What Smartphone To Buy? 2019 Flagships Vs. 2021 Mid-Range

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When buying a new smartphone your budget plays a big role. Many people end up going for an affordable new mid-range smartphone thinking its monthly cost and newer technology will deliver the best value for money:

The big question is, does it?

Important: This perspective is based on the 2019 flagship phone having the same display and memory as the 2021 mid-range option.

This comparison considers quality, features, performance, battery, camera, and warranty.

Old Flagship vs. New Mid-Range: Quality

The first thing you will notice when you pick up a flagship smartphone is the quality of its materials. On top brands like Apple and Samsung, you can feel the quality when compared to mid-range phones even two years newer.

Flagship models also have an attention to detail that is missed on mid-range, and these quality-of-life improvements add up to make a more fulfilling experience overall.

Features like a high IP rating, wireless charging, et al, give a flagship phone a premium experience. Besides, the average mid-range phone is often made of plastic as opposed to high-end components featured on flagships.

Winner: 2019 Flagship

Old vs New: Unique Features

Flagships usually feature at least one defining characteristic that sets the model apart from other brands:

For example, the S-Pen on Samsung flagship devices.

These features are often no more than a fashionable gimmick that allows the flagship phone to release at a premium price – despite the rest of the product being only an incremental improvement on previous models.

By comparison, mid-rangers tend to be less extravagant, and more budget-focused.

However, despite the gimmick, any 2019 flagship, such as the Samsung Note 10 Plus, or the iPhone 11 Pro, still offers far more than a mid-range phone in 2019, or in 2021.

Winner: 2019 Flagship

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Old vs New: Power and performance

If the discussion was 2019 flagship vs 2021 flagship, obviously the 2021 flagship will be better.

However, a 2019 flagship smartphone is at least equal to, if not better than a 2021 mid-range phone, when it comes to power and performance.

All of this is despite the fact chipsets featured on mid-range phones are obviously newer. Yet, because they focus on a budget more so than performance, they don’t beat a two-year-old flagship.

Winner: 2019 Flagship

Old Flagship vs. New Mid-Range: Battery

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This is where mid-rangers flex their muscles. Top-end chipsets utilized in flagships usually take a toll on battery life as opposed to the ones used in mid-range phones:

Thus, mid-rangers relatively enjoy a superior battery life over flagships.

From the devices assessed, the average battery capacity between 10 mid-range smartphones stood at over 4500mAh and could last over 24 hours, as opposed to older flagships.

Winner: 2021 Mid-Range

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Old vs. New: Camera

The vast majority of older flagships offer a top-of-the-line camera:

In fact, a top-of-the-line camera, for both photos and videos, is a higher priority than any other feature on a phone. Therefore, a phone cannot be a flagship device without being able to show off some cutting-edge camera fidelity.

Subtle features such as faster shutter speed, better zooms, optical image stabilization, night mode shot, all position flagship smartphones above mid-rangers at the time.

However, since 2019, many of those features have crept into the newer mid-rangers. Therefore, the lines blur between a 2019 flagship and today’s mid-rangers.

Winner: Draw

Old vs. New: Warranty

On eBay, a 2019 flagship costs roughly the same as a 2021 mid-range phone. So, there’s is little difference when it comes to devices on the trade market:

And, you can get a 2019 flagship for roughly the same monthly price and contract as you can a 2021 mid-range phone. Both of which would have a warranty if the device is faulty.

Winner: Draw


If you are stuck between a 2019 flagship or a 2021 mid-ranger, don’t get tricked into thinking newer is always better.

The two factors that should determine your decision are battery performance and cost:

If you are out, away from power sockets for long periods of time, and don’t want to carry a couple of backup chargers, a 2021 mid-ranger is your only option.

In any other scenario, a 2019 flagship smartphone is the better option.

The only time price should be a factor is if you cannot find a monthly offer that lets you pick up a 2019 flagship phone at a similar price as a 2021 mid-range device:

And even then, you should wait until an offer is available – because a 2019 flagship is better than a mid-ranger in all but one scenario.

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