So my second new phone is a Sony Xperia 10 IV. It was $380, so way cheaper than flagships, and designed to be a bit budget, but it’s really quite nice. A good compromise.
The photos it takes so far are great. I don’t know yet if they’re comparable to the photos on my One Plus 9, but they’re way better than the Samsung S8+ I briefly had, which, duh, that phone was five years old.
It’s the most stock android I’ve used since my One Plus 3T, one of my favorite phones of all time. Nice and slim, virtually no bloatware other than goog’s own stuff.
Splitting the screen is really cool and works well, there’s an 1/8″ headphone jack, the thumbprint reader is the power button on the right side and feels very natural.
Sometimes it’s not IMMEDIATE, app switching or turning it on, but milliseconds. This is ok, and is the only “budget” piece I’ve been able to identify.
The size of it is so so so nice and holdable. Very narrow but lots of real estate. Good for smaller hands – mine are definitely medium but I had a hard time reaching all the way across without “one handed mode” on the OP9 – not so here.
The one speaker isn’t great. This doesn’t impact me much.
EDIT: One thing I LOVE about the phone is you get a notification way before your alarm actually goes off, and as someone who frequently has trouble sleeping, being able to turn that off well in advance without turning the series off is huge!
I’m pleased! It’s inexpensive for a new phone, it’s plenty fast, I’m glad to have a headphone jack, the version of Android it carries is slim, the form factor is good, the additional bells and whistles are nice!