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I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of $1000 smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S20 Series All Three
Samsung Galaxy S20 Series All Three (Image credit: Android Central)

I don't know about you, but I'm growing a little tired of $1000 and up being the new norm for smartphone prices. Apple was the first company to break that threshold in 2017 with the iPhone X, and in the years following that, it's quickly become something that we now have to expect.

Take this year's Galaxy S20 lineup, for example. At the low-end of the bunch with the regular S20, you're paying a minimum of $1000. The mid-tier S20+ steps things up to $1200, with the highest-end S20 Ultra selling for a cool $1400. There's also last year's Pixel 4 XL, which has a retail price of $999 for the 128GB variant.

It's only natural for phone prices to increase as time goes on and money loses its value, but the sheer level at which prices have been rising is a bit much. Just two years ago, a brand-new Galaxy S9 was selling for $720. Compared to this year's S20, that's a price hike of $280.

Google Pixel 4 XL and Galaxy S10+

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

I've mostly grown used to these increased costs as a result of writing about them almost every day, but there's still part of me that's annoyed with how much money these companies are asking us to spend these days.

Smartphones are valuable tools and are something a lot of us rely on to live our lives. There's a valid argument to be made that buying a phone is an investment and a necessary purchase, but the prices being charged for high-end models are climbing at an alarming rate year after year.

The Pixel 3a was a wonderful slap in the face to expensive flagships, including Google's own Pixel 3.

Thankfully, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back on the past year, the phone that stands out to me the most is the Pixel 3a (opens in new tab). The idea behind the phone was to give users the same basic experience offered by the flagship Pixel 3 while shaving hundreds of dollars off the asking price. That's exactly what Google did, and the 3a ended up being so good that we awarded it as the Best Value Android Phone of 2019.

Mid-range phones aren't anything new in the Android space, but the Pixel 3a offered something different. In the areas where most budget devices stumble, the Pixel 3a took the torch and ran with it. It had one of the best camera systems regardless of price, Google's promise of guaranteed updates, good build quality, and reliable performance. These are the core building blocks of any good smartphone, and the Pixel 3a made them available on a phone with an accessible price.

Andrew shared his thoughts on the Pixel 4a just a few weeks ago, explaining how Google doesn't need to change much in order for it to be another hit. He's exactly right, and based on what the rumor mill has shown us so far, it looks like that's the route Google is taking.

According to the latest information that we have, the Pixel 4a will have a Snapdragon 700-series processor, 12.2MP rear camera with Google's top-notch image processing, slim bezels around its display with a hole-punch cutout, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. In other words, basically the same phone as the 3a but updated for 2020 standards.

And you know what? That's all I need.

Holding the Pixel 3a XL

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

$1000 smartphones might be the new norm, but they're far from your only option.

The Pixel 3a is one of those phones that "just works." It runs apps as you'd expect, takes consistently great photos, and doesn't leave you waiting for a software update. It also has all of the little features that round out the smartphone experience for a lot of people, like NFC for Google Pay and a headphone jack. Assuming the Pixel 4a keeps all of those fundamentals in place and retains a reasonable price tag, we're going to be in for another treat. Google's shown us that it knows how to deliver a worthwhile Android experience without going overboard on cost, and that's an ideology we need more of.

In all honesty, what does the Galaxy S20 offer that makes it worth $600 more than the Pixel 3a or however much for the Pixel 4a ends up costing? Sure, it has multiple cameras, wireless charging, and a more capable processor, but I think anyone could argue that those aren't necessities. Even as someone that loves Qi wireless charging and recently blasted OnePlus for not yet adopting it, it's not something you need on a phone.

Google Pixel 4 vs. Pixel 3a

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

If it wasn't for my job here at AC, I know for a fact I wouldn't have been able to play with all of the phones that I have over the last couple of years. As much of a nerd as I am when it comes to mobile tech, I'm also someone that likes sticking to a budget and saving money. If I was in a position where I needed to go out and buy a phone with my own cash right now, I'd happily skip over the Galaxy S20 for something like the Pixel 3a.

I'm glad we have these high-end devices that are pushing the boundaries of what we can do with a smartphone, but I also think it's OK to be critical of what's happened with the industry's pricing. I'm not a fan of it, and I have to imagine a lot of you aren't either.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

