Apple and Samsung appear to agree on one thing: a good phone no longer has to cost more than $1,000. However, when it comes to what makes a cheap phone desirable, their perspectives are vastly different.
Over the last two weeks, that contrast in approach has been on full show. Both firms hosted virtual keynotes to introduce new phones that are hundreds of dollars less expensive than the iPhone 13 and Galaxy S22, which have garnered a lot of attention. Apple was the first to reveal the $429 iPhone SE during an event on March 8. Apple’s lower-cost phone resembles the iPhone 8 from 2017, although it has 5G and the same CPU as the iPhone 13. On March 17, Samsung unveiled 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 statements disclose a great deal about the technologies that Apple and Samsung believe are required for a modern phone. Even if it means using an outmoded design and a less versatile camera, Apple prioritizes supplying the latest CPU at a low cost. Samsung, on the other hand, maybe said to follow the opposite approach. Samsung’s budget phones often have less powerful processors than its Galaxy S phones, but they’re wrapped in a sleek style that could be mistaken for the company’s more expensive smartphones at first sight.
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. Samsung, on the other hand, is attempting to offer superior features at a lower cost.
The iPhone SE is meant for those who only need an iPhone
You could easily confuse the 2022 iPhone SE with the four-year-old iPhone 8. The new iPhone SE, like Apple’s prior iPhone models, has a physical home button and substantial bezels above and below the screen. It also features a 4.7-inch display, which is significantly smaller than the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini. The iPhone SE also only has one 12-megapixel camera, but Apple’s more expensive phones have two or three.
These features may make the new iPhone SE appear antiquated, but what matters is what’s on the inside. The A15 Bionic processor in the iPhone SE is the same as in the new iPhone 13. Not only should this improve speed, but the new processor also ensures that the iPhone SE will continue to support new iOS features in the future. 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 devices with newer processors.
The iPhone SE’s whole appeal is based on this. It’s not about having cutting-edge technology like a depth scanner, a multi-lens camera, or a bright OLED display. It’s for folks who only need an iPhone for basic tasks at the cheapest price.
The iPhone SE helps Apple to appeal to customers on a tighter budget who may have previously passed over the company’s more expensive versions. Those who purchase an iPhone SE may eventually upgrade to AirPods or an Apple Watch. They might also purchase Apple Music or an iCloud storage subscription from Apple. To put it another way, the iPhone SE’s attraction isn’t so much about the hardware as it is an entry ticket to everything Apple.
The Galaxy A53 5G attempts to replicate Samsung’s higher-priced phones.
Despite its cheaper price, the Galaxy A53 5G looks almost identical to Samsung’s more costly Galaxy S21 FE ($700). It boasts a screen that nearly covers the entire front of the device, with only a hole punch-shaped cutout for the selfie camera, like most of Samsung’s recent phones. The Galaxy A53 5G appears to be similar to any other phone Samsung has released in the last three years.
The Galaxy A53 5G’s purpose is simple: to deliver high-end features to a more cheap handset. A 64-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor make up the multi-lens camera system.
The screen’s refresh rate may be increased to 120Hz for smoother scrolling, which was previously only available on the most costly phones. In comparison, the iPhone SE has only one 12-megapixel camera lens. The $1,000 iPhone 13 Pro and $1,100 iPhone 13 Pro Max are the only phones in Apple’s current lineup with high-refresh-rate displays.
That’s not to say the Galaxy A53 5G isn’t riddled with compromises. The Galaxy A53 5G, unlike Samsung’s more costly phones, lacks a telephoto lens for closer magnification, which is a reasonable tradeoff given its cheaper price.
Samsung, on the other hand, appears to be doing a better job than Apple at bridging the gap between its affordable and luxury phones. I haven’t had a chance to test the Galaxy A53 5G yet, but its predecessor made me never want to spend more than $1,000 on a phone ever again. However, unlike the iPhone SE, the Galaxy A53 5G does not benefit from having the same chipset as its higher-end siblings.
According to the site SamMobile, the Galaxy A53 5G is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 1280 CPU, which is a middle-range chipset with gaming performance compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G. The Galaxy A52S 5G, a variation of the A52 that was released in the United Kingdom last year, uses the same chip. The Exynos 1280, like the processors inside the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6, was made using a 5-nanometer manufacturing technique. A smaller nanometer measurement usually translates to more transistors, which should result in increased power and efficiency.
The ideas of Apple and Samsung on what matters most in a phone
Both Apple and Samsung have distinct ideas about what makes a decent mid-priced phone, and both have been successful thus far. Apple does not disclose sales figures for individual iPhone models. However, during Apple’s fiscal third-quarter earnings call in 2020, following the launch of the prior iPhone SE in 2020, CEO Tim Cook credited the device as a driver behind the iPhone’s growth. He also mentioned that the iPhone SE’s compact size appealed to customers who had not upgraded their phones in a long time. According to Counterpoint Research, the 2020 iPhone SE was also one of the top ten bestselling phones in 2021.
Samsung’s Galaxy A series has also proven to be popular. According to Counterpoint Research data, Galaxy A devices accounted for 58 percent of Samsung’s smartphone unit sales in 2021. Along with the iPhone SE, Samsung’s Galaxy A12 was included in the top ten best-selling phones of last year.
The Galaxy A53 5G and iPhone SE aren’t just low-cost handsets. They tell us what Apple and Samsung consider to be the most significant features of our smartphones. Long battery life, a huge screen, and numerous cameras appear to be Samsung’s answer. Apple, on the other hand, is concentrating on giving performance comparable to that of its higher-end iPhones.