You don’t need to break the bank to find a great smartphone, there are lots of great options at the 300EUR price point and below. At Mobile Geeks we know that one phone doesn’t fit all and that the best phone for me might not be the best phone for you. We’ve tried to identify what the top quality of the phone is to help make your decision a bit easier.
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017
- Very premium looking design
- Water resistant
- Nice bright AMOLED display
- Great battery life
- The performance is great for the price point, but with its premium feel you notice it doesn’t have the high end performance. Having said that, in your day to day you’ll get used to it, the occasional pause between switching apps or slightly longer load time are the main complaints
We still suggest the A5 2016 but whose design is a little dated the biggest difference is a minor camera improvement, 100mAh larger battery, Samsung Pay MST, 32 GB internal memory instead of 16, and now there is a dedicated SD Card slot and you get 2 SIMs at the same time plus the addition of a gyroscope, barometer. Of course, the biggest difference is that the edition 2017 is waterproof.
Lenovo Moto G5
Good All Around Smartphone + It’s under $200
- Part-metal body at a low price
- Crisp, vibrant HD display
- Fast fingerprint reader
- No NFC
The Motorola G5 is one of the best deals on the market, it’s got solid build a great camera and all-day battery life. It doesn’t look cheap which is a massive bonus. The inclusion of an excellent fingerprint scanner makes it feel more premium, quick charge 3.0 and the latest version of Android. If you just need a phone that works are concerned about price and want a familiar brand name, this is the phone for you.
Samsung Galaxy A3 2017
A safe bet
- Water resistant
- Nice design
- Good battery life
- Type C
- MicroSD card slot
- Super AMOLED display – very vibrant and bright
- Good camera (though sometimes it did lag, something a high-end Samsung would never do)
- 2350mah battery seems small but with a 4.7inch display 720p display you’ll make it through the day.
- Low-resolution display, so you’ll notice that sometimes things could be sharper
- Pentile display array means that you’ll notice the pixels (don’t look, once you see them you can’t unsee them!)
- 16GB of internal storage but has a MicroSD card slot
The Samsung Galaxy A3 is a nice phone. All that glass and metal it’s one of the better looking mid-range handsets around.
If all you want is an unobtrusive, well-made handset with a nice sharp camera then the Galaxy A3 is a safe bet.
- Solid build quality
- Fast and reliable fingerprint reader
- Dual SIM
- MicroSD card slot
- Solid performance
- Decent dual camera
- Running Android 7.0
- Micro USB not Type C
- Speaker is not very loud and has mediocre quality
- Display is not very bright or vibrant
- EMUI is not for everyone
- Dated design with big bezels
At 200 the Honor 6X is a well-built phone that does show its budget colors but is solid bang for your buck. It has a dual camera setup that works well enough for a mid-range phone, with the high end delivering such amazing results this season you’ll notice just how big the portrait/bokeh gap is. But the fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable, it has a MicroSD card, Dual SIM and good battery life. While its display may be slightly washed out and the speaker is a little weak, at $250, the Honor 6X is one of the most competitive phones in this price range.
Xiaomi Redmi 4a
Great Build with LTE
- Decent quality camera
- smooth performance
- big battery life
- good display
- Android Marshmallow
- the display is not gorilla glass and it scratches easily. It needs a screen protector (we recommend tempered glass).
- Slow to open large apps
If you’re on a budget and want a phone that gives you all day battery life, a good enough camera the Redmi 4a is a perfect option. You’ll only be giving up some performance since it can lag when you’ve got too many things going on, it’s not the latest generation of Android and the display will scratch and crack since it’s not gorilla glass. Buying a screen protector and buying a screen protector are annoying, but at 160euro it performs better than we ever expected.
ZTE Axon 7 mini
Best Budget Audiophile Smartphone
- Awesome speakers
- Great build quality
- Blight, sharp & vibrant display
- Clean version of Android Marshmallow
- Weak battery life
- If I have to charge up before I go out Quick Charge 3.0 would be better than 2.0 which gives me 20% in 20 min rather than 20% in 15min.
