How much would you pay for a phone?


'Tis the season of giving, holidays, and ultraexpensive smartphones, it seems. Samsung opened the floodgates when it charged a Benjamin more for its Galaxy S8 and S8+ than the starting price of the S7 and S7 edge last year, then priced the Note 8 at $830. Apple one-upped it with the $999 iPhone X, but also charges more for the iPhone 8 than it did for the iPhone 7 before it, while Google went all out with a 128 GB Pixel 2 XL that lands at $950. 

Oh, let's not forget the LG V30, launched at $830 starting price. Even Huawei, which has now reached the third spot as phone maker, both in market share and profitability, is asking $900 for the Mate 10 Pro. This worrying trend may be spreading downhill, too, as value-for-money offers like the OnePlus 5T are priced $500, compared to the $480 that the OnePlus 5 used to command at launch, and so on.

The upward price swing this season, compared to the previous year, can be attributed to the shift towards taller and narrower screen designs, the widespread use of more premium materials for the casing, and a bevy of features that phone makers have to offer now to stand a chance, like dual cameras, or neat biometry tricks for unlocking. Still, our disposable income hasn't really changed all that much in the span of a year. 

Moreover, it's never been easier to nab a midrange or even lower-end handset that will do the vast majority of your tasks with "good enough" results, compared to something twice as expensive, too. That is why we wanted to ask you, in the year when top-shelf phone prices swung from $650+ on average, to $750+, how much are you really willing to pay for a phone? 

We aren't putting tens of price brackets below, just general ranges that roughly correspond to current low-, mid- and high-end devices tag bands, to gauge whether the recent average price shift upwards, may actually be ahead of its times. Granted, installment plans and holiday discounts can soften the blow, but on the whole, what price cap would you set for a phone that does the job for you personally?

How much would you pay for a phone?

Less than $350
22.47%
Less than $650
53.6%
Less than $1000
18.08%
$1000+ is not a problem
5.85%

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34 Comments

1. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Under $800. I paid $720 for my S8+ after my S6 took an unfortunate dive into the corner of a shelf.

26. chbanks512

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 07, 2017

I agree 100%

2. lbblock

Posts: 34; Member since: Apr 20, 2015

They're charging that much because they can. Honestly, prices wouldn't be so high if consumers were more rational. With more rational consumers, smartphone market were more like PC or air-conditioner market, where rabid fandom gives way to practicality and actual cost-performance ratio, nobody can charge that much for a smartphone because while useful, none of them truly have enough greatness to achieve escape velocity from the category. They still can only do smartphone things, no matter how powerful. Also most smartphones are very uncreative now in design and engineering. They just plaigiarize each other, or in Essential's case, take someone else's innovation/engineering and claim credit. There's less and less reason to pay more, and yet phone prices are creeping upwards because there are still so many irrational "fans" who don't know what truly matters. Hint: it's not a photography benchmark that makes zero sense once you've actually used most of those phones for serious photography.

17. jmonteiro829

Posts: 261; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Or just wait for the next year when these phones are at a steep discount!

23. Valdomero

Posts: 666; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

And we have people with $900+ phones only for Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp... sad but true

3. cbonica

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

For $1000 plus, the device would have to be stellar. Top hardware, dslr like quality camera, premium material and not a beta tester!

18. firebird820

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 01, 2017

*Ahem* Note8

24. chenski

Posts: 759; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Huawei mate 10 has all that, and it's less than $1000

33. tedkord

Posts: 17311; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Neither it nor the Note 8 (nor any phone) have DSLR quality cameras.

4. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I'm not really care about the price. I get it if I think it's worth an upgrade from my previous phone. i.e if S9 is just S8 with slimmer bezels, telephoto camera, moved FPscanner, and new processor. I wont get it regardless it's price But if it have much better camera, and 20% more battery life. Then I'll consider it

5. dnomadic

Posts: 401; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

$1000 bucks is too much... I think carriers assisted this BS when they moved to the no-contract, finance free phone purchases...most are seeing the little monthly payment difference and turn their head from the true costs...prices will continue to head northward for 3 reasons that I see... 1. People keep paying 2. I think $50 a month payment is the cutoff where people will say whoa! 3. Smaller companies haven't been invited to play at carriers...OnePlus, Huawei(technically not small), Honor, ZTE (their nicer phones). More good competition would help. Until smaller companies have their premium selectionsa invited into carrier stores...prices will be heading quickly to the $50 per month ceiling. #iuppedmycomment

6. .KRATOS.

