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Old Flagship Vs New Mid-Range Smartphone? The Ultimate Showdown

Cheap Smartphones are getting Good and Good Smartphones are getting Cheap. This is what MKBHD, the famous Youtuber says.

The Mid-range smartphones of today are comparable to last year’s Flagship and Budget smartphones of this year are comparable to Mid-range smartphones of last year.

With Mid-range smartphones like Mi 9T Pro or K20 Pro, is there even a reason to consider Flagship smartphones from the same year, let alone from the previous year.

We are going to compare every feature, gimmick, and specifications of the one-year-old Flagship Smartphone with a new Mid-Range Smartphone. Specifically, Flagship Smartphones From 2018 Vs Mid-Range Smartphones from 2019.

The reason being, All the smartphones from 2019 have had their full reviews taken and small bugs and minor fixes should be patched by now.

I am going to cover the following aspects of smartphones:

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  1. Processor Performance
  2. Graphics Performance
  3. Memory Performance
  4. Storage Performance
  5. Display Comparison
  6. Comms Performance
  7. Camera Comparison
  8. Battery and Charging Comparison
  9. Audio Quality
  10. Extra Features

Smartphone We Chose:

I tried to pick every Mid Range smartphone around 500 dollars. I did not pick any smartphone around 300 dollars because they can not compete with Flagships from even last year. For example, Huawei Honor 9X has HiSilicon Kirin 710F which can not even compete with Snapdragon 730, let alone Snapdragon 845. I am just talking about processor here, if I talk about the camera, things get even more sketchy.

We picked Flagship (Top of the line) smartphones from 2018. Some of them have Snapdragon 845, some have HiSilicon Kirin 980 and in the case of Apple iPhones, SOC is A11 Bionic.

Not all of the Mid-range smartphones have the same chipset, some have Snapdragon 855, some have Snapdragon 730, some have HiSilicon Kirin 980, and iPhone XR has A12 bionic.

The Apple iPhone case is peculiar. I chose the Flagship iPhone (iPhone X) from 2017, and Mid-range iPhone (iPhone XR) from 2018. This is because of the higher prices compared to other smartphones on the list. You can buy iPhone XR for 600 dollars right now on the official Apple Website.

Apple iPhone Prices 2020

Ranking System?

We have mentioned 10 categories that we would use to compare the Flagship and Mid-range smartphones. I would mention them here again.

  1. Processor Performance
  2. Graphics Performance
  3. Memory Performance
  4. Storage Performance
  5. Display Comparison
  6. Comms Performance
  7. Camera Comparison
  8. Battery and Charging Comparison
  9. Audio Quality
  10. Extra Features

Each of these categories has a value of 10 points. I would be comparing the Mid-Range with the Flagship in each of these categories.

Each smartphone from both sides would be compared to every smartphone. For example, OnePlus 7 (Mid-range) would be compared with every Flagship smartphone in each category. For each category, a smartphone holds one point and ten points in total for ten categories. If I compare the processor of OnePlus 7 with all the Flagship smartphone processors, it would get 1 whole point only if it beats every flagship smartphone in the processor category. Whereas, if we compare Huawei Honor 20 processor performance, Honor 20 would get 0.8 points in the processor category because it is beating 8 flagship smartphones.

To get 10 points in each category, we would compare each Flagship smartphone with a mid-range smartphone in the order they are written in the table. We would write smartphones from Mid-range and Flagship in Descending order and we would compare the smartphones written against one another in the table.

Processor Performance:

The processing performance is one of the most important specifications that everyone looks at when buying a smartphone.

The Flagship smartphones always come with the top of the line processor each year. But the Mid-Range smartphones do not always include the top of the line processor. Some Mid-range smartphones like Mi 9T Pro have a high-end Snapdragon 855 but the Google Pixel 3a has Snapdragon 670 which is a mid-range processor.

Therefore, Different Mid-range smartphones come with different processor chips, unlike the Flagship smartphones that have only high-end processor chips.

Let’s first have a look at the processors of different Flagship and Mid-range Smartphones.

