Something worrying is happening when 2,000-euro smartphones dangerously approach the market
Let's see, explain it to me. A survey a year ago seemed to indicate that only 3% of users seemed willing to pay more than $ 1,000 for a mobile. Our own survey reflected that the percentage was actually 6.35%, but it seemed to make clear that not many were for the task of spending that amount of money on a smartphone.
Theoretically, that should make the industry react. Let's see, if there are so many people who (theoretically) do not want a 1,000-euro mobile, why do prices continue to rise? What's more: folding mobiles and the latest high-end smartphones far exceed that figure and are beginning to dangerously tinker with the 2,000-euro barrier. What was said. Someone explain it to me, because I don't see any sense in it.
And we were laughing at the 1,000 euro mobiles
The price of mobiles has been gradually increasing in recent years, but so has our investment. Our colleagues at Xataka Android made a study long ago of how the high ranges of Samsung, Sony, Huawei LG or Google confirmed this evolution.
All these manufacturers followed in the wake of Apple, which set trends in that area with the iPhone X and in fact exceeded expectations: the 256 GB version of that mobile phone cost a whopping 1,400 euros if the owner added the Apple Care service.
As we said then, the iPhone X was exclusive because it could be: only Apple offered a product with those characteristics based on iOS and become the center of its growing ecosystem. The strategy was successful, and the rest of manufacturers soon tried to follow it with their own devices. Suddenly, the 1,000 euro mobiles were no longer the exception, but (almost) the norm.
More capacity, more cameras, 5G and folding as an excuse
Overcoming the 1,000 euro barrier has not been enough for manufacturers, who have found the opportunity to continue to hide in improvements in power and performance to gradually raise prices, especially in the most ambitious variants.
The improvements have come in design with the frameless screens - which soon became an option present in all ranges - but especially in internal components and in the great differentiating element for "super high-end" mobiles: cameras.
It is there where we have seen that many proposed that differential bet - along with other elements such as screens at 90 or 120 Hz, for example - to start proposing even more expensive mobiles, but in reality the perfect excuse to raise prices has come in 2020 with the consolidation of two trends that had been taking shape for a long time: 5G connectivity and folding screens.
With both options we have reached a reality in which manufacturers are beginning to propose non-folding models that exceed 1,500 euros. It does for example the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (with 5G and that camera with its 'Space Zoom' 100x), which in its base version of 12 GB of RAM and 128 GB of capacity costs 1,359 euros and that in its 16 GB version of RAM and 512 GB of capacity jumps to 1,549 euros.
Market ironies: high-end mobiles are becoming more expensive, but the global average price of smartphones continues to drop. Or what is the same: every time we have more expensive phones, but also cheaper (and better).
In folding Samsung has also shown that ambition in price and performance in recent times. It did it last year with the Samsung Galaxy Fold that came out with a price of 2,020 euros - very appropriate - and it has done it this year also with the fresh out of the Galaxy Z Flip oven, which "almost" becomes affordable with its price of 1,500 euros although yes, it lacks 5G connectivity. A folding bargain, come on.
These two devices pose that price escalation that is likely to be confirmed in other high-end models this year and that in the case of folding and those with 5G support we will clearly see especially high prices. The folding ones have been created in part as a commitment to exclusivity, and that argument will make these models play with this new range that ranges from 1,500 to $ 2,000. So has the new Motorola Razr, which hit the market in January 2020 at $ 1,499.
We will see it of course with several manufacturers and surely Apple will continue that trend. His iPhone 11 Pro 512 GB, a "normal" phone - neither foldable, nor 5G connectivity - comes for 1,659 euros, a price that many will find - and I include myself - as absurd as that of the S20 Ultra. That, of course, until we remember that not long ago the mobiles that were approaching 1,000 euros seemed exactly the same to us.
It's your money, not mine (and that's great)
But if these mobiles exist and come to the market it is because there are people who buy them: for that there are the options, which satisfy both those who seek exclusivity and maximum benefits, as well as those who do not want to invest those amounts in this type of devices.
Fortunately, the consolation is broad and extraordinary for those who want to forget about that race for the 2,000-euro mobile: in recent years it has been shown that a 200 or 300-euro mobile can do things very well, and the average ranges of Today they are enviable in terms of price / performance, although they are.
Here the Chinese manufacturers have known how to respond to a very broad user profile, and in fact in many cases we have high-end specifications (or almost) at prices almost laughable. The Xiaomi (with their associated brands Redmi and POCO), Realme, Honor, OPPO, and even the medium ranges of Samsung, LG or Huawei have become excellent options for that large public that seeks less exclusivity and more a practical and full.
In the end, of course, each one is each one, and although the one who subscribes (along with some other colleague) is not very friendly with investing 1,000 euros in a mobile phone (let alone 1,500 or 2,000), the only important thing in the end is that whoever spend your money (be it 200 euros or be that 2,000) be happy with the investment. Everything else is probably a futile debate.