Posts: 442; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Well I paid 670$ when I 1st bought my new s6, now there's roomers about upgrading it to 8.0 oreo so if this does happen well it worth it maybe Google has change it policy n extend the upgrading but if not I'm sure that I'm not gonna spend that much money on a phone maybe a midranger android would be enough or if I wanna spend that much of a money I'll buy an iPhone they tend to expend upgrading their software to like 4 years that would be fair but to pay like more then a 600$ for an android that would get 2 updates won't happen anymore

7. cmdacos

Posts: 4105; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

No problem paying over $1000 in Canada for my Note8. As long as I find the value in the device, $1000 is fine with me. No other phone I have seen this year comes close to having the value prop of being over $1000. If my s8 was $1000 I probably would have returned it and gone back to my s7edge.

8. baldilocks

Posts: 1494; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

I "usually" wait a few months for the prices to go down OR buy a New (resale) unit from Swappa for much cheaper than a new one would cost from an OEM or carrier.

9. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

For an ordinary phone like the iphone x that's still incapable of doing several things dumb phones were capable of, wouldn't pay more than $500, a OnePlus 5T is lot more useful. For a Smartphone that's literally a practical Pocket PC like the Note 8 ( https://sck.pm/Mly ), the significant added uses make up for the price difference...

10. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

It's not the price, it's the life you get from it. My last 3 phones crapped out or stopped getting updates after two years. I can justify $800 for a laptop I'll get 5+ years out of, but not a phone that I know I'll want to replace in 2.

11. BadAssAbe

Posts: 507; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

I would pay 1000+ Reasons 1 I use my phone more any anything else, so it better be good 2 I take good care of my phone so it can last up to 2 years or more( than i give it away to a good kid who who deserve its) 3 I like phones

12. rkoforever90

Posts: 435; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

1000 dollar around phones simply doesnt offer something signifcantly better worth paying over a 600$ phone unlike with the case of pc or something. The problem is this trend of 1000$+ phone is surely gonna stay here until people stop buying 1000$ phone or buy phones for show off.

13. KingSam

Posts: 1425; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Whatever you can afford. Sub $350 for me.

14. luis.aag90

Posts: 272; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

The most I've paid was $750 for my Note 8 (I avoided tax by getting from another state). Although this is a wonderful device and the deal was good enough compared to MSRP, I would never pay that amount again. I'm not stepping down from getting flagships next time, though, I'll just wait to get a nice deal or a former flagship

15. shnibz

Posts: 509; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Been staying around $500 or less. Got my wife a G6 when they first went to $499 and my last two were a OnePlus 3t with its ever failing power button, and my new Huawei Mate 9 at $439 and $399.

21. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

That's the way to do it. That $200-300 drop on a half-year-old flagship always makes me want to wait. People comparing the 5T to the S8 on price have a point.

16. drifter77

Posts: 400; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

I paid $500 for my first iPhone in 2007. Since then I coughed top bucks for nearly every smartphone I owned in the past years. Now I'm more than satisfied with my current $300 phone.

19. p51d007

Posts: 703; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Mate2- 450 Mate8- 475 Mate9- 490 I by "last years" big deal...cheaper, and still a good bargain.

20. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

I guess, $450, since I always buy BOGO.:)

22. gamehead unregistered

Less than $650. $1000 for a phone that isnt perfect is a joke

25. Dingy_cellar_dweller

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

My last phone was $350 and its more than I need or want.

27. warrenellis93

Posts: 542; Member since: Jul 21, 2011

$400 plus tax for a galaxy s7 was the most ive ever paid. It was with the idea that the phone lasts as long as possible. I feel like it was a good purchase, no issues with the phone.

28. sissy246

Posts: 7070; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

My note 8 is my limit

29. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

$600 would be my limit unless the devices are exceptional, as in no glaring issues.

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