No one expected Samsung to beat OnePlus at its own game, which is to launch phones with flagship specs without the flagship price – or at least not flagship prices that have become the norm these days. The Galaxy S20 FE, at $699/€719 for the 5G variant, takes on both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T and comes out on top in many aspects. OnePlus, however, doesn’t seem very concerned with the high-end segment at the moment and is instead making a play for the mid-range segment with its new Nord lineup.
To that end, it announced a new mid-range phone called the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, and in typical OnePlus fashion, the company’s latest device punches above its weight with its price-to-specs ratio. Two features in particular have caught my interest: The Nord N10 5G has a 90Hz refresh rate screen and comes with stereo speakers, features no mid-range phone from Samsung offers at the moment. But I think the company needs to fix that, and soon, or risk playing catch-up once again.
Samsung only made the move to high refresh rate displays on its flagship phones earlier this year with the Galaxy S20 series, so it’s not exactly fair to expect the company to start putting high refresh rate displays on mid-range devices so soon. And some of its mid-range phones in the last year — particularly the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 — are very solid devices, so it’s not like Samsung doesn’t have something to offer to customers who might be shopping for a new handset in the sub-€400 market.
Samsung’s mid-range smartphones are boring, and that needs to change
But Samsung’s mid-range phones are also quite boring. They have no glaring shortcomings when the asking price is taken into account, but they don’t have anything you can get excited about, either. And for me, introducing a high refresh rate screen and stereo speakers would be just one of many ways to spice things up. Yes, they would contribute to higher manufacturing costs, but if the Galaxy S20 FE or the Galaxy M series are an indication, Samsung isn’t too averse to taking a hit on its profit margins and equipping a phone with hardware that’s better than the price tag would have you believe.
Samsung’s spent the last couple of years increasing the number of cameras and things like processing power on its mid-range devices, and I hope it will now start focusing on fancier features – like stereo speakers and high refresh rate displays, as I have mentioned already. I also hope Samsung won’t take too long to set the wheels in motion, though I have an inkling the company is in no hurry and will take its time as it always does, all while smaller manufacturers like OnePlus keep giving it crash courses on making not-expensive phones with spec sheets that don’t bore you to sleep.