I am one of those users who gladly pays 1,000 euros for a phone, as long as the product is worth it. Despite this, 2020 was and 2021 is being an eminent year for the mid-range, which is, in my opinion, less mid-range than ever. This is starting to change some of my thinking as, just two years ago, the mid-range was unable to meet my basic demands as a power user.
I'm going to tell you why server, high-end user for more than 10 years, has finished with this kind of mobiles in the drawer. To do this, it is convenient to review the key points that are making the mid-range cut certain distances that, until just a year ago, did not seem possible to reach.
Qualcomm, you have done in 2021 what I've been asking for years
Until 2021, the power-level distance between mid-range and high-end was too great. A Snapdragon 732 or 765 might seem like enough for most users, but at the raw power level (especially on GPUs), the 800 series was a long way off. Server always wondering why not mount past-generation processors instead of making new mid-range "from scratch". Why not mount the high-end processor last year instead of a new mid-range SoC?
The arrival of the 800 range to mid-segment mobiles marks a before and after: finally, advanced users have the power we need
2021 was the year in which, for the first time, Qualcomm's 800 range has reached the high-end, and this shows. Having the power of this range goes far beyond having better performance in gaming or that the mobile, simply, is faster. A Snapdragon 800 series allows the whole hardware to age better, have a sustained performance far superior to the rest of the ranges and implement high-speed memory, such as UFS 3.1 and LPDDR4 RAM. It also allows camera apps, video rendering times and other high-demand tasks to be carried out in significantly less time.
Without going any further, the Snapdragon 870 mounted on mobiles such as the POCO F3 or the Moto G100 they are not too far from a Snapdragon 888, processor that mount mobiles of more than 1,000 euros. Is it necessary so much power? Depends. If we begin to understand the mid-range as a range from which we can ask for everything and that will age well for years, yes, it is necessary.
To this movement of Qualcomm we must add that good part of the middle segment and part of 128 GB, getting dangerously close to the base settings of some high-end. A few years ago, buying a mid-range was ensuring that you would run out of memory in a short time, a problem that has almost completely disappeared. As an icing on the memory, the UFS is also becoming the standard so apart from having good amounts of memory, we have fast memories.
AMOLED and high refresh rate, two common
Another of the big requests I had for the mid-range was the democratization of AMOLED, after years of IPS panels. Not only has AMOLED been standardized in much of the mid-range, but the high refresh rate is also beginning to do so.or, being common the 90 or 120Hz even in mobiles of about 300 euros.
The mid-range panels are still far from the high-end in brightness, calibration, dynamic range in dark areas and so on, but they are closer to the high-end of a few years ago than the usual mid-range.
Here there are still important distances compared to the high-end, in compatibility with some formats, typical brightness of the screens, calibration and others. Nevertheless, screens in the mid-range are not so much anymoreThey are closer to the high-end panels we had two or three years ago.
The mid-range is less mid-range than ever
The mid-range still does not have the best camera (saving cases like the Google Pixel 4a, the best sound or the best screens, but the hardware set is better than ever. If we choose well, we can get a phone with a high-end processor, AMOLED screen at 120Hz for relatively little money.
The high-end still give a superior user experience, how could it be otherwise. However, the distances are becoming shorter, great news for users who do not want to spend too much money, but who want the best.
We recommend you read our pieces about the best mid-range mobiles and the best mobiles with high-end specifications at a mid-range price to see the best alternatives on the market right now.