Mid RangeProcessorGeekBench
Flagship ProcessorGeekBench
OnePlus 7 SD 855 723/2628 iPhone X A11 Bionic 919/2372
iPhone XR A12 Bionic 1108/2575 Huawei Mate 20
Kirin 980 680/2328
Mi 9T Pro SD 855 680/2571 Nokia 9 PureView SD 845 510/2196
Huawei Nova 5T Kirin 980 686/2456 Razer Phone 2 SD 845 504/2185
Asus Zenfone 6 SD 855 718/2436 Asus ROG Phone SD 845 506/2127
Realme X2 Pro SD 855+ 662/2429 Sony Xperia XZ2 SD 845 499/2086
Huawei Honor 20 Kirin 980 685/2306 HTC U12+ SD 845 507/2082
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 SD 730G 530/1676 Samsung Note 9 SD 845 481/2011
Samsung A70 SD 675 478/1524 Pixel 3XL SD 845 491/2007
Google Pixel 3a XL SD 670 348/1321 LG V40 SD 845 431/1874

We would now compare each smartphone from one side with every smartphone from other to determine scores for each smartphone in the table.

Mid-Range SmartphonePointsFlagship SmartphonePoints
OnePlus 71 iPhone X 0.4
iPhone XR1 Huawei Mate 20
Mi 9T Pro1 Nokia 9 PureView 0.3
Huawei Nova 5T1 Razer Phone 2 0.3
Asus Zenfone 61 Asus ROG Phone 0.3
Realme X2 Pro1 Sony Xperia XZ20.3
Huawei Honor 200.8 HTC U12+0.3
Xiaomi Mi Note 100 Samsung Note 90.3
Samsung A700 Pixel 3XL0.3
Google Pixel 3a XL0 LG V400.3
Total = 6.8Total = 3.2

The Mid-Range smartphones have beaten the Flagship smartphones by 6.8-3.2= 3.6 points in processor performance. It is mainly due to the fact that more and more Mid-Range smartphones are coming with the Flagship smartphone processors.

But Processor is one factor that determines a smartphone performance and there are a ton of other factors. So do not think if a Mid-Range smartphone can beat a Flagship in processor performance, that the Mid-range is a superior device.

There is also one more concern that I could not cover in this category which I wanted to but could not due to the limited resources. The thing is the sustained performance of Mid-Range smartphones is not as good as the Flagship smartphones. If you still do not know about the sustained performance of the processor, I recommend reading this article.

Smartphones with the Same Processor have Different Performance, WHY?

There is a reason I have picked 10 categories to compare these devices and not just one. So, winning in the processor performance does not mean the Mid-range smartphones would win every category.

Graphics Performance

To measure the graphics in points is a really difficult task because unlike Geekbench, there is no one accurate application that can determine the 3D or Graphics performance of a smartphone.

To combat this, we will take an average of scores of different GPU tests from the 3DMark application for each smartphone and then compare them with each other.

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There are six different tests for GPU performance in 3DMark application named as:

  • Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1)
  • Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan)
  • Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited
  • Sling Shot
  • Sling Shot Unlimited
  • Ice Storm Unlimited

All of these tests measure Physics Score which determines CPU performance and Graphics Score which determines GPU performance. I will only take the average GPU performance scores. But there is another problem, not all of the smartphones support these six tests.

There are only three tests in 3DBench that are supported by all the smartphones whether Android or iOS, Samsung or Huawei. These three tests are:

  • Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1)
  • Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited
  • Sling Shot

So, I will take the average of the scores of these three tests. These scores will be added to the average of 2D and 3D from Passmark Scores (For Android, For iPhones).

For a detailed article on 3D performance:

GPU Performance on Smartphones

If it is confusing, I will explain by taking one smartphone as an example. I will take Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro for this example.

To get 3DMark benchmarks for Mi 9T Pro, I will go to Just search ‘Mi 9T Pro ul benchmark’ and click the first link in Google results. The link to Mi 9T Pro Ul benchmark is this. Here I will just add the results of Sling Shot Extreme, Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited and Sling Shot and divide the result by 3 to get the average. Let me show the results that I got, 6269 + 6789 + 9598 = 22656. Let’s divide this result by 3 to get the average. The result of the 3DMark score is 22656/3 = 7552.

The second step is to get PassMark scores. Go to Android Benchmark and search for the smartphone by using ‘CTRL+F’. In our example, the PassMark link for Mi 9T Pro is this. Add the 2D and 3D scores from this link of Mi 9T Pro and divide the result by 2 to get the average. The results that I got here are 12775 + 4769 = ‬17544. Let’s divide this result by 2 to get the average, 17544/2 = 8772.‬

The final 3D or GPU score for Mi 9T Pro is 7552+8772=16324.

