Cheap Smartphones: Know Your Options

While smartphones have never been cheap, it seems that recent models have really upped the ante in terms of the price point of the latest unit. When it’s time for an upgraded phone, consumers are expected to shell out more than ever.
As Business Insider put it recently, with the upcoming release of the iPhone X, “Apple set a new pricing bar for ultra-premium smartphones with the iPhone X, which costs a whopping $1,000 in the US. Indeed, few phones, at least their base models, break the four-digit price mark. $1,000 is a lot to ask for a device that may last only a couple of years before you buy another one.”

Setting the bar too high

While it’s true that the iPhone X is at the top end of the market, Apple does tend to set the standard for the cost of a phone. If you’re on a budget, this higher price point is disturbing, and could quickly become financially untenable if other smartphone makers increase their prices accordingly. This is especially true when you consider that smartphones are a much riskier device to own than, say, a laptop or PC. We tend to only own them for a shorter amount of time than other devices, as they easily break, get stolen, or become outdated. For all these reasons, it is even more annoying to spend so much money on a phone when we know we’re going to have to replace it in two years’ time. Meanwhile, consumers have largely grown to accept that all the top-notch innovation is generally reserved for phones with top notch prices.

Sticking to an acceptable budget

However, there are some quality, budget-friendly options available that you might like to consider if you’re in the market for a new smartphone. As Recode recently noted, “In the era of $1000 smartphones, it may seem like the newest, best stuff is only available to big spenders. But with a little research, it’s possible to find quality tech products that don’t break the bank. Indeed, much of the innovation from the top trickles down to these more affordable options within a year or two.

Here’s a look at some of the best cheap smartphone options on the market:


For Android Users

If you prefer the Android operating system, then your best bet may be the Motorola Moto G5 Plus. This retails at $220 for a new device and can be used with any carrier. According to The Verge, it has a long battery life and boasts “a mostly-premium design despite low price.”

For Apple Users

While Apple doesn’t offer anything close to a $220 smartphone, they do have an authorized refurbished program. This means you can buy previously owned iPhones at a cheaper price, but still have them guaranteed to work by Apple, eliminating the risk of buying second hand. The most advanced model available to buy refurbished right now is the 64GB iPhone 6S.

The Cheapest Option

If you’re really looking to save your wallet, then the Huawei Nova comes in at under $200 and, according to TechRadar, is a “mid-range phone that flirts with the high-end.” Another perk of this phone is that the battery life is strong. However, if you’re looking for a good camera, then you’re going to have to drop a bit more money.

If You’re After A Classic

The Nokia 6 is a great phone with an iconic brand name. Its cheap price and premium design will please bargain hunters, and it has a pretty decent quality camera too. TechRadar describes it as “premium affordability from an iconic name.”