China's Xiaomi invades the midrange with budget phone
Competition in midrange smartphones is intensifying as a Chinese manufacturer moves in with cut-rate options.
It's taking the budget market down-market, though it's also offering some impressive camera specs that put established players to shame.
Samsung and Apple have over 90 percent of the local market, while Xiaomi in the low single digits is struggling to increase its presence with cheaper models.
Samsung Electronics rolled out its budget Galaxy A53 in March, a strong contender against Apple's iPhone SE3.
Equipped with a 6.5-inch screen and a refresh rate of 120 hertz, the Galaxy A53 model was marketed for its strong display features. Samsung explained that the latest addition to its mid-range lineup offers a bright and vivid display even in daylight and runs longer due to its 5,000 milliamp-hours (mAh) battery.
Weighing 189 grams, the Galaxy A53 has a quad-camera set-up at the rear with a 64-megapixel main camera and a 32-megapixel camera on the front.
The model is retailing at 599,500 won ($486), while the smartphone maker's entry-level Galaxy A23 was priced at 374,000 won. The A23 model comes with a quad-camera set-up and a 5,000-mAh battery, but does not support 5G.
Apple's mid-range iPhone SE3 was first introduced in Korea in March. The SE3 model is smaller than Samsung's Galaxy A53 or Xiaomi's Redmi Note 11 Pro model, measuring 138.4 millimeters (5.45 inches) by 67.3 millimeters.
It weighs 144 grams, 40 to 50 grams less than its two rivals, with a 4.7-inch display and a battery capacity of 2,018 mAh.
The model is advertised to have an A15 Bionic chip, which is the same powerful processor in the iPhone 13. It comes with three storage options: the 64-gigabyte model selling at 590,000 won, the 128-gigabyte option at 660,000 won and the 256-gigabyte priced at 800,000 won.
Apple retained a home button on the iPhone SE3, which makes it the only iPhone model with a physical home button on the device. It comes with a single-camera set-up, 12-megapixel in the back and 7-megapixel on the front.
Xiaomi's competitive edge lies in its price.
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer released its budget Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G in Korea last Wednesday. The basic model, with 6 gigabytes of random-access memory (RAM), is priced at 399,300 won, and the 8-gigabyte RAM model is retailing at 429,000 won.
Xiaomi picked its camera features as the model's strongest point over its rivals, during a press conference on April 5. The main camera at the rear is 108 megapixels, which far exceeds the camera specifications of other models in a similar price range. The 5,000-mAh battery also supports fast-charging via a 67-watt charger.
Xiaomi is still lagging far behind the predominant players in terms of market presence.
It had 2 percent of the local market in 2021, up 40 percent on year, according to the company.
BY LEE SU-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]