Are we all paying too much for our mobile phones?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones Forum' started by Faust, Jul 26, 2018.

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    1. Faust

      Faust
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      I was with a group of friends recently (all seniors, but keen tech users) and we got to talking about the price of phones.

      We discussed an article a few of us had read which stated that your average smartphone is now more powerful than a super computer from just a decade ago and a lot more than a Desktop from just a couple of years ago.

      This then led us to discuss do we really need to be paying so much for our phones and are most of us actually using no more than a fraction of their capabilities. We then made up a list of what most of us use our phones for - here is the list.

      Browsing the Internet - check
      Texting - check
      Taking photos - check
      Social media - check
      Email - check
      SatNav - check
      Casting media to TV - check
      Watching occasional video - check
      Android or Apple Pay - check
      Mobile Banking - check
      Listening to music - most of us don't.

      That was roughly it. Given the above, and I realise some of you will have more or different uses for your phones, do we need to be paying the ridiculous prices many companies are now asking for their products? I would have thought even your average budget phone can do most of the above. Are many of us getting sucked into buying a flagship phone either because we fall for the hype or because we want to be seen with the latest and greatest?

      It's certainly made me think about me next purchase.
       
    2. LexDiamond

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      Depends on many factors. I had an iPhone 5s since new which I changed a few weeks ago. Could do all of the above except pay and is probably the cheapest phone when looked at over a monthly average given how long I had it.

      Picked up an S9 to replace it and it also does all the above. A different league but that is expected given it's much newer. Had £100 off from samsung and they paid £150 for the 5s so net cost to me is under £500. So should work out fairly cheap over a monthly average. VFM is subjective but to me worth it because of how much I use it. It's music player for my car, my primary web browser, sat nav, used for messaging and occasional video so gets hours of use every day.

      The big issue for me would be brand loyalty. I would pay more if I was only looking at one brand. But being flexible I think it saves me money as I can go for best offer. If I was buying today I think it might be the P20 pro as it's on some great contracts at the minute.
       
    3. Stiggy

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      Amazon can sell a 7-inch tablet for £50. Is a top end mobile phone really worth 10-20 times that?
       
    4. Faust

      Faust
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      @LexDiamond I hear what you say, but could you not do all the things you want using for example an Honor 10 or a Moto etc.

      That is the point the group was making. We could do all the above with a an iPhone X or a phone costing a couple of hundred pounds. Are we buying expensive phones for vanity or for some other reason? If we buy a flagship model is most our usage merely scratching the surface of its capabilities.
       
      Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    5. bongo123

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      for me its all about the camera tech, so i tend to buy flagship phones with great cameras with my Note 8 pretty much being a fantastic camera phone that i can whip out and quickly take stunning photos/videos of the kids with little to no lag, huge screen is great for browsing and the pen stylus is fantastic for adding notes to photos etc, tbf i cant see me upgrading this one for a right few years
       
    6. Steven

      Steven
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      Probably and this is common with Which? and Money Supermarket surveys. I used to have a £30 contract with quite a lot of data but as I never went near the limit downsized to a £20 plan still with a decent amount of data. Am happy with the saving. Wee all like the idea of having max allowances on everything but that is not the same as actually needing that amount of headroom.

      Cheers
       
    7. TaurusDevil

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      £500 for a mobile phone is daft! :D
       
    8. smackos

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      To be honest I made that exact call a few months ago. I did have an iPhone 6 Plus, which even after a couple of years I was still happy to use. Then the inevitable happened and my phone died on me, or rather I accidentally killed it. But it dawned on me, I wasn’t fussed by the latest app or game on my mobile, only used it for net browsing, watching a bit of Netflix or Amazon, a fair bit of tethering, and even occasionally as a phone. So I took one look at the price of the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S8 (the then current top model) and I just flat out refused to pay that kind of money, for mostly gimmicks I wouldn’t use. So I grabbed an Honor 9 Lite, and it has surprised even me how little I’ve missed out on with a £150 phone. Infact, if I’m truthful I’ll say that I’m actually sitting here looking over at my PARTNERS Galaxy S8 on the sofa and thinking what a blooming waste of money that was now.
       
