing flagships constantly have, it’s high quality. We’re talking about the overall quality here, not just the question of how well-built that power button is or how sturdy the unibody frame is.
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Quality is usually unobtrusive in flagships, so it’s easy to take that for granted. If you’re coming from a lower-end device, however, you’ll notice the difference right away. Then you’ll just get used to it, and it will feel weird when you have to use a non-flagship device. A lot of it has to do with components used, or the development of the product itself.
Perhaps in a few years, we can get midrange or even low-end phones that are made with the same quality as flagship phones are. Right now, though, the lower segments just won’t hold a candle to their big brothers.
Enjoy the little things
You know what they say about enjoying the little things? That applies to smartphones, too. If you own a flagship device, know that there are various reasons why it’s slotted in that segment. Most of those reasons involve the little things, like the fluidity of the interface, the clarity of the VoIP service reception, the ease by which your gesture registers on the touchscreen, or even the availability of a protective case that you really want.
I’ve had the chance to use a fairly inexpensive China-made phone recently, with the phone’s specs the same as most branded midrange phones (save for a massive battery). It wasn’t that hard to use; but many times, the phone was sluggish even with the 1.2GHz dual-core CPU. The touchscreen was unresponsive half of the time. While the mobile broadband speed was good enough, it was easy to see that its HSUPA number was just a third of the Galaxy S III’s. The transition from app to app was generally smoother. I guess it’s easier to make comparisons when you have them side by side, but the general impression is that flagships do cost more for very good reasons.
Of course, we understand that many people just can’t or aren’t willing to break the bank for a flagship device. The economy’s been terrible recently, and it’s just not wise to spend on something you might not be able to use to its maximum potential. What we’re saying here is that if you do eventually decide to go for the top-shelf products, you likely won’t regret it.
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