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New mid-range telephone vs outdated flagship: What is best?

Allow us to try the primary variations between earlier yr’s flagships and the a lot newer mid-rangers. The comparability could be finished on the idea of a few of  a very powerful facets of the modern-day smartphone. Use the fast hyperlinks beneath to leap to a piece that you simply’re eager about. 

Bounce to


AndroidPIT LG Velvet side
Fan of curved, excessive decision shows? Nicely even older flagship smartphones get these / © NextPit

Regardless that they is likely to be a yr or two older, most older flagships virtually actually boast of a a lot greater high quality show over most mid-range gadgets of at present. Additionally it is virtually sure that the flagship would boast of a excessive refresh price AMOLED panel that can also be coloration correct. Oh, and in the event you like your screens served curved, older flagships are your greatest wager.

Apparently, whereas AMOLED shows have additionally develop into widespread on a number of mid-range telephones with some even providing help for prime refresh charges, they do fall behind on the general show high quality. Merely put, all AMOLED panels should not constructed the identical.

Then there are another mid-range smartphones that proceed to make use of excessive refresh price LCD panels. Whereas LCD panels aren’t unhealthy per se – they usually fail to match as much as their AMOLED brethren by way of coloration copy and accuracy on smartphones. If that wasn’t all, you should bear in mind the proven fact that older flagships may even virtually actually help requirements like HDR10/10+/Dolby Imaginative and prescient. These are stuff that almost all mid-range smartphones have a tendency to offer a miss – and assist preserve their prices down.

Winner: Outdated flagship telephones

Construct High quality

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Who stated mid-range smartphones cannot look good?/ © NextPit

Flagships usually are typically significantly better constructed than their mid-range counterparts. Nevertheless, due to the appearance of Chinese language manufacturers like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, that hole is quick closing. One instance I can cite is the Vivo X50 Professional that we examined final yr. It was a minimum of a flagship when it got here to the general appears, match and end. Flagships are additionally identified for his or her premium, glass again designs that seem like one million {dollars}. However then, be ready to shell a big amount of cash within the occasion of an unintended drop check.

Mid-range gadgets, due to their plastic construct, usually are typically a tad extra sturdy and are much less inclined to breakages and even when they do break, they’re much cheaper to restore. One space the place older flagships do rating higher is in terms of IP ranking for water and mud ingress safety. However mid-rangers are slowly encroaching into this territory as effectively.

  • Winner: Outdated flagship telephones. However mid-rangers are getting higher

Digital camera, picture high quality

Whereas there isn’t a denying that the cameras on funds and mid-range gadgets have seen a number of enhancements over time, the overall consensus is that almost all mid-range smartphones – to this present day – battle to compete in opposition to a earlier yr’s flagship machine in terms of imaging. There is likely to be outliers to this, however they proceed to be too far and between.

Best Camera Smartphone
Older flagships are usually higher at imaging than most new mid-range telephones / © Bro Crock /

As issues stand at present, cameras on older flagship telephones are typically higher than most new mid-range smartphones not solely by way of picture processing and the standard of sensors, but additionally essential bits like the kind and high quality of lenses and multi-lens Optical Picture Stabilization. My colleague Antoine additionally burdened on the truth that any self-respecting older smartphone may have a greater telephoto lens – one thing most mid-rangers nonetheless don’t supply.

Older flagships are additionally more likely to supply significantly better video recording capabilities together with significantly better low mild picture high quality, in comparison with newer mid-range smartphones. Sorry, mid-rangers, we’re gonna should award this one to the outdated, dusty flagship.

Winner: Outdated flagship telephones. Particularly in case you are finicky about picture, video high quality and low mild photographs.

SoC, processor, and associated {hardware}

It’s a on condition that flagship smartphones usually function leading edge {hardware} and the most effective flagship-grade SoC cash might purchase on the time. What you might not most likely know is how good these chipsets are even 2, 3 years down the road. 

Generally, they proceed to supply higher efficiency in comparison with newer mid-range SoCs. In reality, chipmakers have begun rebranding older flagship chipsets (with minor adjustments) and placing them on new mid-range gadgets for this very same cause. A current instance of this could be the Snapdragon 860 and Snapdragon 870 chipsets from Qualcomm that are nothing however modified variants of the Snapdragon 855 and the Snapdragon 865 SoCs from earlier years.

