Today's top-of-the-line smartphones are undoubtedly aspirational. Just look at the Huawei Mate X2s, Samsung's Galaxy S22 series or Apple's iPhone 13 series, each of which is eye-popping. But not all of us have a lot of money in our budgets, and the good news is that you don't have to spend more than $10,000 for a high-end flagship smartphone with top performance and gorgeous design.
In fact, the latest mid-range smartphones not only look and feel like the "flagship" smartphones, but also have the potential to surpass them in key areas. So even if you're considering a top-of-the-line phone, it's recommended that you look into mid-range phones before deciding.
What is a "mid-range" smartphone?
When we talk about mid-range smartphones, we're usually referring to phones that cost around $2,500 to $4,000 outright. It's true that the latest and greatest smartphones are getting more and more expensive, such as Huawei's recent announcement of the Mate X2s, a foldable phone that costs $9,999, so the midrange market is technically a highly sought-after target for phones from which you can find the best balance of price and features.
Mid-range phones sell best
Currently, the ranking of domestic cell phone market sales in the first quarter of 2022 is announced, ranking first for OPPO, with total sales of 12.8 million units. Glory cell phone sales ranked second, with 12.6 million phones sold. The third to fifth places were taken by Vivo, Apple and Xiaomi, achieving sales of 12.3 million, 12 million and 10.8 million handsets respectively. Most of these sales were contributed by mid-range phones. Therefore, buying mid-range phones is a smart choice for people.
The best mid-range smartphone recommendations
1. vivo X80: the best mid-range smartphone
More and more smartphone companies are innovating to provide their customers with the best possible photography experience. When it comes to introducing smartphone photography innovations, domestic phone brand Vivo has spared no effort in offering the most competitive smartphone camera. the Vivo X80 is a full-fledged flagship phone in its own right and is almost identical to the X80 Pro in terms of overall appearance and size. The phone features a 6.78-inch, 2400 x 1080 pixel AMOLED screen that supports a 120Hz refresh rate and claims a contrast ratio of 8000000:1. The display is virtually identical to the screen used on the X80 Pro - except for the lower resolution.
As mentioned earlier, the Vivo X80 is powered by MediaTek's Tiangui 9000 processor chipset. The chip is arguably one of the best smartphone SoCs available for Android devices and is a strong competitor to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The X80 offers 8GB and 12GB RAM options as well as three UFS 3.1 storage options; 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Vivo has traditionally avoided offering a microSD card slot on its flagship devices - and that's still the case with the X80 series.
The triple camera setup on the Vivo X80 includes a 32MP, f/2.45 selfie camera (also used on the X80 Pro), a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide angle camera, and a 12MP portrait camera. The only OIS-enabled camera in this configuration is the main 50MP sensor.
The Vivo X80 features a 4,500mAh battery that uses the company's proprietary charging technology to support 80W fast charging. With support for both 5G and 4G networks, the device claims VoLTE talk time of over 19 hours in single SIM mode, dropping to just over 15 hours in dual SIM mode.
The Vivo X80 is priced as low as 3,699 yuan.
2. iPhone SE 3 (2022): Apple's best value iPhone
While the form factor may look a bit dated, the iPhone SE 3 (2022) is Apple's most cost-effective smartphone yet. Apple may prefer that customers buy the iPhone 13, but the lower price of the iPhone SE 3 makes it a more exciting option, so users can save a significant portion of themselves and get decent phone performance.
Despite being more than half the price, iPhone SE 3 (2022) uses the same fast processor, the A15 Bionic, as iPhone 13, and it has a great camera. The only downside is that its battery life is pretty short by modern standards, but that's not a problem that 20W fast charging can't fix. If you're not into those big screen phones, the iPhone SE is also a great option - the small 4.7-inch screen is perfect for one-handed use.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money on iPhone 13 and don't mind sacrificing some camera features and a smaller design, iPhone SE is definitely the best value Apple phone you can buy right now.
The iPhone SE 3 (2022) is priced at $3,499.
3. Glory Magic4: the infallible flagship killer
First of all, glory Magic4 as a mid-range phone, the beginning should be underestimated by many users, but soon be recognized by many consumers, from the sales in April on Jingdong, glory Magic4 directly to the first place.
As can be expected, the support is indeed very high, and the strength of the product itself is not to be underestimated, with a 6.81-inch OLED curved screen, supplier from BOE, resolution of 2664x1224 level, and has the industry's first high-frequency PWM dimming + LTPO technology, support for 120Hz refresh rate and 1.07 billion color depth.
Coupled with Snapdragon 8Gen1 processor, complemented by full-blooded LPDDR5 + UFS3.1, and a large built-in 4800mAh battery with 66W fast charging, and also equipped with X-axis linear motor, stereo dual speakers and more.
Just look at the hardware parameters of the product itself and the sales in April, the selling point is still a lot, which also allows many consumers to choose it, is also considered a symbol of strength.
What's more, in addition to the core parameters, the photo is not bad, with 50 million main camera + 50 million ultra-wide angle + 8 million periscope telephoto, the sensor is Sony IMX766, the photo experience is very good, the image quality is also relatively high level.
