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Should you still buy Premium Flagship Smartphones?

The venerable Zenfone 2
The venerable Zenfone 2

Here’s a good question to throw at everyone:

With the rise of medium range smartphones that deliver both on hardware design and software user experience, should you still buy premium flagship smartphones?

This discussion is definitely worth having given the rise of solid mid-range smartphones and how the prices of high-end devices have started to balloon like crazy. I’m talking about mid-range BEASTS like the upcoming ASUS Zenfone 2 or the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua. Both phones are expected to retail below Php20,000 which is approximately half the price tag of the “top guns” of the smartphone world like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the iPhone 6.

>>>READ ALSO: Specs Battle — ASUS Zenfone 2 vs Sony Xperia M4 Aqua vs Lenovo Vibe Shot<<<

As with any category of consumer electronics, time is always on the side of the customer. As the months and years go by prices of the previous generation components go down which allows manufacturers to offer yesterday’s high-end smartphone at mid-range prices. For example, here are the specifications of the ASUS Zenfone 2, Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, and the Lenovo Vibe Shot:


We were able to try out and use all three devices during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and we can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that all of them deliver in both the LOOKS and POWER categories. These bad boys offer fluid and smooth Android experiences and THEN SOME. For example, the Lenovo Shot’s camera is potentially the best one in the mid-range field. The ASUS Zenfone 2 is probably going to be the most powerful of the lot thanks to the 4GB RAM. The Sony Xperia M4 Aqua is water resistant and allegedly has 2-day battery life. The best thing about all three of them is that they sell for half the price of the premium flagships.

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

If you’re the practical type of person the answer to our question is pretty obvious. No, you don’t need to buy premium high-end smartphone flagships anymore. Perhaps the only reason to get one is if you can get it for “free” when you renew your smartphone contract with your telco. Truth be told if you take good care of your smartphone (especially if you’re packing year-old flagship) there’s no need to constantly upgrade year-in, year-out. If you’re the type that does that you’re playing into the hands of the marketers of those brands, hehe.

If you really want to keep on upgrading, here’s a pro-tip. Take good care of the flagship smartphone that you’re currently using. Get a tempered glass screen protector for it. Get a nice solid case from Otterbox, Incase, Spigen, or UAG to keep it safe. DON’T use the earphones that come with it and always keep a spare wall charger set and USB cable. Make sure you also don’t throw away any of the boxes or manuals. Why? Because you can sell and just add a little so that when the next flagship comes in you don’t have to shell out the full amount. If you keep your gadget in pristine condition you get more cash for it when you decide to sell it.

Let us know what you guys think in the comments section below. Don’t forget to share!

>>>SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia M4 Aqua Initial Review and Hands-on<<<

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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  1. if you are on a budget, and you really wanted to own a flagship phone, you might need to wait for a year or two. for example ngayon, Lg is having an upcoming promo where you can buy an LG G2 for almost the same price of zenfone 2. Tho its not the latest, still it got premium features that most midrange phones doest have, for example, flawless display, a very good camera and premium build. I would rather buy a yearold flagship phone than a very recent midrange phone. Madami kasing ares na need isacrifice. Dont get me wrong tho, these midrange devices might be packed with high resolution cameras,the image quality still cant compete with other flagship phones.

  2. Pag offer ng telco na free yung high-end phone for renewal, grab na ng high-end. Pag hindi, stick to the 2 year-old phone. haha

  3. If the consumer can afford a flagship why not. But current midrangers are getting more affordable with little compromise in performance and build quality. Same with ‘some’ entry level phones. But by the end of the day it all boils down to preference…and how deep one’s pocket is. Hehe

  4. It depends on the person’s preference. True, some of the mid-range phones pack powerful hardware and software performances and some also look good. But what if “hindi ko type” yung phone na yun? Should I force myself into buying those phones instead of the more expensive flagship devices?

    If you don’t have the money for the more expensive ones then go for the cheaper mid-range devices. If you do have the money, then go for the flagship phones.

    Also, not everyone likes selling their old phones. Some like to pass them on to younger siblings, etc.

  5. 1. Preferential software update support (new Android versions, features and usability improvements, actually new features. Even former flag ships are supported better than new mid rangers, e.g. MOST Xperia Z-class devices already have rolling lollipop updates, very few new sony midrange devices are poised to receive lollipop.)

    2. Arguably, STILL superior camera experiences.(I’m sorry,but I’ve yet to encounter a current crop of new “flagship alternatives” whose camera performance can come close to the Galaxy Note 3 I have. Or an LG G2 my brother has.)

    3. Accessories choice – screen protectors, cases, the lot. It’s still easier to find more case choices for the Note 3 than a Zenfone 6, I’ve tried.

    4.Easier repairability. Try sending an Oppo Find 7A with a busted screen, and a Galaxy s5 with also a busted screen in Greenhills. See which phone the repair people would want to work on first (ease of parts access, easy to repair) and for cheaper.

    So, no. You should STILL acquire a flagship phone if you can. You are buying the absolute best a phone maker can offer, and deliver after you bought one of their phones…

    1. 1. Sony Xperia Z has 1.5ghz Quad-core S4 Pro, same also with Nexus 4 kaya makakuha parin siya ng 5.1Lollipop onwards.

      2. I have only xperia m2 but only vga front cam has crop hindi sa rear.

      3. popular kasi si sammy kahit sa clone.

