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Thoughts on Samsung Mid Range Smartphones
ITX
January 8th, 2020 4:25 pm

Samsung logo in blue text against white background

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.

Conclusion

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.

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