Buyer’s guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice


Some time ago, an article appeared on the site marked “As an advertisement”, which analyzed the choice of smartphones from Samsung, the differences between the main lines and what they give the buyer. As a rule, comments are closed by default in such articles, but people often write to the mail following the publication. Several dozen letters, many of them indicate little things that have influenced or may affect the choice of the device. On the one hand, it was logical to simply expand the text, on the other hand, I quickly realized that it was almost impossible to do this. So in this text I will try to suggest a different format, and if you like it, we will describe smartphones from other manufacturers in a similar way. Consider this material a kind of experiment, it depends on you how much it will come to the court or you will consider it unsuccessful.


  1. Why you can choose Samsung – pros and cons
  2. How to understand device lines – numbers, letters, prices and positioning
  3. Choosing a smartphone in the middle segment – price / quality ratio
  4. Choosing a flagship – what to look for
  5. Key models in each segment
  6. Short afterword and conclusions

Why you can choose Samsung – pros and cons

Surprisingly, when choosing this or that phone, people rarely talk about choosing a manufacturer, it seems that this is a matter of course. The name of the manufacturer almost never plays a role in the purchase of inexpensive devices, but in all other cases it comes to the fore. And they are willing to pay more for the name, which even formed the perception that some brands are worth more than they should, since they charge a markup for the name. And this is often said about Samsung. In my opinion, this statement about Samsung is groundless, since the company creates not only smartphones, but also an ecosystem of different devices, which gives a fundamentally different user experience. The combination of a Samsung TV and a smartphone is so good that I can’t imagine how you can live without it. And the DeX mode, what saved me on a laptop or a computer for a summer residence? There I work from my smartphone, connecting it via Wi-Fi to the TV. These are little things from everyday life that not everyone needs, but they exist and change the perception of devices, how convenient it is to use them.

The mistake of any person is that he often tries to transfer his private experience to the whole world. It is convenient for me, which means it will be convenient for everyone, without exception. But I could not master this thing, which means that no one will use it. How many times have I heard that the S Pen is complete nonsense that no one needs. And how many times I convinced my friends to try, and then they became fans of the Note line and stopped admitting something else. A matter of experience and perception, nothing more.

What could be Samsung’s advantage over other smartphone manufacturers? You will never get a capacious, unambiguous answer to this question, since everyone will weave experience from communicating with one or another model, albeit ten years ago. Often the experience consists in comparing a budget device and a flagship of another company, unexpectedly the second one turned out to be much better (what a surprise, such a surprise!).

In my opinion, smartphones from Samsung always have a guaranteed level of quality and service. By quality, I mean not only design, body materials, but also the software of smartphones. Software for Samsung smartphones has become standard in recent years, largely dependent on the hardware of the device. The company decided that they will support their devices with the release of three versions of Android (this is the minimum number of updates, not the maximum). This is easy to see if you look at the Galaxy S9 / S9 +, which came out in the spring of 2018 on Android 8. A year later, these models received Android 9, in 2020 – Android 10 and a new version of the OneUI interface. Security patches are released monthly on a scheduled basis.

A few years ago, the situation was radically different, updates were released as you like, patches appeared in random order. And this became a gripe, which the company corrected, unlike many other Android manufacturers. Today, this problem simply does not exist.

It should also be mentioned that Samsung is ahead of Google in terms of developing new features for smartphones. The developments that appear in smartphones from Samsung are then implemented, and even then not in full, in standard Android. But this happens with a delay of a year or more. Therefore, the OneUI shell looks like an interesting version of an advanced version of Android, it is filled with “little things” that change the idea of ​​the capabilities of a smartphone.

But the most important thing is that OneUI is the same on both the most inexpensive models and the latest flagships, it is the same interface, similar capabilities, adjusted for the hardware differences of the models. Buying Samsung, you get the same interface on any model, it is universal. There are those who think this interface is unfortunate, which is fine. But it is better to form your opinion and try OneUI in order to judge it not by hearsay. The speed of work, different chips that make life easier.

Another point that is important in the perception of Samsung: the company creates technologies independently. The leader in the production of components, for example, memory and screens, cameras for mobile devices, number one in the global TV market. Buying the same iPhone, you get an OLED screen from Samsung, but not the latest generation, as in your own products, memory is also from Samsung.

But the important thing is that you can buy a device in any price group, from the most inexpensive and budget to the flagship. You have an alternative, and you can choose the right model for your tasks, save money, nerves and time. Reflections that only flagships are worthy of choice seem to me to be somehow prehistoric and unusual for rational people. You need to choose what will give you emotions, those opportunities that are in demand by you.

