Smart Phones

The Reason why phones are getting increasingly expensive

The Reason why phones are getting increasingly expensive

Smart Phones

Phones are getting more and more expensive as years go by. Some of us are so tied to our devices such that we are willing to pour nearly half of our salaries in order to get the highest end phones in the market. For example, when the Samsung Galaxy S8 was released back in 2017, it had a starting price of $850.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 ultra which is Samsung’s highest end phone this year starts at $1200 which is a 42% increase in only four years, yet people don’t seem to mind. In this article we are going to find out what is causing the spikes in phone prices and whether these big companies can actually justify themselves.

Monopoly in the Chip market.

Qualcomm HQ

It should be obvious by now that Qualcomm makes one of the best mobile chips in the market. Nearly all high-end Android phones come with the latest and greatest chips from Qualcomm. For example, the Snapdragon 888+ is the best chip from Qualcomm in 2021. But all this comes at a price. In addition to Qualcomm having the best chipsets in the market, they still manage to affect the overall price of the device

Let me explain.

Qualcomm chip

When high-end phones are being designed, performance is at the core of the whole process. This is where manufacturers reach out to Qualcomm in order to license chips for their devices. For them to be granted their request, there are certain guidelines that Qualcomm lays out for devices. For example, for their premium chips, Qualcomm requires companies to buy their 5G modem alongside the chipset.

In addition to that, smart phone manufacturers must increase space in their devices to cater for the chip and the 5G modem which is a crucial component. Due to this factor alone, the price has increased in almost every way possible.

Qualcomm Chip

First and foremost, since the internal space has been increased, the screen size also must increase. It is also for the same reason smart phones are continuing to get larger. The bigger the screen the bigger the battery has to get in order to cater for the larger amount of power that the screen is now drawing out.

Moreover, since Qualcomm has forced companies to buy the 5G modem, phone manufacturers must fit their devices with 5G Radio antennas which is an added cost. At the end of the day, prices continue adding up significantly.

Smart Phones are getting better.

Smart Phones

It is no secret that smart phones have gotten better and better in the last decade. For example, phone cameras have significantly improved over the years. Mid-range phones are now shipping with a quad camera setup unlike when smart phones were first being rolled out.

These cameras are so powerful that some of them are even capable of recording 8K at 24 frames per second. What’s even more shocking is that the Samsung Galaxy S21 ultra has a 100X zoom lens which is capable of a space zoom. This simply means that the phone can zoom and capture the moon which is absolutely crazy.

Display technology is getting better. Nearly all Mid-range phones offer an OLED display which was a feature lacking in most phones ten years ago. OLED is basically the king of display technology. It simply works by each pixel producing its own light individually.

Smart Phone

OLED is very beneficial to battery life but it is also quite expensive. Back when smart phones were establishing their way into our lives, the display technology did not matter as much as it does today. Manufacturers simply relies on cheaper, LCD LED displays but now we are marching into an OLED future which brings us to our next point, battery life.

Battery sizes have increased significantly, with phones packing up to 7000mAh batteries. With such battery capacities, phones are able to last up to two days on normal usage and up to four days on light usage. This means that you can comfortably go for a weekend get away without worrying about your charger.

Xiaomi Fast Charging

Speaking about batteries, charging them is now faster than ever. The fastest charging yet is about 120W which is on the Xiaomi MI 11T. To put this into perspective, the Mi 11T will be able to charge from 0 to 100% in just 17 minutes which is absolutely mind boggling. These are just some of the ways that smart phones have gotten better over the years.

Experimental phones.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Nowadays, it is very common for smart phone manufacturers to produce a minimum of three phones in the same lineup. For example, the Iphone 13 which was recently released, has four phones in the lineup; the Iphone 13 mini, the Iphone 13, the Iphone 13 Pro and the Iphone 13 Pro Max. Samsung has the same approach too with their Galaxy S21 lineup.

There is the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 plus and the Galaxy S21 ultra. The Pro Max and the Ultra are simply experimental phones. What I mean by experimental is that they contain features which are not necessary to the common user. They are more of enthusiasts’ phones and they are actually the most expensive with the top-of-the-line S21 Ultra costing over $1600.

They are definitely not a must-buy but they contribute to phones getting more and more expensive. Remember when Apple released both the Iphone 8 and the Iphone X in the same year. The Iphone X seemed like more of an experimental phone and despite it being more expensive, it ended up selling more than the Iphone 8.

Taxes and versatility.


Different countries have different tax regulations. This is no wonder that a phone can launch with an MSRP of $1000 and end up selling for about $1500 in other countries. This totally depends on the cut that your country takes on imported goods.

In addition to that, mobile phones have become more versatile than ever. For example, your phone can replace your computer. This is because smart phones have gotten so powerful that they can handle most computer tasks. From video and photo editing to doing basic tasks like sending and receiving emails. While on the topic of power, phones can now handle most games that hand held consoles can handle. There is absolutely no need of handheld consoles anymore unless you are a Nintendo switch die hard.

Final thoughts.

Smart Phones

There is no doubt that the prices of mobile phones are hiking as time goes by. This may be a terrible thing for most but it is also an advantage in disguise. This is because more features that used to be on high end models are now readily available on budget phones. Hope this article shed some light as to why phone prices are hiking. Would you prefer buying a top-of-the-line handset or mid-range phone?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Caroline Njeri

    Great insights here Den. I’m a fan of mid-range phones. Unless I get a top-of-the-line handset as a gift, I wouldn’t be open to buying one.

  2. Shukrani Maina

    As long as the phone is high quality, the price does not mattter

Leave a Reply