For flagships, 2017 has been a great year so far. We have seen the best from pretty much every manufacturer. We have seen that the iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8 and the Huawei Mate 10 were launched this year. However, what about the less expensive phones? Let’s check the highlights of 2017’s ever-growing midrange smartphone lineup!
First, what is a midrange phone?
A midrange phone is a phone that goes for around $250 to $500 when new. This does not include flagship phones that have depreciated in value to become in our desired price range. Usually, it is better to buy a new mid-range phone than a 3-year-old flagship. This is especially true for Android phones. This is because most companies ditch their phones in terms of software updates after a year or two. Having a new mid-ranger ensure you are up to date for a long while.
However, just because the price is low, does not mean that the specs are weak. The gap between flagship phones and midrange phones is quickly shrinking. Sooner than later, you would have no reason to buy a phone for the price of a flagship. Today’s mid-rangers have great processors, cameras, and battery life. Let’s see what devices are best in this segment.
*Note: I will only be mentioning phones from the biggest companies. This is to make sure that every phone is available in most regions.
Samsung Galaxy A-Series
Every year, right around the beginning of the year, Samsung blesses us with their A Series of phones. The latest iteration of the A-Series is the 2017 lineup. It consists of the Galaxy A3, A5, and A7. The 2016 lineup also included the A8 and A9, but the new ones bridge the gap between the models in terms of size. For this reason, we are unlikely to see 2017 versions of those 2 phones.
This generation of the A-Series offers design taken from the Galaxy S7, with curved rear glass and similar front design. The A5 and A7 have 16MP front and rear cameras, while the A3 has a 13MP rear and an 8MP front camera. Both are capable of taking beautiful shots with little to complain about.
All 3 phones also have amazing battery life, with the A3, A5, and A7 having 2350, 3000 and 3600 mAh respectively. They can last you a full day without sweating it too much, as long as you are a moderate user. The phones have great performance, though not on a flagship level for obvious reasons.
Huawei Honor 9
We saw the Honor 9 for the first time when it was announced back in July this year, and it was great. It still is great now, especially for the price. Like the A-Series, we see a new Honor flagship every year, but we will not see another one until mid-2018. The phone has a 5.2″ display up front, and is at FullHD resolution, just like the A5 2017.
The Honor 9 is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful phones this year. At least, it is from the back. The irregular reflections on the back make for a gorgeous look, especially with the blue color. The front design is a bit of a different story. It is by no means a bad design, but it does not live up to the design of the back. It has the same design as most 2016 flagship.
The 3200 mAh battery makes for really good battery life, especially with the fast and efficient HiSilicon Kirin 960. It offers amazing performance, just what you expect out of a flagship from last year. It is the same, homegrown chipset used in last year’s Mate 9. Cameras are also great, with a dual camera setup that actually works.
Xiaomi Mi 6
As you might have heard, Xiaomi sure is growing. It has gained a lot of sales, and they are increasing in size as you read this. Earlier this year, we saw the Mi 6 launch, combining the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with Xiaomi’s great build quality and value for money.
The phone has outstanding dual cameras and can take amazing portrait shots. The 8MP front camera can also take great selfies, with nothing to whine about. The phone also has an outstanding glass and metal design, which looks amazing. While the front is nothing special, it is very normal and does not need time to get used to.
At 3350 mAh, the Mi 6 has amazing battery life. With the very efficient and powerful Snapdragon 835, and a 5.15″ display, the power needs are minimal. Combined with such size battery, the Mi 6 has outstanding battery life, easily able to last a full day. You might even squeeze 2 days out of it if you use it lightly.
A very similar device to the Xiaomi Mi 6 is the Oneplus 5. It has the exact same specifications in terms of hardware. The same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is present, with the same GPU. The differences end here though. The Oneplus 5 comes to a larger 5.5″ display while maintaining the FullHD resolution.
Like the Mi 6, it has a dual rear camera setup that actually works. It consists of a 16MP main lens, along with a 20MP Telephoto lens. Those together can take pretty great shots, but sure do not live up to the hype Oneplus created for them. Pictures can be compared to those of flagships, but it would not end very well for them. The same can be said about the front camera as well. The phone looks a lot like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, which could be a good or a bad thing. Though it feels premium, I would personally take the glass build of the Mi 6 over that of the Oneplus 5.
The Oneplus 5 has a 3300 mAh battery, which is pretty decently sized for such display. The 2017 Galaxy A7 has a 3600 mAh cell, and the same size display. Still, the Oneplus has better battery life. This is because of the Snapdragon 835’s efficiency. The Mi 6 still returns slightly better battery life though but the difference is rather negligible.
The Nokia 6 is the least expensive device on this list. Still, that does not mean it is very bad. In fact, it is a very good phone, especially for the price. While it might not compete very well with the likes of the Oneplus 5 or the Xiaomi Mi 6 in terms of performance, it sure is no slouch. Despite having a low-end chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, it performs very well and moves smoothly through the UI.
When talking about cameras, we have to keep in mind the price of the Nokia 6. Naturally, being inexpensive, it does not take the best pictures. It still is very comparable to the Galaxy A-Series. The 16MP rear camera takes decent shots, and so does the 8MP front camera. It does not stand out from the rest of the midrange phones, apart from the price. It really is the selling point, especially for what you get for that price.
The battery life retained by this phone is pretty good, but no more. With 5.5 inches of IPS display to power, the 3000 mAh battery fairs well for its size, but that is mainly due to the processor. Today’s Qualcomm chipsets are very efficient. It should give a full day of moderate to light usage, and likely no more than that.
All of the previously mentioned phones are great, especially for their price. Each offers its own advantage over the others. I know there are many more affordable phones with great specs. I could have added all of those, but I wanted to make sure they are available to most of you out there. Which one is your favorite? Would you add any other devices to this list? Make sure to tell me in the comment section down below!