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High End Smartphones cost you much more than you think!

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The specifications on Smartphone hardware are changing fast, really fast. Less than a year back, dual core mobile phones were talk of the town and now it looks like even quad-core phones don’t make it to the top of the list. The latest Samsung S4 boasts of eight cores. In comparison, just look at the change in CPUs of normal PCs or laptops…they still don’t have an eight core personal computer!

The good thing though about these high-end mobiles is the cost has remained nearly the same, even if the new model is twice as fast as its predecessor. Infact, if anything they are getting cheaper. And, that is making everyone move from feature phones and join the smartphone bandwagon.

But what I want to highlight in this article is – how smartphones with better specifications actually end up costing you lot more than you bargain for.

High-end-Smartphones-001

Let me first start with my own example: I have been using Android smart phones for around 3 years now and my latest possession has been the LG Google Nexus 4, which I went to great lengths to get it here in India. There is no question that I am extremely happy with this really fast phone. However, within a month, I have realized that actual cost of owning a high-end phone is much higher than what I imagined.

Lets take a look at my mobile data costs first – They have ballooned from Rs. 400 to nearly Rs. 1000 a month. Now, I am sure, I don’t need to tell you the reason why that has happened…right? I browse more, I see more videos, I play more games, I upload more pictures etc because my phone now does it in half the time than what it did earlier. I had to move from 1 GB plan to a 5GB plan to accommodate this increase in my usage.

And, this is not the case only with me, nearly everyone I have spoken to, have told me exactly the same. The better and faster the phone, more the data is consumed. Even spending Rs. 500 extra every month on mobile data works out to Rs. 6000 extra a year.


On my previous phones, I hardly made any app purchases, but within a month of owning the Nexus, I have bought apps from playstore worth nearly USD40. I bought a app that controls my DSLR from my phone, I have made some in-game purchases. I have even bought some productivity softwares.  There is no doubting the fact that “Better Smartphones = More App purchases = More costs

Let me talk about accessories now – With bigger and better smartphones coming in, the mobile accessory costs have gone up as well. Everyone wants to protect their large screens, everyone wants to ensure that their prized possessions remain scratch free. So we buy scratch guards, cases, covers etc. If you actually look at the total spend you do on accessories, you will realize, you end spending over a thousand rupees if not more!

The biggest cost  that you incur with a better smartphone is that of “your time”. The extra (unnecessary) time you spend on your high-end smartphones pales everything else! It reduces your productivity at work and at home as well! Even if you spend only 30 mins extra every day playing that fantastic new game or checking out your FB timeline, the monthly cost you are incur is more than anything else.

I know after reading these points, most of you want to tell me about the advantages a good high-end smartphone offers – I am aware of those and in no way am I undermining that fact. Those advantages are obviously the reason why we get these high-end phones.

The point of this article was to let you know that there are number of hidden costs involved in owning a high-end smartphone and when you are making a purchase decision, you should consider these facts. Sometimes, it is much better to own a average phone which takes care of your needs, rather than running after the next best thing in the town.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile

8 comments

  1. This is the way consumerism works. Bring out one innovation, and get people to use it and it leads to other products. Earlier there was no TV. People used to crowd around radios. First step is to introduce TV (ofcourse with unbearable DD channel). In initial stages the expence was only electricity bill for TVs. Unbearable DD channels led to hundreds of private channels and subscriptions for channels, set top boxes etc. First computers were for office use only. Then once people got used to computers then came PCs (personal computers). It led to lot of fringe product sales like floppies, cds. Then came laptop/notebooks with their own gadgets and software sales. Now coming to phones, earlier phones were made by ITI company. Then we saw IT revolution which led to mobiles, then smart phones and their related products, apps etc. Earlier I used to go to school on a bicycle. Only expense was to fill air in tyres. Then came Luna, then came the great Bajaj Chetak (got it in black as the demand was such). They came with their petrol expenses, seat covers. Now we graduated to cars with their own gadgets like GPS etc. This is how US grew in the last 100 years. Give some product with usefulness, people will buy it and it creates industry around it. Debit cards / Credit cards will increase spending. We always go to Malls “just for window shopping” and never return without buying some thing, anything.

  2. Viral Dholakia

    Arun, One more cost involved if you own a good camera mobile – better the camera resolution, larger the size of the snaps & videos. Larger the space consumed by these clicks, you need to shift to larger GB memory cards to accommodate the sweet moments. For example, with 2 MP camera resolution, your snap sizes will be below 1 MB. But, with 5 MP camera, your snaps will consumer anywhere around 5 MB or more. Speaking about videos, it will consumer no less than 25 MB per 1 min video. So, you need what? 8 GB card? or 16 GB one? Voila, you need 32 GB card? Phase off from the inbuilt 2 GB card provided by your handset company.

  3. Go for sony Xperia Go………..

  4. Hi Arun, So any suggestions for a person who wants a smartphone which has GPS, good battery life, good audio quality and looks to be reasonably durable.

    • Hi Vaibhav, I totally agree with the opinion expressed in the blog.. Also would like to share that Indian consumers need to be educated on how to choose a smartphone as per their need & usage. In US & UK refurbished smartphone has a decent bandwidth in the market and allows customer to own a great gadget at an affordable price. Over here I think http://www.gobol.in is the new entry in the market with great choices on smartphones at an attractive price. I just purchased a Galaxy SIII at just 23K and I am haapy. U can tey ur luck too :)

  5. I totally agree Arun. Its the same with all the products.

  6. Prashant Mohta

    if you have WiFi at home , office or in my case college , you can do with lower data plans , heck i do fine with EDGE , granted i only use it for chatting and for every thing else i just hook up to WiFi , which is relatively cheaper over a longer time period , as for app purchases , never did those so don’t know (still a minor so no credit card ) . now the third one is what i agree with fully .

    • Arun Prabhudesai

      @Prashant – while some people are careful…other people do not realize the hidden costs…it is for those people :)

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