There are two most popular and debated questions in the consumer electronics and information technology sector: is Android or iPhone better? and then even Better Windows or Mac ?.
Let me tell you, both questions are simply ridiculous and impossible to answer, because behind Android (and the same can be said of Windows) there is a world of differences. If you were comparing the latest iPhone to the latest Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone then there would be some debate, but whether Android or iOS is better on a generic basis doesn’t make much sense since Android smartphones are by no means all the same.
Many users think that Android presents itself identically on all phones that adopt the same system: for many who have used Samsung in recent years it could be a shock to switch to other manufacturers that have Android but with a level of customization that does not recognize it, thus finding oneself displaced by the great differentiation that can be had with a free system (in fact it is the great advantage of Android). Precisely because Android is so different it is important to be able to grasp the differences, so we know which phone we are buying and what to expect in the following years.
Obviously we cannot expect a $ 200 Android smartphone to have the same speed and features as a $ 1000 phone, even if the operating system is the same; the same can be said when analyzing phones from various manufacturers, which apply various customizations and make the user experience different every time you switch from one manufacturer to another. Let’s see in the chapters below what are the differences that can be seen in the various price ranges and among the most famous producers which adopt Android as their operating system.
In this guide we will show you what they are the main differences between Android smartphones of various price ranges and what are the differences between the smartphones of various manufacturers, so as to have a complete picture of the situation and be able to choose a new phone without surprises.
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Differences based on hardware and price
Let’s start by talking about the differences between phones with different selling prices: the price in the end is one of the most important parameters when choosing a new phone and, even if many are convinced of the opposite, a $ 200 phone will never be comparable to a $ 1000 phone or more because the internal parts with which they are built are profoundly different.
In order to understand the difference we will consider a € 200 phone as valid as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S, one of the best sellers of 2021, mid-level phone from 150 euros.
On this phone we find a 6.5-inch FHD + screen, DotDisplay technology, 90 Hz refresh rate, MediaTek Dimensity 800U processor, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of expandable internal memory, triple rear camera, 5000mAh battery, support for 5G networks, Dual SIM support, NFC support and MIUI operating system (based on Android 10).
As a premium-range phone (where it abundantly exceeds € 1000) we will instead examine the Samsung Smartphone Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, a real 1200 Euro phone bomb, with an incredible camera and a really high level hardware.
This smartphone has a 6.8-inch display with Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology, 120 Hz refresh rate, Exynos 2100 processor with 5nm production technology, Gorilla Victus glass, five rear cameras with artificial intelligence, 128 GB internal memory, 12GB RAM , 5000mAh internal battery, Dual SIM + eSIM system, support for 5G networks and Android 10 operating system.
Both phones have Android 10 as the operating system but the technical characteristics are decidedly different and in favor of Samsung, to the point of being able to say that using the € 1000 phone we will have a user experience that cannot be replicated with the € 200 smartphone. Obviously no one says that the € 200 phone is to be thrown away, but if we expect a phone with a certain quality we can’t expect to spend little and hope to have the same user experience as a $ 1000 Samsung.
This means to enjoy a decent Android user experience we have to spend 1000 €? Not necessarily, since there are always excellent half measures in the world of phones with the green robot. To replicate the user experience of a Samsung from 1000 €, however, we have to spend much more than 200 €, focusing for example on the OnePlus 8 Pro for just over 600 €.
This smartphone is on par with Samsung, as it has a 6.78-inch FullHD, Full Amoled display, Ultra Smooth display technology with HDR support, 120Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, 12 GB of RAM , 256 GB of storage space, quadruple rear camera (less than that of the Samsung), 65 W Warp Charge proprietary fast charging system, Dual SIM support, support for 5G networks and OxygenOS 11 operating system (based on Android 10).
And if we do not have great demands and want to spend very little, we can always focus on a basic but complete phone like it Xiaomi Redmi 9, available on Amazon for € 170.
Even at a low price we will have in our hands a phone with a 6.53-inch display, Helio G80 processor, 4GB of RAM memory, 64GB of expandable internal memory, quadruple rear camera, Dual SIM support, USB Type-C charging socket, 5020 mAh, fast charging and MIUI operating system (based on Android 10).
To learn more about the Android smartphones present in the various price ranges we can read our guide Best Android smartphone from 100 to 1500 Euros.
Differences by manufacturer
If, on the other hand, we want to understand the differences between the various Android smartphone manufacturers, just read what are the prominent features of each manufacturer in the list below:
- Samsung: for years the king of the market with modern phones, equipped with all the new technologies and an Android operating system with a good level of customization. This manufacturer pays for a bad management of the optimizations of the old systems (at least until he was still using TouchWiz as a launcher), too many included apps that are useless and a policy that is never too clear on updates. SAmsung’s problem is that while it cares a lot about the support of its more expensive phones, it pays little attention to cheaper models, for which updates are often slow if not missing.
- Xiaomi is a rapidly growing manufacturer also in Italy, thanks to fast and cheap phones. This manufacturer presents one of the most customized versions of Android, which actually makes it look like iPhone in many ways. Xiaomi takes care of the updates of its smartphones very clearly, without forgetting the less expensive models. The flaw is the presence of too many models in the same price range and the frequent release of new models that are substantially identical to the previous ones, also creating a lot of confusion about the names.
- Huawei it has almost been the industry leader in recent years, so much so that it outstripped Samsung in sales for a while. Today, however, the total absence of Google services is paying for, due to the ban by the United States of America and not only are there less for sale in stores, but interest in new models has also collapsed. With Huawei, today, we cannot say that the Android system is the same as that installed on phones of other brands.
- OnePlus (come Oppo that are part of the same company) is today among the most reliable brands to focus on for a high-end Android phone but still affordable. The operating system is modern, customized enough and very fast in system updates.
Is Android the same system on all these phones?
While Android phones are not all the same, speaking instead of the Android system so yes, It’s always the same although the version may vary and even if some features may have been added by the manufacturer, also based on the hardware of the smartphone. For example, a smartphone with 12 GB of RAM may have optimization functions for games that will perform significantly better than a smartphone with 4 GB of memory.
Those who care about the quality of the photos, then, will find how good the camera of a 1000 Euro smartphone is compared to the poorer one of a 200 Euro phone. The same camera app, which is always made by the same house that makes the phone, will have many more features on the expensive phone than you will find in the cheaper one.
Then there are sensors that may be present in some models and absent in others, which means compatibility with a certain type of app that uses sensors.
For the specific functions of the phone, Android is always the same on all phones (if it is the same version), with the same apps, with the same settings, with the same menus, the same buttons, the same home screen (remember that the home screen of the apps can be customized and changed in any Android smartphone with a launcher other than the default one).
Beyond personal tastes on Android customizations, to make the difference according to our point of view is the speed of updates, since all users want the latest in technology and have a secure smartphone that receives the security updates released by Google on time. In this regard we can read our guide Android updates: who faster among Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and other manufacturers?
As can be seen from this guide we can find an Android smartphone for all tastes: we go from the phone that can satisfy the needs of the user who always wants the best (and will therefore focus only on the most expensive models) to the economic phone that still offers enough power and functions to use all the main apps without slowdowns and without surprises. If we really want to take a parameter to choose between one manufacturer and another we choose the update frequency of the Android system, often too underestimated but essential nowadays to have a secure system equipped with the latest features.
Still on the subject of Android updates, we can read our guides Why Android does not update and how to do it e How to update Android (even without installing new versions).