This how I got the 3D Scores of all the smartphones. Let’s write the data in the table below to compare them.

Realme X2 Pro Adreno 640 18526Razer Phone 2Adreno 63015510
OnePlus 7 Adreno 64017244Asus ROG Phone Adreno 630 14083
Asus Zenfone 6 Adreno 64017211Nokia 9 PureView Adreno 630 14071
Mi 9t ProAdreno 64016324Sony Xperia XZ2 Adreno 630 14037
iPhone XR4-core Graphics15402Huawei Mate 20 Pro Mali-G76 MP10 13645
Huawei Nova 5TMali-G76 MP1012376Pixel 3XL Adreno 630 13369
Huawei Honor 20 Mali-G76 MP1012017Samsung Note 9 Adreno 630 13350
Xiaomi Mi Note 10Adreno 6189598HTC U12+ Adreno 630 12199
Samsung A70Adreno 6126927LG V40 Adreno 630 11894
Google Pixel 3a XLAdreno 6157560iPhone X 4-core Graphics 9439

Let’s compare the GPU scores and award points to each smartphone according to their scores.

Mid-Range SmartphonePointsFlagship SmartphonePoints
Realme X2 Pro1.0Razer Phone 20.6
OnePlus 7 1.0 Asus ROG Phone 0.5
Asus Zenfone 61.0 Nokia 9 PureView 0.5
Mi 9t Pro1.0 Sony Xperia XZ2 0.5
iPhone XR0.9 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 0.5
Huawei Nova 5T0.3 Pixel 3XL 0.5
Huawei Honor 200.2 Samsung Note 9 0.5
Xiaomi Mi Note 100.1 HTC U12+ 0.4
Samsung A700 LG V40 0.3
Google Pixel 3a XL0iPhone X 0.2

Realme X2 Pro beats every Flagship smartphone in GPU score, so it earns a whole point. Google Pixel 3a XL does not beat even one Flagship smartphone in the 3D score which is why it earns zero scores. Asus ROG Phone beats five Mid-Range smartphones in 3D Scores which is why it got 0.5 points.

The results of the 3D scores conclude that Mid-Range smartphones can outperform a Flagship smartphone in 3D or Graphics performance. This again does not mean that the Mid-Range smartphones can beat the Flagships in every 3D task.

Memory Performance

Memory or Ram Performance is not important but is overlooked by most people and even reviewers. Most reviewers and content creators do not even look at the Ram speeds and only look at the Ram capacity which is unfortunate, to say the least. We are not going to make the same mistake.

Since there is not a lot of data on Ram’s performance. I could only find one reliable source that benchmarks Ram speeds i.e. Passmark.

Mid-Range SmartphonesRam ScoreFlagship SmartphonesRam Score
iPhone XR30,231,952iPhone X25,815,152
Realme X231,257Mate 20 Pro30,134
OnePlus 730,784Asus ROG Phone12,698
Huawei Nova 5T29,818Razer Phone 212,361
Honor 2029,563HTC U12+12,280
Asus zenfone 629,023Sony Xperia XZ212,278
Mi 9T Pro28,115Nokia 9 Pureview12,078
Mi Note 1023,129Pixel 3XL11,733
Samsung A7023,127LG V4011,251
Pixel 3a XL9,392Samsung Note 98,609

Now that all the values are on the table, let’s assign performance by comparing scores.

Mid-Range SmartphonesPointsFlagship SmartphonesPoints
iPhone XR1.0 iPhone X0.9
Realme X2 Pro0.9 Mate 20 Pro0.7
OnePlus 70.9 Asus ROG Phone0.1
Huawei Nova 5T0.8 Razer Phone 2 0.1
Honor 200.8 HTC U12+ 0.1
Asus zenfone 6 0.8 Sony Xperia XZ2 0.1
Mi 9T Pro 0.8 Nokia 9 Pureview 0.1
Mi Note 10 0.8 Pixel 3XL 0.1
Samsung A70 0.8 LG V40 0.1
Pixel 3a XL0.1 Samsung Note 90

This round is a clear winner for Mid-Range Smartphones, no comparison here.

Storage Performance

Storage is also known as internal storage or ROM. It holds all of the media files as well as the operating system. If you are an average consumer who does not want to look at all the specifications of a smartphone. Just look at the storage performance because better storage performance means better overall performance in all the areas. I am saying this because storage is the bottleneck in most of the budget and Mid-Range smartphones.

