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 Cheap vs Expensive Phones – How close ARE they!?

I’ve been seeing a lot of budget phones
recently that claim to offer you the
world they make such bold claims about
their amazing screens and theyre amazing
cameras and there amazing battery and
how the specs are absolutely  ludicrous
that they really make you wonder if all
of this was actually true then why would
anyone ever spend more than the $3 to
$400 that they cost and are Flagship
phones basically a scam so let’s find
out this is the top of the line almost
maxed out Samsung Galaxy s23 Ultra which
I bought for
$1,379 and then this is I think the best
spec affordable phone that’s ever
existed the $349 xiaomi redmi note 13
Pro Plus yeah I could buy four of these
phones for the price it would cost to
buy one of these so let’s properly test
every test
every aspect of both phones to see how
close or far the experiance actually is
so as far as the unboxing goes its not
a question of how close the redmi can
get to the Samsung its really how close
the Samsung can get to the redmi the
answer to which is not very close this
note 13 Pro Plus it comes wtih a matte
black case included a USBC cable and
then a I’m not even joking 120 W fast
charger Samsung literally just comes
with a cable so there’s already
additional cost that your going to
have to to pay out nad even when you spend
that money you’re still not going to get
close to the charging speed of the redmi
but more on that later let’s start with
the build you would expect Flagship
phones to get you higher quality
materials right and in a way that is the
case teh s23 ultra comes with the very
latest Gorilla Glass victus 2 the redmi
comes with teh prior generation Gorilla
Glass victus 1 1 which just requires a
little bit less Force to damage the rim
going around the Samsung is armor
aluminium which is a bit tougher than
the more standard aluminium that you get
on the redmi but
really that’s it will 99% of people be
able to tell any perceptible difference
in quality I dont think so there’s not
a single bit of flexing or creaking on
the xiaomi the vegan leather on the back
to me feels just as high quality as the
glass on the Samsung and it passes the
scratch test I’ve rubbed Keys against it
cards against it phones against it and
it doesn’t realy pick up any wear wear and
tear these buttons on the side they’re
so there really quiet to press and
just generally the phone is way more
comfy it’s got soft rounded Corners  that
don’t dig into your hands like Samsung’s
sharp ones and it’s allmost 15% lighter
which is light  enough to feel liberating
when youre comming form this to this but
not light enough to feel cheap and yeah
Flagship phones do tend to have ip68
water resistance but so does the redmi
so at 25% of the price I would genuinely
say the build and design your getting
is 95% as good which is a very strong
start and then you turn teh teh screens on
and you have to full-on check yourself
because this is where you would assume
the difference would be immediately
obvious but the redmi has not just a
passable screen or even a good screen
this is nearly as good as you can get
both phones have a 120 HZ Max refresh
rate both are OLED panels which keeps
the contrast levels high nad both have
basically infinite viewing angles
Samsung has a very slight blue tinge as
you rotate and xiaomi has a very slight
yellow tinge but barely noticable on
either now Samsung’s display is a better
display like its got the ability to be
both High higher resolution and brighter
but it’s also a really good example of
how nowadays the Baseline is so good
that you probably either won’t notice
the difference or you’ll actually think
the xiaomi looks better for example in
terms of resolution the Samsung has a
1440 by 3088 display which is 4.4
million pixels compared to xia’s Max of
1220 by 2712 which is 3.3 million pixels
but here’s the thing Samsung knowing how
Niche  the need for that many pixels is
actually ships teh phone set to 2316 by
1080  which is just 2.5 million so while
it can be sharper the setting that it
comes with the one they recomend and
therefore what most people are going to
use it with is actually less sharp exact
same thing for brightness while Samsung
is capable of going brighter that extra
brightness is locked behind a separate
setting that most people probably won’t
enable since it specifically warns you
of the loss of battery if you do and
assuming  you don’t the redmi note is
actually teh brighter  of the two screens
the only meaningful advantage that the
Samsung and any $1,000 plus phone screen
will have is ltpo ltpo which is a more
advanced more expensive bottom layer to
the screen that lets it not just get its
refresh rate super high but also dial it
down really low like to 30 HZ when
you’re watching a video that’s only
