This is a new article in the regular digest of the best phones, which comes out every month. The materials in this series are designed so that people who do not understand this issue do not fall for the tricks of marketers and consultants of local stores, but choose the really best models in terms of price, features, and capabilities.
The best cheap smartphones
Phones of this price category will be able to satisfy only the most undemanding users who use a mobile device exclusively for calls, chatting in instant messengers and occasional surfing the Internet. You should not count on good cameras or comfortable passage of games.
Samsung Galaxy M12 (3/32 GB)
Galaxy M12 became almost the first budget-level smartphone with an increased display refresh rate of 90 Hz. This, coupled with decent cameras and excellent autonomy, provided him with the first place. In addition, the smartphone runs on Android 11, while its main competitors come with the previous version of the system. Comparing them, this model from Samsung as a whole seems to be of a completely different class: there is an ultra-wide-angle camera and NFC, charging via a modern USB-C port, and a chipset with the current 8 nm process technology.
Xiaomi Redmi 9C NFC (4/128 GB)
Xiaomi always releases smartphones with a good balance of features, and this model is no exception. In fact, it has no frankly weak sides: normal performance, decent cameras, good autonomy, and interesting firmware. This is a good substitute for a category winner if it goes up in price or disappears from the sale, but otherwise, it loses to it.
Realme C21 (4/64 GB)
Realme C21 came out six months after the Redmi 9C NFC described above, but received identical characteristics – only half the storage capacity. This led to the third place of this model, but otherwise, the devices are equivalent – the choice between them comes down only to availability, personal preferences for firmware, or brand loyalty.
The best cheap Mobile Phones
Representatives of this price category, of course, are far from flagships, but still able to satisfy the needs of most average users. Models for this price have a decent processor and good cameras, but manufacturers practically do not rely on the display and other secondary characteristics for many.
Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G (6/128 GB)
Unlike most of the competition, the Poco M4 Pro 5G debuted late last year, and this is one of its advantages – the smartphone will probably be supported longer than others. It has become quite unique for Xiaomi as the company has not pursued high numbers but favored a good balance of features. For example, there are only two rear cameras (no marketing macro or depth sensor), and the display frequency is increased to 90 Hz, not 120 Hz. This turned out to be the right approach because the Poco M4 Pro 5G has no frankly weak points: good cameras and performance, excellent autonomy, and a good screen. Usually, if manufacturers are chasing some characteristics, then they have to degrade others in order to maintain the price. Poco X4 Pro 5G Launched with 64MP Camera, know Price & Specs
Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite (6/64 GB)
The Mi 10T Lite is slightly faster than the winner and has a faster display (at 120Hz), but this model came out in 2020, which means it will stop receiving updates soon. However, if this is not the main thing, then the smartphone can be safely considered for purchase, because, in fact, it is not inferior to anything else (except for the amount of storage). Even the Snapdragon 750G processor cannot be attributed to the minuses, because it is still relevant, although not the most productive model. OnePlus 10R and Nord CE 2 Lite prices leaked ahead of launch
Realme 8 (6/128 GB)
The Realme 8 is a good smartphone that hasn’t been lucky enough to compete with Xiaomi’s ambitious devices. The fact is that he has nothing to cover them with: the display, although Super AMOLED (higher brightness and contrast), but with a base frequency of 60 Hz; The processor, although normal for basic tasks, is more powerful in competitors. However, if Xiaomi models get more expensive or you don’t want to deal with their MIUI firmware, then Realme 8 will be a good choice for basic use. It has no noticeable drawbacks, except for long-term image processing (and not very high quality).
The best inexpensive smartphones
Phones in this segment can be called optimal because manufacturers focus not only on features but also on design: many models show off elegance or some kind of design zest, thanks to which they effectively stand out from cheaper options.
Xiaomi Poco F3 (6/128 GB)
Poco F3 was sold at a higher cost for a long time, but won even in its old price category – it is not surprising that now that it has fallen in price, it easily snatched victory from competitors. It has a flagship processor, a great 120Hz AMOLED display, and excellent cameras (all but the ultra-wide angle), even the autonomy didn’t let us down. Its only serious drawback may be the size: a 6.67-inch display and a weight of 196 grams will not suit everyone. Xiaomi Redmi 10C Review: A Good Inexpensive Smartphone
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE (8/128 GB)
Compared to its main competitors, within this price category, only Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE is available in a version with 8 GB of RAM, and this is its key advantage – this amount of RAM is enough for years to come, but 6 GB may not be enough over time. The smartphone itself turned out to be successful: an excellent OLED display (though with a frequency of 90 Hz, while competitors already have 120 Hz), a powerful processor, excellent autonomy, and amazing cameras (even at night). However, he can oppose the winner only by the amount of RAM.
Realme GT Master (6/128 GB)
This price category turned out to be very competitive, so the third place is an excellent indicator and an option to think about buying. By and large, the smartphone turned out to be the third not because of some weaknesses, but because of the lack of important trump cards. In general, this is an excellent balanced model, with the same processor as the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE. But there are also features: for example, a Super AMOLED display at 120 Hz (competitors have either AMOLED at 90 Hz, or IPS at 120 Hz) and fast charging at 65 W (against 33 W). Realme 8S 5G Review: Should you buy it now?
The Best Rating smartphones
Representatives of this category are included in the upper half of the price rating, which can be seen both in terms of design characteristics and capabilities. In this segment, manufacturers are mainly trying to make budget flagships – models with outstanding parameters and compromises at the same time.
Xiaomi 11T (8/128 GB)
The Xiaomi 11T series came out very successful due to the flagship performance at a low price. The secret to the success of this particular model is known: the manufacturer resorted to the Dimensity 1200 processor, which is not much inferior to the Qualcomm counterpart but is much cheaper. And so it turned out to be a smartphone with excellent cameras and an excellent display. However, if you buy a gadget with a backlog of games, then this model cannot be called the best.
Xiaomi Poco F3 (8/256 GB)
Poco F3 turned out to be a very unusual smartphone. In it, as usual, the bet is made on a powerful processor and a screen with a fast refresh rate, but at the same time, the manufacturer paid attention to cameras, stereo speakers, and the case – all this is at a good level. This smartphone can easily take the first place, it all depends on preferences, which is more important: cameras (Xiaomi 11T) or processor (Poco F3).
Realme GT 5G (8/128 GB)
Surprisingly, this price category turned out to be quite uncompetitive, so the third-place had to be pretty hard to find, and in the end, it was taken by Realme GT 5G. By itself, this is a good smartphone without any weak characteristics (but without noticeably strong ones), but in comparison with both competitors, it loses almost everything: the processor is weaker, the display is worse in all respects, and the cameras are not particularly remarkable, and charging is slow. However, it’s not about him, but about overly strong models from other manufacturers – if they suddenly disappear from sale or rise in price, then Realme GT 5G can be safely considered for purchase. Realme Q5i launched with 5000mAh battery, know price and features
Pixel 6 Pro (12/128 GB)
The Pixel 6 series has become a kind of commemoration of a new era of Google smartphones. The company finally updated the design and abandoned cameras that are outdated in terms of hardware – the Pixel 6 Pro (and the base model) became full-fledged competitors to the flagships from Apple and Samsung, because before, the stake was, in fact, only on photo capabilities and software chips.
The only snag in the new products is the use of the proprietary Tensor processor with an emphasis on the neural block (for artificial intelligence technologies), it noticeably lags behind similar processors in all other tasks. However, this is a great option to get some of the best photo opportunities, experience pure Android, and be the first to install system updates.