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New mid-range telephone vs previous flagship: What is best?


Allow us to try the principle variations between earlier yr’s flagships and the a lot newer mid-rangers. The comparability can be carried out on the idea of a few of  a very powerful points of the modern-day smartphone. Use the short hyperlinks under to leap to a piece that you just’re keen on. 

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AndroidPIT LG Velvet side
Fan of curved, excessive decision shows? Properly even older flagship smartphones get these / © NextPit

Though they could be a yr or two older, most older flagships virtually definitely boast of a a lot greater high quality show over most mid-range gadgets of right this moment. Additionally it is virtually sure that the flagship would boast of a excessive refresh fee AMOLED panel that can also be shade correct. Oh, and when you like your screens served curved, older flagships are your greatest wager.

Apparently, whereas AMOLED shows have additionally change into frequent on a number of mid-range telephones with some even providing help for top refresh charges, they do fall behind on the general show high quality. Merely put, all AMOLED panels aren’t constructed the identical.

Then there are another mid-range smartphones that proceed to make use of excessive refresh fee LCD panels. Whereas LCD panels aren’t unhealthy per se – they sometimes fail to match as much as their AMOLED brethren by way of shade replica and accuracy on smartphones. If that wasn’t all, that you must bear in mind the indisputable fact that older flagships may also virtually definitely help requirements like HDR10/10+/Dolby Imaginative and prescient. These are stuff that the majority mid-range smartphones have a tendency to offer a miss – and assist maintain their prices down.

Winner: Outdated flagship telephones

Construct High quality

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Who stated mid-range smartphones cannot look good?/ © NextPit

Flagships typically are typically significantly better constructed than their mid-range counterparts. Nevertheless, due to the arrival of Chinese language manufacturers like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, that hole is quick closing. One instance I can cite is the Vivo X50 Professional that we examined final yr. It was at least a flagship when it got here to the general appears to be like, match and end. Flagships are additionally recognized for his or her premium, glass again designs that appear to be 1,000,000 {dollars}. However then, be ready to shell a big sum of money within the occasion of an unintended drop take a look at.

Mid-range gadgets, due to their plastic construct, typically are typically a tad extra sturdy and are much less prone to breakages and even when they do break, they’re much cheaper to restore. One space the place older flagships do rating higher is in the case of IP score for water and dirt ingress safety. However mid-rangers are slowly encroaching into this territory as properly.

  • Winner: Outdated flagship telephones. However mid-rangers are getting higher

Digital camera, picture high quality

Whereas there is no such thing as a denying that the cameras on price range and mid-range gadgets have seen a number of enhancements through the years, the overall consensus is that the majority mid-range smartphones – to this present day – battle to compete towards a earlier yr’s flagship system in the case of imaging. There could be outliers to this, however they proceed to be too far and between.

Best Camera Smartphone
Older flagships are sometimes higher at imaging than most new mid-range telephones / © Bro Crock /

As issues stand right this moment, cameras on older flagship telephones are typically higher than most new mid-range smartphones not solely by way of picture processing and the standard of sensors, but additionally vital bits like the kind and high quality of lenses and multi-lens Optical Picture Stabilization. My colleague Antoine additionally careworn on the truth that any self-respecting older smartphone could have a greater telephoto lens – one thing most mid-rangers nonetheless don’t provide.

Older flagships are additionally more likely to provide significantly better video recording capabilities together with significantly better low mild picture high quality, in comparison with newer mid-range smartphones. Sorry, mid-rangers, we’re gonna must award this one to the previous, dusty flagship.

Winner: Outdated flagship telephones. Particularly if you’re finicky about picture, video high quality and low mild pictures.

SoC, processor, and associated {hardware}

It’s a provided that flagship smartphones sometimes characteristic innovative {hardware} and the very best flagship-grade SoC cash may purchase on the time. What you might not in all probability know is how good these chipsets are even 2, 3 years down the road. 

Normally, they proceed to supply higher efficiency in comparison with newer mid-range SoCs. In truth, chipmakers have begun rebranding older flagship chipsets (with minor adjustments) and placing them on new mid-range gadgets for this very same cause. A latest instance of this may be the Snapdragon 860 and Snapdragon 870 chipsets from Qualcomm that are nothing however modified variants of the Snapdragon 855 and the Snapdragon 865 SoCs from earlier years.

