Apple and Samsung Take Opposite Paths Toward a Cheaper Phone

Apple and Samsung appear to agree on one point: a smartphone no longer has to cost more than $1,000. However, their perspectives on what makes a low-cost phone desirable differ substantially.

Over the last two weeks, that contrast in attitude has been on full show. Both firms hosted virtual keynotes to unveil new phones that are hundreds of dollars less expensive than the headline-grabbing iPhone 13 and Galaxy S22. On March 8, Apple held an event to reveal the $429 iPhone SE. Apple’s lower-priced phone resembles the iPhone 8, but it has 5G and the same CPU as the iPhone 13. On March 17, Samsung revealed the Galaxy A53 5G, a $450 phone with some of the same capabilities as its more expensive competitors, such as a nearly borderless screen and a multi-lens camera.

The assertions disclose a great deal about the technology that Apple and Samsung believe is required for current phones. Even if it means using an older design and a less flexible camera, Apple prioritizes supplying the most recent CPU at the lowest possible cost. Samsung, on the other hand, may take a different strategy. Samsung’s lower-priced smartphones sometimes have lesser semiconductors than Galaxy S models, but they feature sleek, modern looks that, at first sight, may pass for those more costly devices.

The iPhone SE is a less expensive approach for Apple to attract new customers to services like iMessage, Apple TV, Apple Arcade, and the whole App Store. Meanwhile, Samsung is attempting to give quality features for less money.

The iPhone SE is designed for folks who just want an iPhone.

You may easily mistake the 2022 iPhone SE for the four-year-old iPhone 8. The new iPhone SE, like previous iPhone models, features a physical home button and substantial bezels above and below the screen. It also sports a 4.7-inch display, which is significantly smaller than the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini. The iPhone SE also has only one 12-megapixel camera, but Apple’s more costly phones feature two or three camera lenses.

These features may make the new iPhone SE appear antiquated, but what’s on the inside is what matters. The iPhone SE is powered by the same A15 Bionic chip as the new iPhone 13. Not only should this result in faster performance, but the new processor also ensures that the iPhone SE will continue to support new iOS features for years to come. While iOS 15 is compatible with phones as ancient as the iPhone 6S and the original iPhone SE from 2016, several features are only available on phones with newer CPUs.

That is the entire appeal of the iPhone SE. It is not about giving cutting-edge technology such as a depth scanner, multi-lens camera, or a vivid OLED screen. It’s for folks who just want an iPhone for basic daily chores at the lowest feasible price.

The iPhone SE enables Apple to attract customers on a tighter budget who may have previously ignored the company’s more expensive devices. And those iPhone SE users may one day upgrade to AirPods or an Apple Watch. They could also sign up for Apple Music or one of Apple’s iCloud storage options. In other words, the iPhone SE’s attraction isn’t so much about the technology as it is a ticket to everything Apple.

The Galaxy A53 5G attempts to mimic Samsung’s more costly devices

Despite its cheaper pricing, the Galaxy A53 5G looks very identical to more costly Samsung phones such as the $700 Galaxy S21 FE. It boasts a screen that nearly covers the whole front of the smartphone, similar to most of Samsung’s current phones, with only a hole punch-shaped cutout for the selfie camera. The Galaxy A53 5G looks like any other phone Samsung may have released in the previous three years.

The Galaxy A53 5G’s purpose is clear: to provide high-end functionality to a cheaper handset. It boasts a camera system with many lenses, including a 64-megapixel primary camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor.

The screen’s refresh rate may also be increased to 120Hz for better scrolling, a function formerly reserved for only the most costly phones. In comparison, the iPhone SE has only one regular 12-megapixel camera lens. The $1,000 iPhone 13 Pro and $1,100 iPhone 13 Pro Max are Apple’s only phones that can increase the refresh rate of their displays.

That is not to imply that Samsung did not make any concessions with the Galaxy A53 5G. The Galaxy A53 5G loses a telephoto lens for closer zooming, which a reasonable tradeoff is given its reduced pricing.

Nonetheless, Samsung appears to be doing a better job than Apple in bridging the gap between its affordable and premium phones. I haven’t had a chance to test the Galaxy A53 5G yet. But its predecessor made me never want to pay more than $1,000 for a new phone again. However, unlike the iPhone SE, the Galaxy A53 5G does not benefit from having the same chipset as its high-end siblings.

According to the site SamMobile, the Galaxy A53 5G is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 1280 CPU, which is described as a mid-range engine with gaming performance compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G. That’s the same chip used in the Galaxy A52S 5G, a variation of the A52 released in the UK last year. However, the Exynos 1280 was created utilizing the same 5-nanometer manufacturing technique as the processors included in the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6. A lower nanometer measurement often indicates more transistors, which should result in increased power and energy efficiency.

The ideas of Samsung and Apple on what matters most in a phone

Samsung and Apple have distinct ideas about what constitutes a decent reasonably priced phone, and both methods appear to be effective thus far. Apple does not disclose sales figures for particular iPhone models. However, with the release of the preceding iPhone SE in 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the device as a driver of iPhone growth during the company’s fiscal third-quarter results call in 2020. He also stated that the iPhone SE’s compact size appealed to customers who had not upgraded their phones in a long time. The 2020 iPhone SE was one of the ten best-selling smartphones in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research.

The Galaxy A series from Samsung has also shown to be well-liked. Samsung’s smartphone unit sales in 2021 will be made up of 58 percent Galaxy A phones, according to Counterpoint Research data provided to CNET. Samsung’s Galaxy A12 was also one of the ten best-selling smartphones of last year, along with the iPhone SE.

The iPhone SE and the Galaxy A53 5G are both more than simply low-cost smartphones. They inform us of the components that Apple and Samsung think are critical for our mobile devices. Samsung’s solution looks to be the lengthy battery life, a huge screen, and many cameras. Apple, on the other hand, is concentrating on performing comparably to that its more costly iPhones.

 

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