I will be comparing the storage of smartphones by comparing their Passmark Disk Mark scores and UL Benchmarks storage scores. Basically, I am going to add the scores of ‘PCMark Storage’ and PassMark ‘Disk Mark’.

iPhone XRNVMe117,885iPhone X NVMe 96,816
Mi Note 10UFS 2.082873Asus ROG PhoneUFS 2.187810
Mi 9T ProUFS 2.179570Pixel 3XL UFS 2.185789
OnePlus 7UFS 3.077370Nokia 9 Pureview UFS 2.175716
Asus zenfone 6UFS 2.174683Mate 20 Pro UFS 2.175540
Pixel 3a XLeMMC 5.174267Razer Phone 2 UFS 2.174765
Huawei Nova 5tUFS 2.169921HTC U12+ UFS 2.170721
Realme X2 ProUFS 2.169211Samsung Note 9 UFS 2.165482
Samsung A70UFS 2.061902Sony Xperia XZ2 UFS 2.164177
Honor 20UFS 2.148151LG V40 UFS 2.161258

Even if these numbers seem insignificant to you. There is one thing that you must understand by now that not all storages are the same. Almost all of the Flagship smartphones have UFS 2.1 and the speed of storage is entirely different. ASUS ROG Phone is 30% faster than the LG V40 storage.

Another important point is that an eMMC 5.1 storage can outperform a UFS 2.1 storages as shown in the table above. The eMMC 5.1 storage of the Google Pixel 3a XL is faster than the UFS 2.1 storage of Honor 20 or Nova 5T.

Let’s compare and assign the points to each smartphone now.

Mid-Range SmartphonePointsFlagship SmartphonePoints
iPhone XR1.0 iPhone X 0.9
Mi Note 10 0.7 Asus ROG Phone 0.9
Mi 9T Pro 0.7 Google Pixel 3XL 0.9
OnePlus 7 0.7 Nokia 9 Pureview0.6
Asus zenfone 6 0.4 Mate 20 Pro 0.6
Pixel 3a XL0.4 Razer Phone 2 0.6
Huawei Nova 5t 0.3
HTC U12+
Realme X2 Pro0.3 Samsung Note 9 0.2
Samsung  A700.1 Sony Xperia XZ2 0.2
Huawei Honor 20 0 LG V40 0.1

The Flagship Smartphones have finally won a round but with only a small margin.

Display Comparison

The display or screen comparison is the toughest item on the list. I would have to compare different aspects of a display.

These are the aspects that will determine the display quality of a smartphone:

1 ) Maximum Brightness: The maximum brightness a smartphone display can achieve in cd/m2 or nits. The higher the better.

2) Color Gamut: A range of colors that are achievable by a display. The larger variety of colors a display can produce, the better would be the dynamic range of the display. Higher is Better.

3) Color Accuracy: Color Accuracy is measured by the difference between the color produced by the display and the color requested by the source. The difference is measured by the distance which is also known as Delta-E or ΔE. You can read more about Color Accuracy here.

Source: Phone Arena

The color dots should be inside in the squares to achieve perfect Color Accuracy. Further, the more closer the dots are to the squares, the better the Color Accuracy.

4) Screen Response Time: It represents how fast the display is able to change from one color to the next. Fast response times are really important for fast-paced gamers. It is divided into two categories; one is Response Time from black to white and second is Response Time from 50% Grey to 80% Grey. I will show the added times of both of these categories in the table below. Less Response time is better.

5) Brightness Distribution: The brightness is not the same in every area of the screen. Some displays have more brightness in the center and less in the corners. The less the brightness distribution of a display, the better.

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Mid-RangeMax Brightness
Higher is Better
Color Gamut
Higher is Better
Color Accuracy
Lower is Better
Response Time
Lower is Better
Brightness Distribution
Higher is Better
Mi Note 10607138%4.381889%
Honor 2049398.6%1.170.895%
Samsung A7055798%3.3898%
Zenfone 659398.7%3.569.679%
Nova 5T54299.9%6.672.886%
Pixel 3A XL418100%1.36.496%
Realme X2 Pro700125%5.23891%
OnePlus 762199.7%3.51494%
Mi 9T Pro639142.2%1.511391%
iPhone XR672100%1.365.692%
Flagship Max Brightness
Higher is Better
Color Gamut
Higher is Better
Color Accuracy
Lower is Better
Response Time
Lower is Better
Brightness Distribution
Higher is Better
Pixel 3XL419100%3.163097%
Samsung Note 9521144.6%4.6216 96%
Mate 20 Pro62099.1%1.3890%
Asus ROG Phone720114.9%5.12783%
Razer Phone 260197.7%3.433092%
iPhone X62999.3%1.24.594%
Xperia XZ264699.8%1.56096%
HTC U12+42997.3%1.67290%
LG V4058096.5%3.38.489%
Nokia 967592.5%2.36.492%

