What's the obsession with expensive phones?

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Gethsemani:
Let me offer a different perspective: Most people are terrible at calculating the total cost of monthly payments. Most people who get flashy flagship phones also get them (somewhat) discounted when they sign up for a multi year service plan with a service provider. Thus they don't see the actual $800+ price tag, what they see is a deceptively agreeable extra $15-20 extra on top of their $30-50 service plan. Add to that that many service providers also provide some decent replacement deals in case your phone gets damaged or destroyed and it probably seems like a pretty good deal to get a cool phone.

I know I fell for it last time I had to change my phone. It is not that many people need a new super cool phone, it is that service providers are really good at selling them to people as "a bonus" to their service plan. They are the bling that the phone companies use to lure people into expensive plans.

That's basically inline with my reasoning of phones just being marketed really well along with people just not realizing that a $100 phone now does everything.

PsychedelicDiamond:
What's the deal with expensive... anything? Maybe it's a poor people thing, or maybe it's because I'm a literal socialist, but I value expediency over luxury. I had a CRT television up to, like, 2012. I drove a car from the mid 90s until last year, when it broke down on me. I almost exclusively drink tap water. I'm a few bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon short of being a hipster. Call it utilitarianism but status symbols don't mean much to me.

Haha, I'm rather similar like I didn't buy a flatscreen TV until I bought a PS4 and realized it only has an HDMI port. I actually looked it up and found sources saying it had an AV out like the PS3.

Agema:

Phoenixmgs:
I seriously don't get why everyone "needs" an expensive phone these days.

For the same reason people frequently buy an Audi or Mercedes when a much cheaper Ford or Renault would do. It's about the image and the bragging rights.

That said, I have an "expensive" phone; albeit a premium phone on its release, but not by the time I got it 18 months later during a sale, by which time it was more a mid-price phone.

Everyone seems to feel they need an expensive phone. It's not like everyone is driving an Audi or Mercedes like everyone has a $700 phone these days. The same people I know that have a Kia or can't afford a car have top-of-the-line phones.

I mostly use mine for mobile games...and watching videos/youtube.

A better phone means better/faster playback for 1080p+ mkvs and the like.

Also, this Note 8 I just got fairly recently has an excellent pen that's pretty much wacom tech in a smaller package. Aside from mobile programs generally being kinda crappy (I long for the day when I can throw ClipStudio on this damn thing), it's actually great for art on the go.

And it was 500 bucks less than the upcoming flagship since I waited so damned long to upgrade to it.

Phoenixmgs:

Agema:

Phoenixmgs:
I seriously don't get why everyone "needs" an expensive phone these days.

For the same reason people frequently buy an Audi or Mercedes when a much cheaper Ford or Renault would do. It's about the image and the bragging rights.

That said, I have an "expensive" phone; albeit a premium phone on its release, but not by the time I got it 18 months later during a sale, by which time it was more a mid-price phone.

Everyone seems to feel they need an expensive phone. It's not like everyone is driving an Audi or Mercedes like everyone has a $700 phone these days. The same people I know that have a Kia or can't afford a car have top-of-the-line phones.

Because it's attainable. Most people can do a few weekends of overtime at work and afford a new samsung galaxy, even if they're working at close to minimum wage. Dropping an extra $500 on a phone isn't the same as dropping an extra $30,000 on a better car.

One of my friends is saving up for a PS4. I told him if he stopping buying chips and soda every lunch he'd be saving $10 a week, would have enough money to buy a PS4 by black Friday, and he'd lose some weight in the process. It's actually kind of amazing how easy to is to scrap together a couple hundred dollars for most people. We all waste money on things we don't actually need, you can always just redirect some of that waste.

Since the charging port on my Nokia 3510i (Best Phone Ever!) broke down, I've been using a Samsung GT E 1080.
My sister thought I could use an update, so she got me an HTC Wildfire, which I used concurrently with the Samsung.
Until the HTC battery starting losing its charge after a few weeks. I can charge it almost full, but after only a few hours lying untouched in my pocket it starts bleeping red and complain about a low battery. Though it can still maintain that low battery for about 2 days. Anyway, I've just gotten a new phone to swap out the HTC with. A Nokia C5-00.

