Purism phone: RAM and HDD too small. Screen is trash. Bluetooth 4? Meh battery.
The list goes on. Especially with device you're meant to look at for hours on end, you need to have a beautiful OLED with at least 100% DCI-P3 coverage. Ideally with 13-15" you have 2K hiDPI. An increase frame rate is not as important unless you're gaming as crisp text and color accurate photos/video.
I think if you want to go low-end to mid-range on phones, just slap an e-ink display instead. I would totally be down to buy something like that. As much as I love accurate colors, e-ink is great for reading. With a decent DAC, audio like podcasts and text are optimized and I could curmudgeonly ignore much of the push to video and TikTokification.
@toastal indeed, readability is the main problem I find with cell phones while the very last thing I want is videos.
@tychosoft In harsh light, yes. On a 21-hour bus ride through Laos, also yes.
I know you're being sarcastic, but if video consumption and games is a suboptimal experience, then I'm less likely to do those activities on a whim. This is literally the whole "pitch" for the Light Phone (https://www.thelightphone.com/).
There are entire categories of distraction-free launchers for Android to get all the social media time-wasters out of your face. Though niche, these are real people's desires.
What I want is a device that can act as a hotspot, secure message and call on the go, give me maps, play podcasts, read the news, and participate in tech circles on Mastodon, Lobsters, Hacker News, etc. I don't need a lot of the other things. I often carry my mirrorless camera if I need a photo and it'll be better than my phone.