I could make the argument that the Pixel 3a, with its plastic body and mid-tier processor, watered down the Pixel lineup. However, watering down doesnâ€™t always equate to being bad or not a good thing for consumers. Google competitively priced the 3a lineup starting at $399, which is a solid deal in the world of high-priced Android smartphones. With the 3a and 3a XL, youâ€™re getting solid software support from Google, as well as nearly the same excellent camera experience as you would on the more expensive Pixel 3 models. For $399, that ainâ€™t bad.
Where watering down something doesnâ€™t work, in my opinion, is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+.
Now, both of these devices are not yet official (announcement date set for August 7), but the following is based on information from credible sources.
Galaxy Note 10+
According to the reported specs, the Galaxy Note 10 will be smaller than the Note 10+, offering only a 6.3â€³ FHD+ panel versus the Note 10+â€™s 6.8â€³ QHD+ display. Other differences are said to include one less rear-facing camera, presumably a Time of Flight (ToF) camera, and the smaller Galaxy Note 10 is also reported to not include expandable storage while the larger Note 10+ features a microSD slot.
Up until this year, should all of this information be accurate, the Galaxy Note line stood for being the most jam-packed, feature rich, completely specced out Android phone you could get. It was the best Samsung could offer, but with all of that, a larger-than-most price tag was usually associated with it. Perhaps in order to get more people onto a Note phone or to garner more attention for the lineup, Samsung is doing this dual phone release for not only the Galaxy S line as its done in past years, but now for the Note line, too. Where Iâ€™m taking offense is that according to leaked pricing, what Iâ€™m referring to as the watered down Galaxy Note 10 could cost nearly $1,000, which is why the comparison to the Pixel 3a is so important.
Pricing, taken from the latest info for Europe, is said to start at either â‚¬949 or â‚¬999 for the base Galaxy Note 10. Again, this is the option that doesnâ€™t have a QHD display, sports a smaller battery, and doesnâ€™t include expandable storage. For the Galaxy Note 10+, that pricing is reported to start at â‚¬1,099. Iâ€™m sorry, but if weâ€™re talking what could only be a â‚¬100 to â‚¬150 difference between the two, I donâ€™t see why anyone would opt for the regular Galaxy Note 10, unless size of the phone is the biggest thing youâ€™re concerned about.
Galaxy Note 10
If Samsung was truly trying to create a more affordable Galaxy Note phone, pricing it at what could be nearly $1,000 is just a total fail in my book. From Googleâ€™s own mouth, the 3a line has done very well, and if that move got Pixel phones into the hands of more people, then itâ€™s a success. Samsung, on the other hand, will now have two phones priced out of what I assume could be most peopleâ€™s hands, meaning they completely missed the mark should a cheaper Note option be what they were actually shooting for.
Why canâ€™t there be a happy middle ground?
Imagine a $650 Pixel phone, a device that straddles between the less expensive 3a lineup and the more expensive 3 and 3 XL models. Iâ€™m talking about a best of both worlds scenario. Why canâ€™t we have something like that? Instead, we have four phones, the Pixel 3, 3 XL, 3a, and 3a XL. Itâ€™s relatively the same for Samsungâ€™s Galaxy S lineup, with the company every year now releasing an S and an S+ model. Why does there need to be two of everything?
If we had a single phone, which sits in the middle in terms of size, but also comes with all of the larger modelâ€™s specs, could that not please everybody? Instead, if you go for that smaller option, youâ€™re always missing out on something. For these Note 10 phones, it appears to be more of the same. If you get the smaller one, youâ€™re getting less max display resolution, no expandable storage, and no ToF camera. And guess what, if that pricing is accurate, youâ€™re still paying nearly the same price.
It doesnâ€™t make any sense to me.