LostGryphon:
A better phone means better/faster playback for 1080p+ mkvs and the like.

My Samsung On5 plays 1080p MKVs just fine, I got some on my phone right now.

Dirty Hipsters:

Phoenixmgs:
Everyone seems to feel they need an expensive phone. It's not like everyone is driving an Audi or Mercedes like everyone has a $700 phone these days. The same people I know that have a Kia or can't afford a car have top-of-the-line phones.

Because it's attainable. Most people can do a few weekends of overtime at work and afford a new samsung galaxy, even if they're working at close to minimum wage. Dropping an extra $500 on a phone isn't the same as dropping an extra $30,000 on a better car.

But that expensive phone doesn't do anything more than a $200 phone unlike a luxury car has lots more features that will actually be used.

Phoenixmgs:

But that expensive phone doesn't do anything more than a $200 phone unlike a luxury car has lots more features that will actually be used.

Well, the expensive phone will have a nicer screen, take better photos (and this is a really big thing to some people), have a quicker processer and more RAM and just generally be better. The car, on the other hand, just takes you from A to B.

Baffle2:

Phoenixmgs:

But that expensive phone doesn't do anything more than a $200 phone unlike a luxury car has lots more features that will actually be used.

Well, the expensive phone will have a nicer screen, take better photos (and this is a really big thing to some people), have a quicker processer and more RAM and just generally be better. The car, on the other hand, just takes you from A to B.

This is hilariously tone deaf.

Lets look at a situation for you:
John is a revvhead. He's super mechanical, does lots of his own work. Is passionate about and really enjoys getting under the hood, having track days, and really enjoying his daily drive.
He doesnt give a crap about taking photos, fiddling with apps or doing anything other than making and receiving calls.
To John, the smart phones are frivolous crap. The photo quality is irrelevant and the extra features arent something he gives a crap about. Whether it be the basic model, or the premium model, it takes photos and makes calls.

His BMW or Mercedes has a better ride, more power, a satisfying growl and plenty of bells and whistles to enhance his daily commute.

Have I made my point yet? Both of you are wrong, stuck on projecting personal values as objective facts.

Elijin:

This is hilariously tone deaf.

No it wasn't, I knew exactly what I was doing. I deliberately underplayed the difference between a runabout and a luxury car because that's what the OP is doing with phones.

My theory is that it's a justifiable expense (since they use it for everything anyway) and it saves them from having to go through the trouble of picking from the wider market of phones and it's a left over habit from when the more expensive phones were truly better.

Phoenixmgs:

LostGryphon:
A better phone means better/faster playback for 1080p+ mkvs and the like.

My Samsung On5 plays 1080p MKVs just fine, I got some on my phone right now.

I might be a bit outdated in this.

I just remember even my old HTC One M8 having difficulty playing mkvs without issues. Regardless, my screen is a bigass 1440p with purty color. I'm content with the pricing.

Baffle2:

Elijin:

This is hilariously tone deaf.

No it wasn't, I knew exactly what I was doing. I deliberately underplayed the difference between a runabout and a luxury car because that's what the OP is doing with phones.

I get what you were doing. However, better cars have features that more budgeted cars don't have like heated seats, remote start, bluetooth (has that become standard yet?), etc. Standard car packages are surprisingly devoid of cheap and commonplace features like my 2012 Civic didn't come with bluetooth (which only costs like $10 or so). Whereas better phones just do the same things but slightly better like a better camera or screen. I bet the average consumer has a higher res screen on their 5" phone than there 40+" TV, which doesn't make much sense at all. People aren't buying more expensive cars because a bit higher horsepower and torque for example.

wizzy555:
My theory is that it's a justifiable expense (since they use it for everything anyway) and it saves them from having to go through the trouble of picking from the wider market of phones and it's a left over habit from when the more expensive phones were truly better.

That somewhat makes sense though we go through the trouble with a lot of other things like cars and TVs. Just like any other thing out there, you just go one-step above bottom of the barrel and you got a phone that does everything just like say a TV.

LostGryphon:
I might be a bit outdated in this.

I just remember even my old HTC One M8 having difficulty playing mkvs without issues. Regardless, my screen is a bigass 1440p with purty color. I'm content with the pricing.