There are five categories here, each of these categories(max brightness, color gamut, etc) now holds 0.2 points. If a Mid-Range smartphone could beat all Flagship smartphones in one category, it would win 0.2 points. To get a whole 1 point, a smartphone would have to beat every other smartphone on the other list in all the categories.

Mid-Range SmartphonesPointsFlagship SmartphonesPoints
Mi Note 100.1+0.18+0.04+0.08+0.02=0.42 Pixel 3XL0.02+0.14+0.12+0.1+0.18=0.56
Honor 200.04+0.08+0.2+0.02+0.03=0.37 Samsung Note 9 0.04+0.2+0.04+0.12+0.17=0.57
Samsung A700.06+0.08+0.07+0.13+0.2=0.54 Mate 20 Pro 0.12+0.06+0.16+0.17+0.06=0.57
Zenfone 60.08+0.08+0.04+0.04+0=0.24 Asus ROG Phone 0.2+0.14+0.04+0.18+0.02=0.58
Nova 5T 0.06+0.14+0+0+0.02=0.22 Razer Phone 2 0.1+0+0.06+0.05+0.11=0.32
Pixel 3A XL0+0.15+0.17+0.17+0.16=0.65 iPhone X 0.14+0.06+0.18+0.2+0.13=0.71
Realme X2 Pro 0.18+0.18+0+0.04+0.08=0.48 Xperia XZ20.16+0.08+0.14+0.08+0.17=0.63
OnePlus 7 0.12+0.12+0.04+0.1+0.13=0.51 HTC U12+0.02+0+0.12+0.02+0.06=0.22
Mi 9T Pro0.14+0.18+0.14+0.1+0.08=0.64 LG V40 0.08+0+0.11+0.16+0.05=0.4
iPhone XR 0.16+0.15+0.17+0+0.1=0.58 Nokia 9 0.18+0+0.12+0.19+0.09=0.58

A close victory for flagship smartphones. But man it took me two whole days to complete display comparison.

Comms Performance

In this category, We are going to compare the Wifi performance of all the smartphones on the list. We are going to test the transmission and reception speeds of Wifi which can also be visualized as upload and download speeds.

Mid-Range iperf3 Client (receive)
iperf3 Client (transmit)
Flagship iperf3 Client (receive)
iperf3 Client (transmit)
Pixel 3A XL668580Mate 20 Pro1001696
iPhone XR517644iPhone X939456
Zenfone 6447523Xperia XZ2669663
Realme X2 Pro410407LG V40677554
Mi 9T Pro 383 389 Nokia 9638523
OnePlus 7388330HTC U12+579573
Mi Note 10331327Pixel 3XL635456
Nova 5T317315Razer Phone 2604388
Samsung A70338264Samsung Note 9485485
Honor 20302294Asus ROG Phone11696.7

We will compare the score of reception and transmission separately and combine the points to get the results.

Pixel 3A XL0.3+0.4=0.7 Mate 20 Pro 0.5+0.5=1
iPhone XR 0.1+0.4=0.5 iPhone X 0.5+0.35=0.85
Zenfone 6 0.05+0.275=0.325 Xperia XZ2 0.5+0.5=1
Realme X2 Pro 0.05+0.1=0.15 LG V40 0.5+0.4=0.9
Mi 9T Pro 0.05+0.1=0.15 Nokia 9 0.45+0.375=0.825
OnePlus 7 0.05+0.05=0.1 HTC U12+ 0.45+0.4=0.85
Mi Note 10 0.05+0.05=0.1 Pixel 3XL 0.45+0.35=0.8
Nova 5T 0.05+0.05=0.1 Razer Phone 2 0.45+0.25=0.7
Samsung A70 0.05+0.05=0.1 Samsung Note 9 0.4+0.35=0.75
Honor 20 0.05+0.05=0.1 Asus ROG Phone 0+0=0

A clear victory for Flagship smartphones. No one really benchmarks the WIFI speeds. This is why Mid-range smartphones have mediocre wifi modem and no one knows about it.

