While every new release of a Samsung or Apple smartphone is exciting, it can be difficult for the average person to keep up with those (on average) $650+ price tags. But not to fear: it is possible to find a quality smartphone that won’t break your budget for the year. A number of lesser-known companies are now offering budget smartphones that will give the Galaxies and iPhones of the world a run for their money—saving you cold, hard cash in the process.
The OnePlus 3 is a remarkable smartphone that rivals the Galaxy S7 in almost every way. At only $400, this Chinese-made device features a premium design that feels great in the hand. The 5.5-inch, 1080p screen crisply and accurately renders colors, most likely due to its gorgeous AMOLED display. Hardware wides, the OnePlus 3 offers an amazing 6GB of RAM, 64GB storage, and a high-performing Snapdragon 820 processor. Unfortunately, there is no expandable storage on this phone, but 64GB should serve the average person just fine—especially on budget smartphones like this one. The battery life is decent (about like any other premium smartphone), and the 16-megapixel camera is excellent. Amongst the many budget smartphones out these, the OnePlus 3 defies expectations.
Huawei Honor 5X
Another budget smartphone from a Chinese company, the Huawei Honor 5X has been garnering rave reviews for months now, and it’s easy to see why. The design of the phone is more or less what you would expect from a budget smartphone (good but not great); but it’s what’s inside that counts. For a remarkable $200, the Honor 5X features a great-looking 1080p display on a 5.5-inch screen. While it only has 16GB of storage, it offers microSD, microSIM, and nanoSIM ports that allow you to easily upgrade your storage capabilities. That’s more than you can say for the iPhone! You can even use two of the ports at once.
The processing on the Snapdragon 615 processor is on the slower side—but that’s to be expected from budget smartphones. The Honor 5X currently runs Android Marshmallow, which is a huge update since its release in earlier this year. Perhaps the biggest draw for this phone is its fingerprint sensor, 13-megapixel camera, and amazing battery life. Even if you use this phone all day long checking email, social media, and watching movies, you’ll still have battery life left by the end of the day. This goes to show you what major manufacturers could be doing with their own batteries with a few improvements.
Blu R1 HD
The Blu R1 HD is a $50 smartphone. Let that sink in for a moment: $50. Sold on Amazon, the Blu R1 HD is an impressive option given the cheap price tag. The reason for its affordability? Amazon runs ads on the lock screen. While a smart business practice, this might prove frustrating for some. And while it doesn’t have the look and feel of a premium phone, it’s far from flimsy. The 5-inch, 720p screen is decent, and you can easily run your usual apps with no problem. The Blu R1 HD features both SIM and MicroSD slots, and for an extra $10 you can upgrade your storage to 16GB and your RAM to 2GB. The surprisingly great battery will support all the extra activity. A few draw-backs: only T-Mobile and AT&T carry it, the camera isn’t great, and the speakers are underwhelming. But all things considered, for only $50 you can have a decent smartphone that’s a great option for a pre-teen or if you’re heading out on an international trip.
The OnePlus 3, the Huawei Honor 5X, and the Blu R1 HD are all impressive budget smartphones that offer some of the best features of a premium smartphone without the hefty price tags. What’s not to like about that?