111 Comments
  • $1k phones amuse me. I'm not really sure what >$500 phones offer except bragging rights, but I don't mind them: people should be able to (over-)spend as they wish. Life at $200-$300 has never been better, I don't feel compelled to spend more - actually, I'm spending ever less each time, went from Galaxy Noteto Huawei Mate to Xiaomi Mi Max, each significantly cheaper than the previous one... and significantly better. I don't feel a need to buy Supreme or even Nike stuff either. It wouldn't make any difference in my life.
  • Exactly. I'm of the opinion that companies should charge whatever they think the prices should be for products, and consumers can choose whether or not to pay those prices. These are luxury items that we're lucky to have at all.
  • They are luxury items, but that shouldn't be an excuse for monopoly or price-fixing. Currently one thing driving up prices is the Qualcomm monopoly on phone chipsets sold in the US. Phones sold outside of the US are cheaper to make without the "Qualcomm tax." I'm all for letting free market forces set prices, but that only works when the markets are actually free. I'm seeing phones with alternatives to Apple or Android on them, and think that's great for healthy competition.
  • Sensible people who care about price don't buy Samsung phones at launch! they literally drop like a stone once released! wait till August when the Note 20 comes along and you'll get the S20 ultra alot cheaper!
  • The Fold hasn't dropped the tiniest fraction where I live since launch...
  • And neither will the S20 Ultra. The other two probably will at the end of the year.
  • The fold isn't really a mainstream handset so it won't budge it price until the new fold 2 or whatever is out.
  • But these 1000 - 1400 $ phones ARE...?
  • What I'm saying is the Note and S range are mainstream flagships the fold isn't, I've yet to see anyone with one in the flesh.
  • Really? The Galaxy Fold's price is 500€ lower now than at launch, here!
  • Between the trade in and Samsung credits I'm paying $375 less for the ultra than it's MSRP (taking into account resale vs trade in for my trade in, Samsung credit etc); that phone will NOT be that cheap new from a retailer for at least a year. Often pre-ordered is the best price you can get for it for the first year, after that, sure, you can get cheaper but it's over a year old then (and if you prefer to save the cash and run a generation behind that's cool, nothing wrong with that at all)...but to say it's going to drop like a rock once released is no where close to reality.
  • Samsung's midrange line is fantastic, 200-300 outright, don't have to bother with cellphone contracts, and you can typically get better rates under BYOD plans. never have to worry about carrier locks (although I'm in Canada and that's no longer a thing) and you can upgrade yearly without breaking the bank. I gave up chasing the latest flagship long ago and will never go back
  • Indeed... the A50 and the new A51 are great phones for the sub $300 market.
  • You may be getting tired of $1000 smart phones but the public doesn't appear to feel the same way. Sales appear to be through the roof whenever a new one is released. There are plenty of low end phones available for cheap or free.
  • I think that's primarily due to being able to run over to AT&T or Sprint or etc and pick one up on monthly installments of $40-$60. If everyone had to drop a grand or more out of pocket, there would be far less sales.
  • Installments have a lot to do with it IMO. No one thinks much about dropping $30-40 a month for a phone - even though it's for 30 months on AT&T. Cough it up all at once though ... People were averse to paying all at once for phones back when a high end phone cost around $500. It'd only be more so now.
  • I think part of it is in the financing that disappears into people's bills. My wife and my situation are different in that we need to buy our phones ourselves off of our bill, so we're always looking to have where we can. I'm still using an LG g5. I've been wanting to upgrade to something in the $500-600 range but each one comes with a compromise or there are other circumstances that prevent me from buying it. Right now I'm waiting to see how the US pricing for the S10 lite shakes out.
  • You can get a OnePlus 7T for $500 right now! No need to wait for a Samsung with less specs.
  • I agree entirely for OnePlus! I have the 7 Pro which I purchased at the end of availability on their site. I got the 6/128 version and could not be happier. Paid around $500 also for what is still hard to beat to this very day.
  • Pixel 4xl is on sale for 499
  • With the mid-rangers getting so good why spend a g-whizz? I'm guilty, I pre-ordered my S10+ last yr and paid the 1,ooo dollars. It will be the last time? Then as a backup I picked up the pixal3a XL. You know what, this phone is so good I could use it as my daily and it only cost me 4oo.oo bucks tax included. The time has come to say hell no to these 1,ooo dollar phones? Consumer's should start drawing the line with these very expensive phones!
  • Or they shouldn't, if they happen to disagree with you...
  • If people weren't willing to keep paying more and more for phones, they wouldn't charge more for them each time. If people keep paying more and more for incremental upgrades like sheep, they'll continue to pay more and get less bang for the buck than the previous iteration. Prices are at the point of diminishing returns for the consumer - what do you really get for all the extra money you pay? Especially compared to flagship phones from before? There's a reason Samsung phones' values drop like a rock a few months out.
  • With today's processors, cloud storage, and the Pixel's camera, I think the only reason someone will need a high end phone will be if gaming is important. I've never used a Pixel 3a, and I currently have a OP6t, but I think the Pixel 4a will be my next phone. Google also keeps adding cool software that can only be found on Pixel phones now.
  • I'm in the exact same spot. Love the 6T but very interested in the 4a
  • We are being groomed by Samsung. They intro these things at astonishing prices then they start getting creative with the enticements to get them off the shelves. If Samsung is tenacious enough it will condition us for even higher prices. The only way to fight back is to not buy them.