Camera Comparison

I will be using DXOMark to quantify the scores of Camera of each smartphone.

Mi-Range SmartphoneDXOMarkFlagship SmartphoneDXOMark
Mi Note 10124Huawei Mate 20 Pro112
OnePlus 7 114 Samsung Note 9103
Honor 20 113 HTC U12+103
Asus Zenfone 6 104 Pixel 3XL102
Mi 9T Pro 102 iPhone X97
Nova 5T 102 LG V4097
Pixel 3a XL 101 Xperia XZ2 90
iPhone XR 101 Nokia 985
Realme X2 Pro 98 Asus Rog Phone 84
Samsung A70 85 Razer Phone 282
Mi Note 101 Huawei Mate 20 Pro0.7
OnePlus 7 1 Samsung Note 90.6
Honor 201 HTC U12+ 0.6
Asus Zenfone 6 0.9 Pixel 3XL 0.5
Mi 9T Pro 0.65 iPhone X 0.1
Nova 5T 0.65 LG V40 0.1
Pixel 3a XL 0.6 Xperia XZ20.1
iPhone XR 0.6 Nokia 9 0.05
Realme X2 Pro 0.6Asus Rog Phone0
Samsung A70 0.25 Razer Phone 2 0

To be honest, I do not agree with the results in this category. Most of the Flagships in the list could outperform all the Mid-Range smartphones on the list. Camera quality depends on various factors, just look at it yourself.

Camera Smartphone on Budget

But I don’t have any other system to quantify the camera quality. We have relied on DXOMark results for the time being. We will come up with another way in the future to compare camera quality.

Battery and Charging Comparison

We will look at the battery endurance, charging speed and USB port type.

Mid-Range SmartphonesBattery Endurance
(Higher is Better)
Charging Speed
(Lower is Better)
USB Port Type
OnePlus 7102h91 min3.1 type-c
Mi 9T Pro103h80min2.0 type-c
Samsung A70103h95 min 2.0 type-c
Realme X2 Pro94h32 min 2.0 type-c
Xiaomi Mi Note 1095h66 min 2.0 type-c
Google Pixel 3A XL98h94 min 2.0 type-c
Huawei Honor 2089h90 min 2.0 type-c
Huawei Nova 5T88h92 min 2.0 type-c
Asus Zenfone 6112h152 min 2.0 type-c
iPhone XR78h148 min 2.0
Flagship SmartphonesBattery Endurance
(Higher is Better)
Charging Speed
(Lower is Better)
USB Port Type
Huawei Mate 20 Pro85h70 min3.1 type-c
Samsung Note 997h101 min 3.1 type-c
Asus ROG Phone78h87 min 3.1 type-c
Razer Phone 270h75 min 2.0 type-c
Google Pixel 3XL80h100 min 3.1 type-c
Nokia 9 PureView79h120 min 3.1 type-c
Sony Xperia XZ288h145 min 3.1 type-c
HTC U12+64h105 min 3.1 type-c
LG V4064h113 min 2.0 type-c
Apple iPhone X74h135 min2.0

Battery endurance holds 0.4 points in total, charging time holds 0.4 points too and USB port type holds 0.2 points. 0.4+0.4+0.2=1.

If you to learn about the various charging standards, try this:

Smartphone Chargers Complete Guide

Mid-Range SmartphonesPointsFlagship SmartphonesPoints
OnePlus 70.4+0.28+0.13=0.81 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 0.04+0.32+0.19=0.55
Mi 9T Pro 0.4+0.32+0.03=0.75 Samsung Note 9 0.2+0.08+0.19=0.47
Samsung A70 0.4+0.28+0.03=0.71 Asus ROG Phone 0.02+0.28+0.19=0.49
Realme X2 Pro 0.36+0.4+ 0.03=0.79 Razer Phone 2 0+0.32+0.09=0.41
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 0.36+0.4+ 0.03=0.79 Google Pixel 3XL 0.04+0.08+0.19=0.31
Google Pixel 3A XL 0.4+0.28+ 0.03 =0.71 Nokia 9 PureView0.04+0.08+0.19=0.31
Huawei Honor 20 0.36+0.28+ 0.03 =0.67 Sony Xperia XZ20.06+0.08+0.19=0.33
Huawei Nova 5T 0.34+0.28+ 0.03 =0.65 HTC U12+0+0.08+0.19=0.27
Asus Zenfone 6 0.4+0+ 0.03 =0.43 LG V40 0+0.08+0.09=0.17
iPhone XR 0.18+0+ 0.03 =0.21 Apple iPhone X0+0.08+0.09=0.17
Total= 6.52Total= 3,48

Audio Quality

For the Audio, We will look only at the audio quality through headphones. Most people use headphones with their smartphones and only a small portion use speaker on the smartphone. Even in the people who use speakers on their smartphones, they still use headphones with their smartphones. So, we think headphone jack is more important than speaker sound.

