The $1,000 phone myth

A few years ago, when Samsung dropped the Galaxy S20 series on us, with prices starting at $1,000 for the lowest-end model, I was worried. This definitely looks like the start of the smartphone industry adopting a pricing scheme where we have to pay $1,000 to get what we want.

But then 2021 happened and Samsung dropped the price on the S21 line (they also cut some specs), while Google relaunched its Pixel line under a new design with a very reasonable starting point. And now that 2022 is almost over, we’re happy to report that the $1,000 phone is rarer than expected.

To be clear, you can still pay more than $1,000 for a phone or foldable. What I’m saying after all the experience with the 2022 and its best phones is that if you want an amazing device without any big missing pieces, you really don’t need to consider a $1,000 phone. The Galaxy S22 Ultra exists with a $1,200 price tag, as does the Galaxy Fold 3 at around $2,000. They’re too much and that’s okay! If you need a phone that doubles as a phone and a tablet, or something curved and an embedded S Pen, there’s a device for you.

However, the list of excellent phones that can be found for under $1,000 and that we still want to buy, is not short. There’s the Pixel 7, a phone I can’t give up anytime soon – it starts at $599. The larger Pixel 7 Pro has one more camera and more RAM and a higher-refresh rate display for $899. The cheapest OnePlus 10 Pro started at $899, but the permanent price has dropped to $799. The highest spec version of the OnePlus 10 Pro is also south of $1,000 at $870. The Galaxy S22 starts at $799 and the Galaxy S22+ starts at $999, but we all know Samsung will take any old phone and immediately knock $100s off that price. The same goes for the Galaxy Flip 4, my personal favorite foldable.

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

If there’s one trend we hope will stick in 2022, it’s the lack of $1,000 phones. The phones that came out this year that cost a few hundred less than the $1,000 mark are so good that we don’t need to spend any more.

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