  • ... And the frustrating part of it all, especially on the Android side, is the abysmal support that these devices get. Two to three lousy years of security updates and you're back in the market (if you care about security updates) for another device. Yes, my S-Pen is indispensable, but I hate that I have to consider replacing my Galaxy Note9 (which by the way just got the Android 10 update from T-Mobile early this morning), sooner than later, due to the short security update lifespan. Google isn't any better with their Pixels. If they supported their devices just as long as Apple does with the iPhones, I may buy (actually bought one last week when T-Mobile dropped the price to $500 for the 4XL) Pixels more.
  • Same here. Couldn't pass up a top tier phone for a mid range price. Night 2 of them actually.
  • Android support stinks --sounds so lazy and meaningless. Please enlighten me because I'm no expert, here's the little I know: over the last couple years, I've owned every available prepaid at&t device at least once. Blu. Samsung, LG, Moto, Nokia, ..$40-$90 phones, all getting security patches. $200-$400 range phones will likely see at least one OS version upgrade and 2yrs security patch. I'm talking about name brand phones here, (exclude LG ) . That's at least. The Pixel line, along with several affordable devices mfg under Android One, are GUARANTEED THREE YRS OS updates, and while I haven't heard an official guarantee from Samsung, I'd bet they'll keep up. That's a bunch of phones, starting at under $200. With a 3yr promise. For comparison, the iPhone6 supported 4 updates. But 4 year old Apple hardware struggles to keep up. Another fun fact: About a month ago, Android 10 was ported and running on Galaxy S2(2011) and S3 (2013). If you have a popular Android phone, you can update it as long as you want . What did u miss?
  • Kinda crazy to think about $1000+ phones until you think about how much you use and depend on them. I don't ever see spending that much.
  • Except the phones half the price do everything the mass majority of the population needs.
  • The whole selling point behind OnePlus phones. 90-95% of the performance at 60-70% of the price. Sounds like a good trade off.
  • If you want the S20 Ultra 512gb here in Ireland it's 1579 Euro (1714 USD)
    So yes we're a bit sick of the spiralling prices as well :-)
  • Traded in my S10 Note+ (for $700) and got the Ultra 16Gb/512GB for $899. Got $200 worth of goodies for free. On their way, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
  • Is that with the insane VAT included?
  • Everyone gave Ms hell with Windows phones but they always got updates unless it was processor related. I like new devices but a $500 phone bill has me rethinking
  • I think I'm at the point of "good enough" for me. In most cases, I'm not seeing what the new bells and whistles get for me. As long as the camera produces good enough pics for casual use, I'm happy. I have real cameras if I want really good pics, or a big zoom. With my last few high end phones, I haven't really been doing anything that couldn't do with a good mdi/upper midrange phone. The $1000+ tag is getting ridiculous - especially if you want to upgrade every year. It's getting to be more about usability for me than the overall power from the phone. I loved my OP6, for example, but don't like my OP7+ that replaced it. As long as it performs as well as a high end chip a couple years ago and has some good support, I'm ok with that. I can pocket the extra money not spent on the latest high end phone and do something with that - say buy a half-decent laptop, a new TV, a few new games, a few nights out on the town with the wife, etc. We're past the point of diminishing returns. The returns are really diminishing for the price paid.
  • Literally everything cost more while wages remain the same. It's unfortunate but it's the way things are right now.
  • Everyone I know is getting raises at regular intervals. Maybe it's just you. Perhaps they're trying to tell you something.
  • Yearly raises aren't the same as wages going up. *eyeroll*
  • My raises have always far surpassed the cost of living. (Likewise for all my coworkers.) Wages going up faster than the cost of living equals wage increases. Sorry your experience is not the same as mine. But your boss knows you better than I do.
  • My what a smug little social Darwinist you are. Sorry if we failed to notice we were in the presence of a superior human being.
  • That's why it pays to have a side hustle. Relying on companies who would cut you off at a moment's notice is way too risky imo.
  • I do not mind phones being $1000 as long as we get what we pay for. And especially if Samsung or other retailers provide trade-in programs where the price tag of these phones get a significant cut I could see myself going for $1000+ phones.
  • I would happily pay $1,000 for a phone if it gives me everything I want. However, Flagships appear to remove features making me less likely to want them.
  • Or the upper midrange phones have most of the features at a significant discount. You could probably buy solid midrange/upper midrange phones every year and still save money over the current flagships.
  • Meh, I don't care either way.
    Just glade there is multiple options with different price points... I like the note line up and wait every 2 to 3 years to upgrade...but if I wanted to I could buy a new 1000 phone every month, would not hurt my pocket book at all. But I like to go on 4 cruise a year...lol
  • Exactly. I don't see what the problem is, especially with everyone praising mid-rangers; why the whining if you can get what you want at half the price...?
  • Agreed. Options are good. My opinion is that "financing" is for cars, not phones. There's no way that a Galaxy s20 ultra is worth $1100 more than my nokia 7.2. For others it is and I respect that too. The scary part for me is how quickly the upper tier costs are rising. We're probably a year or 2 away from $2000 for a non foldable, then $3000 a few years after that. Where does it stop?
  • Agreeing with this after 3 months with Pixel 3a. Really excited to see how Google will mess up the 4a.
  • Definitely NEEDS to be a market reset, Apple and Android alike. The prices vs. what you get simply doesn't add up. Toss in the frequent removal of features like salt in a wound. And this forced 5G BS Qualcomm pulled for their 865 SoC should be class action or antitrust, something. Now if OEMs and/or Qualcomm simply sold 5G at same cost as 4G, then fine include it. But this blatant cash grab for a presently parasitic feature that few get to enjoy is nonsense.