    9. TaurusDevil

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      Honor 9 Lite looks pretty good! Did you get it on PAYG or contract?
       
    10. smackos

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      Pay as you go mate. I’ve got a decent mobile sim only plan which I’m really loathed to give up, so in return that keeps me sticking to Sim unlocked phones. I got the Honor 9 lite for £153 around February time, but looking just now I think the price is currently £169 at Amazon and AO at a quick glance.

      Runs nice and smooth. Finger print lock, Face ID and NFC for Google Pay etc and GPS. Screen won’t match an AMOLED of course but it’s still a very nice screen. Well happy for the money in truth.
       
      Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    11. Matt_C

      Matt_C
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      What's funny is when you look back pre Smartphone era, most of us wouldn't take the phone from the carrier unless it was free and made a big deal about signing into anything over a 12 month contract.

      Now we willingly hand over hundreds of pounds for phones, sign into 24 month contracts like they're going out of fashion, and pay more than most people used to pay for Sky or cable every month for it (I say used to, that's extortionate now too)
       
    12. TaurusDevil

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      Hmm I'm thinking of buying an honor 9 lite sim free and getting what i understand is a free payg sim from giffgaff. Any good?
       
    13. smackos

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      I would say I’m biased as an owner, but then again my first attempt at a phone after the iPhone was a Sony Xperia L2, and I hated that with a bloody passion. That lasted me two weeks before I sold it on. The Honor 9 Lite is in a completely different league from that pile of junk. (Bare in mind the Xperia cost more too.)

      There’s never a perfect phone for everyone, just one that suits a person individually. I’d say if you hammer through battery massively then you might want to look elsewhere. The battery lasts me perfectly fine (currently sitting at 57% from being taken off charge at 5.30am this morning.) If you’re one of those users that needs a bunch of open apps at the same time then you’d probably be better off with a phone with more RAM. But if you’re like me and the closest you come to multitasking is browsing the net whilst listening to Spotify then it’d do just fine.

      I’m loathed to say “for the price”, it’s a really nice phone. I don’t feel like I’m having to make a bunch of compromises while using it. Oh, and don’t be put off by the bright plastic look of it on the net, it’s very much more like a brushed metal aluminium blue colour, than that horrible bright blue tone online.

      Oh.. and it comes with its own case too at that price.. :lesson:
       
      Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    14. TaurusDevil

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      Who did you buy from?
       
    15. smackos

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      Amazon mate. After getting burned by the Sony Xperia (which I got from Very) I wanted to grab the phone from somewhere I knew I wouldn't have much hassle returning it If it wasn't any good. Let's face it, you can't really go wrong with Amazon's return policy in general.
       
    16. camelot1971

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      That tablet has a poor screen, it's cheaply made and very slow compared to a high end phone. Don't forget that you have to cram a lot into a small space with a phone whereas with a tablet you don't have to.
       
    17. Grumpyrocker

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      But that can't be the reason for the high price. These sensors are tiny and much cheaper to produce than those on "proper" cameras. My Fuji X-T20 camera has an APSC sensor and spanks anything a phone can do but costs £700. Those bigger sensors, especially the 35mm ones, are expensive to make.

      Flagship phones have a higher margin than the budget phones. The reason they cost so much is people are willing to pay. Apple is the king of this, convincing people that buying a phone with a £600 clear margin is a sensible thing to do.

      I've been using Motorola MotoG phones for a few years now after escaping the flagship rat race and have been very happy. Recently bought a mid-range Nokia 7 Plus. It was £350 and I can't see why I would spend more. It's not lacking anything. I can even run Google's clever computational photography.

      I look at the iPhone X and think people must be insane to spend that much on a phone. Not because there's anything inherently wrong with the phone, but it's the one odd part of the technology market where people seem happy to be completely fleeced. People on the whole look for bargains, and the laptop market for example is very competitive. But for phones many seem to lost their critical faculties and pay a grand for something that could be £500 and still be profitable.
       
