I Own a Low-End Smartphone and Here’s Why

By: Al Restar, Zero Day

There are a plethora of smartphones in the market right now. Most of them pride themselves with high-end, state-of-the-art features like facial recognition, sound zoom, and 64-megapixel cameras, but I have decided to get myself a low-end smartphone from an unknown brand.

If you want to know, I currently own a RealMe 3 smartphone which I only bought for less than PHP 8,000. It’s probably a brand that you’ve never heard of as it was only launched a year ago. Realme is a subsidiary company of BKK Electronics, the same company that owns One Plus, Oppo, and Vivo. In fact, Realme runs in Oppo’s own Android skin, which is a modified version of the open-source Android operating system, called ColorOS.

So why exactly did I choose this phone over higher-end smartphones like iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Huawei Mate? Well, the most convincing reason is that these brands are just impractical for me. But aside from the price point, there are also other factors that I had considered when I chose to buy the phone. Factors like battery life, connectivity, how clumsy I am, aesthetics, among others came into play when I decided on which model I would get for myself, as everyone should.

When people ask for my advice on which smartphone they should buy, I always respond with, “why would you buy a smartphone, and how are you going to use it?” I think that this is the most important question that every consumer needs to ask themselves before making a purchase.

Knowing the reason behind buying a phone for yourself and understanding how you will use the phone will lead you to find the right specs that will work for your purpose. The why and the how will always lead you to the what.

To put it simply, the megapixels of a phone’s camera is not the only measure of what a good phone would be. Before I bought my Realme 3, which I am currently happy with, I have jotted down the different needs I have from a smartphone. As a person who uses my smartphone 24/7 and for my work, I wanted a phone that has long battery life, with the latest OS, enough RAM, and massive memory, as well as a phone that is budget-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and with ergonomic screen-size.

If you are a person who needs to access documents on your phone consistently, you do not want an iOS device because it doesn’t allow for native downloads. If you do not use your phone as a substitute for a professional camera, you do not need a 64-megapixel cameraphone. If you have two numbers from two different telecom providers, you might need a phone with a dual-sim feature. If you play games with your phone, you need to get a phone optimized for gaming. If you do not use your phone beyond basic functions like texting, calling, accessing social media, and google search, you do not need the top-of-line, overpriced flagship phones. The point here is that you should prioritize the usability of the phone over other things.

But what about the quality of the phone? Many have tried arguing with me that iPhone and other flagship phones from popular brands can last longer as they are made with high-quality materials.

First of all, some low-end phones are actually made with the same materials as more expensive phones. In fact, most of the hardware for some Android phones came from the same supplier for Samsung or from Samsung itself. And even if, say, the lower-end phones are indeed inferior in terms of quality and would have a shorter life span, at least they won’t cost you above PHP 50,000 for one smartphone; meaning, you can get a new smartphone every year for the next five years, if you decided to buy Realme 3, for the price of one Samsung Note 10.

It also becomes a different story for careless and clumsy smartphone users like me, who have smashed my phone screen for the last three smartphones I owned. With this behavior, buying an expensive phone that is supposed to have higher quality becomes impractical, especially if cheaper phones also come with Gorilla glass LCDs.

The bottom line is this: consumers must always consider what their purpose is before purchasing a new device like smartphones, but if the purpose includes being able to display the phone as a form of status symbol, then no one stops anybody from doing so. If you can afford it, go ahead and buy that overpriced iPhone X.