At IUIGA, we are a firm believer in disruption that brings about more good in the world. With our disruptive business model, philosophy and commitment to thoughtfully-designed and premium quality everyday goods at completely transparent prices; we hope to shake things up.
In this vein, we are starting a new series where IUIGA discusses disruptive products, companies, and concepts, in an effort to start a conversation about these things. Our opinion may be partial, so we welcome you to discuss this together in the comments.
First up, the iPhone XS vs Xiaomi Pocophone F1 and why we think the disruptive Xiaomi offering is the better buy. This will lead into a broader conversation about how we are paying too much for smartphones.
iPhone 2018 Launch
Another year, another new iPhone launch. On 12 September 2018, Apple unveiled their newest iPhones to the world. There are three new devices this year. Firstly, there is the 5.8 inch iPhone XS, successor to the iPhone X. Then there is the iPhone XS Max, a bigger version of the XS with a 6.5-inch display. Lastly, there is the iPhone XR the ‘budget’ model with a 6.1 inch LCD display. In addition, Apple has reduced the prices of the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 and will officially stop selling the iPhone X.
iPhone Prices Over The Years
You will find more infographics at Statista
Over the years, the initial price of the iPhone range has been only trending upwards and pushing the limit of how much a smartphone should cost. In just 4 years, the price of the most expensive iPhone in the range has doubled. The iPhone 6 Plus which was the most expensive iPhone in 2014 was 499USD at launch. It was replaced by the iPhone X in 2017 which broke the 1000USD mark and set a new benchmark for how much premium phones cost.
Somehow, according to a Counterpoint Research report, the iPhone X has become the best selling smartphone of 2018, thus far and also the most successful revenue and profit generating iPhone ever. In addition, engineers at IHK markit have concluded that the raw cost of an iPhone X is estimated to be about 370USD, which translates to Apple earning 629USD for each phone sold. This in no small part has helped propel Apple to become the first American company to be valued at 1 Trillion USD. Take that in for a second.
Thankfully, the price of the iPhone XS has not increased. For the record, here are the prices for the iPhones in Singapore.
iPhone XS, XS Max and XR Price in Singapore
The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max comes in three storage flavors, 64GB, 256GB and 512GB respectively and will be available for pre-order from 14th September and in retail from 21st September. The prices listed here are taken from the Apple Singapore Store.
Apple iPhone XS Price Price
iPhone XS Max Price Singapore
iPhone XR Price Singapore
The iPhone XR will be available at a later date 19th October, 3pm.
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 vs iPhone XS
Enter the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 the phone that generated a substantial amount of excitement for its premium specifications and features for a budget price. For the sake of this discussion we will be comparing two phones, the 64GB base model iPhone XS which retails officially for 1,649SGD and the 64GB base model Xiaomi Pocophone F1 which retails officially for 449SGD. For the price of an iPhone XS with the same amount of storage, you can get 3 Xiaomi Pocophones and save $1200SGD if you choose the Xiaomi Pocophone F1. Is the iPhone XS three times better? To start this comparison we will be comparing what the average user does with his/her phone.
Average User’s Smartphone Use
According to a survey published by Mobiles.co.uk, the average smartphone user in Britain, these are the top ten ways people use their phone daily.
1. SMS – 88 percent
2. Email – 70 percent
3. Facebook/Social Media – 62 percent
4. Camera – 61 percent
5. Reading news – 58 percent
6. Online shopping – 56 percent
7. Checking the weather – 54 percent
8. WhatsApp – 51 percent
9. Banking – 45 percent
10. Watching videos on YouTube – 42 percent
Although this study was done in the UK, we can safely assume that this will be a good indication of what the average Singaporean does with his/her smartphone.
These activities all require good battery life, a sharp screen, a capable camera, good audio and a fast phone for a good experience. Here is how the phones measure up.
Phil Schiller, the VP of worldwide marketing for Apple claims that the new iPhone XS has half an hour more than the iPhone X which itself was a one day phone. On the other hand, reviewers have stated that the Pocophone F1 with its large 4000mah battery can last for 1.5 to 2 days of moderate use. The winner is the Pocophone.
In terms of screen, the iPhone is the clear winner with a high-quality OLED screen that is sharper (458PPI), brighter, better contrast, more color accurate with HDR support and a 120Hz refresh rate. However, the Pocophone is not far behind with a good quality LCD screen that is less sharp (401) PPI but and does not have those features that the iPhone XS has. This does not mean the Pocophone has a bad display. It is still more than good enough for social media use, YouTube or your Emails. The iPhone is the clear winner here.
In terms of camera, the iPhone XS has the better camera but the Pocophone is no slouch. Apple claims that the new iPhone X camera is twice as fast but there is not a huge improvement from the iPhone X. The iPhone X wins this round but the Pocophone is not far behind. Reviews have stated that the Pocophone is comparable to the iPhone X in good light but loses out in low light and video with a lack of stabilization. Knowing this, the F1 is still more than good enough for general use and posts on your social media. The iPhone wins this round.
In terms of audio, Pocophone F1 is the winner here. With stereo speakers and a headphone jack, it is more functional than the iPhone XS which needs an adapter for the headphone jack. Although the iPhone XS would have better stereo speakers it is surprising to see that the F1 has them and the headphone jack as well. These features will make your YouTube watching and music listening better so it’s strange to see iPhone XS losing out.
Reviews have stated that the Pocophone is blazing fast with its top of the line Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GBs of ram. Performance of the iPhone XS should be better but both phones should provide speedy experiences.
However, the iPhone is superior to the Pocophone F1 in a few other areas. The iPhone is IP68 waterproof while the Pocophone is only splash resistant. The iPhone XS has NFC and Apple Pay while the Pocophone does not have NFC and can only use QR based payment solutions. Moreover, the iPhone XS will also have better software support as Xiaomi like other Android manufacturers are slow with updates. Additionally, the Pocophone F1 which has a plastic back is less premium and less well built than the impeccably designed iPhone XS.
Disruption & Concluding Thoughts
In terms of what most people use their smartphone for, the Pocophone provides incredible value and a great overall smartphone experience for most users. As expected, the iPhone XS is better but not a lot better. If you can live without the premium features that the iPhone offers up, the Pocophone F1 is a no-brainer.
Here is where the crux of the matter lies, as stated earlier, Apple earns a gross margin of 64 percent for each phone while Xiaomi has been reported to only earn a gross margin of 5 percent from each phone. Judging by the hardware that Xiaomi packs inside their phones, there is no good reason to doubt this. With the Pocophone, Xiaomi has disrupted the market by showing that phones do not have to be expensive to provide a great experience. The 1200SGD premium is very hard to swallow unless you earn enough for this not to be an issue. Although there is a market for the iPhone, it really shouldn’t cost 3 times more.
For the premium that Apple charges and the reasons stated above, it is clear to us that the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is the better buy.
On the other hand, If you still want to buy the iPhone for whatever reason, we are selling cases to protect your expensive purchase.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.