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Bill Bennett


No Android phone is worth NZ$1000

LG G4 phone

Although LG’s G4 is one of the best Android phones you can buy It isn’t likely to sell large numbers. At least not in New Zealand.

That’s because at NZ$1200 it is too expensive for an Android phone.

It doesn’t stack up well against the competition.

LG’s problem is that the G4 is squeezed between Apple at the top of the phone market — the iPhone 6 Plus is $50 more expensive — and cheaper Android phones offering a similar experience.

As Andrew McPherson points out, the Moto X is a good alternative. You can buy it for NZ$600, half the price of an LG G4.

Sure the G4 has better features: a better screen, a better camera. Even so, there’s little you can do with a G4 that can’t be done as well with the Moto X.

Better Android options

If you’re adventurous there are even cheaper Android phones that deliver almost as much as the LG G4. Vodafone NZ sells the Vodafone Smart for $150. You’ll get, perhaps, three-quarters of the Android phone functionality and pay one-eighth of the price.

You don’t need to visit the bargain basement to get a sharper price. Even Samsung’s swanky Galaxy S6 costs $100 less than the G4. You can get the Samsung phone for under $1000 if you shop around.

There’s not a huge gulf between Huawei’s $800 P8 Android flagship and the G4. The LG G4 may have a better camera, but almost no-one will notice the difference in practice. You might as well pocket that $400. It’ll pay for a lot of mobile data.



14 thoughts on “No Android phone is worth NZ$1000

  1. Ah, but is any phone worth $1000?

    I won’t ever buy an iPhone or, in fact, anything from Apple as I disagree with the way they do business.

    1. When it comes to phones, there’s the phone market and there’s the Apple phone market. They are linked but distinct, each operates along its own set of economics and rules.

  2. I think I agree that no phone is worth $1000 – not when you can pick up the LG G3 for $600. But the thing is, the camera is one of the real differentiators between a mid range phone and a top of the line phone, and I wouldn’t pass camera quality as a nice to have, I’d say it’s one of the most crucial features.

      1. Agree. I’m disappointed with the price of the LG G4, even the Huawei P8. I might as well pay the little bit extra to get the ripoff Apple iPhone. But I won’t be because they are too expensive for what you get – ROI is poor IMO. And so is the ROI will be for the G4 & P8, let alone the Samsung S6 & Edge. Shame. I really like the camera of the G4, and even the S6.

  3. Or you can still buy the Nexus 5 for $455. I have one and it’s superb. Or the Nexus 6 for $715 (but I don’t want a 6 inch phone, thanks).

  4. Yoir title implies that it is worth paying $1000 for an iPhone.

    I think the real issue here is whether you think that people are crazy enough to drop 1k on any device.

    I look at the crazies of the world dropping $1250 on an iPhone 6 plus because Mrs Jones already has one and shake my head.

    My brainwashed kids want iPhones because they do so much more than Android devices….

    It is all about perceived value which apple do brilliantly. I don’t see there is any value in buying a flagship of any brand in week one unless you are a “look at me” type of person or have wads if cash.

    1. “Perceived value”.

      You hit the nail on the head. It’s easy to compare Androids with Androids and to think directly about the link between price and delivered value. You can ask yourself if a better camera is worth another $400 or twice the price of a phone with an OK camera.

      It’s harder to make the comparison between Apple phones and Android phones.

      They operate in two different worlds. Many people look at Apple phones and wonder what the fuss is about and why anyone is prepared to pay a premium for the devices. Many Apple users look at Android phones and wonder why people are prepared to live with the compromises.

      This tells us the perceived value in a phone isn’t only about hardware.

  5. No mention of the fact you can pick up a Windows Lumia 635 for $40? Microsoft positioning themselves nicely by attacking the lower end of the market. Very decent specs for $40.

    1. Microsoft makes great phones. The Windows Phone software beats most Android and overlay combinations although the app store isn’t as enticing. I don’t know that specific phone, the Lumia 635 and I guess at that price someone is selling it at a loss. Yes, you can buy something like 30 of them for the price of one LG 4G phone.

  6. Bill,

    all the parallel importers sell it for under $900. Paying $1200 from a Vodafone reseller isn’t worth it. The importers with any credibility also usually offer a 1-year warranty.

    1. Sure. But you’ll also pay the list price at officially authorised outlets Harvey Norman — why LG chose that company to launch the phone is beyond me.

      At $900 the LG 4G is a great buy. I recommend it. That’s also what you’ll pay for a Samsung Galaxy S6 at a parallel importer.

      As an aside, is the out of the box phone the same at a parallel importer as at an official outlet? I know many phones are flashed for NZ sale but that’s usually just about localising software.

      1. Google Nexus phones work fine out of the box from parallel importers. I’ve bought three models now and they were no problem. Shove a New Zealand SIM into them and away you go. I can’t how it would be different for other Android phones bought the same way.

        1. There are two potential issues. Or maybe I should say there were two issues in the past:

          First, some phone makers optimise their software for local conditions. There was some discussion with Huawei when I was in Singapore about the review phones handed out there not being optimised for New Zealand. That comes down to the included software – mainly the phone-maker added software – which is unlikely to be a problem with the plain vanilla Android used by a Nexus phone.

          Frankly, I doubt anyone gives a toss about local software optimisation unless there’s something special on offer like optimised map software.

          Second, in the past some personally parallel imported phones didn’t include the right antennae for some of New Zealand’s three mobile carriers. This was paricularly a problem when Telecom (Spark) used CDMA. Phone makers would make regional versions with different antenna. I haven’t seen or heard of that in recent years, so I guess it’s not longer a problem. If you bought a phone from a local parallel importer that wasn’t fit for purpose, you’d be able to get you money back thanks to the Commerce Act.

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