    S line should be $600, $700 & $800. With Note hovering 950-1000 MAX.
  • We're reaching another plateau as far as what hardware can do. Will things continue to get faster and more efficient? Sure. But, the overall y.o.y. improvements are, for the most part, minimal compared to just 5 years ago. While 5G proliferates to more and more uses, the vast majority of users are still on a LTE(+/A) network. So the marketing is just a typical ploy to bolster sales.
    So, as carriers get 5G spread across the planet, manufacturers should take advantage of the "lul" in hardware jumps, and look at what can be done to extend the way software is managed. The use of forced hardware upgrading as the ONLY way to upgrade beyond the 2-3 year software support is becoming increasingly unacceptable in an age where even the least powerful hardware used with New software loaded devices is not quite as powerful as some of the flagships of 3-5 years ago. So the only way for manufacturers to justify spending that kind of money, should be to offer longer software development and support for the money. But we have been conditioned to suck-it-up and do what we "must" in order to be able to use the services and conveniences provided by them securely. This mentality needs to change. Until such time as 5G pushes the envelope and hardware makes the next generational leap forward, it's time to get back ahead of the software game. Especially with so many services being moved to the play store, making updating devices more specifically, getting the core functions and security updates made available is just good business sense. Feature exclusives will continue from year to year and keep sales moving forward. But being basically forced to upgrade a perfectly functional device just because it has stopped receiving system / security updates, on devices that are definitely more than capable of handling them should be something that we all are liberated from.
  • I agree. Storage, memory, and processing are generations ahead already (not a bad thing) . Minor improvements and novelty features have been carrying the load for a while. But I really think display tech is about to launch us into another era of creative and rapidly evolving innovation. Seriously check out what these panels are capable of...it's wild. We need a powerhouse of power nerds to figure out how were gonna juice our 4Ghz quad cores to stream our 8k video with 240 refresh rate. (While downloading in split screen, oc) I think they've done all they can with the current battery idea.
  • I used to think that way, and in some ways I still do. $1,000+ phones is crazy but I feel like phones are now to the point that I'm ok holding on to my phone for 3 years. However, I've also come to the conclusion that I use my phone for just about everything. So now, instead of spending $1,000 on a computer and $500-600ish on a phone. I spend $1,000 on a phone and bought a used Surface Go, that I boot up maybe once or twice a quarter.
  • I will likely get hated for it but in my opinion if your paying this sort of money, as far as value goes you should really be going for a iPhone simply for the longer security and software updates. It's expensive but your good to go for easily 4/5 years of software support and if you need to change your battery if it no longer holds a charge a simple trip to the Apple store and your done.
  • With due respect for Android's defense I think its software has come a long way and it's getting better. And for Samsung phones, Samsung has gotten better with its frequent updates imo. Do they need to get better to catch up to Apple in this department? Sure but again they have come a long way. Now given that Android phones are far better in terms of what they can do freely with hardware and I am thoroughly enjoying sheer phone options we have with Android. In this department Apple needs to catch up to Samsung and rest of android world.
  • I'd dare say OnePlus and Google have been about the best out there as far as long term support. The others lag behind considerably. You'll get the upgrades - eventually.
  • Just bought an open box pixel 3xl for a little under $500. My wife had been running the pixel 3 since last fall and loves it, especially the camera. I am loving mine so far and see no need to ever pay over $500 for a phone, all my phones have been below this bar with the exception of my lumia 950xl but that came with a free 950 for $650 so it technically was under that too once I sold the 950 on ebay. The diminishing returns above that $500 mark just don't seem worth it to me for a device that could easily get dropped off a bridge or run over with one bad choice.
  • I hear you as Samsung fan I own a Note 10 plus, Active watch 2, Tab S6 and the buds so I'm a big Samsung fan. I've stated lots of times if it wasn't for Samsung id be in the Apple camp. What I am trying to say is android flagships price themselves same as Apple but fall way short of offering anything close in terms of security, support etc.
  • I am too. That's why I think OnePlus phones are the best value for Android phones. They have most high end specs and they cost less than $1K.
  • While the continued rise of the average selling price of the current generation of smartphones is annoying there isn't anything forcing up a generation. We are also talking about a tiny sub-section of users because most people hang onto their phones for 2, 3, or even 4 years before they upgrade and when they do so they probably end up getting a sale price on that generation-older phone (like the S10 today). I've been one to upgrade rapidly but now that newer generations of smartphones aren't bringing major leaps in hardware performance and just moderate upgrades on the camera it makes more sense to me to run a generation behind. You can get an S10 for far less than $1000 now-a-days and if you run it the full course of it's software update life span that S20 will also be available for less than $1000. I suppose it just depends on how important that being assured you can get the latest generation of Android OS and how badly you need the latest camera tech. I'm legitimately considering running a generation behind and running that for 2 years before moving up again. It will save me a boatload of money in the log run and I don't think I'll notice much difference. Aside from not running with the cool kids. ;)