I will be looking at the followings thing in the audio.

1) Frequency Response: The frequency response is used to describe the audible frequency range that a device can reproduce. Frequency response is also used to indicate the accuracy of amplifiers and speakers in reproducing audio and is a measurement of how much sound deviates (in decibels dB) at a given frequency (in Hertz Hz). We will look at this deviation from the specified frequency response of a device. Frequency response is given in two numbers (positive and negative). But we will take the difference between positive and negative numbers to quantify and compare the results. For example, the frequency response of the iPhone X is +0.02, -0.07. But we will write it as [0.02-(-0.07)] = 0.09. The lower the number, the better the frequency response of the device.

2) Signal to Noise Ratio: This represents the signal strength with respect to noise. If a speaker has 60dB, it means that the level of signal is 60dB higher than the level of noise. The higher the SNR, the better. SNR can be either positive and negative value if you represent it on the dB scale. Negative SNR means that Signal power is lower than the noise power.

3) Dynamic Range: It is the ratio of the loudest sounds to quietest sounds. It is measured in decibels or dB. In simple words, it represents how much variety of sounds can be played by a device simultaneously.
Dynamic range determines how well a device is able to play both loud and quiet sounds at the same time. The higher the dynamic range, the better.

4) Stereo Crosstalk: Stereo Crosstalk basically means how much sound bleed there is between the left and right channels. If there’s lots of cross-talk then that means that you are more likely to hear some of the sound destined for the left speaker sneak out of the right speaker as well (and vice versa). You always get a bit of cross-talk, even in high-end gear, but the more cross talk there is the less ‘stereo’ the music will sound. The larger the value of cross-talk is (the further away from zero), the better the quality of the sound coming from each channel.

Mid-RangeFrequency Response
(Lower is Better)
Signal to Noise Ratio
(Away from zero
is better)
Dynamic Range
(Higher is Better)
Stereo Crosstalk
(Away from zero
is better)
Mi 9T Pro0.63-92.792.9-49.1
Mi Note 100.1-91.589.9-74.4
OnePlus 70.04-90.591.4-70.6
Zenfone 60.06-81.182.7-52
Honor 200.43-97.796.3-64.7
Nova 5T0.09-92.892.6-74.5
Realme X2 Pro0.55-90.391.4-51.5
Samsung A700.44-88.189.0-56.6
Pixel 3A XL0.15-94.194-50.6
iPhone XR0.9-93.793.4-76.3
FlagshipFrequency Response
(Lower is Better)
Signal to Noise Ratio
(Away from zero
is better)
Dynamic Range
(Higher is Better)
Stereo Crosstalk
(Away from zero
is better)
iPhone X0.9-93.793.4-76.3
LG V400.06-92.391.4-69.8
HTC U12+0.31-93.7 93.6 -52.7
Mate 20 Pro0.22-92.192-82.2
Samsung Note 90.05-93.693.5-93.2
Xperia XZ20.3-89.491.9-60.7
Nokia 90.1-93.693.5-54.8
Asus ROG Phone7.02-93.893.7-91.3
Razer phone 20.3-92.892.8-68.3
Pixel 3 XL0.3-68.480.2-61.1
Mi 9T Pro 0.05+0.1+0.125+0=0.275 iPhone X 0.0125+0.1625+0.1875+0.2375=0.6
Mi Note 10 0.1875+0.05+0.025+0.15=0.4125 LG V40 0.2375+0.125+0.1+0.15=0.6125
OnePlus 7 0.25+0.05+0.0375+0.15=0.475 HTC U12+ 0.125+0.1875+0.2+0.1=0.6125
Zenfone 6 0.2125+0.025+0.025+0=0.2625 Mate 20 Pro 0.125+0.125+0.125+0.25=0.625
Honor 20 0.05+0.25+0.25+0.1=0.65 Samsung Note 9 0.225+0.175+0.2+0.25=0.85
Nova 5T 0.05+0.1125+0.1+0.15=0.4125 Xperia XZ2 0.125+0.05+0.125+0.125=0.425
Realme X2 Pro 0.05+0.05+0.0375+0=0.1375 Nokia 9 0.1625+0.175+0.2+0.1=0.6375
Samsung A70 0.05+0.025+0.025+0.05=0.15 Asus ROG Phone 0+0.2+0.2+0.25=0.65
Pixel 3A XL 0.175+0.25+0.25+0=0.675 Razer phone 2 0.125+0.1625+0.15+0.15=0.5875
iPhone XR 0.0125+0.2+0.1375+0.1625=0.5125 Pixel 3 XL 0.125+0+0+0.125=0.25
Total= 3.96 Total= 6.04