      4. madali lang kasi magrepair si samsung look here in cebu masira lang galaxy V ko in few days good as new pa. that’s the advantage sa samsung, good aftersales.

  6. Guys!!!!!! LG G2 is priced at 12,990 nalang whilst ang LG G Pro 2 is priced at 14,990. Though they are outdated , their specs are still highly competitive at may free LG L40 pa ang both phones

  7. Personal opinion ko lang naman.. I’ll go for high end phone though kailangan sya pag ipunan ng mejo matagal pero ang service saka quality nya mejo future proof na.. Meron dito samin may Galaxy S2 pero super ganda padin ng performance third person user na sya pero di padin mapantayan ng mga recent midrange na phone.. Naka note 3 ako by December 2 years na sya so time to update to Note 5 pero sa tingin ko di muna ako sa Note 5 Super ganda padin naman ng phone ko kahit siguro mga 2 years pa panalo padin..

    1. It depends din sa requirement mo sa phone. If you just use it for texting, calling or taking photos then ok pa din yung mga phones from the past. I have a friend who still uses her motorazor. πŸ™‚ But if you’re like me who wants performance (for graphic instensive games) but doesn’t want to shell out a lot then mid range phones are the way to go (especially bank for the buck like Meizu M1 Note/ Asus ZF5 etc).

      And the best part of buying mid range phones is that you can upgrade every year without drastically hitting your pocket.

    2. Tutoo ka. Naka note 3 pa din ako at maganda pa din ang performance kesa sa mga lumalabas na bago. Mas ok pa din ang snapdragon 800 kesa sa mga mediateck na octacore.

  8. kakabili ko lng 2 weeks ago ng sale ng lazada. Cherry Mobile Blaze 2.0 for 3,000 pesos lang. Andun na lahat ng gusto ko sa phone, big IPS screen at ok naman performance. I’m not a gamer though and not an LTE user

  9. Well i admit some flagships from a couple of years back can still hold a punch against midrangers today. Like i said it depends if you got the dough to buy those top of the line models or not. Whether it looks good to you or not. Whether the specs is monstrous or just ample enough for you. As for me im waiting for the 64bit octa, 3500 batt, 2gb ram Flash Plus.(Yes its only hd at 5.5 but hey i’m a gamer so the battery did me in. Hope it delivers. Hehe. cheers y’all! πŸ˜‰

  10. if you really want the premium ones and isn’t afraid to take some risks, me gray market naman para jan. πŸ™‚

  11. i prefer mid range branded than flagship if i use only my phone for call and text what the heck benefit on getting flagship one if you not need all their feature

  12. According to one’s needs. I don’t mind buying a 30k+ phone if I really need some of its features that I can’t get from lower models. But if your needs is just call, play occasional games, browse the internet or play some porn, many 5k to 6k phones now carry powerful and high quality specs already, including the camera. And I’m not talking about local brands only. Personally, I limit my phone budget to 6k++. I wouldn’t be caught carrying a Cherry Mobile though.

  13. Of course. There are reasons. But there are qualifications.

    1. Budget. This would be the number one reason people won’t buy flagship phones. Some people have too much disposable income that they can afford it and some don’t.

    2. Design. However great a midrange phone is, there will be compromises. For example, large bezels on the Zenfone 2. Midrange phone doesn’t have that “shet ang ganda nung s6 edge” factor. I am, by no means a samsung fanboy, but that was my initial reaction when I first saw the s6 edge on display. However, there are midrange smartphones offering great design, like lenovo X2, and the likes.

    3. Android updates. Phonemakers will always prioritize updating their flagship devices to the latest software version.

    4. Resale value. A flagship smartphone would still be worth a lot after some time. Midrange handsets depreciate in value quicker.

    5. Whatever you do to a midrange smartphone, a high-end one is still, and always would be better. Compromises exist on midrange smartphone, be it support from vendor, support from the online community, quality, performance, camera, features, design, prestige, a flagship smartphone would be better.


    There would always be a reason to purchase a flagship smartphone over a midrange one. However, some midrange smartphone nowadays offer near flagship performance, near flagship design, near flagship camera quality, but not all at once. so it comes down to the priority, and budget, of the buyer. A midrange smartphone would always have its compromises, and flagship smartphones are still superior. A midrange smartphone might be “enough”, but it would never be perfect.

  14. Kanya kanyang preference na lang siguro yan. Respect na lang sa desisyon. Depende na lang sa tao. Ako, i prefer to sell my old phone rather than keep it. Katwiran ko kasi, pag nasira phone sa kamay mo, parang nagtapon ka ng pera. Pero kung naibenta mo, naging pera pa at pangdagdag sa gusto mong phone.

    Thats my preference. How about the others?

  15. Yes I would buy one if i want it or need it. We have lots of options, use it. Why make simple things a big deal? Kng anu bibilhin mo its up to you ke low end, mid level, o flagship pa yan. Kahit anung gamit pa yan kung gusto mong bilhin edi buy it. Basta masaya ka at wala ka naperwisyo ayos. Pag nagsawa ka ibenta or ibigay mo up to you. Pag nageenjoy ka pa then keep it. I agree w/ the ones n nagsasabi that it depends on a persons preference. Too much opinion from a large number of people sometimes doesnt help as to not all are experts. Napadaan lng ako nakicomment

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