Smartphones have gotten out of hand to be honest, we at Pricebaba add over a thousand mobile phones to our database every year. The sheer number of phones is also the reason we exist, to help our users pick the best phone for their needs at the right price. We are bombarded will all sorts of questions on which phone to buy at a certain price. You’ll find a couple dozen phones at every price slab, and it is occupied by newcomers as well as the old guard that has descended into this price slab from the heavens. So the question, should you buy a new mid-range smartphone or a flagship device from last year?
One quick observation shows that the market is pretty saturated for under Rs 15,000 bracket while the market right above it has very few good phones. A few questions quickly pop up in our mind. For a budget of Rs 18,000 should you pick up the Moto X Play 32GB or last year’s flagship, the Nexus 6 for roughly the same amount? The decision has its own pros and cons and by discussing the two we want to help you get the best phone for your money.
Getting a mid range phone has its own benefits, you get a more recently launched phone with newly introduced features. Some of these features include stuff like a fingerprint scanner, laser autofocus or fast charging. These features have pretty much made their way into the mid-end that may or may not be present in a year old flagship. But with a flagship, you get a much better display, last year’s top of the line processor, a good camera sensor and more likely to get newer updates from the manufacturer. We’ve also seen that smartphone makers tend to offer better support to their flagship devices when compared to their midrange.
So what should you do when such a question pops up while buying a smartphone? Should you go out and buy the latest phone for the money or consider a much older yet powerful smartphone. This isn’t a one size fits all solution but one that can help you decide what’s best for you. We will need to get into the specifications in detail to explain what makes the one smartphone better than the other. Taking the example of the Moto X Play vs the Google Nexus 6, let me quickly jot down points in favour and against each device.
For the Nexus 6
The Moto X Play is powered by a Snapdragon 615 processor along with 2GB of RAM, the Nexus 6 on the other hand sports a Snapdragon 805 and 3GB of RAM. Without a doubt, the Nexus 6 can easily outperform the Moto X Play. Another plus point would be the Nexus support that would deliver the fastest Android updates to the phone. The Quad HD AMOLED display on the 6 is also better in comparison to the sort of dull Full HD panel on the Moto X Play. The Nexus 6 also offers stereo speakers while the Moto X Play only has a single front facing speaker. These points itself might be convincing enough to make the choice between the two, a gamer might actually have more fun on the last year’s Nexus 6 than the Moto X Play. But looking at what the Moto X Play has to offer may tip the scales in its favour.
For the Moto X Play
Like I said before, features from high-end smartphones do pass onto the mid range in the next year. The camera sensor on the Nexus 6 can be found in the Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen and the Moto G Turbo which are sub 15,000 phones. The Moto X Play, on the other hand, gets a much better 21 MP camera and thanks to the selfie trend the front camera on the X Play is a 5-megapixel sensor vs a 2-megapixel sensor on the Nexus 6. The advancements in battery tech have also helped the Moto X Play pack in a bigger 3630mAh battery compared to the 3220mAh unit on the Nexus 6. The Moto X Play with a bigger battery bundled with a less powerful processor + lower RAM + lower resolution display does suggest that the phone will last longer than the Nexus 6. While this comparison not only shows the progress in technology, it also shows how human needs alter the components that go into a smartphone every year.
While both the Nexus 6 and the Moto X Play were made by the same manufacturer, once we look beyond manufacturers a whole lot of options popup. There’s also the age factor at play; a flagship that has been around for a long time can easily give a newly-launched mid-ranger a run for its money. The older the flagship, the better the value (before it becomes too old and deemed outdated). A quick comparison between the latest Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 and Sony’s Xperia Z3+ tells a similar story.
The recently launched Galaxy A5 2016 is expensive when compared to the Xperia Z3+ which was launched roughly a year ago. But is it really better when compared to Sony’s last year flagship? One look at a comparison between the two and it is evident that the Xperia Z3+ single handedly wins the battle. Every spec it offers is better than the Samsung phone; it has a better processor, much better camera and more RAM. The Galaxy A5 is a Dual SIM device while the Z3+ is a single SIM and this might be a deciding factor for someone looking at these two phones. This is also an interesting point since almost all flagships that launched until last year were Single SIM devices.
These are the points with respect to buying a phone, there are other points which revolve around living with it. Flagship devices have that feel good factor around them, you can flaunt a high-end smartphone even if it is last season. These phones also tend to have a higher resale value in the market when compared to any other mid-ranger. Manufacturers also focus on them to showcase their best efforts in the industry and you as a buyer get all the benefits at a lower cost.
Going beyond specifications, flagships are also better designed and are generally built with premium materials (like Metal and Glass) than a mid-range smartphone.
So which one should you go for? The answer to this is purely subjective. But as we have seen above, buying the flagship from last year can be more value for money in the long term.