  • Personnally, I have the Google Pixel 4XL (128GB clearly white, unlocked variant) and after using if for several months, I've come to the conclusion that that soli radar was the culprit for the poor battery. Since disabling soli radar all together, starting my day at 5am, I'm easily ending the day with around 35-40% battery remaining at bedtime (10pm). I was also extremely lucky to land my phone at a cheap price of only $465 utilizing store credit, trade-in and discounted price. If Google would have left off the soli radar device, they could have priced the phone closer to what I paid for it and it would have been a complete game changer. I still love my Pixel phone because I love pure Android, I love getting quick updates and also being the first devices to test the new Android betas. :-)
  • I agree. Soli is good for extra battery drain with not much in return. I turned it off too.
  • I believe the price of phones is slowly starting to turn full circle and we'll see the cost of manufacturers flagship phones come down over the next 12-18 months as people hold onto phones longer and the manufacturers need to give consumers incentives to upgrade as incremental updates like cameras, wireless charging etc. are not enough for upgrading.
  • Doesn't matter what the author thinks. The market will decide. Also - if it hasn't been noticed - tech trickle-down is a thing, and will provide benefits to mainstream-priced phones in the very near future. If people want to spend the money, that's okay with me. If there aren't enough of them, the prices will change to meet that demand.
  • I Love my 3a xl. I had the Samsung 4 6 and 8 plus. Yeah I missed a couple of the fun fluffy features that the Samsung had however the Pixel 3AXL is just amazing and the battery life is phenomenal. Not to mention the phone seems more durable. my s8 plus was a piece of garbage and cracked within the first month with a screen protector and case. I will never spend such an obscene amount of money on a cell phone again I got the Pixel 3AXL for $400. I absolutely stinking love it and I can't sing its praises high enough. these flagship phones are all about marketing and making you think you need this this that and the other. It's all marketing. Totally team pixel
  • Sales numbers will dictate the direction of $1000+ phones. If they sell well, then OEMs will keep cranking them out. If sales stink, then back to the drawing board.
  • I don't agree with this at all: "It's only natural for phone prices to increase as time goes on" I don't understand why EVERYTHING in tech is getting cheaper and cheaper EXCEPT smartphones. 10 years ago a highly capable laptop was $2,500 now they're a dime a dozen for $1,000 and high end TV's were $3,000+ now you can get a top notch TV for half that. Yet just 5 years ago a top of the line flagship smartphone was $600 and now it's almost twice that, why? It doesn't make any sense to me. As tech gets better prices for it generally go down (even when taking inflation into account, see the laptop/tv prices I mention earlier), so why are smartphones going the opposite direction? You can't tell me it's due to increases in the tech, innovation etc because that's all there with all other tech too, so what gives? I love mobile tech so I've been buying all the major flagships for years, but now I've been on my Note 10+ for longer than any other phone I've owned in at least 5 years and I'm pretty confident I'll probably break a year with my next one --> Due to the waterfall display rumors of the Note20 (hate curved displays) I'm going ahead with a pre-order of an S20 Ultra since it has a mostly flat display w/ the $700 trade-in for my Note 10+ and $225 in Sammy credit to use towards replacing my Gear S3 with the eventual Galaxy Watch 2, (or active 2/3 if that never pans out)...my only other flagship options (w/ wireless charging, I refuse to pay for a flagship without it, OnePlus) are Pixels and Google has their head too far up their ass with the P4 for that to be an alternative leaving me with just Samsung. But with these prices, one a year at most for me going forward (which, obviously Samsung would still see as a plus as it's more often than 95% or more of consumers, but FOR ME that's a 300%+ reduction in buying). Ironically I guess the higher prices are going to ultimately end up saving me money...that's f'ing weird.
  • "you can't tell me it's due to increases in the tech, innovation etc because that's all there with all other tech too, so what gives?"
    What gives is that nearly every adult on the planet wants, or already has, a cell phone. There may be only one large screen TV in the whole house while there could be several cell phones. TV's do not rely upon security updates..TV's don't take pictures, TV's don't make phone calls, do banking or send texts. Point being, cell phones need security patches and can do way more than most TV's and Laptops and everyone has one. Supply and demand. As long as people feel the need to own a cell phone...the prices will rise. If the day ever comes when a cell phones lasts as long as a TV or a laptop, and therefore becomes less of a "must have" item, then the prices will fall like the rest of the tech. That's why we need good competition in the cell phone market.
  • Phone OEM's get away with continuing to raise prices where other tech products fall in part because there are innovations (albeit mostly marketing-driven rather than a product of demand) that keep their costs from dropping over time as they do for products like PC/TV, but also to perhaps a larger extent due to the deep attachment people have to their phones, being the single piece of technology consumers engage more than any other, continuously throughout the day. Essentially, consumers feel they get a higher return on investment and turn a blind eye to the fact that if they replace their phone every year or 2, or even 3, it's a dramatically more costly expense than a TV or PC which can easily last 5-10+ years, and even if replaced can be used as a secondary device much more naturally (second location).