So, sure, final yr’s flagships can simply beat mid-range SoCs in benchmarks. That, nonetheless, doesn’t imply that the {hardware} on mid-range telephones are unusably gradual. For the typical person, the efficiency distinction between the 2 won’t be vital sufficient until they’re into processor and graphics-intensive use-cases. Flagships, alternatively, can be engaging to people who need the very best efficiency cash should buy – however on a price range.

  • Winner: Outdated flagships – when you REALLY care about efficiency
  • Look out for: Mid-range smartphones that use rebranded variations of earlier yr SoCs (SD 860/870)


Stunning as it could appear, newer mid-range smartphones could have a slight edge over older flagships in the case of storage. Whereas you should purchase an older flagship smartphone with as much as 256GB or 512GB of storage, it’s not unusual for mid-range gadgets additionally to supply an possibility that comes with 128/256GB storage. However what tilts the stability considerably in favor of the mind-rangers is that for little or no cash, you’ll be able to (on most of them) develop the storage additional utilizing microSD playing cards.

Alternatively, most flagship smartphones of right this moment shouldn’t have expandable reminiscence (Samsung flagships from 2019-20 do). Mid-range smartphones have additionally practically caught up with flagships and now help upto UFS 3.0 for inside storage. Solely the newer flagships help the UFS 3.1 customary.  

  • Winner: New mid-range smartphones for the sheer versatility on provide.

Software program and OS updates

Android Update
Software program updates are vital. At the moment, flagships do them higher. However what in regards to the future? / © TY Lim /

2021 was a watershed yr within the historical past of Android smartphones – for it was this yr that the world’s largest Android smartphone vendor Samsung made a serious announcement. The corporate confirmed that each one of its Galaxy branded Android gadgets will get three years of software program updates and an extra yr of safety updates.

This announcement got here at a time when software program replace roadmap help for Android smartphones was haphazard and utterly disorganized. Mainly, everytime you buy a mid-range system, you are able to do nothing besides pray the corporate gives software program updates for the following couple of years.

Flagship smartphones have been normally exempt from this situation for the reason that clientele that purchased these telephones have been a finicky lot who actually cared about periodic, well timed (and guaranteed) software program updates. Samsung’s resolution marked a change to this coverage and with the market chief implementing this coverage, it’s only pure the competing manufacturers take observe.

Successfully, because of this mid-range handsets of the long run may need the identical shelf life as a flagship telephone. Which means that, as of now, when you purchase a Samsung mid-range telephone, you’re assured that you’ll obtain updates for an extended length than when you had purchased an older flagship. This dramatically swings the stability in favor of latest mid-range gadgets.

Nevertheless, it’s to be famous that different producers are but to decide to such an replace cycle. Which is why previous flagships win this spherical – albeit solely by a slight margin.

  • Winner: Older flagships win. For now.


One space the place most mid-range smartphones take a decisive lead over flagships is battery capability. That is primarily as a result of flagships are typically slimmer and svelte seeking to appease the premium buyer and therefore have to look the half. Mid-rangers, alternatively, don’t have any such pretensions and sometimes pack in giant batteries which interprets to for much longer battery life.

To sweeten the deal, mid-range telephones additionally help enough quick charging applied sciences and don’t take ceaselessly to cost – even with large batteries. Apart from, the SoC used on mid-rangers are sometimes much less useful resource hungry and normally solely have to drive an FHD+ panel versus QHD+ panels on flagships. Clearly, flagship telephones – previous or new – stand no likelihood right here.

However hey, there may be one space the place flagships win. Even older flagships characteristic help for wi-fi charging and reverse wi-fi requirements. Most mid-rangers are but to supply wi-fi charging. In fact, there are a number of outliers to this ‘rule’.

  • Winner: New Mid-range smartphones.
  • Look out for: Go for a flagship when you actually care about wi-fi charging

New mid-range telephone vs previous flagship: Who wins?

As you may need already figured by now, the choice to purchase final yr’s flagship over a brand new mid-ranger (or the opposite approach spherical) must be taken on the idea of what the supposed use case can be. 

For instance, a one-year-old flagship would nonetheless make sense for players on a price range and for individuals who need a greater digicam expertise. Additionally it is advisable for people who want to obtain common, dependable software program updates for not less than the following couple of years. And naturally, the show high quality, design, match and end on older flagships shall at all times stay a notch above newer mid-range gadgets.

Alternatively, when you’re somebody who’d do exactly tremendous with a smartphone that delivers acceptable/respectable picture high quality, and gives glorious battery life alongwith good efficiency, you need to in all probability take the mid-range path.

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