Why Buy A Flagship Android Smartphone?

April 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

With a £600 RPP it’s impossible to justify buying a Samsung Galaxy S4. Or is it?

Here are a list of things you can buy for under £600: a 64GB iPad 4, a 55-inch Samsung PS51D550 plasma TV, an Acer Aspire Timeline ultrabook, an LG BH8220B surround sound system, a Canon EOS 650D DSLR camera, a return flight to Caribbean and ‘’any smartphone on the market’’… except the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Then again, this stands to reason because did you know the S4 is twice as good as the Galaxy S3 and more than twice as good as the Google Nexus 4?

What’s that… it isn’t? But that’s what the asking price says. Flippancy aside it is about time we asked: are premium smartphones worth the money?


From a hardware perspective there is a great deal to admire. The current crop of benchmark handsets, which includes the circa £500 HTC One and Sony Xperia Z, pack quad-core processors producing benchmark results that almost double those of the previous generation.

They also have jaw-dropping 1080p Full HD screens and the latest camera technology. Furthermore their costs can be spread over the length of a two-year contract for those intimidated by their hefty SIM-free asking prices and it is a tactic that seems to be working.

“The demand for the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been truly phenomenal at pre-order stage,” reported Phones 4U chief commercial officer Scott Hooton on Thursday. “In the first six hours alone, pre-orders placed both online and in-store are five time that of the Samsung Galaxy SIII over the same time period.” Hooton also confirmed the S4 had broken the record for the highest number of pre-registrations previously held by the iPhone 4S.

That said look closer and the total cost of ownership for these handsets is eye-watering. In the case of the Galaxy S4, Three currently has the cheapest deal, which nets you a free phone if you sign a £35pm two-year deal on its Ultimate Internet 500 plan. This gives you 500 minutes, 5000 texts and All-You-Can-Eat data.

The total cost of ownership (TCO) is £840. On Vodafone and O2 a free S4 starts on two year contracts costing from £42pm and £47pm respectively and on EE tariffs (above) a £56pm two year contract on 4G gets you the S4 for a £19.99 outlay. TCO here comes in at £1,008, £1,128 and £1,363 respectively. Wow.


In the Cheap Corner
Just four months ago the picture pin-up phones were very different. Top of our lust list were the Samsung Galaxy S3, LG Nexus 4 and HTC One X. They pack 4.7-inch 720p HD screens, lower clocked quad-core processors and eight-megapixel cameras rather than the 13 megapixels found in the S4 and Xperia Z.

Today all three handsets can be bought for under £300 new and contract free. Coupled with Three’s The One Plan which offers 2,000 minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes, 5,000 SMS and unlimited data on a 30-day rolling contract for just £25pm the TCO over two years comes in at… £900. ‘’Surprise!’’

Yes the twist is that, for all the outcry about the sky high prices of the latest handsets, the real cost isn’t so much in outlay but freedom… This is a sample. To read about the shock in opting for the cheaper option click here for the full editorial @ TrustedReviews

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

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