I think there is a pretty large segment of the buying consumer population out there that is looking at all of these new features that are coming out like when Apple comes out with the new iPhone and they run through all the new features, or the new Pixel comes out and they run through all the new features. They look at it and they’re like, “Yeah, but I don’t care about any of that stuff. I don’t want any of that stuff. I just want the phone that I used to have but better,” and I think that’s sort of the role that these phones are filling right now, weirdly.
JC: At a certain point, you’re going to not be able to get some of those features anymore. For example, what comes to mind is the replaceable battery, something that a lot of people have clamored for but companies just were like, “Whatever, I’m just getting rid of this.” It was almost something similar with the headphone jack except now almost every single cheap phone has a headphone jack.
But I think at some point, yeah, these phones will always try to cater to that group of people because there are a lot of people that want that kind of stuff and it’s easy for a manufacturer to sort of take it out of their flagship and put it into some of these cheaper phones because maybe that initial group of audience is the only people that really care about them that much. But yeah, I think that these features like the micro SD card slot, for example, the headphone jack, those things are always going to have a little place with phones until some new standard comes along, I think.
MC: Really, I think that because of that trickle down effect we’ve been talking about, the things that people are resistant to now are going to make their way into these phones eventually. Face unlock will come to the next generation or maybe two generations down the road, but probably the next generation of cheap phones. Next year’s $ 400 phones will have face unlock instead of fingerprint sensors. At some point, they’re going to lose the headphone jack as well. At some point, they’re going to get wireless charging. You’re sort of setting yourself up when you buy one of these phones that you’re going to be two years behind the latest cutting edge thing.
JC: Yeah, and that sort of goes back to that point of something like replaceable batteries. At the moment, even with cheap phones, you can’t replace their batteries. Yes, there are select strange, random phones, maybe ultra cheap ones that you can find that has a removable battery, but for the most part, most manufacturers don’t really do that anymore. When we get features like face unlock, is there a chance that manufacturers might say, “Well, let’s now get rid of the fingerprint sensor”? That is totally something that is possible and I will definitely hate that when that comes around.
LG: Julian, this has been a really great conversation about all the strikes and gutters of cheap phones, but stick around because we’re going to take a quick break and when we come back, we want you to join us for recommendations.
LG: All right, Julian, what’s your recommendation this week?
JC: This is going to sound a little crazy, but I recommend the Herman Miller Embody. This is a chair that runs for about 1200 or $ 1,300. I definitely don’t recommend you pay that much for it. First, I’ve been sitting a lot. I’ve always sat a lot at my desk for terrible amounts of hours during a day. That is something that only just got worse ever since the pandemic began. I’ve just been sitting in front of my computer because what else am I going to do? I think I was having a lot of back issues earlier on and so I upgraded my chair. I had a cheap gaming chair and I upgraded to this one and it has really helped my posture. It has also just made my back not hurt, which is very important. It’s something that I definitely recommend people look into.
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