In addition, the "muse's eye" lens layout on the back of the body is a symmetrical structure, the face is really good-looking and recognizable, and has been recognized by many users.
Glory Magic 4 lowest price 3999 yuan.
4. Redmi K50 Pro: an amazing value
The Xiaomi Redmi K50 Pro is an upgraded version of the K50 with a 6.67-inch 1440p OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, MediaTek Tiangui 9000 processor, 8GB or 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. The Redmi K50 Pro features a 5000 mAh battery with 120W fast charging, stereo speakers, a side fingerprint reader, IP53 water resistance and runs Android 12 to round out its features.
In addition, the Redmi K50 Pro uses the same material specifications as the K50 gaming version of the new generation of stainless steel VC, covering 72% of the motherboard area, bringing VC liquid cooling area, with 7 layers of graphite three-dimensional temperature uniformity, heat dissipation capacity is greatly improved.
The Redmi K50 Pro comes with MIUI 13 pre-installed, which effectively optimizes the experience of using it.
Redmi K50 Pro is currently priced at around 3599 RMB
5. realme GT Neo3: amazing light charging speed in seconds
With a focus on high performance, the GT Neo 3 brings the fastest battery charging standard available for a smartphone. the GT Neo 3 supports 150W fast charging and, according to Realme, can fill half of the battery in 5 minutes, while a full charge takes about 17 minutes. the Realme GT Neo 3 is the company's premium phone, but it doesn't offer the highest-end performance like the GT 2 Pro. It's on the lower end of the company's phone lineup, but that's by no means an indication that the phone isn't powerful. It uses the MediaTek Tiangui 8100 chipset, one of the fastest chipsets in the mid-range market, which Realme claims not only offers high performance, but also ensures stability and sustainability, thus protecting the battery when not in use. For gamers, the sudden boost in performance is good and regular users will realize that their phones are not power hungry.
There is a 6.7-inch Full HD AMOLED display with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. Now, while you can take the refresh rate down a few notches with fine settings, no LTPO display offers greater flexibility in controlling the refresh rate. The display has a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and supports over 1 billion colors. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top. There is up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. There is Realme UI 3.0 skin on the phone and it is based on Android 12. The phone supports Dolby Atmos and supports high resolution stereo speakers.
On the back of the GT Neo 3 is a 50-pixel Sony IMX766 main camera with optical stabilization. On top of that, you have two cameras, an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 119 degree field of view and a 2MP macro camera. For selfies, there's a 16MP camera with a Samsung sensor, this time in the center of the perforated internal display. The phone supports Wi-Fi 6, so games will be better with low latency.
The battery capacity varies as there are two variants based on fast charging capability. 80W model comes with 5000mAh battery while 150W fast charging model comes with 4500mAh battery. Both variants use the USB-C port for charging and the charger comes bundled with the phone in the retail box.
realme GT Neo3's 150W lightning fast second charging version only costs 2599 yuan
6. iQOO 9: Best performance with less cost
The iQOO 9 is a gaming-oriented smartphone that also comes with a great camera suite and 120W fast charging. Considering that the iQOO 9 is clearly cheaper than the iQOO 9 Pro, we immediately suggest that this could be the all-rounder that many people are looking for right now.
We know our words sound dramatic, but there's a lot to love about iQOO 9. It features 1 billion colors of 6.56-inch AMOLED, a 120Hz refresh rate, and HDR10+ certification. At the top of the panel is a 300Hz sensitive Monster Touch panel - which means a pressure-sensitive block for all kinds of fast action in high-stakes games.
Then we have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888+ 5G chipset and a large homogeneous thermal plate cooling solution. This is still one of the most powerful chips on the market and can handle any game with ease.
The camera is also very interesting. There's a 48MP main lens with gimbal stabilization, then a 13MP telephoto lens and a 13MP ultra-wide angle lens. All the cameras have autofocus, which means the ultra-wide angle can also provide macro photography on the go.
Before we get to the full tech mode in the spec sheet, we can't help but be excited about the 120W fast charging on the iQOO 9. It works right out of the box, as the charger is supplied with the phone.
The iQOO 9 is IP52 rated for dust and light splash resistance. This is the most basic certification available for today's phones, and while it's better than nothing, we still think any mid-range and above phone should be waterproof.
That's our only concern. Well, that and the software support for Funtouch OS. iQOO and vivo aren't the names that come to mind when talking about software longevity. I'm happy to say that iQOO promises two major Android version updates (13 and 14) and three years of security patches.
The lowest price for iQOO 9 is $3949.
Of course, every user has different priorities when choosing a phone, so it's best to figure out what your priorities are. Is extra-long battery life what you want most? Or are you more interested in taking better quality photos?
In all cases, we recommend that you check the phone's internal specifications: you need a powerful processor to keep up with all the applications you will be using, either now or in a year or two. While you're at it, check to see if there's enough internal storage space left. If this can be expanded via microSD card, that could be a big advantage.
The screen of the phone is also important. After all, it's what you'll be staring at for long periods of time. You can find many mid-range phones with nice screens, but you can't assume they're all great, so make sure you know before you decide.
Finally, I wish you well in finding your own more satisfactory mid-range phone, if you have other recommendations please leave a message in the discussion forum below.