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Best Affordable Android Smartphone: Buying Guide

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The fateful moment has come: your smartphone has given way, and now you have to buy a new one. Quite a delicate task, especially if you are a gentle Android user: there are several hundred options available to you, and finding the phone best suited for you may prove to be a feat worthy of Sisyphus. In the meantime, however, you can find a great inexpensive Android smartphone. . It’s all about paying attention to the specifications and, of course, the price.

Finding the best affordable Android smartphone can be tricky, but the effort will be rewarded with at least considerable savings. It is not necessary, in fact, that it costs several hundred euros to find a mobile phone that can read email, chat on social networks, chat with WhatsApp and take photos for Instagram. As you will see in the buying guide below, finding an inexpensive Android smartphone that suits your needs perfectly is not only possible, but easier than you think.

Best Affordable Android Smartphone

If a few years ago, buying a cheap Android smartphone meant having to deal with poor performance, music has definitely changed lately. Most of the loan goes to Chinese smartphone manufacturers, most notably Xiaomi, which has managed to revolutionize the € 200 smartphone category, well balanced and without limits.

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When choosing the most affordable Android smartphone, the main factor to consider is of course the price . Depending on your budget, you will need to look at the type and model of the SoC you are mounting, the amount of RAM available, and the amount of storage memory.

Compared to a smartphone for Instagram, the photographic sector will have less weight in decision making. This, of course, does not mean that the photographs taken will be of poor quality. It just means it’s better to look at the other relevant pieces of equipment first, rather than just focus on the camera. But don’t worry, because I will walk you through this step by step.

How to choose a cheap Android smartphone

It’s not just the price, it’s the only thing you can bet on to choose the best android smartphone that is cheap. . As with all devices, specification is important, and even small differences can lead to better or worse results depending on the components used.

Therefore, it is necessary to delve into the technical characteristics so as not to regret that in the future I chose the wrong model. In this regard, in the following paragraphs, I will give you the comparison conditions on which you can base your choice. Then you can buy the so-called “Best Buy Phone” or “Flagship Killer” .

SCREEN

The smartphone display is the first feature you’ll have to deal with as soon as you take your device out of the box. Earlier cheap cell phones left a lot to be desired in this regard, but now, fortunately, the situation has improved significantly. Apart from screen size, which is completely subjective, my advice is to buy a smartphone with a Full HD + resolution panel . This, with a few exceptions, which I will show you later, is the minimum limit, below which it is good not to go down.

Best Affordable Android Smartphone: Buying Guide
Best Affordable Android Smartphone: Buying Guide

As for the screen type, you can choose between IPS and AMOLED instead . At almost € 200, the IPS screen guarantees natural colors, but less deep blacks than the AMOLED counterpart. The AMOLED panel, on the other hand, recently available also for cheap Android smartphones, brings with it absolute blacks and significantly better viewing angles. However, its cost is higher and it is almost impossible to find models of this type below 300 euros, with the exception of the Xiaomi Mi A3, which is a separate case.

HANDLER

For a while, there was a processor that literally dominated cheap Android smartphones. It was the Snapdragon 625 , really unaffordable in terms of price / performance ratio. However, over the past 12 months, new models have been released, which once again changed the “cards on the table”. The best and most widely used cheap smartphone is the Snapdragon 660 , a worthy successor to its predecessor. Moreover, with the series 7xxreleased by Qualcomm, other models between 300 and 400 euros have become particularly interesting.

Samsung and Huawei using their own processors differ from each other. Don’t worry, because in this guide I will be able to suggest the best models. Finally, do not underestimate the latest processor used by Mediatek for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, the Helio G90T model .

CAMERA

Until recently, buying a cheap Android smartphone meant having to deal with a low quality camera . Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Despite the fact that the top of the line-up is still not available, thanks in particular to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, there has been a real revolution in this price range.

Photography in motion is no longer a feature found only in more expensive smartphones. With a few tricks and some compromises, you can now take respectable photos, even in low light conditions, with smartphones under 400 euros. This innovation should not be underestimated, especially for those on a tight budget.

MEMORY

Are you worried that your smartphone might be slow in your daily activities? You shouldn’t, because even cheap Android devices now have fast and reliable memories . In some cases, even for smartphones under € 300, UFS 2.1 storage will be on board. I mean, a really big step forward from the past.

Also, at least in most models, there is no shortage of being able to use micro SD for memory expansion . However, if this option is rejected, I recommend choosing a model with at least 128GB of storage , which is less constrained in the long run.

As far as RAM is concerned , there is nothing to worry about. All models now have at least 4GB of RAM on board, more than enough to carry out various activities (including some games).

