5 tips for buying a budget smartphone

Looking for a new phone at a great low price? Here's what you need to know...
5 tips for buying a budget smartphone

If you’re looking for a new phone and you’re on a tight budget, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what’s available. This is because slowly, but surely, the advanced technology on premium handsets trickles down to lower-end devices. You can now enjoy the features that were on flagship phones a couple of years ago without breaking the bank.

So, what exactly should you be looking for in a budget phone? If you focus on the five key areas below, we reckon you’ll find a lower-priced handset that punches above its weight.

1. Display

Display technology is something that has come on leaps and bounds in a short space of time. Until recently, HD (high definition) screens with a 720p resolution (1280 x 720 pixels) could only be found on the leading smartphones. Nowadays, a good budget phone will have an HD display – so keep your eye out for it.

2. Camera

If you like taking photos with your phone (and who doesn’t?) then you’ll want a decent camera that takes sharp, detailed pictures.

The MP (megapixel) count on a camera should give you a fair idea of its quality – but there’s a lot more to it than that. Read this article to find out more: How important are megapixels?

And don’t forget about the front-facing camera, for video calls and those all-important selfies.

Again, a megapixel count isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, but a 5MP lens with an LED flash should be more than up to the task of making you look great at any time of the day.

3. Design

If you compare the look and feel of a budget phone to a premium model, you’ll notice a difference. Budget phones tend to be less slick and polished than their more expensive counterparts - you might even call some of them a bit bulky.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of us like the reassuring weight and grip of a budget phone. And that extra bit of width usually adds up to greater protection from everyday knocks and scrapes

4. Processing power

A couple of years ago, your poor budget phone might have struggled with multi-tasking or running bigger apps. That’s simply not an issue these days.

Yes, the latest flagship phones will have zippy state-of-the-art processors making everything buttery smooth. But any modern budget phone will have a powerful enough processor to keep things up to speed for you.

The latest games and apps are designed to run on all kinds of processors, because from the app maker’s point of view, it makes good commercial sense for them to be on as many phones as possible.

5. Battery life

We’ve left the best to last. Because if battery life is a big concern of yours, you’ll be impressed with how well a typical budget phone performs.

In fact, the battery life on a low-priced handset is quite often better than on a flagship phone. Your budget phones will typically have a lower resolution display and less-powerful processor, so your battery doesn’t have to work quite as hard to keep everything running.

As a rough guide, a battery size of 2,000mAh should be enough to see you through the day. If you’ve got a compact phone with a small display, you can get away with an even smaller battery.

We hope we’ve given you enough advice to help you start your budget smartphone hunt. If you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out the phones featured in this recent Lowdown article: Top Pay-as-you-go smartphones.

Or, if you’ve got some budget phone buying tips of your own, feel free to share them below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
With festival season just around the corner, we've compared all our phones to find the best for a lo
Check out our fully featured review for the double team of the Nokia Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 - stron
Find out everything you need to know about the Huawei Ascend Y330 smartphone in our hands on review

21 December, 2018
Got the dreaded ‘memory full’ message on your screen? Then follow our guide to free...
19 December, 2018
A power bank is a great solution for keeping your smartphone and other devices powered...
23 October, 2018
Instagram Stories is a feature that lets you create stories with photos and videos...
23 July, 2018
If you're planning on jetting off somewhere nice this summer, our top tips for using...
10 July, 2018
Master your new iPhone with these tips for getting set up, using Siri, syncing with...
26 June, 2018
Watching the World Cup with fans of other teams can be fun. And if you're worried...
11 May, 2018
With the Snapchat Lens Studio, you can now create your very own Snapchat face filter...
28 March, 2018
Your phone screen shows loads of handy information, but have you ever wondered what...
21 February, 2018
Is your phone always running out of battery? A few of our tips below should help...
29 December, 2017
Your mobile phone contract is almost over, meaning it’s time to upgrade. Here’s our...
27 December, 2017
If you find yourself running over your mobile data allowance before the month is...
23 November, 2017
If you're thinking of buying a phone as a gift, there's a lot to consider. Use our...