    18. duffbeerdrinker

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      I think the prices won't be able to go up much more with the next round of phones. Many people are now doing as above and choosing Honor or Xiaomi models and saving lots of money. I also see more people keeping their phones for longer as the new models don't seem to offer much of an upgrade any more.

      A good friend of mine paid £1200 for his iPhone X on launch. CRAAAZY!
       
    19. Faust

      Faust
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      Yet in Apple's home market they can't get enough of the iPhone. They have a 42% market share. Mind you this is America we are talking about.
       
    20. Bl4ckGryph0n

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      What works for one doesn't work for someone else. I wouldn't be so concerned with what others are doing, if you and your senior friends are happy spending money on budget items then why not just be happy with that. And if you think they do exactly the same in the same way then be happy with that.
       
    21. smackos

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      It isn’t that we are all oblivious to the differences between budget models and premium ones, we don’t live in a bubble. I’m sitting here typing on my iPad Air 2, and let’s face it there really isn’t much between the Air 2 and the current gen “iPad”. What we are saying is that when you consider 90% of phone usage is still the core apps and basic usage, then maybe more people should just take a step back and decide if they really need the latest and greatest.
       
    22. Trollslayer

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      Sorry but that article is wrong, especially the reference to a PC two years ago.
       
    23. Bl4ckGryph0n

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      Agreed, I think there some extrapolation going on for certain features like FaceID and other VR or AR or AI elements where for those parts it was required in the past. But that is not to say that the devices themselves are more powerful overall.
       
    24. SanPedro

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      I've never been a brand snob, probably because I've never had the money to be one. Personally I don't see the extra value in buying an iPhone X as it doesn't seem to do anything vastly better than any other phone on the market. However, that's not to say I'd be happy with a cheap phone either. My current Honor 5X is nearly 3 years old and runs like a dog most days despite reformatting it a couple of times. Initially it had no such problems.

      Anyhoo, I've just taken the plunge on a Nokia 7 plus for less than £300. From all accounts it can keep up very nicely with many high-end phones. Solid build, big battery, quality finish, decent dual lens camera and plenty of RAM and storage. Could be ideal 'dad phone' for anybody that doesn't change their phone every year.
       
    25. smackos

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      You might find the reason the Honor 5x was running poorly towards the end was a diminished battery. I had the same thing with my iPhone 6 plus. In software the phone was recognising that the battery was reaching the ends of its lifespan, so to stop high current the phone would limit the phone performance to compensate. (stops erratic phone shutdowns etc.) That was the whole fiasco with "battery-gate", because people weren't being made aware that there was little wrong with their phone that a quick battery replacement couldn't sort. Only it affects all mobile devices, not just iPhones.

      Edit: The cynic in me says that's a lot of the reason why a fair amount of manufacturers are moving to these all sealed body designs. Why give people the option to change out a battery for less than £60 themselves, when you can push people more towards just getting a new mobile off you again.
       
      Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
    26. Trollslayer

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      I replaced my Samsung S3 mini because I could get a usable replacement battery, not on a Moto C Plus with a 4000mAH replaceable battery - it came out a year ago so I should be OK for four years.
       
    27. SanPedro

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      Good point. I was assuming that maybe various uodates had crippled the phone, or it was badly optimised.
      The other nice aspect of the Nokia is that it runs Android One. So no ghastly bloatware or nasty UI quirks to worry about. And it has an all metal body which I much prefer over fragile glass backed designs. I can live without wireless charging and will happily put up with a bigger body containing a bigger battery. I wonder if we have reached peak smartphone development for the average user until some new 'must have' feature comes along. The one feature I would pay more for is camera tech and computational photography still has huge potential.
       
    28. Dave X

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      Though it is still possible to have max allowances whilst spending £20 or less.
       
    29. scrowe

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      I think the Op sums up the issue, we are paying for a mobile computing device instead of a phone. Even the first smartphones just added email and Web-browsing only via WAP. That was the end of the smart-phone really. As soon as games and music/video, and particularly cameras became a feature, then apps, it became a different device entirely, and modern designs compromise on the actual phone features, versus everything else. These features then drove bigger and better screens, to accommodate the multimedia features.
       
    30. Trollslayer

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      Definitely.
       

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