BATTERY

Autonomy is one of the strengths of cheap Android smartphones. In fact, the processors used are especially “sparing” on consumption, which is often combined with large batteries. An example would be a 3,500mAh battery paired with a mid-range processor that can easily cover an entire day in any condition.

Also keep in mind that many devices, especially those produced by Xiaomi, use 4000mAh batteries, which is a guarantee in terms of consumption. If that’s not enough for you, the Samsung Galaxy M20 is equipped with a 5000mAh device: I dare to load it fully before nightfall!

SAR EMISSIONS

This is an abbreviation that has certainly already sounded on the net, but it is often underestimated. SAR stands for Specific Absorption Rate and indicates the percentage of electromagnetic energy absorbed by the human body when exposed to this type of stimulus.

Smartphones, because they receive and transmit signals through antennas, emit electromagnetic energy . The European limit is 2 W / kg , which is slightly higher than the US limit .

In this guide, I will not fail to highlight the SAR value given by smartphones, obviously for models for which this value has become publicly available. Next to the name of the smartphone, you will find the value corresponding to the absorption at the head level . For information on body level and other indications, I recommend referring to the Device Specifications website .

Cheap Android smartphone under 150 euros

XIAOMI REDMI GO – SAR 0.579

The Xiaomi Redmi Go is an ultra-low-price smartphone, easily purchased for less than € 100 and has a very simple data sheet. What sets it apart from other options in this price range is undoubtedly Android Go, the operating system of a green robot born to work with few resources. Regardless, no feature has been left out since the Dual SIM mode.

The used 5-inch screen still offers more than decent HD resolution, and the rear camera, which uses an 8MP sensor, is well-suited for daytime photos. Perfect for this price range, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor is the perfect companion to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage expandable up to 128GB. An excellent 3000 mAh battery, which, thanks to a not too powerful passport, can guarantee autonomy away from short periods of time.

NOKIA 5.1 – SAR 0.29

The Nokia 5.1 features a 5.5-inch HD + display. A decisive step for the Finnish brand compared to previous models. The operating system, thanks to Android One, receives fast and constant updates. Under the case, however, the Mediatek MT6755S processor has managed to guarantee good performance thanks to the presence of 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal expandable memory.

Not bad for the price range, the rear camera, which with a 16-megapixel sensor, guarantees good image quality in daylight. More suitable for the price range is the front, which provides an 8MP solution instead. On average, the battery pack has a capacity of 2,970 mAh, no matter how well it is distributed throughout the day.

XIAOMI REDMI 7 – SAR 0.577

The buzz for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 presentation made most people forget about the presence of this little brother, which, in the price range in which it is placed, tastes like the best buy. It is actually a cheap Android smartphone that doesn’t negate casual use, with games, photos, and multiple applications open at the same time. The Redmi 7 ‘s IPS-type screen boasts a 6.26-inch diagonal, arguably the largest in its category, with HD + resolution.

Under a protective shell made of polycarbonate, a Snapdragon 632 processor is inserted instead, flanked in this version by 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal expandable memory.

This solution is perhaps the most powerful among Android smartphones under 150 euros and, combined with a 12 + 2 MP dual rear camera, allows for a truly versatile use of the device. Rounding out the equipment is a 4000 mAh battery, which is really an excellent choice in terms of autonomy.

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HUAWEI P SMART 2019 – SAR 0.830

The Huawei P Smart 2019 is a worthy successor to a series that has enjoyed great success in recent years. For a very reasonable price, you can take home a reliable, high-performance smartphone with you. The Kirin 710 processor, which works alongside 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage expandable via microSD, moves it all around. The 6.21-inch display delivers Full HD + resolution that’s more suitable for any type of use.

Good standard, especially in terms of price, rear camera. It uses two 13 and 2 MP sensors, which are assisted in work by artificial intelligence. Good too is the front camera, which uses an 8MP sensor built into the notch instead. Finally, there is also a 3400 mAh battery that guarantees excellent autonomy.

Cheap Android smartphone under 250 euros

SAMSUNG GALAXY M20 – SAR 0.248

The Samsung Galaxy M20 is Samsung’s latest addition to budget Android smartphones. This is a real revolution for an oriental brand that has significantly improved performance through lower prices. Starting with the display, we find a 6.3-inch panel with Full HD + resolution and an 8-megapixel camera embedded in a very small notch.

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An Exynos Octa-Core processor is installed under the chassis, which, with 4 GB of RAM at its disposal, provides a good level of performance. Internal 64GB storage can be expanded up to 512GB via micro SD. The rear camera using a 13MP ultra wide-angle sensor is of excellent quality, as well as a second 5MP camera. Intimidating autonomy thanks to the built-in 5000mAh battery.

