It is quite apparent that a huge race between phone manufacturers is going on. All of them are trying to put as many new features as possible in the new devices in order to gain an advantage in the market. However, most of those new features aren’t really necessary in everyday life, and the most expensive phones are usually bought exclusively for bragging rights. Some of the buyers are not so willing to spend almost thousand dollars for a device that they will replace in a year or two. Many people are not able to do that either. There’s a whole range of options that will cost you less than $200 or so. Of course, that prize also implies that those devices aren’t the cutting edge technology and that they miss some of the newest features on the market. Most of these phones use older chipsets and often run Android 6 Marshmallow instead of the newer Android 7 Nougat (which itself is no longer the latest OS). These low-end phones are reliable for everyday use but don’t expect them to shine when it comes to heavy-duty gaming or multitasking.
Motorola Moto G5S Plus
G5S plus is the successor of the Moto G5 Plus, which was already one of the best budget phones on the market. This new device flaunts a 5.5-inch 1080p display, dual rear 13-megapixel cameras, and a generous 3,000mAh battery, all of that packed in a frame that feels much more expensive than it actually is. Under the hood of G5S Plus is an octa-core Snapdragon 625 chip that can go up to 2.0GHz, which is enough power for an average person and great deal for the price. It also runs the relatively new Android 7.1 Nougat and works on all major network carriers. However there is one thing this phone is lacking, and that is the NFC support, so you won’t be able to make any contactless payments.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Although Note 5 is in the price range of $150, nothing about it isn’t cheap or half-measured. On the contrary, this phone will let you play most of the games without much problem. It really offers excellent value to the price with its supreme performances and slick modern design. It has a 5.99 inches full HD IPS LCD with a 77.4% screen to body ratio, and it’s very easy on the eye. It runs on Android Nougat 7.1.2 OS by default and it is powered by Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 3/4GB of RAM and 32/64GB storage capacity. This combination ensures the comfortable playing of the majority of the video games, but this is not the only aspect where Redmi Note 5 can be useful. This phone also gets a 12-megapixel camera on the rear side and a 5 megapixel on a front side. It also has a fingerprint scanner and a tremendous 4000mAh battery.
Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1
This phone is made to be a competition to the Redmi Note 5 Pro and all the phones in a similar price range. It features a 5.99 inches full HD IPS LCD with 18:9 aspect ratio at 402 PPI density. It’s undoubtedly one of the best displays for its class. On top of that, it comes preloaded with Android 8.1 Oreo OS. Concerning the chipset and graphics, M1 is equipped with Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260 cores processor with Adreno 509 GPU. There are three variants available, 3/4/6GB RAM with 32/64GB inbuilt storage which is expandable up to 400GB using the dedicated card slot. Camera wise, M1 has got a dual 13MP + 5MP camera on the rear side and an 8MP selfie shooter camera on the front, but the 6GB RAM variant gets an even better camera with 16MP + 5MP sensors on the rear and 16MP camera on the front side. Curiously enough, both sides of the camera have a flash. Speaking about backup, there is a great 5000mAh battery. Considering all this it’s pretty unusual that this phone weights only 180g.
ZTE Blade V8 Pro
This phone is the quite tempting option for this price range, what are 5.5” 1080p display and dual 13-megapixel cameras with portrait mode for bokeh effect. You won’t get iPhone quality images, though, but it would be wise not to expect that in the first place. This is not the prettiest phone ever, but its sturdy build which makes up for the lack of attractive design. The V8 Pro is equipped with the same Snapdragon 625 chip as the Moto G5S Plus and the Idol 5s, but it runs the older Android 6 Marshmallow instead. One pleasant surprise about this phone is that it supports NFC, which makes it a good choice for people who stay faithful to Android Pay.
After the excellent but totally neglected Honor 6X, Huawei rolled up their sleeves and made an excellent successor in form of Honor 7X, packing a new processor and updated design and cramming even more value into what was already one of the most compelling budget propositions on the market. This phone has the great gaming performances thanks to the
HiSilicon Kirin 659 chipset combined with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage memory which is further upgradable by Micro SD card. It also flaunts a 5.9-inch LCD display which supports 2160 x 1080 resolution. The operative system of choice is Android 8.0 Oreo, which could be upgraded via update with EMUI 8.0. Add to that dual 16MP rear cameras and 8MP front camera and you will get one of the best mobile devices in that price range.
The overarching improvements trickling down from the high end to the budget phones have created the situation in which buying a sub-250$ device doesn’t feel like digging out the trash can full of flagship rejects. These phones aren’t the best in any category, but they are respectable devices with reliable and relatively modern features. If you’re not that modest in the choice, you can always go a notch up and buy some of the phones in sub-500 category we’ve also featured on the site. We can only be thankful that we can have a competitive and reliable phone for less than a quarter price of a flagship.