The majority of smartphone manufacturers have at least three distinct categories of devices – they have their “flagship” devices boasting all their latest innovative features, their “mid-range” line with a balance between features and prices, and an “entry-level” line of handsets with limited performance and a price to match.
This year, Samsung took its game to the next level with its latest Galaxy S10 – $1,000 (more than Kshs 100,000) for the model at the top, Galaxy S10+, with even the cheapest version, S10e, setting the buyers back at least $750 (Kshs 76,000). For the average smartphone user, doing little more than listening to music, reading the news, and online casino games with Betway on their smartphones, spending a small fortune on a device like this may have seemed counterintuitive.
(TOP: Comparing the Samsung S10 with the Asus ZenFone. Image: TechRadar).
The Galaxy S10+ is, without a doubt, a truly high-performance handset – but it has competitors to match its excellence. And these are most often much cheaper than Samsung’s flagship – and sometimes, they are also more exciting. Several major names in the smartphone business have followed Samsung’s example when it came to the hardware they built into their latest flagships – but they didn’t follow suit when it came to pricing.
One of the more recent “flagship killers” released internationally is the OnePlus 7 Pro. Hardware-wise, it matches the Galaxy S10+ – it has the same Snapdragon 855 SoC that Samsung uses its US/China editions, less internal storage but the same amount of RAM, it has a camera that matches the capabilities of the one on Samsung’s flagship (recording video in 2160p resolution in up to 60fps) and it also has an innovative pop-up selfie camera that makes the notch obsolete. And it’s at least a full $100 cheaper than its South Korean counterpart.
Another “flagship killer”, this time by Asus, is the ZenFone 6, presented a few days ago. The Taiwanese tech manufacturer has matched the hardware above – the ZenFone 6 has the same SoC as the other two models, less RAM, and internal storage but a much bigger, 5,000 mAh battery, and all the goodies one might expect a “standard” for a high-end smartphone today. Except for its price: it is at least 20% cheaper than any of the above. The ZenFone 6 stands out through a series of features – it doesn’t have a notch, for one, but it comes with a “flipping” main camera that becomes a selfie camera, its dimensions remain comfortable despite its large, 6.4″ screen, and the big battery that makes it function as a power bank as well (like the other two phones, this also comes with the reverse wireless charging function). And when it comes to the price, it’s the cheapest of them all: the most well-endowed version of the handset comes with a price tag of around $669 – that’s under Kshs 70,000.
Samsung’s flagship handsets have become a luxury and they have the price to match. Their competitors, in turn, have started attacking them with handsets that measure up to their hardware and prices that are much more pocket-friendly. Will this strategy work? Well, we’ll have to wait for the quarterly sales reports to see that.