The $1,000 Phone Myth


A couple of years ago, when Samsung dropped the Galaxy S20 series on us, with price points starting at $$1,000 for the lowest-end model, I was worried. It sure looked like the beginning of a move toward the smartphone industry adopting a pricing scheme where we’d have to pay north of $1,000 to get all that we wanted.

But then 2021 happened and Samsung cut prices on the S21 line (they cut some specs too), while Google re-introduced its Pixel line under a fresh design with very reasonable starting points. And now that 2022 is almost over, we’re happy to report that the $1,000 phone is rarer than anticipated.

To be clear, you can still pay more than $1,000 for a phone or a foldable. What I’m saying after experiencing all of 2022 and its best phones is that you don’t really have to consider a $1,000 phone any longer if you want an amazing device without any major missing pieces. The Galaxy S22 Ultra exists with a $1,200 price tag, as does the almost-$2,000 Galaxy Fold 3. They are excessive and that’s fine! If you need a phone that doubles as a phone and tablet, or one that has curved things and an embedded S Pen, there are devices for you.

However, the list of excellent phones that can be had for under $1,000 and that we’d still want to buy, isn’t that short. There’s the Pixel 7, a phone I can’t see myself giving up any time soon – it starts at $599. There’s the larger Pixel 7 Pro with another camera and more RAM and a higher-refresh rate display for $899. The cheapest OnePlus 10 Pro started out at $899, but saw a permanent price cut to $799. The max spec version of the OnePlus 10 Pro is also well south of $1,000 at $870. The Galaxy S22 starts at $799 and the Galaxy S22+ is at $999, but we all know that Samsung will take any old phone and instantly drop $100s off that price. Same goes for the Galaxy Flip 4, my personal favorite foldable.

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Want to spend even less and still get a great device? The Pixel 6a, which people voted as having the best camera on the planet, starts at $449, but has often been discounted to $299 since it launched. The OnePlus 10T has a lot of high-end specs and is under $700. Even Motorola’s top tier phone for 2022 started with a $100 discount to $899 and has seen enough discounts over the year that I’m not sure I believe it was ever priced at $999. It’s currently 50% off.

If there was a trend in 2022 that we hope sticks, it’s the lack of $1,000 phones. The phones that came out this year that were priced hundreds below that $1,000 mark are so good that we just don’t need to spend any more.

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