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What is a flagship smartphone, cell phone, or device? A look at 2 schools of thought

The word “flagship” is derived from the navy. By definition, it is a vessel that carries the commander of a fleet or subdivision of a fleet and flies the commander’s flag. Because it carries the commander, it is usually the largest, most powerful, and certainly the most important vessel in the fleet. Note that distinction: the most powerful and most significant.


What Makes A Flagship smartphone?

Here is the thing: the size or power of flagships depend on the size and power of the individual navies in the picture. For example, the Nigerian Navy and the Royal Navy are miles apart in both size and firepower. While the Royal Navy has approximately 77 ships, the Nigerian navy has only 40. Also, the ships that are classified as flagships in the Royal Navy are much bigger, much more powerful than those deployed as flagships by the Nigerian Navy.

HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy flagship, can transport up to 15 Harrier fighter jets on board. The Nigerian Navy flagship, NNS Thunder, is a much smaller vessel that can carry only one helicopter. Yet, both are flagships. If NNS Thunder were in the Royal Navy, it would be one of the ships under the command of HMS Ocean.

Specific To Each Brand’s Might

For example, when it is stated that the SOLO Aspire 3 is a flagship, it really is one. It is the most powerful and most important smartphone in SOLO’s line-up. SOLO is a budget brand, and so its flagship smartphone is a budget smartphone.


So, when you hear flagship in smartphone circles, as well as in other circles, we are looking at the finest, largest, or most important phone or item in a line-up from a particular brand. It does not have to measure up to the flagships from bigger brands. What is essential is that it is the brand’s leading smartphone or item.

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An alternative, modern school of thought about flagships

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is a flagship smartphone

There is an alternative, newer school of thought on this subject. It appeared in the last few years after this article was first published. This school of thought insists that rather than classify the most significant product from a manufacturer as their flagship, the word is a class of smartphones with the most advanced features and the most powerful processors available.

According to this new line of thought, budget and entry-level phone brands cannot and do not have flagship phones, because their products do not meet that criteria. The only devices that would meet the requirements to be called flagships are top-end cell phones like Apple iPhone 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max, as well as Samsung S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra, among similar premium phones from other manufacturers.

There is some merit to this argument as well. While others prefer to call them flagships, I prefer to refer to them as premium flagships. As such, the top phones in the line-up of budget brands can be accordingly called budget flagships.

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