HUAWEI MATE 20 LITE – SAR 0.46

The Huawei Mate 20 Lite is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-performance smartphone from a brand that has been recognized around the world for many years. In front of the inserted IPS-display with a diagonal of 6.3 inches and a resolution of Full HD +. Inside the notch, as has become usual, a front-facing 24-megapixel camera with a 2-megapixel depth sensor is inserted.

At the back, on the other hand, two 20 and 2 megapixel sensors are used, which can guarantee excellent image quality, especially during the day. The processor uses the well-proven Kirin 710 (an octa-core supported by artificial intelligence), which, thanks to 4GB of RAM, is able to guarantee more than discrete performance. The internal storage is 64GB and the 3750mAh battery is ideal if you don’t want to spend the day on a trickle charge.

XIAOMI REDMI NOTE 7 – SAR 0.591

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 is a Chinese milestone in cheap Android smartphones (soon to surpass the Note 8 Pro). The company has actually raised the bar with this phone by creating a device that has very few competitors for the same price. Starting with the display, a 6.3-inch device with Full HD + resolution, everything was done to impress. Confirming this, there is a 48MP camera at the back, a new choice for this price range, accompanied by a 5MP depth sensor.

Even the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor has nothing to envy of much more expensive products. In this case, the amount of memory is 4 GB for RAM and 64 GB for internal. The front-facing camera, which uses the more classic 13MP sensor, is not bad either. Excellent autonomy thanks to 4000 mAh battery and fast recharging. This is still one of the best phones in terms of value for money.

XIAOMI MI A3 – SAR 0.301

The Xiaomi Mi A3 is one of the latest models produced by the Chinese company and offers value for money among the best in the entire market. Inside is the Snapdragon 665 processor, a great mid-range solution, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64 / 128GB of internal storage depending on the model you want to buy.

The screen, more unique than rare, is of the AMOLED type, with HD + resolution. Don’t worry, because in day to day use you won’t see any particular difference compared to the higher resolution models.

The rear camera is very interesting, which combines 3 sensors at 48, 8 and 2 MP. The 32MP front camera is also of good quality. A 4030mAh battery and an in-screen fingerprint sensor is the best way to close the spec of this device.

SAMSUNG GALAXY A40 – SAR 0.49

Samsung’s new A-Series has been completely redesigned to suit the needs of the younger generation. As proof of this, you can immediately see the fall in prices and a sharp increase in productivity. The A40 offers users a 5.9-inch Full HD + SuperAMOLED screen. In the middle of the notch, like other models in the line, a 25 MP front camera is inserted. In the rear, there are instead two sensors, 16 and 5 MP, with an ultra-wide-angle lens.

The new generation of Exynos processors are able to guarantee excellent performance, including thanks to the presence of 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of expandable internal memory. On average, the 3,100mAh battery still manages to guarantee good battery life.

Cheap Android smartphone under 350 euros

POCOPHONE F1 – SAR 0.537

A brand directly affiliated with Xiaomi (more precisely Honor and Huawei), Pocophone made its debut in the global mobile phone market with a cheap Android smartphone that had top-notch features but at a much lower price point. The Pocophone F1 , in fact, can be purchased for less than 350 euros, despite the fact that it has one of the best passports of the second half of 2018.

Beneath the 6.2-inch IPS LCD with FullHD + resolution (2246 x 1080 pixels) we find the Snapdragon 845 processor, recently beaten only by the latest model, 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space. The technical characteristics are used by the best Android smartphones on the market, but at a much lower price (in some cases even by half).

A compromise, if you will, has been found at the camera level: the two rear cameras, while delivering good shots, are not exceptional, especially at night or in low light conditions. And the 4000mAh battery, on the other hand, provides over 24 hours of battery life: in short, you don’t have to be afraid to stay in the middle of the day with your flat cell phone.

XIAOMI MI 9T – SAR 1 341

Mi 9T is another of the Xiaomi smartphones that has been able to penetrate the hearts of users. It is a device that can fit in the mid-range market thanks to the Snapdragon 730 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. I don’t recommend buying the 64GB version as the memory is not expandable. Apart from this little detail, however, you will find real top-notch features like the in-display fingerprint reader.

The rear camera, on the other hand, consists of 3 sensors of 48, 16 and 8 MP respectively, suitable for more or less full use. Details of the pop-up front camera that contains a 20MP sensor. Finally, there is also a 4000mAh battery that guarantees above average autonomy.

XIAOMI MI 9 SE – SAR 1 385

The Xiaomi Mi 9 SE was very happy when it came to Europe and the expectations were not disappointed. The younger brother of the renowned Mi 9, it shrinks its size thanks to the 5.97 ″ AMOLED Full HD + screen. However, the Snapdragon 712 processor delivers high performance with low power consumption.