  • Being middle class means that there are hard limits on what I spend. I'm not going to buy a million dollar house, or a car with a 6-figure price tag. Spending $100 for pretty much any item of clothing is not for me. (The wife is another story...) I don't care how good they are, I'm not buying $10 socks. And I don't want to carry around something costing $1000 that can so easily be left behind. Smartphones are luxuries first and foremost. Nobody needs all that whiz-bang. My current best phone, a Pixel 3 XL, was $999 list, and I got mine for $200 off (and free financing) when it was still a new model. It's more than I want or need, but it's my first factory unlocked phone. After a bad experience with Verizon, I was willing to hasten my upgrade cycle to get a phone that works with any SIM. It looks like 5G and frivolous things like folding are the excuse to push phone prices into the 4-figure range. The only 5G phone that really interests me is the McLaren one, and it's well below a grand. If the Pixel 5 comes out with unlocked 5G and some irresistible feature that's not just fluff, I might be tempted. We'll see...
  • Apple ultimately dictate the pricing. If they come down, then others will follow the company with the most mindshare.
  • Well, they did so with the Iphone 11. I only hope manufacturers get the point.
  • Couple of thoughts... The best of the best, the most spec'd out phones, do not need frequent upgrades. Cell phone makers release phones annually for primarily marketing reasons (catch the upgrade hungry every two years), not necessarily because of significant performance issues. The best phones have been as powerful as laptops for awhile now... Do you upgrade your laptop every two years? Of course not. I bought the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at launch (crazy expensive even back then) but I still have no significant reasons to upgrade. I take care of my phone.. No screen cracks, day long battery life, etc. 5G is absolutely nowhere in Canada, and the more I know about true 5G, it will never be everywhere like 4G LTE is. Nobody should pay a premium for any 5G device because the devices are at least a year or two ahead of network availability. I see a few improvements over three years in Samsung phones since I bought my Note 8. Personally, I could care less about Android 11....but I agree it's a disgrace Samsung only supports two years of Android version updates. I do like the S20 Ultra, but do I need it when I have a Note 8? No. Samsung's best phones now look like the best from Toyota or Ford vehicles... It's not supposed to be a mass consumer device affordable for everyone....There are modestly priced offerings from Samsung Mobile that are terrific for most consumers. Samsung sold something like 290 million phones last year, and about 5-6 million were top flagship models. Last thought... Samsung isn't stupid... There main S20 release comes right around tax refund time in the Western world. 😉 Ouch, that maxed out S20 Ultra is $2300 here in Canada.
  • "Ouch, that maxed out S20 Ultra is $2300 here in Canada." That's peanuts compared to the Pixel 4 XL that Google Fi is offering for $999,000,000.00 right now. With tax (of more than $64 million) the total comes to more than a billion dollars. I decided to get expedited shipping since it didn't change the bottom line that much. ;)
  • I also think that most aps aren't optimized for the latest and greatest phones because of the mid-range and older smartphones out there. Most aps in the Play Store state that the phone only needs to have Lollipop (sometimes Marshmallow) or higher to operate. Sure the ap may be quicker and more efficient on the higher-end, and newer, phone. I also think it's a disgrace that Samsung only supports two years of Android version updates. Fingers crossed they'll bump it up to three OS updates starting with the S9/Note 9 series because they were the fist to come with Project Treble
  • I got tired of $900 phones in 2019...
  • We all have... It wasn't that long ago that phones were $650 max.
  • Personally I think only Apple and Samsung can get away with charging over a grand for a flagship phone but Apple more so because of how long they support their phones for which is far longer than anyone else but really to shouldn't need to pay £1000 for a phone which chime OEMs like OnePlus has proven.
  • Honestly, I don't think Samsung would've priced it this high if Huawei phones were allowed to be sold here in North America the newer models like ( Mate 30/30Pro and upcoming P40 series) had they not been blocked by Google services more people would have more options. Samsung is milking this. Just my personal opinion. Here in Canada - S20 -$1600, S20 Plus $2000 and S20 Ultra - $2300 those are ridiculous pricing and price gouging. There's no way anyone would be stupid enough to buy outright that's practically a laptop pricing a high end one too.
  • I feel bad for you Canadians. Not only do you get ripped off on your phones, but your government allows the carriers to really rape you guys for service too. I couldn't believe how much service cost - and remember seeing 3 year service contracts too. BOHICA.
  • For $75/month you get unlimited Canada calling, text, etc. 4G data capped at 10GB, throttled to 3G afterwards. Yeah, it's only been a few months we've had unlimited data plans. 2yr contracts if you don't buy your phone outright.
  • You can get Umlimited Data, Calls, Texts, etc. on T-Mobile, as well as Unlimited Texting to a ton of different countries and calling to North American countries for less than that. Not to mention teh generous roaming if you travel (no need to swap sims or use local carriers, etc.). I think Canada is ripe for an Uncarrier Moment. They're still doing contracts. I think the phone lease plans make the bill high, but it at least forces people to think about the actual investments they're making. it's not like the down payments for contract phones are super cheap, anyways. I bought my iPhone 11 Pro directly from Apple, with cash. So I'm out of the "you owe us therefore you must be with us" situation that contracts and lease plans force on consumers (leasing is basically a contract de facto). T-Mobile does pay off phones from Verizon, and then you can keep your phone and leave after 3 months if you want, Lol. Service is just as good as Verizon here, even in the rural areas... far cheaper (like $70-80/mo saved vs. Verizon for two lines), and on Android T-Mobile puts far less bloatware and disables less native services than Verizon (which replaced Samsung Cloud with VZ Cloud, etc. etc. etc.). I put a Verizon SIM back in my Note9 to update it to Android 10 (like 2 day sbefore T-Mobile OTA'd it - I got impatient and it's only a backup phone now, anyways) and was shocked at how many features were disabled in the Verizon version, and how much more bloatware was there after the phone rebooted and switched over to Verizon's carrier package. Immediately put a T-Mobile SIM back in it to switch it back, Lol.
