You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a quality smartphone. If you’re willing to look past certain build quality compromises and skip a few high-end features (powerful processors, wireless charging, etc.), you’ll notice that even cheap phones have excellent screens, fast internal hardware, and good camera systems. And we here at Digital Trends hate bad technology above everything else, so trust us when we say that we won’t ever recommend substandard products. Ever. Three of the best cheap smartphones are the Moto G7 Power, LG Stylo 5, and Samsung Galaxy A50. Save as much as $100 when you get them on Best Buy today.
– $170, was $250
Motorola (alongside Nokia) is dominating the market for budget-friendly smartphones, offering decent handset models with respectable specs that won’t break the bank. Of course, Moto’s phones can’t compete with the likes of the iPhone XS or the Samsung Galaxy S10, but at least they’re hundreds of dollars cheaper. One particular phone that truly stands out because of its incredible battery life is the Moto G7 Power. It wears its name on its digital sleeve proudly. You can purchase this fantastic low-tier phone for $80 less on Best Buy. Get it for just $170 instead of $250 and never worry about it dying at the most crucial of times.
A middle child of Motorola’s Moto G7 family, the G7 Power is cheaper than the G7, but make no mistake; it’s got plenty of stamina, thanks to its 5,000mAh battery. In our YouTube video streaming test, this phone was able to last an incredible 14 hours at maximum brightness. Note that the video we played was set at 720p resolution. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus’ 12 hours of performance, this one absolutely did better. And it costs $800 less.
The Moto G7 Power, much like Nokia phones, is built like a brick. It looks bulky and chunky and doesn’t sport the beautiful streamlined form of recent phones, but that’s because of its large battery. Its back is made of glossy hard plastic with the Motorola logo underneath the rear camera. At the upper-right edge of the phone is the volume rocker with the power button beneath it, and not the other way around. The headphone jack is also found on top of the device instead of at the bottom.
The 6.2-inch IPS LCD screen has a 1,570 x 720-pixel resolution that looks fine but isn’t nearly as sharp as other phones at the same price range. This is clearly where the price forced a compromise. Fortunately, the screen can get pretty bright. Using it outdoors won’t be an issue.
Another major selling point of the G7 Power, besides its battery life, is how fast it is. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor and backed up by 3GB of RAM. Browsing through the interface is fast and fluid, and apps and games are quick to load.
Its camera system is a bit of a mixed bag though. Sure, the 12-megapixel lens can take decent photographs, but it struggles in low-light conditions much like other budget phones.
For just $210, it’s hard to find a more reliable phone than the Moto G7 Power. With unparalleled battery life and solid performance, it’s our pick for the best cheap battery-life phone of 2020. Just try to overlook its unimpressive display and underwhelming camera.
– $200, was $300
If you want a phone with a built-in stylus but don’t want to spend too much cash, LG’s Stylo line is a good place to start. People are usually fixated on getting a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or 10, but that series, while excellent, is awfully expensive at nearly $1,000. Stylo phones are a fraction of the cost yet offer decent specs and quality performance. The latest model in the lineup is the Stylo 5, which is currently available on Best Buy at a huge $100 off its usual price. Upgrade to this Alexa-compatible stylus phone for just $200 instead of $300.
The first thing that we noticed about the LG Stylo 5 is that it’s a large phone. It’s also fairly thick, which is understandable because it has to accommodate the stylus. It also carries a large 3,5000mAh battery, which can power this phone for as many as two days with normal usage. The phone’s body is made of aluminum and plastic, which isn’t the most luxurious, but it does feel sturdy. Thankfully, there’s no giant notch on the display, and there’s a USB Type-C port and a headphone jack. One sacrifice that this phone has to make in order to have a built-in stylus is that its single speaker grille is weak. This is not a phone for listening to music. Flip the Stylo 5 and you’ll see a 12-megapixel rear camera with a flash, and right beneath it is an extremely responsive fingerprint sensor.
The Stylo 5 is powered by a Snapdragon 450 processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable memory, which is pretty standard for a phone at this price. Running apps and multitasking with it is generally well supported, although it does tend to struggle with more graphically demanding games like Fortnite. Still, it works perfectly fine for web browsing, messaging, checking social media apps, and playing Minecraft occasionally.
LG is notoriously bad when it comes to software updates, so it came to no surprise that the Stylo 5 still runs with the older Android 9 Pie even though it was released in June of last year. LG has added a few useful utilities that you can use with the stylus, including a memo pad, a screenshot markup-cropping tool, a GIF creator, and for the young and young at heart, a coloring book. The stylus works remarkably well, which makes drawing in third-party apps like Google Keep a lot of fun. You can also access Alexa by double-pressing the power button so you can set appointments, play music, ask a question, and manage smart home devices.
For a budget phone, the Stylo 5 takes good photos. Not great, but good. It’s not the best in low-light conditions, but with ample lighting, you won’t be embarrassed to upload on Instagram photos taken with it.
The LG Stylo 5 offers decent performance, Alexa compatibility, a fantastic digital pen, and incredible battery life. Get yours today for $200 on Best Buy.
– $300, was $350
Samsung is mostly known today for its Galaxy S and Note phone series, upper midrange to premium offerings that the public consumed almost as ravenously as they did the latest iPhone. But did you know that the company also manufactures more budget-friendly phones through the A and J-Series? These mid-tier devices offer an almost premium phone experience for a lot less, like the Samsung Galaxy A50, a solid phone that not only looks great but also boasts a lot of near-flagship features. In fact, it’s our choice for the best cheap Samsung Galaxy phone. You can get it on Best Buy today for $300 instead of the usual $350.
When we first laid our eyes on the Samsung Galaxy A50, we thought that it resembled more expensive phones thanks to its extra-large screen, slim bezels, and the ubiquitous notch design. Its backside reminded us of the iPhone XS a lot with its vertically stacked cameras. Although made of plastic, the back panel doesn’t look or feel cheap, and it has a beautiful iridescent sheen that has rainbows on it when hit by the light. Unfortunately, the material is a fingerprint magnet, and it will clearly pick up scratches and dirt over time unless protected with a phone case.
The power and volume rocker are found on the upper right edge and are easy to access, and there’s a USB Type-C charging port on the bottom right next to the audio jack. On the left edge is a dual nano-SIM card slot and a dedicated Micro-SD card slot.
It has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen that has 2,340 x 1,080-pixel resolution that looks stunning. Watching videos on it was an absolute pleasure and with the Widevine L1 DRM video encryption, you can stream HD content from Netflix.
When it comes to performance, the Galaxy A50 is sufficiently fast. Powered with Samsung’s own Exynos 9610 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, browsing through the interface, opening apps, and surfing the web was smooth with just a few occasional stutters.
This phone’s rear triple-camera system is an utter delight. It has a 25-megapixel main lens, a 5-megapixel telephoto depth lens, and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, all working together to capture breathtakingly good photos. Images were finely detailed, colors were vibrant, and the wide-angle lens can take wonderful panoramic shots. You can also capture shots with a dramatic bokeh effect, where the focal point remains pin-sharp while the background gradually blurs.
Samsung devices are known for their terrific battery life, and the Galaxy A50 is no exception. It can easily last an entire day with extra juice to spare and can even last for two days when used lightly.
The Galaxy A50 really shows that Samsung can churn out quality phones regardless of the cost. With its gorgeous display, considerably fast performance, terrific camera system, and lengthy battery life, this one’s tough to beat for the price range. Get it for $300 on Best Buy today.
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