The camera part is perhaps the most interesting, however, thanks to the presence (at the rear) of 3 48-, 8- and 13-megapixel sensors equipped with artificial intelligence for scene recognition. A more classic, but still great, front sensor, with a 20MP camera. To complete the equipment, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of internal memory and a battery with a capacity of 3070 mAh are used.

Cheap Android smartphone under 500 euros

XIAOMI MI 9T PRO – SAR 1.302

From the outside, the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro looks identical to its little brother and, in fact, for most of the components. Top of the range and undisputed king of performance, the Snapdragon 855 processor (at least until late September 2019 / early October 2019) changes (a lot) the cards on the table. However, the cameras remain unchanged and still guarantee great shots.

The 4000 mAh battery provides a constant charge throughout the day, as well as quick recharging when needed. The real deal for the Mi 9T Pro is the price, less than € 400 for the 6GB RAM version with 64GB internal storage.

ONEPLUS 6 – SAR 1.33

Launched in the first half of 2018 as a high-end affordable Android smartphone that you can buy at any price, the OnePlus 6 then moved on to its big brother, the OnePlus 6T. The usurpation, however, had a positive effect, lowering the list price by 1+ 6 below € 500.

The 6.28-inch AMOLED display with FullHD + resolution (2280 x 1080 pixels) hides a Snapdragon 845 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of non-expandable storage. The dual rear camera consists of 16MP and 20MP sensors, both with f / 1.7 aperture.

However, the 3300mAh battery is more than enough for a full working day. Given the significant price hikes for the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro models, I recommend buying them while they are on sale.

HUAWEI P20 PRO – SAR 0.73

The smartphone that revolutionized photography in this sector is now available at a very attractive price and could be an opportunity to take advantage of it. The Huawei P20 Pro has what it takes to continue to dominate the market for a long time to come. An OLED type display with a diagonal measurement of 6.1 inches and a Full HD + resolution is used. What is surprising is the photographic section, at the rear of which are three 40, 20 and 8 MP sensors, developed in collaboration with Leica and equipped with truly impeccable software.

The rest of the data consists of an excellent Kirin 970 processor, 6GB of RAM and 128MP of internal storage. And so that you don’t miss anything, there is a built-in 4000mAh battery that guarantees significant above average autonomy.

XIAOMI MI MI MIX 3 – SAR 1 448

Are you looking for an inexpensive Android smartphone that is truly custom? Then Xiaomi Mi Mi X 3 is the right answer for your long journey. All decisions made for this model, in fact, are of the highest quality and originality. The first thing you’ll notice is the scrolling screen, which hides a dual front camera with 24- and 5-megapixel sensors.

The dual rear sensor is more classic, but still delivers great shots in all conditions thanks to the dual 12MP cameras and AI software. However, the completely edgeless 6.39-inch Full HD + screen certainly stands out. At the top of the range is the Snapdragon 845 processor, which works in tandem with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Don’t exaggerate the battery, 3200 mAh, which still manages to guarantee a full day of use.

XIAOMI MI 9 – SAR 1 389

The Xiaomi Mi 9 really looks like a smartphone at the moment, thanks to its unbeatable value for money. The smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer offers the best of modern technology, starting with the Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. What fascinated users, however, was the AI ​​triple camera system, which sees 3 48-, 16- and 12-megapixel sensors side-by-side for great shots in all situations.

A really decent display too, which uses a 6.39-inch AMOLED panel with Full HD + resolution. A 20MP front camera and a built-in 3300mAh battery round out a truly noteworthy package in this price range. So far, this is one of the best Xiaomi smartphones.

HUAWEI MATE 20 PRO – SAR 0.40

With the release of a new model (Mate 30 Pro), the Huawei Mate 20 Pro starts to be offered at a very competitive price. In fact, I’m talking about a top-notch smartphone with a triple rear camera that is currently unbeatable by other devices.

On board is the Kirin 980 processor, a real power monster that has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage next to it. Of course, there is no shortage of in-display fingerprint sensor and 24MP front-facing camera. Large capacity 4200mAh battery that makes it easy to cover even the most stressful days. As a reminder, this is also one of the best Android smartphones out there.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S10E – SAR 0.582

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the first smartphone in the new 2019 range to drop below the € 500 threshold. For this price, this is a great buy, although there are some downsides compared to the older siblings.

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The display measures 5.8 inches diagonally and integrates a 12MP front-facing camera in the top opening. On the other hand, the processor is the Exynos 9820, which in combination with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage always guarantees excellent performance.

Also an excellent level is the dual rear-view camera, consisting of 2 sensors at 12 and 16 MP. Perhaps the 3100mAh battery is a little smaller, which helps cover the whole day, but with heavy use it can run into durability issues.


 

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