Despite the slowing growth of the smartphone market, innovation in smartphones is not dead. Display resolutions, camera image resolutions, audio quality, and graphics processing all continue to improve the user experience, but the improvements tend to be more incremental, rather than the big leaps of previous generations. In addition, features once reserved for the premium smartphones just a few years ago are now available on the most basic entry level phone. As a result, the improvements are not always obvious to consumers. This begs the question: what level phone should you buy?
It is also becoming more difficult to compare phones because of multiple display sizes and a variety of chipsets with wide specification variations. For consumers, comparing phones often comes down to looking for features on a fact sheet or comparing cryptic benchmarking numbers. The result is that many reviewers are promoting mid-range phones over premium phones, similar to what happened in the PC segment where the general advice is to focus on obtaining the most memory and storage for the desired price, not the processor. To understand differences between phones and ranges of phones, I’ve compared a representative group of Android phones side-by-side.
For the first comparison, I selected three of the more recently introduced phones, including Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7, Huawei’s flagship Mate 8, and the Samsung’s mid-range Galaxy A9 (all shown below). Each phone has been introduced in the last quarter and all are running the latest version of Android (Marshmallow). While the comparison does include the usual specifications and benchmarking comparisons, the outcome may surprise you.
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