Apple has one of the best budget phones on the market. I’ve been saying this for a while – and I’ve been ridiculed for it – but it’s true. In fact, it’s probably the best value option for every budget.
I know it sounds absurd. After all, the iPhone was always the *premium* phone, the phone for people who don’t really care about paying a few hundred dollars extra to be part of Apple’s ecosystem of services. On the other side of the fence you had Android phones, which offered nearly equal power and more features than the iPhone, for a significantly lower price. People used to laugh at Apple for “introducing” iPhone features that Android phones have had for years, home screen widgets being the latest example.
The last bit hasn’t changed. But Apple’s iPhone 11, which launched in September 2019, brought a big change: It cost $699, while being dangerously close to the pricier Pro variant, feature-wise. The main difference was a dual camera on the LCD and OLED display versus the iPhone 11 and a triple camera on the Pro. The iPhone 11 had the same, powerful A13 Bionic processor, a similar design, similar selfie camera, similar water resistance rating, and nearly identical battery life.
And then, in April of this year, Apple introduced the new iPhone SE, which is the most powerful processor Apple has, priced at $399.
Suddenly, if you wanted a cheap phone with a lot of processing power, the iPhone SE — heck, even the iPhone 11 — was pretty hard to beat. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor, the most powerful alternative to Apple’s A13 Bionic, is expensive, making it difficult for Android makers to squeeze it into an affordable device.
In that light, the Pixel 5, launched yesterday, is like Google’s admission of defeat. The company gave up trying to compete spec-for-spec with today’s top smartphones, and instead gave us a 5G phone with dual cameras (likely thanks to Google’s software) and a mid-range processor for $699.
Google usually makes good or great phones. And Apple’s iOS objectively isn’t that far ahead of Android; It’s a matter of preference these days. I’m not saying the Pixel 5 is a bad deal (at least not without trying it).
But consider this. Apple’s iPhone 12 will cost as much as the Pixel 5 (or, if some rumors are to be believed, even less at $649). If the reports are correct then it will have OLED display, 5G and Apple’s latest processor. Apple will surely drop some extra goodies for the Pro variant, but the company’s strategy of late has been to make the mid-range offering almost as good as the recently launched iPad Air. Is. I bet the iPhone 12 will be very close to the iPhone 12 Pro, feature-wise.
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Back to Google’s Pixel 5. It’s barely even competitive with the year-old iPhone 11. it is very weak(opens in a new tab) There’s a processor, a weaker selfie camera (8-megapixel versus 12-megapixel), and no advanced facial recognition system (it has a rear-facing fingerprint scanner), but it wins on 5G, RAM, storage, and an OLED display. Some of these advantages will probably be lost in a month, when the iPhone 12 launches. Unless you’re an Android fanatic, it’s going to be tough to recommend the Pixel 5 over the iPhone 12. In fact, I believe the Pixel 5 won’t be priced at $699 for long, so I’ll wait a while before buying it.
It’s not just Google’s problem. Even Xiaomi, which has historically offered phones with Qualcomm’s strongest CPUs on a budget, finds it difficult to undercut the iPhone; Xiaomi’s latest Mi 10T costs 499 euros ($586), while the Mi 10T Pro costs 599 euros ($704). Apple can put its most powerful processors in its entry-level and mid-range phones. Most Android manufacturers can’t.
A fast processor isn’t the most important feature these days. The Pixel 5’s Snapdragon 765G will certainly be enough for most users. But Apple phones with the A13 Bionic processor will get support for four or five years from now. Android usually doesn’t get significant updates for so long. If Apple introduced its shiny new iPhone with a more powerful processor for the same price, or even cheaper, would you really choose an Android phone?
Sure, Google’s market share is very small. With Huawei out of the picture in the US and Europe, Apple’s biggest competitor is Samsung. But Samsung is also having trouble catching up. With its Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, the company finally started offering a great, similarly priced competitor to the iPhone 11.
Google’s Pixel 5 will probably be a great option for Android purists. But the value for money it offers makes it difficult to justify the purchase. It’s an indication of how tough it is to compete with Apple these days.
We still don’t know everything about the iPhone 12 (officially, we know nothing, but at the end of the game, rumors usually get most of the details right). But judging by what I’ve seen from Android Camp recently, I can safely predict that it’s going to do pretty well.