The purchase of a smartphone is a very personal act, but if one had to judge coldly, the right price of a smartphone would be between 200 euros (the price of a model without great flaws) and 330 euros (price at which we have almost everything – versatility, durability, photo quality). Beyond this rate, smartphones are undoubtedly better, but for many users the additional contributions do not make a major difference in everyday life.
Here are the smartphone models that stand out at all prices, according to our tests and those of the best French and English technology media. This year, the Chinese brand Xiaomi crushes the competition.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T – 200 euros
It has all that is expected of a good smartphone: a nice screen, flowing menus, a battery that takes one to two days, a photo sensor that takes pretty pretty pictures – except the night cliches less convincing. The 8T is equipped with a second image sensor “ultra wide angle” which sees very wide, very useful on a trip. The 8T is not perfect either: it is a smartphone a little larger than the average of recent devices, its fingerprint reader is located on his back, which is less convenient than the front, and his heart is not the fastest, though it should guarantee him two to three years of smooth running. But overall, the 8T is a companion which many users will be delighted.
Samsung A40 – 260 euros
This year, Samsung has differentiated itself from its competitors by releasing a lot of compact smartphones like the A40, particularly nice to use with one hand. This mobile also has two rare qualities at this price level: a beautiful OLED screen (Organic Light-Emitting Diode – organic light-emitting diode) with striking contrast, and a second “ultra wide angle” photo sensor very useful for capturing landscapes. When the sun goes down, its images are far from those of a smartphone at 1,000 euros, but they remain correct. The A40 has two flaws: his heart, moderately athletic, could start to struggle in two years. And its surround is made of plastic, a material that protects much less than aluminum, the standard today. It will take care to make it last.
Xiaomi Mi 9T – 330 euros
With its screen edge, it's a pretty nice smartphone, almost equipped as a high-end. Its excellent OLED screen displays very contrasting images, its triple photo sensor opens new possibilities in landscape photography. Its fast electronics guarantee a good three years of versatility and its battery is enduring. Its fingerprint sensor, located under the screen, makes it easy to unlock. If you look closely, you will miss three useful things: waterproofing, wireless charging and high-security facial unlocking like Apple. But to enjoy it, you would have to pay two or three times more. Note, the memory of 9T is not extensible. If you plan to take a lot of photos and videos, think of the model 128 GB, a few tens of euros more expensive.
Fairphone 3 – 450 euros
This smartphone shows that another way is possible, more ecological, more ethical, more social. Exceptionally easy to disassemble, just a microtournevis to change its components in minutes. A small part of them come from “responsible” mines and factories – it's more than just competition. Its two predecessors suffered from crippling defects, but the third-generation Fairphone is a rather recommendable, versatile mobile phone, capable of capturing very correct photos. Qualities found on mobile less than 200 euros, but whose manufacturers are not interested in ethics.
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 – 550 euros
The photo remains the best reason to invest more than 400 euros in a smartphone, provided to be really demanding in this area, because models at 350 euros are already doing very well. Especially in the evening and at night, images of more expensive smartphones are much better. And this Xiaomi has no lesson to take from anyone in this area, not even mobiles costing double. His images are exceptionally clean and crisp. It preserves better than its competitors the natural colors. And as the Mi Note 10 is also a very good smartphone, with a beautiful OLED screen, this makes it an attractive choice. With two small nuances however: he is very tall. And photo aside, his equipment is not better than that of a mobile 300 euros. This means that its electronics are not as fast as those of a high-end and that the Mi Note 10 is neither waterproof nor wireless rechargeable.
Samsung S10 – 910 euros
The S10 has a master advantage: its comfort in hand is superior to that of its competitors, thanks to its curved screen edges that refine its waist. This design gives the thumb some of the freedom it has lost in recent years as a result of the advent of smartphones with XL screens: the finger runs through the menus faster. The S10 is a smartphone that excels almost everything, especially in photo, thanks to its triple sensor, useful for portraits as for travel photos. We only regret that it is not equipped with a system of unlocking by facial recognition that works in the dark like that of Apple.
Apple smartphones, very simple to use, we seem overly expensive. The range of iPhone has changed little this year, we advise you to wait until the next generation before considering investing such a sum.
If, despite this, you want to get started this year, which model should you choose? The iPhone 8 (540 euros) remains a good mobile, particularly comfortable in hand. But his iOS core software will not be updated forever and his heart will eventually show its limits. The temptation to change is likely to creep in 2022. The iPhone 11 (810 euros) will be much more durable, but with its hull very voluminous, it is an uncomfortable smartphone, little elegant, the price / quality ratio disappointing. The iPhone 11 Pro is significantly more convincing, but its price (1,160 and 1,260 euros depending on size) the reserve to consumers with very deep pockets.