Depends on what you call a 'smart phone' and what you call 'middle range'. The likes of Apple and Samsung will do everything they can to sell you a flagship phone for a Grand. Yet you can get a perfectly useable 'smart' phone for sub £100.
I'd argue that the public at large have been victims of marketing brainwashing, subtle or otherwise, since people started advertising their goods. A smartphone is just a product like any other. Like other gadgets they improve over time and have additional functionality. If all you do is make voice calls and send the occasional text, then you certainly don't need one and could happily make do with something more basic. I don't really see my phone as a phone these days; it's a general purpose computer that happens to be able to perform the functions you'd expect of a phone, and much, much more.Have the public at large been the victims of subtle marketing brainwashing since the start of this millenium?
Have a look on any of the mobile networks' websites for pricing to get a rough idea. You don't have to have the latest top-of-the-range iThing or Galaxy S6,000,000+. My phone isn't one of the big brands, but I was able to buy it for £150 outright with no contract and it has enough of the features that I wanted.
My bank gets frustrated by my refusal to bank online too, but the last time they tried to persuade me, their systems went down for 24 hours immediately afterwards! But then I was a NatWest account holder when it was still the Westminster Bank before merging with the National Provincial, so I've seen more changes than you can shake a stick at, and many that have been quietly abandoned or forgotten.Unfotunatly smart phones whether we like them or not (I don't but I have one) are becoming increasingly essential especially for the younger generation. Wherever you go companies are trying their best to encourage/force consumers to use their apps. My bank is frustrated because I won't sign up for online banking or the app and I'm sick of them asking. But,this is what the modern world is becoming,the convieniance of doing things at the touch of the button,phone companies urging us to have the latest mobiles/tablets etc. Then there's social media,not just Facebook or Twitter but sites like this too. Then there's eBay,Amazon and tickets for live entertainment. Add to that Just Eat,restaurant and hotel bookings and home shopping. All can done on the train to work! It's sad that a lot of businesses prefer to work this way. Imagine lockdown without a smartphone.
Many people feel lost if they leave the phone at home and cannot cope if they lose it because it contains all their contacts,photos and other information.
Try removing one from an under 18 as punishment and it's as if you've ruined their life forever.
I think this is one of the crucial things - everything is backed up to the cloud these days. When I got my first mobile, all contacts were stored on the SIM. If the phone was lost or stolen it was possible to obtain a new phone and SIM and have your number transferred, but anything stored on the SIM was lost. Then phones started saving contacts on the phone memory, so when doing an upgrade you had to do a phone to SIM copy... Nowadays everything is linked with my Google account.Like everyone has said, it's not essential but for me it certainly makes things a lot more convenient. I use my phone to pay for things in shops, use it for train tickets/railcard, I store documents in the cloud so always accessible and it's also the best camera I've ever owned with photos automatically uploaded to the cloud so if my phone were to be broken/lost etc then I'll still have access to everything.
I've got a Moto G7 which is pretty midrange (actually a very good phone - I prefer it to the far more expensive Oneplus 6T I had previously to it for a number of reasons) and that was about £200. You don't need to pay the outrageous Apple tax for a good phone.
My Nokia cost me about £80 I spend maybe £20-30 a year on it (pay as you go). It's mainly used for internet access when away from home.
My current Moto phone cost me £150 from Argos last year. It's predecessor was about the same price, and lasted me 5 years. I replaced it not because of any fault, but because its memory was too small to load any more updates.
My kids probaby each have about 100 times the number of photos that ever existed of my Dad!I wa talking to a friend the other day and we were reminiscing about photos taken when we were kids.
Back in the day you'd take a role of 24 photos on holiday and when you returned send the film off somewhere for processing. This was quite expensive because as well as the upfront cost of the camera you had to pay for film and processing.
These days many people take more than 24 photos in a day on their phone. There's no ongoing cost for film or processing. This must save people some money as well as the additional functionality that the smartphone brings.
Same for me, my phone is essential for my job that I do in that without it I would be very handicapped.I would say it's essential for my job. I can take the train or drive to a construction site and know that I'm using the most time-efficient route. At the site I can take photos which are labelled with their exact location and timestamp, so they can be automatically loaded onto a project map. I can also refer to any relevant emails without carrying printed copies, and contact colleagues if necessary. To do all of that without the smartphone would cost more and take a lot more time.