  • I'm also an ex-Verizon customer. I currently use T-Mobile through MVNOs Google Fi & Ting. My next phone will probably be on T-Mobile, depending on what Fi ends up doing. I also got tired of the VZW apps that bugged me to use certain features that cost extra. I had Google Cloud already, why pay for another? When I found out that I could download stock Google apps and use them in place of the Verizon phone, email and cloud apps, I was hooked. But because I couldn't delete the VZW apps from my VZW phone I wasn't satisfied. The 1st gen. Pixel was first available through Verizon, so I got that. It used the native Google apps that I wanted, but still had some VZW spyware. I was paying $200/mo. for 2 phones (one a backup I never used), a tablet and MiFi device. When VZW let me down, I ported my OG Pixel XL to Google Fi no problem. The first software update through Fi erased all of the VZW spyware. Fi uses T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular, but T-Mobile service is so strong in both urban and rural areas that it's hard not to use T-Mobile service through Fi. Got a Pixel 3 XL when it came out to have a completely unlocked phone that I could root if I wanted. I pay $20/mo. plus data for Fi, and because I'm either on Wi-Fi or driving and not using data, I rarely pay a cent for data. The older Pixel is on Ting at $6/mo. (also using T-Mobile) as a backup. I can get $10/mo. data SIMs for Fi, so although my old VZW devices can't be ported, a comparable setup would only cost me $46/mo. That's without data, but at $1848/year less than VZW, there's a lot of money left over for data!
  • Yes, but they have basically free medical and way cheaper prescription drug costs. I'll trade them any day for that! If you're young you may not appreciate this...yet.
  • Nothings free my friend we paid into that system with our taxes (income taxes) cheaper drugs only if you have benefits if you don't you're sh#t out of luck.
  • $1000 plus for 6.5" beast is annoying me to. Why no smaller options?
    I still have my 2.5 years old Essential Phone I got for free on a $55 plan with Telus.
    It is 5.7".
    Has a 4K display
    Runs Android Stock Why can't nobody do that? It's not much to ask
    Only issue with the phone is the camera. I have replaced the screen for $100 service included a few months ago and works like a charm.
  • The lack of small options is pushing me towards an Ipone honestly (although I hear this 4a will be 5.7 inch which is perfect!) I have the 1+6T and while I like it the phone is just too big. Really hate having no options.
  • I personally wouldn't mind the prices of the current Flagship phones but they keep removing features like the headphone jack, SD card, IR Blaster, etc. Add on to the fact that flagships have the least amount of room to grow in the market while Midrange phones have all the growth like bigger batteries, faster chipsets, more premium designs, more RAM, and better cameras and it becomes increasingly harder to justify high price tags. Midrange phones are truly the king now.
  • I miss the IR blaster too. Never needed to worry about a lost remote ...
  • I don't care for the price tag either. I (along with many others) don't need the newest phone but its fun to have. I am a Samsung and Sony fan but Sony hasn't produced anything worth having in some time (in terms of the phone market) so I've been pretty much exclusive Samsung and I utilize their trade-in program which is just awesome. Doing so nets me the latest phone for much cheaper (though I understand if the base price was lower than it might be even cheaper in the end but they could also offer less for the trade-in so it isn't an apples to apples comparison). I like getting the newest phone but don't have to have it. Many have mentioned that you don't upgrade your TV or laptop every year and that is true. I haven't upgraded my laptop in 5 years and it still does everything I need and want it to do. I did get a new TV last year on black Friday because the deal was just too good to pass up. But before that, I haven't upgraded a tv in 3+ years. Basically to sum it all up, its nice to have the newest phone but it would be nice if they never exceeded the $700 price tag. I'm very much middle class (single income, wife and 3 kids, middling IT job, etc) so even $700 is a lot but I understand what all goes into making these top notch devices so I am willing to pay but $1000 on up is ridiculous. The Z flip makes sense at it's price point because it is a new-ish concept and basically a beta device. It won't sell in mass nor be mass produced the same as an iPhone or S20. But the flagship prices need to come down; or maybe just start making the mid-range phones more widely available. I personally would love to get my hands on a mid-range Samsung with all the proper LTE bands (and NFC/MST).
  • Competition is Healthy right now at this moment there's no competition for Samsung since the Huawei ban. There's no way LG, Pixel, Sony, etc... can compete with Samsung especially with their hardware. Huawei was the only company that was pushing them to be better and for pricing.
  • OnePlus can compare with Samsung and in security and privacy and software support nobody can compare with Apple even if iOS is not open source like Android is which is both a blessing and a curse.
  • A reason why I'm buying Pixel phones every three years. All I care about is having most recent Android OS available at all times.
  • I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of millennials who want their cake and eat it too. You get what you pay for. In the instance of the Pixel devices, you're paying for a better experience than you will have on any other device, period. Every other device charges you out the ass for specs you don't even really need. I paid over 1000 for my pixel, but that's because it's a limited edition you can no longer find. I have no issues paying that price for this experience. Buy a couple OP devices and deal with their garbage Os or buy a Samsung and deal with not being able to unlock your bootloader. Y'all want everything but don't want to pay for it. Get a clue. We'll leave out the fact that pixel devices get updates before any other device( don't try and use Samsung's 2 releases ahead of google as an argument either, that was a publicity stunt). Also, buying from google eliminates the middle man. You get a device built from AOSP the way it was meant to be, not how other OEM's envision it.
