Best budget and affordable phones this year: a buyer's guide

 phonearena.com  06/11/2019 12:49:00  2

When it comes to technology, some people just don’t find it reasonable to spend crazy amounts of money on a gadget that gets old in just a couple of years. Yet, those same people still want the full smartphone experience, the camera, the apps, and the speed. Are there any affordable phones that would fit all those criteria?


Good news is that with recent launches the answer is a resounding 'yes'. We now have phones that are cheap without being downright ruined by terrible issues - those affordable devices do not lag terribly, they have decent cameras, and some of them even come with a very likable design.

But which ones are they? We've picked the best affordable phones, where affordable does not mean ‘cheap’ in any embarrassing way. Take a look at these best value-for-the-money devices that you can get right now, and let us know which you think is the best low-cost smartphone.

Under $350:

Under $250:

Prices from $350

Pros

  • Incredible value for the money
  • Great battery life
  • Fast performance
  • MIUI is rich in features

Cons

  • Plastic back might not please everyone
  • A bit on the thick side
  • LCD screen, not AMOLED

The Pocophone F1 by quickly growing Chinese company Xiaomi is all the rage in late 2018 with a price that is even more affordable than the OnePlus and many other "affordable flagships".

The Pocophone really is a great device for the money: it is incredibly fast, equipped with the flagship Snapdragon 845 system chip on board, and it has a very good looking LCD display and a decent camera (the camera is where it falls short of premium phones).

We also love the great battery life we get out of this phone: it features a massive, 4,000mAh battery and lasts us between a day or even two with scarcer use.

The small and compact Nokia 7.1 is not only a phone that will please many with its dimensions, but it's also one of the most stylish "affordable flagships" out there with its glass and metal design, and attention to detail.

Keep in mind that this is one phone in our list that does not quite run on a flagship-grade silicon and is instead powered by the mid-range Snapdragon 636 chip, and you can tell after using this phone that it does not quite keep up with the rest in terms of pure speed. But that's reflected in the price and the camera performance is quite good, plus you have a good-looking display, all things making the Nokia 7.1 worth considering.

Prices from $230


Pros

  • Outstanding value offer
  • Stylish design
  • Good battery life
  • Clean interface
  • Bezel-less screen

Cons

  • No real waterproofing (nano-coat only)

The new Moto G6 series brings new life in one of the most popular affordable phones out there: the new Moto G6 features a sleeker than ever design with a thin, elegant body and a premium glass construction. It now has slimmer bezels too and a larger display for a more immersive experience, and at under $300, this phone is still a great value.

Moto sticks with its clean and fast version of Android and the G6 feels very zippy. With a decent camera and good battery life, the G6 remains one of the best options for those looking for a good budget phone.

Prices from $230

Pros

  • Good-looking screen, with solid color and detail reproduction
  • Camera sensor pulls in good lighting in low-light and HDR
  • Solid feel
  • Dual speakers with Dolby sound aid video and audio experience
  • App switching is snappy
  • Quick and accurate fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • Somewhat outdated design
  • Questionable selection of colors

The Nokia 6.1 is a solidly build phone with an almost premium feel, up-to-the-task screen, and capable 16-megapixel camera that sometimes makes it easy to forget you're holding an affordable phone. But we never lose sight of this affordable phone status in regard to processing power: in more intensive usage scenarios, this will be most evident.

Prices from $220

Pros

  • Good value for the money
  • Big and good-looking screen
  • Speedy performance
  • Very fast fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • Camera is a bit of a letdown
  • Software takes getting used to
  • Battery life is average
The Huawei Mate SE is another great bang-for-the-buck offer with a spacious, 6-inch Full HD LCD screen, speedy performance and plentiful 64GB of on-board storage. It is definitely not the best camera performer out there as image quality drops badly in low light and battery life is just okay (it will still easily last you a full day), but for the kind of money in question, it's a great opion.

Prices from $220

Pros

  • Clean and fast Android interface
  • Very good camera
  • Promise for fast software updates in future

Cons

  • Battery life could be better

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is an extremely affordable phone based on the Android One program, meaning that rather than having a heavy custom skin, it runs a clean Android version with a promise for timely updates in the future that will make it relevant in the longer run.

Xiaomi has also equipped a camera that exceeds expectations and performs very well in different conditions, plus you can use this phone to capture portrait mode shots as well.

The Mi A2 is also well built, with a sleek metal construction and it performs very well in the daily grind. Battery life could be better, but overall this is a great option for the money.

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