Last, but not least, is the quality of service. A huge network of services throughout the country, the ability to repair the device almost everywhere (paid or under warranty). It is clear that no one thinks about it, believes that breakdowns will be bypassed, but anything happens in life. And the presence of a large service network is important.

How to understand device lines – numbers, letters, prices and positioning

The logic of building a lineup from Samsung is very simple. We have the main line, consisting of the A-series, the opening model is the A01, the most inexpensive budget device.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

Further, we see the growth of the index: A21, A31, A51 and so on. The higher the index, the more expensive the device, but at the same time other characteristics are added. Sometimes there are models with a letter designation after a number, for example, the letter s. Such models should be considered assortment models, they differ slightly from the basic version (in Russia, A21 and A21s can be cited as an example).

In parallel, you can see the M-series models, they have the same indexes as the A-series. But at the same time, a number of characteristics have been improved, for example, there is a larger battery. It is enough to compare Galaxy A51 and Galaxy M51 to understand how they differ, including in price, the M51 model costs much more. In my opinion, the M-series is a space for experiments, where individual possibilities are emphasized, for example, they put large batteries. But they degrade something in comparison with the A-series, for example, they remove the fingerprint sensor built into the screen, deteriorate the materials of the case. In order not to create competition within the line, the M-series is sold in a limited number of channels, and the circulation of such models is artificially limited. They can be found online, very rarely such devices participate in sales and noticeable discounts apply to them. These are models for those who carefully choose a smartphone and know what they want from it.

The flagships from Samsung come out in a line with the letter S, the number denotes a generation. For example, the Galaxy S20 is the current generation of the flagship, but the S30 will be the next. A minor update gets a different index, for example, S21 is an improved version of the S20 (this device has not yet been officially announced). Models with the Ultra prefix are the oldest in each line, this is the maximum number of possibilities, the latest characteristics. But the price is matched, at the moment there are two such devices – S20 Ultra and Note20 Ultra.

The Note line is unique in that it offers S Pen, you can write by hand, draw, draw – the number of possibilities is unlimited, your “pen” even acts as a remote control, and in the air you can draw commands like a magic wand.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

Buying any Note line device makes sense if you are ready to master the S Pen and have a rough idea of ​​why you need it. Otherwise, it makes sense to save money and choose an S-series model, the possibilities will be exactly the same, but without a pen.

Now an important point, which will be a revelation for many. The company does not produce all models under the Samsung brand on its own, many budget devices are ODM-models, they are developed at third-party factories according to the order that the company has placed. It is easy and simple to distinguish them from the original Samsung devices, they support Google Pay, but they do not have Samsung Pay. There is also no “Protected Folder” based on Knox.

Each model has its own price / quality ratio, the set of characteristics that makes the device interesting for the buyer. There is not a single manufacturer in the world that can maintain this parameter the same for a wide range of models, here Samsung is no exception. In the budget segment, Samsung’s models often lose to Chinese manufacturers, offering less for a lot of money. They have support for software updates, security patches, often better software. But at the same time there is less memory (both built-in and operational), and displays are worse. The choice of such a device is almost always trust in the brand, but not a rational approach: for this money, you can pick up something more interesting. In my opinion, you need to look at models that cost 15 thousand rubles or more, they have an excellent price / quality ratio. Let me remind you that for the second year in a row the best-selling model among all smartphones in Russia is the model from Samsung, that year A50, this year – A51.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

The reason is the notorious price / quality ratio, which is excellent in this device and outperforms many famous rivals. Don’t get it wrong, this statement does not mean that the device is completely devoid of flaws, they are present. But these shortcomings pale against the background of the merits, and therefore in 2020 Galaxy A51 is the best-selling smartphone in Russia. It is especially interesting to see how he puts the device from Apple on both paddles, which costs twice as much.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

Let’s talk about the choice of flagships separately, right there I want to dwell on another point – changing characteristics depending on the cost of the device. It is impossible to use the same components in all smartphones without exception, there is always a dependence on the price on the shelf. And therefore, the models differ markedly in their capabilities. In the current line, this is clearly visible in the price segments and the set that you get inside the models. So, up to 15 thousand rubles are the minimum possibilities in everything – cameras, radio parts, screens. From 15 to 25 thousand rubles – the second level, everything becomes noticeably better. Further – a large segment from 25 to 50 thousand rubles, everything is fine here, and the choice is already going in terms of what you need specifically. The flagships of this season or previous years start from 50 thousand rubles, there is plenty to choose from. Formally, from this price, you already choose the configuration of the device – screen and diagonal, as well as its generation, quality and number of cameras, take the Note line or the S-series.

