5 budget variants of flagship smartphones that will hit the market in 2020

Premium technology doesn't always need to come at a premium price tag. Smartphone manufacturers like Google, Apple, and Samsung all complement their flagship device launches with budget-friendly derivatives

Over the past few years, it's been increasingly popular for leading smartphone manufacturers to launch "lite" versions, or less expensive derivatives, of their flagship devices. Here are five budget-friendly handsets based on some of the most advanced phones on the market that are expected to hit the market this year.

As smartphones are more and more frequently paired with price tags surpassing $1,000, technology companies like Apple and Google have been launching "Lite" versions of their flagship models. While these devices share a great deal of hardware with their more expensive counterparts, their structural components may be made of lower-grade material or their software may not be quiet as advanced. Nevertheless, despite their more primitive components, the performance of these flagship alternatives often have a comparable performance. 


Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note10 Lite

Earlier this month, Samsung announced the lite versions of their Galaxy S and Note series. Compared to the flagships, the Lite iterations maintain industry-leading camera tech, a near bezel-less display and a long-lasting battery. Launched in India Tuesday, January 21, the Galaxy Note10 Lite starts at Rs. 38,999 (equivalent to about US$549) with pre-orders starting this week and delivery from February 3 in that market. (In the US the flagship Galaxy Note10 starts at $949.) Though the price of the S10 Lite has not yet been announced, it too is expected to cost a few hundred less than the original model, which goes for $899.


TCL 10 Pro

Also earlier in January, TCL announced the 10 Pro which is a sub-$500 device that hosts a series of premium features. When the device launches next month, owners will be able to enjoy a rear-camera apparatus consisting of four lenses -- including a 64MP one -- and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor.


Next-generation iPhone SE

Rumors have been circulating in the smartphone industry that Apple is planning to release a successor to the four-year-old iPhone SE. Allegedly, the device will resemble the iPhone 8.


Google Pixel 4a

Because Google launched the Pixel 3a last year, it's expected the brand will launch a lite version of the Pixel 4, as well. The 3a was priced at $399 while the standard model retailed for $799. For $400 less, owners got a device that looked almost identical to the flagship, one of the best cameras on the market and a headphone jack.


OnePlus 8 series

OnePlus continues to make its name in the industry by offering premium smartphone hardware in a device that's more affordable than Samsung or Apple flagship devices. The next OnePlus devices expected to hit the market (possibly in May) are the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. They are rumored to have a hole-punch display on the screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, and 5G connectivity, all for (maybe) a little over $700.


If you're willing to settle for elements like simplified external aesthetics or lower waterproof levels, it's possible to find a device with premium features for a non-flagship price tag. Over this year, there should be at least five budget-friendly devices with select flagship hardware to choose from.