  • If only I could get a phone with a millimeter taller display, a touch more ram that I will never use, and maybe take away another really popular feature like the 3.5 jack. I for one would be more that happy to see another hike in price. But then again, I am a total gullible moron.
  • Indeed. Especially when you pay that amount and more for what is essentially branding, instead of any tangible benefits or advantages that such an overly expensive flagship device could offer over a mid-range or even entry level device. But to each his own...
  • I couldn't agree more with great article! I went ahead and bought me a Redmi Note 8 Pro for $214 from swappa and oh boy am I blown away for the price! I believe we all vote with our wallets but the average consumer doesn't read these articles, and just goes and pays full price on installments. SMH.
  • Isn't this an Apple Android site now a days? Where is the criticism of Apple?
  • Apple sucks donkey balls! There it is...LOL...🤪😁
  • Apple is probably the only one who can justify their expensive price tag for their iPhones because they offer the longest software support, longer than any Android OEM for which Google and OnePlus are the best on the Android side but still fall short of Apple and while Android has come a long way and like it very much, I still think apps like social media apps in general work much better on an iPhone and so do games and Android still doesn't have cloud saves for games like iPhone does with iCloud. So yes only Apple can justify charging over a grand for an iPhone and only Samsung comes close on the Android side to justifying their high price but not quite like Apple.
  • Back in the early 80's, the computer you wanted was always $5000. Today the phone you want is always over $1000. Not everyone got the computer they wanted. Not everyone gets the phone they want. The big new thing (5g?) will not reach my area before I die, if ever. There are more phones coming with a stylus now too, so the note series is not the only option there. If they manage to come up with batteries that hold a charge for more than a few years, then I would expect prices to drop the way they did for computers.
  • The interesting thing about your '80's analogy is computers got cheaper with time. Phones just keep getting more expensive.
  • I’m using a Redmi note 8 pro great phone was right at 200 bucks I also have the MI Note 10 was just under 500 bucks they both play any game I try at maxed out settings with good battery life and fast charging sure they don’t have wireless charging or screens as good as Samsung but I have two phones that cost less then a Samsung flagship I just see no need to buy these phones when they first come out a few months fron now all the Samsung phones will be under 1000 bucks I got the Note 10 plus for 700 that’s 400 off what was sold for the day it came out
  • $1,000 Phone with 4-5 years of support (i.e. iPhones). Okay, I can definitely work with that. $1,000 Phone with 3 years of support (i.e. Google Pixel). I can probably make this happen, if it's good enough. $1,000 Phone with 2 years of support - like Galaxy Notes, releasing with an "old" version of Android on the eve of a new version's launch, and then getting their last update < 1.5 years later... That's effectively 1.5 years of support for that line, which is why I think the Galaxy S Plus was almost always a better buy, earlier in the cycle, especially since Samsung stopped giving the Note series a spec bump over the Galaxy S years ago. ^^^ You got me once, but never again.
  • A good mid-range device will more than satisfy most people. Just think about what you really intend to do with your phone, think a bit about future proofing it, and don't buy into the hype that surrounds most flagship phones costing nearly if not more than the one-thousand dollar price point. Many buy into the hype and never use a thousand dollar phone to its full potential to warrant that kind of cost.
  • Pixel 3a is a decent phone, not great. Google should have gone with a better SoC and more importantly UFS. They cheaped out on lot of things. Like the unavailability of Gorilla glass too, even an older version would be better than whatever is used on it. The cameras, even though generally known and believed to be on par with Pixel 3, are not. The front camera is not even comparable, so is the video quality, the rear one is almost as good but still there are differences between post processing quality, white balance etc. I hope the 4a is a hit come May, if Google doesn't cheap out like they did with the 3a. But yes, nobody should really buy a phone at 1000 dollar anymore. If you just wait a few months after release, they all reduce massively in price. All you gotta do, is, wait.
  • I've used Samsung Galaxy phones for years - and last year decided not to "upgrade" to the latest Note. I bought a OnePlus 7Pro and have been extremely happy ever since. I'm not going back to over priced phones again. I guess there will always be a market for expensive phones and I am okay with that.
  • Paying that much for a phone is not for me admittedly. That being said, these list prices are usually mitigated with a variety of sales and trade-in incentives a few months after launch. I picked up an S10e that way for less than half of list price. If you have to have the latest toy on the day it is introduced, be prepared to pay a premium. If you can wait a while, you'll do much better price wise.
  • No kidding, you can get a Pixel 3a for under $300. It's a great phone with everything I need. More important to me is the latest software and that come free with the phone.
  • I Left LG, Samsung, and Google Nexus 6P Phones Years Ago - I Purchased a Honor 7X Just Over a Year and Half Ago and Just Recently Purchased a Umidigi X Phone to Be My Latest Everyday Phone. Great User-Friendly, Price-Friendly Android Devices For Less Than $250 on Amazon.com I'm Shocked How Some People I Know Will Run Out and Drop $1,100+ For the Latest Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone Device, That's More Cash Than I Paid For My 15" Lenovo 2-in-1 Laptop!!!