Hope this breakdown by prices will help you navigate. It will also be important to dwell on such a non-obvious factor as the life of the device. For flagships, it can be at least three years, in reality it is 4-5 years on average. For budget models, it depends on the usage profile (only calls, then the same terms, and if the use of applications, then two years and then a replacement). In the middle segment, the models tend to the flagships in terms of use.

The build quality of Samsung models, the materials used allow us to say that they will all serve for a long time. Just remember that the battery is a consumable item, after a couple of years it should be replaced at a service center if you plan to continue using your smartphone.

Choosing a smartphone in the middle segment – price / quality ratio

Buyers always have a certain budget that they can and want to spend on buying a smartphone. And here the price / quality ratio comes to the fore, when for each ruble invested you can get the optimal number of opportunities. Not the maximum possible on the market, as it is in some flagships, but exactly the necessary set that is right for you.

In 2019-2020, it is the price / quality ratio that begins to become the main leitmotif when choosing a smartphone, and therefore the middle segment takes off in sales. What is the middle segment? In cost, perhaps, it can be very conditionally described as a price in the range from 15 to 30 thousand rubles on the shelf. The best-selling and most popular smartphone in Russia in 2020 is the Galaxy A51, the reason is the very ratio that seems optimal to buyers.

Many buyers grossly underestimate the need to figure out what they are looking for. No one will give you sensible advice from the outside, since you know yourself and your needs much better. Here it is important to properly measure what you want to get at the end, what you are ready to donate, and what must be in your smartphone.

For my taste, in this price range, when choosing, you need to dance from the same Galaxy A51. If you want more memory and a more powerful processor, a little better camera – look at the older models. If you want to save a little or need a model without the latest bells and whistles – look at the M-series, it is often very interesting, although the possibilities are simpler and often there is no Samsung Pay (these are ODM devices, but there is Google Pay).

The lineup from Samsung is very diverse, the price step is small, you can choose a model for any budget. And here it is worth seeing what exactly you need, what tasks you will solve using your smartphone. How important is good photo quality? Or do you shoot from time to time, and focus on something else? Watch the video? Probably worth thinking about a big screen. Try to write out a few points from those that are extremely important to you, and already use them to choose a model.

Hint – it’s worth keeping an eye on sales, as often flagships from previous years can be caught at prices that fit within this price range. No matter how much you are assured that the middle segment is growing in its capabilities, still the flagships are made according to different patterns, and they are much more interesting in any aspect. Keep this moment in mind when choosing a model for yourself.

Choosing a flagship – what to look for

Once upon a time, the choice of a flagship was a simple matter, the company had one device, which was called such, and there were no alternatives. Today everything is not so simple, and I do not even take into account the devices of the previous seasons, which add confusion for the average buyer. We figured out the difference between the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines above, now is the time to see how the devices differ from each other and what to look for.

The basic line of flagships (namely the line, since there are several models) is the S-series. Traditionally, there are several devices here, you should pay attention to the screen diagonal. So, the S20 has the smallest diagonal, the S20 + is larger, and the S20 Ultra is the largest.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

The S20 / S20 + models are very close in capabilities, the difference is in the screen diagonal, and you need to look at which device you need. But Ultra is the maximum technology, as well as the maximum cost. Formally, such a device can be considered the very flagship, but not everyone needs it, it is not just a demonstration of technologies, but the embodiment of everything that is advanced on the market, from cameras to screens. Not everyone needs it, not everyone is satisfied with the large size of the device, so many look at the younger models. The most popular flagship is S20 +, it is a familiar format, good price / quality ratio.

More recently, the S20 FE appeared on the market, a simplified model in relation to older devices, but the cost of this smartphone is 50 thousand rubles, it becomes the most affordable among the flagships. Youth-oriented, in vibrant colors.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

Perhaps we can say that Samsung’s positioning is now based not only on cost, but also on the idea of ​​who the device was created for. In the same S20 FE the aesthetics of the flagships, the same cameras, display, but the package is simplified (there is fast charging!). This is more a device for young people, and the price only confirms this (young people are also different, but the price always plays a role).

