Base model flagships are the new mid-rangers


For the last few years companies like OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo have made a name for themselves in the smartphone world by providing customers with high-spec smartphones at a cheaper price tag. Instead of paying $1,000 dollars for a flagship with the top Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, you could pay $600 for a mid-range smartphone with the same processor. The difference would usually appear in the build quality of the device, the cameras, or simply the feature list. For example, OnePlus resisted implementing wireless charging for years because of the cost.


These mid-range smartphones have led to massive success and brand recognition for these brands, especially OnePlus in the United States. They also caused bigger names like Apple and Samsung, which are the two dominant brands in the US, to lose out on a large market segment. In 2020 and 2021 however, these two brands seem to be responding to this competition.


Apple has recently begun putting our more models of iPhone at different price ranges. The iPhone SE is their most affordable option at $450 at PTCI. The iPhone SE features a powerful processor just like all the other 2020 iPhone models, but it lacks a larger screen or multiple cameras. However, even the base model iPhone has become price conscious. The regular iPhone 12 64GB sells for $830 total, much more affordable than a $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro.


Meanwhile Samsung is making similar moves. Last year Samsung launched the base model Galaxy S20 at $999. This year, the Galaxy S21 launched at $799 ($764 at PTCI). That’s a $200 difference. Meanwhile the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the premium Samsung flagship has launched at $1,250.


It is clear that there has been a shift in the thinking of smartphone manufacturers. Base model flagships are quickly becoming the new high-end mid-rangers, while the “pro” and “ultra” best of the best phones are becoming the new flagships at a premium price tag. Overall, it’s a good move. It provides a great experience for the customer at a lower price tag and garners more interest in these newly released phones. Most people don’t want to spend over $1,000 for a new phone unless they are a power user.


For those who want a great experience without the high cost, PTCI offers up to $500 off a new phone when you activate a new account, add a line, or upgrade your device. Call today to see if you’re eligible or visit one of our store locations.