Audio output from headphone jack or audio port is superior on Flagship Smartphones.

Extra Features:

This section would include any special or extra features a smartphone might have. We would compare the unique features, some are popular like Screen to Body ratio, some are rare like Headphone Jack.

Mid-RangeWater Proof Memory Card Headphone JackScreen To Body Ratio
(Higher is Better)
Mi Note 10NoNoYes87.8%
Mi 9T ProNoNoYes86.1%
Pixel 3A XLNoNoYes76.3%
Honor 20 No No No84.2%
Nova 5T No No No 84.2%
Realme X2 Pro No No Yes84.9%
iPhone XRIP 67 No No 79%
Samsung A70 No YesYes86%
Zenfone 6 No YesYes83.8%
OnePlus 7 No No No 85.5%
FlagshipWater ProofMemory CardHeadphone JackScreen To Body Ratio
(Higher is Better)
Mate 20 ProIP 68YesNo87.9%
Samsung Note 9IP 68YesYes83.4%
iPhone XIP 67No No 82.9%
Pixel 3 XLIP 68 No No 82.8%
Xperia XZ2IP 68Yes No 76.1%
Asus ROG Phone No No Yes76.8%
Razer Phone 2IP 67Yes No 72%
LG V40IP 68YesYes83.6%
Nokia 9IP 67 No No 79.7%
HTC U12+IP 68Yes No 80.3%
Mi Note 10 0+0+0.25+0.225=0.475 Mate 20 Pro 0.25+0.25+0+0.25=0.75
Mi 9T Pro 0+0+0.25+0.225=0.475 Samsung Note 9 0.25+0.25+0.25+0.05=0.80
Pixel 3A XL 0+0+0.25+0.05=0.3 iPhone X 0.25+0+0+0.05=0.30
Honor 20 0+0+0+0.225=0.225 Pixel 3 XL 0.25+0+0+0.05=0.30
Nova 5T 0+0+0+0.225=0.225 Xperia XZ2 0.25+0.25+0+0=0.5
Realme X2 Pro 0+ 0+0.25+0.225=0.475 Asus ROG Phone 0+0+0.25+0.025=0.275
iPhone XR 0.25+0+ 0+0.075=0.325 Razer Phone 2 0.25+0.25+0+0=0.50
Samsung A70 0+0.25+0.25+0.225=0.725 LG V40 0.25+0.25+0.25+0.05=0.80
Zenfone 6 0+0.25+0.25+0.225=0.725 Nokia 90.25+0+0+0.05=0.30
OnePlus 7 0+0+0+0.225=0.225 HTC U12+ 0.25+0.25+0+0.05=0.55
Total = 4.175 Total = 5.075

The categories in this section were independent except the Screen to Body Ratios one.


Let’s add the points of all the categories and get our final result.

CategoriesMid-Range SmartphonesFlagship Smartphones
Processor 6.8 3.2
Graphics 5.5 4.5
Memory or Ram 7.7 2.3
Storage 4.6 5.4
Display 4.65 5.35
Comms 2.325 7.675
Camera 7.25 2.75
Battery and Charging 6.52 3.48
Audio 3.96 6.04
Extra Features 4.175 5.075
Total = 53.48/100Total = 45.72/100

The Mid-Range Smartphones are the clear winner holding 7.76 more points than the Flaghsip Smartphones.

So it is true, the Mid-Range Smartphones are getting better. Mid-Range Smartphones are even better than Flagship from the same year if you consider Performance/dollar.

Hope this helped, Share to Spread Awareness.


The sources or websites I used to make this article are listed below.

Anas Abdullah

Tech Enthusiast, Content Writer, Part-time Gamer.

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