refreshing 30 times per second or 10 HZ
on a fairly static web page no budget
phone has this Tech and so the lowest
they’re going to be able to go is 60
this doesn’t actually have any impact on
the screen quality and so four screens
I’m going to say the redmi is again 95%
of the Samsung Experience but it should
come into play with battery as of now
though if this phone continues at this
rate of being 95% as good while also
coming wtih everything you need in the
box then honestly it is on track to
completely embarass the flagships of
this year so then I thought what’s
likely to be the weakest link of a phone
like this where they have most tried to
cut Corners what about the signal so I
started by doing a Wi-Fi speed test I
went to three different locations and in
location one they were basically on par
location par
location two Samsung was edging out to
the xiaomi nad then location 3 xiaomi
edged out the Samsung meaning really
there’s nothing in it unless you have
some Bonkers Wi-Fi high speeds and
you’re reaching the ceiling of what this
phone is capable of so then I put a UK
vone Sim into both phones went to three
different spots again to test cellular
speeds I started started wtih my desk which
sadly is a pretty  low signal environment
and honestly Samsung destroyed the red
Mei it had two times the download speed
almost three times the upload speed
faster across the board in a medium
signal environment though it’s about a
draw Samsung had higher download speeds
and less latency but xiaomi’s upload
speed is clearly ahead and this was
consistent with what I found in the high
signal environment where xiaomi’s upload
speed completely runs away with it but
Samsung has faster download and slightly
less latency and the real life
experiences of these phones quite
closely match what I found in that test
I found myself trusting the Samsung more
when I get to those difficult
hard-to-reach places like the inside of
an airplane you will notice the redmi
signal dropping off faster which is also
not exactly surprising given that it has
a less Advanced 5G modem nad almost
definitely fewer fewer anten ey in the Samsung
now because of this I was also expecting
the Samsung to hit higher Max speeds
when you get to a city but I guess the
state of UK 5G right now is just not
there this might be different for some
parts of the US but largely speaking
globally I dont think you’ll be getting
close to the potential Max speeds of
either so I would say the redmi is 85%
of the signal experiance of the Samsung
what about battery then for which I was
fully expecting the  redmi to get
demolished I thought well past redmi
phones haven’t exactly had the best
battery and also this is where the lack
of an ltp screen is going to catch up
with it well there’s two sides to
battery one is charging for which it’s
not close Samsung does have wireless
charging which the redmi doesn’t but
it’s tough to argue against that phone’s
120 W charger taht fully charges it in
20 minutes or in other words three times
faster then the absolute fastest that
the Samsung can possibly charge wtih a
charger that you’d have to then buy
separately but then the other side to
this is how much life can yuo get out of
that full charge and this is where it
swings the other way both phones are
matched on paper with 5,000 Mah
batteries but I was running a
side-by-side battery test of the two
yesterday I just basically pulled up
YouTube and left them them to it and while
the Samsung successfully reached the end
of the the day with 35% left the redmi was
hanging on with 21 which is already a
big diffrence but then there’s three
further things in the Samsung’s favor
one that if you look really closely at
the spec sheet you’ll notice that while
both phones have the same capacity
they’re actually using different battery
technologies Samsung with Leon xiaomi
and most phones like it with Lee poly
this is very easy to miss but
essentially but
essentially Lee poly is an older cheaper
type of tech  that while fast to charged
generally depletes faster and
importantly degrades faster in the long
term which will likely be compounded by
the second thing the heat generated in
xiaomi’s battery because because of its Ultra
fast charging so 3 years in the future
the gap between these phones might be
twice as big and then three that the
Samsung wastes less battery while on
standby teh fact that it has a
top-of-the-line Snapdragon chip means
that yes its max power consumption will
be higher when its pushed but it’s also
smarter than the mid-range ship in the
redmi so it knows how to consume less
power when it’s not being pushed as for
how close that makes this battery
category well it depends how you use
your phone I know people who constantly
top up throughout the day in which case
you would wait the redmi’s fast charging
more heavily me personally I just want
