Is twice the phone cost twice as good?

posted by Jeff | Saturday, March 26, 2016, 11:16 AM | comments: 0

There were two big phone launches recently: Apple's iPhone SE and Samsung's Galaxy s7. These are two premium products that people have gone pretty ape shit for, and that makes sense because people like nice things. The iPhone isn't terribly priced at $400, unless you consider that it's a smaller screen and has only 16 gb of storage. The Samsung is a staggering $800 from reputable retail. That's crazy.

I'm generally one who believes that you get what you pay for. Granted, my opinion varies based on the type of product. I've bought expensive cameras because they last me a decade and are excellent tools. Ditto for computers, which I've used for up to five years. I used to think this about phones to an extent, when most of the cost was buried in a service contract. Then, last fall, Diana and I bought Google's Nexus 5X for about $400 each. It isn't cheap, but off-contract, unlocked and not full of carrier and manufacturer software, it seemed like a good deal. We've been mostly thrilled with the phones.

This begs the question: Is a phone that costs twice as much, twice as good? I can't imagine any instance where that would be the case. If the phones can reasonably perform all of the (let's be honest) non-essential things that we do with them, and aren't intended to last more than a year or two anyway, why spend more? This question was already on my mind when we bought Diana a $50 phone early last year. Spending more doesn't really get you more.

I theorize that this is going to change soon. If Xiaomi does enter the US market, things are going to change pretty dramatically. They're building really nice phones at really low prices. It's strange that the competition isn't a bigger deal considering the size of the market.

In any case, me, the technology nerd, I'm content with something that isn't the top of the line when it comes to phones.


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