Samsung has really improved on their mid range smartphone offerings.. They’ve come a long way since the days of the 1st Galaxy Duo [which introduced mid range phablets].
Given the competition that followed, it wasn’t unusual to see people swear never to get a Samsung phone again. You could get better spec’d mid range Chinese-made phones, for lower prices. Like really. With better support.
So What Changed?
- Samsung responded to the competition.
- One UI. They revamped the OS’s look & feel. Made it faster with a more modern UI design.
- Massively reduced bloatware & OEM owned preinstalled Apps are uninstallable or achievable.
- Started responding quicker re: OS updates.
- Addition of some automation via Bixby routines, similar to Tasker, obviating the need for rooting, for simple automation requirements. Hopefully they will expand this over time.
- Advanced their own suite of Android Apps to match Google’s & other leading ISVs, for functionality.
- Spec’d up their mid rangers. sAMOLED screens, better memory, bigger batteries, NFC chips, 3.5mm audio ports, separate SD slots + native SD in-place encryption, better RAM, better main front & back cameras, etc.
- Sensible build material decisions: plastic back casings, instead of glass. Factory applied protection screens, factory supplied back cases, etc.
- Improved OS & software security updates.
How Were They Able To Do This?
- Relocation of some manufacturing to a Vietnam hub, leading to cost savings.
- Use of in-house Exynos SoCs/chipsets outside of North America leading to cost savings.
- Focused teams on UI improvement/quality.
- Strengthened their sales/distribution, especially for emerging markets.
- Sensible balance between price & functionality.
Where They Still Fall Short
- Regional warranties, not global.
- Still slightly premium pricing over the competition for similar specs.
- Insufficient network bands on their supposedly global variants.
- Higher prices for better network band spec’d North American variants.
- Although improved, still slow OS & software security updates.
I would strongly urge anyone looking for affordable mid range mobile phones to look Samsung’s way. I have to give a nod to the Chinese OEMs for spurring aggressive competition, & kudos to Samsung for responding reasonably well.