Flagship smartphones are expensive, we get that. But you can have a flagship-like experience with upper mid-range phones. They often provide features and performance that are close enough to the top models to satisfy most consumers. Not to mention that these phones will likely save you a couple of hundred dollars that could go towards a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or a smartwatch. Here are five S$1000 (or less) smartphones to buy now.
Google Pixel 8
First off, the Google Pixel 8 (S$1,099) does breach the S$1,000 mark. But since some vendors (Amazon SG and Lazada) are bundling a pair of Pixel Buds A (worth S$149) with it, I think it fits the bill. Besides, the Pixel 8 has the same Tensor G3 processor as the Pro model, and hence, many of the same AI-powered features. In addition, its slightly smaller (and not quite as bright) screen may be why the Pixel 8 lasts longer in our battery test than the Pro model.
Nothing Phone 2
In almost every way, the Nothing Phone 2 is a massive upgrade over its predecessor. For starters, it uses a flagship processor, albeit an older Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The screen is also much improved, though the dual 50MP cameras didn't quite live up to our expectations. Unfortunately, the price, too, has increased significantly to S$999.
Oppo Reno10 Pro+ 5G
The Oppo Reno10 Pro+ 5G impressed us with its triple cameras that took excellent photos and videos, especially in low-light. It uses a pretty solid processor — the 2022 flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 — that ensures performance is snappy, and battery life is great. The Reno10 Pro+ 5G debuted at S$1,149, but it's now going for around S$1,034 at the official Oppo store.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
Samsung's Galaxy S23 FE offers many of the same flagship features you'd find on the other Galaxy S23 phones, but at a lower starting price (from S$888). While there are some obvious cost-saving measures — the phone is bulkier, heavier, and some features have been downgraded — the S23 FE still offers good value, especially if you prefer Samsung's software and user interface.
Xiaomi 13T Pro
The Xiaomi 13T Pro (from S$949) strikes a good balance between the higher-end models in the series that feature flagship-tier cameras, and more affordable versions. You get some flagship features, like IP68 and a smooth 144Hz AMOLED screen. The cameras, are good, albeit downgrades from the Xiaomi 13 Ultra. However, they do benefit from Leica's image processing, and are generally better than most upper mid-range phone cameras.
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