Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

I have lost all hope with the bargain phone. 2023 has not been a good year for the mid-range

Everything is more expensive. It is something that must be assumed (not shared the supposed reasons for it) since the pandemic. Despite this, he had some hope that manufacturers would once again focus on the mid-range, which accumulates the largest bulk of sales.

It is something that has not happened and that, as I commented last year, pushes me to recommend high-end models from 2022 compared to the current mid-range and that, as 2023 approaches the end, makes something clear to me: I have no hope in the return of the bargain phone.

There is hardly any new mid-range. Reviewing candidates for our TechGIndia awards we realized something quite unusual. The pace of releases has been especially low this year. Even manufacturers like Xiaomi, saving the Redmi Note 12 family and its countless variants, have gone down a couple of gears.

Samsung also did not want to take over the mid-range with too many models and, on the side of manufacturers like OPPO or Realme, there has been hardly any presence, something quite out of the ordinary. The high-end has continued its (low) annual pace, but efforts in the mid-range seem to be low this year.

The hardware in the mid-range is quite stagnant. Saving some gem with the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 (from last year), there has been hardly any movement in the mid-range during 2023. Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 in March. Except for the POCO F5, there is not a single other mid-range that has implemented it.

Instead, we are normalizing the mid-range with processors closer to the low-end, something unthinkable just two years ago.

Efforts are in the high range. The next great revolution in mobile telephony is AI, and this requires a computational capacity that is currently not within the reach of the most humble ranges.

MediaTek, Qualcomm and even Apple to a certain extent are preparing their generations of processors to enhance the computing of local operations, a fight that we are not seeing in the mid-range.

Manufacturers want to make money. And the margin is in the high range. The price of high-end phones has increased considerably in recent years. The mid-range has also done so, leaving us with an average ticket close to 400 euros for the most prominent models from some of the main brands.

No matter how much prices rise in lower segments, the most expensive always leaves more margin. And the most expensive is the premium range. Here we talk about the fact that the high range sells between double and triple compared to its manufacturing price, something difficult to achieve in more humble ranges.

Image | TechGIndia

Danish Kapoor