Below Apple are less known Android-based smartphones that range from $100 or so all the way up to iPhone XS Max class prices. Guess who has another iPhone killer? Nokia. Uh huh. That Nokia. I know. You thought they went out of business years ago. Think Bell and Howell for smartphones.
What Money Buys
OK, Nokia is not dead. A Chinese company bought the brand and slapped it on plastic smartphones that run Android. That’s called rebirth. There must be enough smartphone customers who loved their Nokias from yesteryear that the brand name was worth something.
What about the phones?
Nokia starts at $99 with the 1 Plus and has all the same hardware components as an iPhone sans the same quality. For example, the LCD display on 1 Plus is a mere 5.45-inches and barely 820p. For $99 you get a gig of RAM, 8GB of storage and a MicroSD card slot, an 8MP camera in back, and a 5MP selfie camera. Otherwise, it’s the same as iPhone XR but uses plastic instead of glass, and, like all iPhones, it’s a flat slab with rounded corners.
Looks familiar, too, right?
Nokia does one thing I like in its naming scheme. It adds .1 to each new model. Nokia 3.1 became Nokia 3.2. $139. Nokia 4.1 became Nokia 4.2. $169. All of them have a headphone jack, NFC, and MicroUSB. What sets the Nokia brand apart is that it mimics iPhone with updates and upgrades and almost the latest Android version– with a promise to take major OS updates and monthly security updates.
The thing to understand about iPhone competitors is that none of them are an iPhone for $170 or an iPhone for $999. Apple has something of a built-in requirement to charge more for iPhones than comparable hardware from competing Android vendors.
Apple designs and ships iOS while Android smartphone makers get it their OS free from Google, so they don’t have the ongoing development cost. iOS is a major differentiator for Apple, even if they both look and feel about the same with the same applications (remember; as Microsoft stole point and click from Apple’s Mac, Google stole iPhone’s touch interface for Android).
Yes, you can buy a smartphone for $99 and get it with a well known brand that dates back to the last century. Nokia. Yet, you get what you pay for in terms of camera quality, display quality, service and support (have you ever seen a Nokia store or a Nokia employee), the Android privacy and security problem, and even resale value (it seems Apple and Samsung have the only smartphones with a real resale value).
A Cadillac CT6 is not a Kia Rio. Both are cars. Both will get you from point A to point B. The ride is not the same.