So, sure, final yr’s flagships can simply beat mid-range SoCs in benchmarks. That, nevertheless, doesn’t imply that the {hardware} on mid-range telephones are unusably sluggish. For the typical person, the efficiency distinction between the 2 may not be vital sufficient except they’re into processor and graphics-intensive use-cases. Flagships, alternatively, can be enticing to of us who need the most effective efficiency cash should buy – however on a funds.

  • Winner: Outdated flagships – in the event you REALLY care about efficiency
  • Look out for: Mid-range smartphones that use rebranded variations of earlier yr SoCs (SD 860/870)


Stunning as it could appear, newer mid-range smartphones could have a slight edge over older flagships in terms of storage. Whereas you should buy an older flagship smartphone with as much as 256GB or 512GB of storage, it isn’t unusual for mid-range gadgets additionally to supply an choice that comes with 128/256GB storage. However what tilts the steadiness considerably in favor of the mind-rangers is that for little or no cash, you possibly can (on most of them) increase the storage additional utilizing microSD playing cards.

Alternatively, most flagship smartphones of at present wouldn’t have expandable reminiscence (Samsung flagships from 2019-20 do). Mid-range smartphones have additionally practically caught up with flagships and now help upto UFS 3.0 for inside storage. Solely the newer flagships help the UFS 3.1 normal.  

  • Winner: New mid-range smartphones for the sheer versatility on supply.

Software program and OS updates

Android Update
Software program updates are essential. At present, flagships do them higher. However what in regards to the future? / © TY Lim /

2021 was a watershed yr within the historical past of Android smartphones – for it was this yr that the world’s largest Android smartphone vendor Samsung made a serious announcement. The corporate confirmed that every one of its Galaxy branded Android gadgets will get three years of software program updates and an extra yr of safety updates.

This announcement got here at a time when software program replace roadmap help for Android smartphones was haphazard and fully disorganized. Mainly, everytime you buy a mid-range machine, you are able to do nothing besides pray the corporate affords software program updates for the subsequent couple of years.

Flagship smartphones have been often exempt from this difficulty because the clientele that purchased these telephones have been a finicky lot who actually cared about periodic, well timed (and guaranteed) software program updates. Samsung’s resolution marked a change to this coverage and with the market chief implementing this coverage, it is just pure the competing manufacturers take be aware.

Successfully, which means mid-range handsets of the longer term might need the identical shelf life as a flagship telephone. Which means that, as of now, in the event you purchase a Samsung mid-range telephone, you’re assured that you’ll obtain updates for an extended period than in the event you had purchased an older flagship. This dramatically swings the steadiness in favor of latest mid-range gadgets.

Nevertheless, it’s to be famous that different producers are but to decide to such an replace cycle. Which is why outdated flagships win this spherical – albeit solely by a slight margin.

  • Winner: Older flagships win. For now.


One space the place most mid-range smartphones take a decisive lead over flagships is battery capability. That is primarily as a result of flagships are typically slimmer and svelte seeking to appease the premium buyer and therefore must look the half. Mid-rangers, alternatively, haven’t any such pretensions and usually pack in massive batteries which interprets to for much longer battery life.

To sweeten the deal, mid-range telephones additionally help satisfactory quick charging applied sciences and don’t take perpetually to cost – even with enormous batteries. Apart from, the SoC used on mid-rangers are usually much less useful resource hungry and often solely must drive an FHD+ panel versus QHD+ panels on flagships. Clearly, flagship telephones – outdated or new – stand no probability right here.

However hey, there may be one space the place flagships win. Even older flagships function help for wi-fi charging and reverse wi-fi requirements. Most mid-rangers are but to supply wi-fi charging. In fact, there are a number of outliers to this ‘rule’.

  • Winner: New Mid-range smartphones.
  • Look out for: Go for a flagship in the event you actually care about wi-fi charging

New mid-range telephone vs outdated flagship: Who wins?

As you might need already figured by now, the choice to purchase final yr’s flagship over a brand new mid-ranger (or the opposite method spherical) must be taken on the idea of what the meant use case could be. 

For instance, a one-year-old flagship would nonetheless make sense for players on a funds and for many who need a greater digital camera expertise. Additionally it is advisable for people who want to obtain common, dependable software program updates for at the least the subsequent couple of years. And naturally, the show high quality, design, match and end on older flagships shall all the time stay a notch above newer mid-range gadgets.

Alternatively, in the event you’re somebody who’d just do advantageous with a smartphone that delivers acceptable/respectable picture high quality, and affords glorious battery life alongwith good efficiency, you must most likely take the mid-range path.

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