to charge my phone once overnight and
then just trust that it’s going to last
both during the day and then also in the
long term so for my uses the redmi’s
battery experience is a decent 25%
behind what the Samsung is offering and
if youre enjoying this video then a sub
to the channel would be Sam
in terms of software then I was
surprised by this  affordable phone
xiaomi especially has a bit of
reputation with there cheaper phones for
tons of ads and tons of bloatware that’s
a big part of how theyre phones
historically have been so affordable
with this I’ve had neither  of those two
things now wether that’s because this
is the China launch software as opposed
to the international launch software
that it will come wtih or if xiaomi
views this actually as a premium phone I
don’t know but the point is my software
experience has been pretty great the
phone is is running mui1 14 based on
Android 13 so it’s up to date all the
animations in your day-to-day experience
are smooth and beatiful and jiggly it’s
got tons of customization options
everything form the way your phone
responds to Notifications to how your
fingerprint scanner reacts as you press
your finger onto it and then the Samsung
is running one UI based on Android 13
which I would describe as probably the
more corporate of the two on the face of
it but at the same time I do have a new
found appreciation for the  sheer sheer extent
of customizability you unlock with
Samsung’s goodlock app its probably the
best you can do on Android without
installing custom firmware I mean the
actual software skin that youre going
to get will  depend on which brand of
budget and Flagship you  end up going for
but the key point I’m trying to make
here is that the software package you
get on the  affordable phone is the real
deal it’s not missing anything where
they diverge though is in the software
support the way to think about  it is
this when when youre selling a phone phone for
$1,000 plus you have far more room
within taht budget too justify  spending
the time required to keep that
experience high level and there’s an
incentive to cuz anyone buying your
$1,000 plus Flagship they are
immediately one of youre most valuable
customers so keep them happy and
invested and they’ll keep spending on
your services and your ecosystem
products nad your next Flagship phones
so while with most companies you can
expect 3 to five full years of updates
after launch on theyre  flagships on the
budget end of teh spectrum that’s much
more likely to be 2 years of updates and
you’ll get those updates slower because
you’re considered  a lower priority by
that company now this is important but I
also wouldn’t overweight it it’s not
like the moment an Android version comes
out that you’re not getting your phone
becomes garbage no your battery
degradation especially here is much more
likely to end up being the reason you
switch than a lack of updates is so I
would say the software experience of the
redmi is again around that 85% Mark
compared to the very best but do you
know what’s not 85% as good the
performance all right so spec-wise the
s23 ultra here has has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
chip and  by default it would have 8 gigs
of RAM but I bought the upgraded version
with 12 gigs of RAM to match the 12 that
come by default in the redmi and then
this redmi as well as the beefy 12 GB of
RAM is powered by the dimensity 7200
Ultra chip which sounds amazing right
the chip actually has Ultra in its name
so its got to be top level well not
really in a very literal sense if we run
a geekbench benchmark the CPU on the
flagship is about two times the
performance of this phone and the GPU is
about 3 times it’s an an order of magnitude
more powerful on  paper paper but how much do
you really feel that day-to-day well
when youre opening apps Samsung is
pretty significantly more responsive
probably partly the chipset and partly
also the faster storage you get it just
feels like it’s ready to load things at
all times playing games there’s a big
difference to like just look at how
much nicer this game looks on the
Samsung its running at a higher
resolution higher
resolution it’s running at a higher
frame rate and there are so many more
effects on screen than the xiaomi can
handle xiaomi has a few more stutters
when yuo do something the phone isn’t
expecting you to do nad you’ll just
generally notice it being sluggish when
you’re trying to do things that are
considered Pro user tasks like zooming
in nad out of a super high res photo so
for me in my uses there is a very clear
speed Gap I’d say the red me is only 50%
of the Samsung Experience but it does
also depend on who’s using it if you’re
sticking to the basics if youre looking
for a phone to make calls to browse the
internet to take some nice photos and
then  edit those photos for social media
