And when it comes to budget phones, OnePlus is one of the companies that has made a name for itself for selling great budget phones. It was part of a clever marketing plan to get users hooked on budget devices and then slowly increase the prices, until one day you get close to the cost of the flagship device. Of course, many users didn’t like that change and demanded the next great one “flagship killer” (c) ™ at a much lower price.
So that’s exactly what OnePlus did with the launch of a brand new line of phones, the OnePlus North in 2020. A $400 phone that offered an incredible amount of features for its price was crowned by many as the “best budget Android phone” of 2020 and early 2021, and it all made sense at the beginning. And no surprise, after the rave reviews it sold like hot cakes and months after its launch it was constantly sold out and you had to wait weeks to get your hands on one.
From hype to abandonment
A few years of ownership reveals the pitfalls of the “best budget phone”
I occasionally fire up the OnePlus Nord, it was a device that I myself hailed as the next “Google Nexus”, and to this day I still enjoy the design and especially the beautiful blue color. Even today it can be a great gift. But for the past few months, every time I boot it up, I’m greeted with the same old software and no sign of an upcoming update. How was this budget beast treated as a second-rate Android update citizen in the end? Look, Android updates are all we keep hearing “gets better” every year. And it does, just not for everyone.
And certainly not in the budget segment. In the case of the popular OnePlus Nord, it’s been almost nine months now and it still hasn’t received the promised Android 12 update!
OnePlus expects Nord sales to reach more than 25 million by 2023
Yes, it is understandable that budget phones are not the number one priority of phone manufacturers, but nine months?! Heck, in just a few months we expect the first phones with Android 13!
No sympathy in the community
Fanboys often disdain users when they even ask for an update
These kinds of comments not only do not contribute in any way to the problem, but put the blame on users for expecting an update that was promised to them within a reasonable timeline. Of course, the comment also doesn’t mention that the OnePlus Nord’s starting price of around $400 isn’t actually much cheaper than the Google Pixel 4a/5a series. Even so, those devices can still get updates on day 1 of the Android 12 update cycle, which to remind you was early October 2021!
Not all budget Android phones are created equal
Let’s get one thing straight though: not all budget Android phones are treated this way. For example, Samsung has really stepped up its game and started rolling out Android 12 in January and February with its One UI 4 update for the Galaxy A52, and the even older Galaxy A51 model started receiving the Android 12 update in April. . Over time, this situation shows that smaller brands often look like a good deal with a lower initial price on their budget phones, but there are also trade-offs that come along with this. I have hopes that ringing the alarm bell will help phone manufacturers pay attention to updates. It really doesn’t make sense to release literally dozens of new devices, often at around $20 each in price, but fail to properly update them just a year and a half or two years after their release.
But guess what: are software updates equally important to you, or do you find it acceptable to have fewer and slower software updates in exchange for a device that costs slightly less than the competition?