The ZTE Axon 7 comes with a lot of very high end features like Dolby Atmos digital surround sound and a display that seemingly places it in a higher price point. But the battery life is weak at 5:40 which means that it will get you through the day if you don’t use your phone all that much. We do have to add that playing music through the speakers does tax the battery but playing native music through headphones (and the headphones in the box are great!) doesn’t drain the battery much at all. If you’re an audiophile looking for a budget handset that doesn’t mind charging before you head out on the town at night, this is the handset for you.
Apple iPhone SE
Best Budget Apple Smartphone
- Good camera even in low light
- Runs the latest version of iOS
- Great performance
- Has headphone jack
- Average battery life
- Poor front-facing camera
- Not water resistant
- No SD card slot
- The iPhone SE has the same specs as the iPhone 6s Apple calls it “the most powerful 4‑inch phone ever,” specifically because of the A9 processor. The camera quality is great it handles low light photos better than most mid-range phones. At 4 inches it’s a “normal” size phone and it comes with a headphone jack. It has Apple’s iOS 11 so if you just can’t get your head around Android but are on a budget, this is pretty much your only option.
If you’re after a budget Apple device a word of advice, don’t get anything below the iPhone 5s, the new iOS11 update means that won’t be available on 32-bit CPUs (basically, any iPhone below the 5s).
We’d suggest that you avoid buying the 5S as a budget alternative because you won’t get software updates and most apps, in the space of a few months, will simply not work.
Huawei Mate S
- Bright display
- Good camera
- Good build
- OK fingerprint sensor, the position could be better and 1 out of every 30 times I’d have to try again. Think of how often you might open your phone, it’s noticeable.
- Average battery life
- EMUI skin takes getting used to
- Running Android 6.0 with no chance of updates
The Huawei Mate S takes sharp photos, it has enough power for everyday tasks and its metal design look and feels great. The Mate S was my dedicated handset for nearly 5 months which is a lifetime in smartphone blogging years. The build quality, screen, and camera were all fantastic.
The best looking budget phone
- 18:9 FullVision Display
- Small bezels
- Great software
- mircoSD card support
- No fingerprint reader
- Average camera with poor low light
- Micro USB
- Speaker is not very low and has poor quality
- There are better performing phones on the list with better cameras and audio, but the 18:9 display makes this the best looking budget phone on our list.
If you’re after a budget phone that doesn’t look budget, the curved corners on the Q6 make this your top choice. If photography is important to you, you might want to give it a miss, the slow shutter speed means that sometimes the photos are a bit blurry. But if having a good camera isn’t high on your list and looks are, you should consider the LG Q6.
ASUS ZenFone 4 Max
Best Battery Life
- 5000mAh battery
- Battery life beast 2 days real use 3 days with light use, you’ll be hard pressed to kill the battery in a single day.
- Can use it as a power bank for other phones
- Good display that doesn’t feel budget, it’s not washed out or over saturated, the blacks could be deeper but the whites are very clean.
- Good camera in decent lighting, low light photos can be noisy with the wide angle and usable but not great with the standard lens.
13MP main camera 8MP wide angle
- Average design
- ZenUI isn’t for everyone
- Snapdragon 430 with 3/4GB of RAM is ok, it can feel sluggish but this is mostly because it favors power saving over performance. You’ve got a battery to spare so you should not have it in power saving mode. This will give you a better shot at snappier performance.
You’ll notice the midrange performance most with the camera that can be slow. Though this is a software issue since the camera on the ZenFone 4 pro also lags, and it’s running a Snapdragon 835 so I expect this to improve over time.
If battery life is the most important thing to you then the ZenFone 4 Max is a great handset. The design isn’t fresh or new, it’s not thin and sexy the ZenFone 4 Max offers function over form, ZenUI has gotten another haircut so it’s running a lot cleaner than the previous generation and the battery life is aggressive.