It could have been the software over the hardware especially with MKVs. I know an video player I didn't update for like a year didn't play a 1080p MKV well until I updated the app (Moboplayer).

Phoenixmgs:

I get what you were doing. However, better cars have features that more budgeted cars don't have like heated seats, remote start, bluetooth (has that become standard yet?), etc. Standard car packages are surprisingly devoid of cheap and commonplace features like my 2012 Civic didn't come with bluetooth (which only costs like $10 or so). Whereas better phones just do the same things but slightly better like a better camera or screen. I bet the average consumer has a higher res screen on their 5" phone than there 40+" TV, which doesn't make much sense at all. People aren't buying more expensive cars because a bit higher horsepower and torque for example.

Yay, some gets me! I understand what you're saying about the car/phone thing in terms of features, but I think it just comes down to people being prepared to pay more for something that is just better (obviously there is a status symbol thing with both of these too though).

To take another product where I pay slightly more for something better: I use a lot of red-ink pens, and I pay more for gel pens than for ballpoints. Red ballpoints work okay but it isn't a very nice red, and sometimes it's a bit faint. Gel pens, much better - a strong red and you don't have to press down. They both do the same job, but the gel pen does it much better (and is nicer to hold usually) - that's why I'd pay more for it.

Phoenixmgs:

wizzy555:
My theory is that it's a justifiable expense (since they use it for everything anyway) and it saves them from having to go through the trouble of picking from the wider market of phones and it's a left over habit from when the more expensive phones were truly better.

That somewhat makes sense though we go through the trouble with a lot of other things like cars and TVs. Just like any other thing out there, you just go one-step above bottom of the barrel and you got a phone that does everything just like say a TV.

High end TVs and cars are VERY expensive. Bank breaking expensive. As phones get more and more expensive more people will break away, then the high end market will collapse or at least decline.

Baffle2:
Yay, some gets me! I understand what you're saying about the car/phone thing in terms of features, but I think it just comes down to people being prepared to pay more for something that is just better (obviously there is a status symbol thing with both of these too though).

To take another product where I pay slightly more for something better: I use a lot of red-ink pens, and I pay more for gel pens than for ballpoints. Red ballpoints work okay but it isn't a very nice red, and sometimes it's a bit faint. Gel pens, much better - a strong red and you don't have to press down. They both do the same job, but the gel pen does it much better (and is nicer to hold usually) - that's why I'd pay more for it.

I don't get the status symbol of a phone considering just about everyone has a phone case that hides most differences of a flagship anyway. I totally get certain car brands being status symbols because it's super obvious the difference between say a Chevy Corvette and Chevy Cruze or a BMW vs a Ford. I also get people paying more for a premium, you like that pen smoothness so you buy better pens. However, most people are fine with whatever thing that just gets the job done whether it's pens or cars while there will always be those aficionados of anything. The thing with phones I notice is that just about everyone for some reason seems to be phone aficionados, and that just seems rather unprecedented and quite an extreme outlier.

Relevant to me, what's the obsession with expensive guitars? There are endless videos on YouTube showing the contrast between guitars that cost just north of $100 USD and others that cost well in the excess of $4,000. They tend to show while there are differences in the sound made, they aren't worth the substantial price difference (even if the reviewer will start gushing about how amazeballs the more expensive ones are). If you want good examples of this, look at Anderton's Music's channel where they do this many times. Rob Chapman, a man who builds and plays guitars professionally, frequently struggles to identify how expensive a guitar is based on sound alone (more often basing his admittedly correct guesses on build quality and strong familiarity with brands). Lee Anderton, a 3rd generation guitar retailer, often states he can't keep himself away from the high-end stuff even though he struggles more than Chapman to identify which guitars cost more.

People are also often under the impression their guitar gods use only the best of the best and are surprised to learn most of them got cheap guitars second-hand (Clapton, Vaughn, Hendrix, Page, Slash etc). It's not uncommon for officially-made replicas of these guitars (complete with perfectly replicated damage) to cost 10x + what the original cost.

The reason is the public deems it so. The public deems it so largely due to successful marketing campaigns which tend to perpetuate themselves. What do you think of when you think "Mercedes?"

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