Yesterday’s Top End or Todays Mid-tier?

Times have never been better for smartphone buyers. An abundance of smartphones to suit (almost) any budget. From entry level phones of up to $100 to the lower mid-tier of around $200 to the higher mid-tier (around $300) to the top tier of above $400. All manufacturers have various models to span all budget ranges. Some examples of the ranges and type of phones for a better understanding:

Entry-level up to $100 Motorola Moto E, Nokia X, Lumia 520, Samsung Galaxy Pocket, LG L40
Mid-tier (lower) $150 – $200 Motorola Moto G, Lumia 630, LG Optimus L9, Xperia M
Mid-tier (higher) $200 – $350 LG G2 Mini, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, HTC One Mini
Top-Tier $450 and above iPhone 5S, Galaxy S5, LG G3, Xperia Z2, HTC One M8

One question though any buyer of a phone should ask themselves is if you should buy this years’ top offering in the respective tier or rather last years model who’s price has reduced to move into a lower tier bracket.

I want to illustrate this based on the current higher mid-tier range which consists primarily of the mini versions of the various flag-ships:

  • LG G2 Mini
  • HTC One Mini 2
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

These phones cost around $300 to $350. Phones in this category have ambitions of being stylish and reflecting at least some of the design and functional elements of their top-tier relatives.

For the same amount of money you could also buy the flag-ships of 2013, such as:

  • LG Optimus G
  • Sony Xperia ZL
  • Huawei Ascend P6

Reasons why you should consider last year’s flag-ships are:

  • 720p HD screens (even 1080p for the Xperia ZL and 768p for the Optimus G)
  • Quad Core processors that will easily cope with Android 4.4
  • 2GB Ram
  • 4.7″ screens
  • Upgraded to 4.4 Kitkat (or confirmed to get upgraded)
  • Real premium elements in each of the phones
    • Sony: 5″ full-HD display
    • LG: fully Gorilla Glass covered
    • Huawei: slimmest smartphone on the market

In comparison there isn’t really anything that speaks in favor of the mid-tier phones other than that you are buying a phone which is earlier in it’s product lifecycle.

So what are your thoughts and recommendations?

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