Keep in mind the clickbait headline is just that – a headline. Deciding what you are looking for in a smartphone is as personal as it gets, but here are a few options in various price ranges to get you started on the path to saving cash and getting that budget under control. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the breakdown starting with the sub $150 handsets.
Sub $150 Phones
While the market may seem flooded with sub $100 phones, the big issue is that most of them come with some sort of service contract attached to them. The other issue is that most of the devices in this range offer minimal memory and almost no chance of running a version of Android that is less than a few years old. Forget Android P here, you’re lucky if you see Android M on most of the phones in this range.
LeEco Le S3 – $139.99 – Most people have never heard of the lower cost maker, LeEco, but if you search for them, you will see some pretty solid results. Again, these aren’t mind-blowing specs or crazy features that make the S3 a great choice for a budget user, but it’s solid build and performance are what make it a real value. The device comes with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. A Qualcomm 652 processor runs the show that you can view through the 5.5″ display while you capture the events in front of you with the 16MP shooter. Overall, the S3 features just about anything that you could look for in a higher priced handset, just without the bells and whistles – and the advertising costs. Again, don’t do a spec throwdown with the latest and greatest flagship devices and expect to win, but for an average user, the chipset, memory and storage will easily give you a stellar experience.
Nextbit Robin – $119.99 (Mint) – The Robin was a ‘dream phone’ that had expectations that were far greater than a first round device should have had. Think of the Robin as the Essential Phone, but a few years earlier. It features a 5.2″ display, a solid 13MP camera, 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. These specs far outclass anything else in this price range, so it makes the $119.99 price tag for the Mint version a total steal. That said, you won’t find many cases or accessories for the Robin as it was a short lived device that is practically gone. Oh, it’s also stuck on Android M, but again, given the price range, that’s not too bad.
BLU R2 – $119.99 – BLU… You trouble us, but with prices like this on your R2 handset, we may be willing to forget that you might be selling our data to the highest bidder. Ok, so maybe they aren’t doing that anymore, but it was still enough to take this low-priced manufacturer down quite a few pegs in the press. That said, the R2 features some specs that our found on devices well outside this price range. First, the 32GB of internal storage is huge at this level. Next, the 13MP camera (though it’s still not a great shooter) is quite a bit more sensor than most will give you at under $150. It’s GSM unlocked, so T-Mobile and AT&T customers can use this device with ZERO issues – sorry Verizon and Sprint users. All in all, the device is quite capable and comes in at a more than decent price. That said, again, don’t look for major Android updates and just give up finding a case for it.
Moto G4 Play – $119.99 – The Moto G 4 Play (4th Edition) was the device that really broke the mold in low end phones last year. A solid performer with great battery life, the G4 Play became a bit of a celebrity phone for low end device lovers. It features a 5″ HD screen, an 8MP camera and a nice 5MP front shooter. While it won’t blow you away with specs or performance, it will be a solid worker phone in your pocket for quite some time, and then some.