Why do we waste so much money on smartphones?

Last Updated on by Segun Ayo

OK, so my daily driver smartphone is an iPhone 11 Pro Max. But lately I’ve been using much cheaper smartphones, and the more I use them, the harder it is to justify the cost of high-end handsets.

First off, there’s a lot to like about the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Specifically, those cameras and that screen. But in reality, the difference between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the new iPhone SE is small.

The display is probably the biggest difference, but having used an iPhone SE, that’s a perfectly usable and acceptable display. And when it comes to the cameras, yes, the array on the Pro Max outperforms the single camera on the SE, but the price difference between the two handsets would allow me to buy a lot of camera for the few times I shoot 4K or need the lenses.

I’m spending a lot of money for hardware I’m not using that much.

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But starting at $399, even the iPhone SE is expensive.

I’ve been using the Doogee X95, an Android 10 smartphone, that costs $60.

Yes, you read that right. $60.

The X95 easily handles a good 95 percent of what I need. Sure, the camera isn’t as good, and the display lacks the depth and vibrance of the OLED display on the Pro Max, but it’s $60.


That leaves a lot of money over to spend on other things.

And it works.

$60 at Doogee

And it’s not like the iPhone has everything either. Another handset I’ve been using a lot lately is the Blackview BV9800 Pro, and its built-in FLIR Lepton thermal camera is an amazing troubleshooting tool.

This thing can see through walls!

I’m using that much more than I’m using 4K or the Portrait Mode on the Pro Max.

The BV9800 Pro will set you back around $470 to $520, so it’s not cheap, but it’s as tough as a pair of old boots, and has excellent battery life, and a very acceptable 48-megapixel Sony camera capable of capturing some stunning images.

$470 at Blackview

Now there is an argument that without expensive phones we wouldn’t have cheap phones, and I accept that. What’s high-end today is tomorrow’s cheap phone. However, I do feel that we’ve been conditioned to chase more and more high-end features that we don’t make that much use of, or that don’t really offer much in the way of improvement over the previous generation.

The iPhone itself is a perfect example of this mindset. The iPhone SE is, quite frankly, all the iPhone that most people need. It’s got snappy performance, a great camera, a screen that’s like cucumbers on the eyes, and it will be supported by regular iOS updates for many years.

And yet it’s likely to be the iPhone that most people overlook.

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone — especially if you are an Android user — then I highly recommend that you shop around and look at what you really need, rather than spending many hundreds of dollars on features that you rarely use or don’t even need.

Start at the bottom, work up, and make every feature justify its cost.

Why do you think we waste so much money on smartphones? Let me know!