It would be a mistake to think that a flagship is always a high cost, the example of the S20 FE proves this. But let’s take a look at the other end of Samsung’s lineup, where the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold2 are.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choiceBuyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

These are smartphones with flexible screens, to some extent a work of art, and not having any serious competitors in the market. The story is in many ways a fashion story, since the latest technologies with high cost create a very definite perception of such models. And in today’s market, this is very rare. So, the Z Flip clamshell is great for girls, and the Galaxy Fold is for men, there is a gender division.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

Typically, flagships contain an image component, besides other characteristics, Samsung was able to do more – to create actually two lines of devices, and this greatly diversifies the lineup. At the same time, fashion models are almost in no way inferior to the flagships, they have similar capabilities.

As you can see, in the segment of expensive models, the choice is not limited to a single device, there are many of them, and there is something to think about. But first of all, these are thoughts about what you are buying and how affordable such a purchase is for you, and most importantly – you need it. Be smart about choosing a model, especially if this is significant money for you. On the other hand, I would like people to always buy wisely, putting at least minimal effort into choosing their next device.

Key models in each segment

If we start from the sales statistics, then the undoubted leader is the Galaxy A51, the model has been praised in the text many times, in terms of price / quality ratio it is an absolute record holder, buyers do not see any alternatives, they choose this smartphone. As an alternative, I advise you to look at the Galaxy M51, this device has a record battery life, up to a week from a single charge in the usual rhythm of use.

Buyer's guide. Choosing a smartphone from Samsung, the rule of rational choice

In the budget segment, this is the Galaxy A11, but here I would draw your attention to the Galaxy M11, the models are similar, the body materials differ. It is possible that this device will be a little more interesting.

Of great interest is the Galaxy M51, in fact, a little pumped up by the A51, but it is chosen by those who are picky about this issue.

Dwelling on the flagships, I want to highlight the S20 +, the model is very successful and deservedly popular. For those who like a smaller size, this is the S20. Speaking of price / performance ratio, the S20 FE is worth a look. In the Note line, choose the device that suits you in terms of basic parameters, but the S Pen will be the same everywhere, as well as its capabilities will not differ (in older models this is so, in models of previous years changes in additional functions of the S Pen are possible, but they are not critical).

If you are not on a budget and want to try something new and different, then take a closer look at the Galaxy Z Fold2. The device simply has no analogues, it combines a phone and a tablet. A fundamentally new category of devices that already today allows you to get what other companies will create in years. This is no longer an experiment, but quite live, commercial devices with maximum capabilities.

Short afterword and conclusions

One of the most important factors when choosing a modern smartphone is the buyer himself! An obvious, banal fact, but it affects the perception of the purchase and how you evaluate the device more than ever. To give a simple example, the Ultra models have a completely different main module for shooting, and the macro mode requires a person to retrain. This information is not hidden in any way, it is emphasized, and it is available to everyone. Nevertheless, there are people who, without thinking, buy Ultra, stubbornly do not want to learn how to shoot in a different way (their right! Why not?). It turns out a vicious circle, the buyer did not even spend a minimum of time to understand the features of the model, bought the most expensive device and expects that it will be the best in every sense. But his user experience is completely different and he is not happy with the result. An attempt to teach a person something different runs into complete rejection, since the person does not want to learn (he spent a lot of money, does not want to bother). To me it reminds me of buying a DSLR camera after a digital point-and-shoot and the “poor” quality of the pictures. This problem puzzled many buyers why a professional SLR camera shoots so badly, why so many buttons and modes?

Nobody, except the person himself, can solve this problem, here it is important to look at what you need. And take some time to read the reviews, see what exactly you want to get. Formulate your tasks, follow your priorities, evaluate who is able to give you what you need exactly for you and for your tasks. It sounds corny, but that doesn’t make the thought less important.

For many years in a row, Samsung has been chosen for its guaranteed quality, advanced service, ecosystem and many different accessories. The brand is number one on the Russian market and in the world, which in itself answers many questions about customer preferences. It is possible that it is precisely being in the first place that causes both interest and the emergence of many tales from those who have never used Samsung products and do not even know them (sometimes those who try to use devices for other purposes, not in the way they are designed ).

Choosing a device is always a responsibility to yourself, so approach this issue responsibly. In order not to accuse each and every one of the fact that the chosen device does not work as you imagined and imagined.

PS The format is extremely experimental, so let me remind you that depending on your comments, it will either be continued or we will stop there. The text turned out to be voluminous, but for those who want to choose a device for themselves and not miss it, I hope it is useful.

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