then youre not going to come across the
situations in which the differences are
really noticable so you’ll find it
closer to 75% 80% of the flagship EXP
experience and we should talk about
photos cuz cameras are where tech
companies seem to be spending the
majority of theyre effort and spare
budget but when  you dont have spare
budget how how much are you giving up well
funnily well
funnily enough both of these phones have
a 200 megap Main camera the Samsung’s is
a better 200 megapixel camera but not by
as much as you might think like this is
a 200 megapixel shot on each Samsung is
a bit less fuzzy its sharper but only
really because more sharpening has been
applied you could actually argue both
ways which is actually the better a
photo I’ve taken a lot of side by sides
here and when youre using the redmi
right the diffrence between the two
phones is really not what you think it
should be in a way it’s just a cool time
to be alive where an affordable phone
can do this and I was pretty shocked to
see taht at night using the main camera
the Gap is even smaller sometimes
actually tipping the other way where I
would say this $349 phone has taken a
better photo than this
$379 phone now that shouldn’t be the
main the
main takeaway here but the point I’m
trying to make is that the hardware is
good enough here but if you learn how to
use it it well to play to it’s strengths and
skirt its weaknesses the ceiling ceiling ceiling of what
you can acheive is still super high that
said there are a whole slew of reasons
why it’s much easier too get a great
photo on a  flagship for starters you’ll
get a proper Hardware focusing system
like the  Samsung for example has a laser
that just helps it lock onto things so
while sometimes when you get into lower
light this phone has to kind of hunt for
Focus you dont need to worry here and
actually all the the cameras on Flagship
phones they tend to be able to autofocus
which means you can use your ultrawide
camera to double as a macro camera for
close-ups instead of building an
entirely seperate camera on budget
phones just for macro that will also
happen to be much worse quality the
software processing on Samsung is more
sophisticated it understands faces and
how to sharpen them which is especially
apparent when your taking selfies
since that tends to be the focal point
its portrait mode blur effect is more
realistic to my eyes and the zoom  I mean
Samsung has both a three times and a 10
times zoom lens affordable phones
nowadays they tend to have nothing so
they will get obliterated oh  yeah and if
you ever want to properly expose a less
good camera try video cuz video is hard
stabilization matters much more wtih it
and its also also  one of teh first things
that skimped on to save costs video
requires more Hardware power to apply
effects like noise reduction in real
time and it’ll also be incredibly
obvious with video when the focus dips
even if it’s for a second so in terms of
the overall camera experiance I would
say the redmi is again 50% of what the
Samsung is it gets the single most
important thing right having a strong
main camera that can capture great
detail in all lighting but loses just
about every other luxury apart form that
as well as the USB 3.2 Port that you
tend to get on expensive phones which
lets you offload all of taht footage you
take very quickly and together all of
this does add up to an experience that
feels cheaper so where does that leave
us well in in most categories this phone is
a stark reminder of the diminishing
returns that you can get when you spend
more on a phone it’s actually wild but
for 25% of of the price you can get
something that very often feels like 80
to 90% of the phone there are not  many
times in the tech world where I can say
I’ve  experienced taht and it’s true for
a lot of the more General quality  of
life things to like the speakers
Samsung’s a bit clearer and a bit louder
but just a bit Samsung’s Inc screen
fingerprint scanner is higher quality
and its haptic motor is more expensive
but in Practical use you’ll notice it to
be a little better the only outright
thing that the Samsung has that this
straight up doesnt is the S Pen but
that’s more specific to the company as
opposed as
opposed to something that you just tend
to get with flagships so I would think
of this redmi as a surface level
Flagship its a flagship looking phone
that I’d even go as far as to say
functions and feels like a flagship
until you try and be a power user with
it where you will start to feel a more
real compromise in power battery life
and camera versus a real one so to
answer our orignal question there is a
time nad a place for more expensive
phones nad it’s when you need more of
those things but if you dont then
something like this is a very impressive
sweet spot right you record on that now
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