The rise of mid-range mobiles and some exciting new technology from Qualcomm means you can expect some of the best new phones in 2016 to cost under £200 SIM-free (or around £20 on contract), while still packing fantastic cameras, Full HD displays and silky-smooth performance. Could this be the death of ‘premium’ phones?
In just a few days, world-class smartphone manufacturers LG and Samsung will launch their latest flagship mobiles at MWC 2016. The LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7 will of course boast the very latest phone features, but they’ll also come with a wallet-emptying premium price that puts them well out of the grasp of us normal folk. After all, last year’s Galaxy S6 may be dipping in cost now, but the 128GB Galaxy S6 Edge model still costs close to £700 which is frankly nuts.
Almost certainly that high cost was what put off many consumers, who ended up choosing mid-range phones like the Motorola Moto G in 2015. And why not? The Moto G boasts a vibrant HD screen, a seriously good 13-megapixel camera (previously used on the full-priced Nexus 6) and dependably smooth performance from the Snapdragon 410 processor, even months after release.
Rise of the mid-range mobile
Devices that sell for half the price of the flagship phones are already exploding in popularity and we fully expect this trend towards mid-tier phones to continue in 2016, as mobile technology becomes smarter and much more affordable.
Just look at Qualcomm’s new chipsets, namely the Snapdragon 625 and Snapdragon 435. This mobile tech is designed to be used in cheaper phones, but they still support a fantastic range of features that wouldn’t be out of place on a high-cost mobile. For instance, the Snapdragon 625 can power a Full HD display, a premium camera that can shoot 4K footage, and ‘PC-class’ graphics with no slowdown.
Meanwhile, the even more affordable Snapdragon 435 can still support 1080p screens, 21-megapixel cameras and Cat 6 4G, which gives you up to 300Mbps download speeds.
So, as long as you’re not clamouring for a Quad HD phone display with pointlessly curvy edges, you should find most sub-£200 mobiles in 2016 will do everything that you need.
Mid-tier phones already coming in 2016
We’ve already seen two impressive new mid-range phones launched by LG this year, the LG X Cam and LG X Screen, which respectively boast a dual-lens rear camera and a secondary ‘always-on’ screen – features we’ve previously only seen on premium handsets like the HTC One M9 and LG V10.
Sure, with these LG phones you have to choose between one of these features depending on your personal needs, but by the end of 2016 you can expect the full range of premium features packed into most mid-range mobiles thanks to the likes of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon chips.
So, are you still thinking of splashing out over half a grand on your next phone? Let us know in the comments below.