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

Allow us to try the principle variations between earlier 12 months’s flagships and the a lot newer mid-rangers. The comparability could be executed on the premise of a few of  a very powerful facets of the modern-day smartphone. Use the fast hyperlinks under to leap to a bit that you simply’re considering. 

Soar to


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

Although they is perhaps a 12 months or two older, most older flagships virtually actually boast of a a lot larger high quality show over most mid-range units of at present. It’s also virtually sure that the flagship would boast of a excessive refresh charge AMOLED panel that can be shade correct. Oh, and in the event you like your screens served curved, older flagships are your finest guess.

Apparently, whereas AMOLED shows have additionally turn out to be frequent on a number of mid-range telephones with some even providing help for prime refresh charges, they do fall behind on the general show high quality. Merely put, all AMOLED panels usually are not constructed the identical.

Then there are another mid-range smartphones that proceed to make use of excessive refresh charge LCD panels. Whereas LCD panels aren’t unhealthy per se – they usually fail to match as much as their AMOLED brethren when it comes to shade copy and accuracy on smartphones. If that wasn’t all, you want to bear in mind the proven fact that older flagships may even virtually actually help requirements like HDR10/10+/Dolby Imaginative and prescient. These are stuff that almost all mid-range smartphones have a tendency to provide a miss – and assist preserve their prices down.

Winner: Outdated flagship telephones

Construct High quality

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

Flagships usually are typically significantly better constructed than their mid-range counterparts. Nonetheless, because of the appearance of Chinese language manufacturers like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, that hole is quick closing. One instance I can cite is the Vivo X50 Pro that we examined final 12 months. It was a minimum of a flagship when it got here to the general seems, match and end. Flagships are additionally recognized for his or her premium, glass again designs that seem like 1,000,000 {dollars}. However then, be ready to shell a major amount of cash within the occasion of an unintended drop check.

Mid-range units, because of their plastic construct, usually are typically a tad extra sturdy and are much less inclined 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 relation to IP ranking for water and mud ingress safety. However mid-rangers are slowly encroaching into this territory as effectively.

  • 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 finances and mid-range units have seen a number of enhancements over time, the overall consensus is that almost all mid-range smartphones – to today – battle to compete towards a earlier 12 months’s flagship system in relation to imaging. There is perhaps outliers to this, however they proceed to be too far and between.

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

As issues stand at present, cameras on older flagship telephones are typically higher than most new mid-range smartphones not solely when it comes to picture processing and the standard of sensors, but in addition necessary bits like the kind and high quality of lenses and multi-lens Optical Picture Stabilization. My colleague Antoine additionally harassed on the truth that any self-respecting older smartphone could have a greater telephoto lens – one thing most mid-rangers nonetheless don’t supply.

Older flagships are additionally prone to supply significantly better video recording capabilities together with significantly better low gentle 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 in case you are finicky about picture, video high quality and low gentle photographs.

SoC, processor, and associated {hardware}

It’s a on condition that flagship smartphones usually function innovative {hardware} and the perfect flagship-grade SoC cash might 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. Actually, chipmakers have begun rebranding older flagship chipsets (with minor adjustments) and placing them on new mid-range units for this very same purpose. A latest instance of this could 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 12 months’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 common consumer, the efficiency distinction between the 2 may not be important sufficient except they’re into processor and graphics-intensive use-cases. Flagships, then again, might be enticing to of us who need the perfect efficiency cash should buy – however on a finances.

  • Winner: Outdated flagships – in the event you REALLY care about efficiency
  • Look out for: Mid-range smartphones that use rebranded variations of earlier 12 months SoCs (SD 860/870)


Shocking as it might appear, newer mid-range smartphones might have a slight edge over older flagships in relation to storage. Whereas you should buy an older flagship smartphone with as much as 256GB or 512GB of storage, it’s not unusual for mid-range units additionally to supply an possibility that comes with 128/256GB storage. However what tilts the steadiness 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 at present would not 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 normal.  

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

Software program and OS updates

Android Update
Software program updates are necessary. At the moment, flagships do them higher. However what concerning the future? / © TY Lim /

2021 was a watershed 12 months within the historical past of Android smartphones – for it was this 12 months that the world’s largest Android smartphone vendor Samsung made a significant announcement. The corporate confirmed that every one of its Galaxy branded Android units will get three years of software program updates and an extra 12 months of safety updates.

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

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

Successfully, which means mid-range handsets of the longer term might need the identical shelf life as a flagship cellphone. Which means that, as of now, in the event you purchase a Samsung mid-range cellphone, you’re assured that you’ll obtain updates for an extended period than in the event you had purchased an older flagship. This dramatically swings the steadiness in favor of recent mid-range units.

Nonetheless, 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 trying to appease the premium buyer and therefore must look the half. Mid-rangers, then again, haven’t any such pretensions and usually pack in massive batteries which interprets to for much longer battery life.

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

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

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

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

As you might need already figured by now, the choice to purchase final 12 months’s flagship over a brand new mid-ranger (or the opposite manner spherical) ought to be taken on the premise of what the meant use case could be. 

For instance, a one-year-old flagship would nonetheless make sense for players on a finances and for individuals who need a greater digital camera expertise. It’s also advisable for people who want to obtain common, dependable software program updates for a minimum of the following couple of years. And naturally, the show high quality, design, match and end on older flagships shall all the time stay a notch above newer mid-range units.

Alternatively, in the event you’re somebody who’d do exactly superb with a smartphone that delivers acceptable/respectable picture high quality, and affords wonderful battery life alongwith good efficiency, you must in all probability take the mid-range path.

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