The Samsung Galaxy S5, the Apple iPhone 5s, the HTC One M8, the Sony Xperia Z2 -- the average smartphone buyer is well aware of all of these. And how could he or she not? After all, these are currently on the bleeding edge of technology, and, arguably, offer the best there is in terms of extra features and perks. But while a healthy portion of the consumer base is still only interested in what the very latest flagships have to offer, it wouldn't be unfair to say that a growing number of people is out there, hunting for a bargain.
But "a bargain" just two years ago usually meant settling for a palpably inferior user experience, including limited performance and poor build quality. Looking at what the industry has to offer today, it's hard to argue against the overwhelming change that has taken place in this particular regard. We now have smartphones that offer a true no-compromise user experience, but come bearing a price tag that reads half what the Galaxy S5's or the iPhone 5s' does. Of course, a true bargain hunter knows that timing and patience are imperative to getting the best deal, so holding out for sales promotions, or making the effort to order from overseas e-commerce websites, in some cases, will save you even more.
We picked eight devices that we believe offer an extraordinary bang for your buck, and while this list is not a hundred percent conclusive (especially when you consider the various regional discrepancies in pricing and availability), they do happen to deliver on their promise of a great bargain almost universally. Check them out!
N.B.! Phones arranged in no particular order.
Best value-for-money smartphones
Best value-for-money smartphones
When it comes to bottom pricing, the Nokia Lumia 520 is the undisputed king. Stateside you can find the phone being sold for as little as $50 (e.g. with an AT&T GoPhone plan), and you're getting a whole lot of phone for that money. The Lumia 520's successor, the Lumia 525, is already available worldwide, but it fails to offer as an exciting a bang-for-buck ratio.
When it comes to flagship-level smartphones sold at ridiculously-low prices, Google's Nexus line basically invented the category. The Nexus 5 -- its latest proposition -- gets a well-deserved spot on our list, as the value for money here is through the roof.
LG's now older flagship, the G2, while initially sold at what we would consider typical flagship pricing, has since plummeted in value, offering you an insane value for your every dollar. In fact, the G2 can be had for cheaper than the Nexus 5, all the while offering an arguably more robust package (and great battery life!).
The just-announced Huawei Honor 6 is still a rarity, even in its homeland of China, but it's coming and in due time. So why should you wait for the Honor 6? Well, simply put, the Honor 6 offers bleeding edge hardware with an MSRP of just $360 for the 16GB model. Seriously, you get a whole lot of phone for that money.
Xiaomi has made an unmistakable headway into the smartphone market, and largely because the company is offering top notch hardware at affordable pricing, all packaged into a quality-built chassis. Nowadays, the still very relevant Xiaomi Mi3 flagship can be had for as little as $270, and you can get it from Amazon for just $310. Yummy!
The Moto G is perhaps Motorola's greatest achievement during its time as a Google subsidiary. The affordable mid-ranger can be had for as little as $169, and the newly-released LTE version costs just $219. Not too shabby at all!
Speaking of Motorola, we just have to mention the fresh-off-the-conveyor, LTE-enabled Lenovo Golden Warrior A8, not least because it's Lenovo precisely that bought Motorola from Google. In any case, the S8 is an extremely affordable (MSRP $130) mid-range octa-core smartphone, and it's already available on Amazon US from scalpers.
Few phones have stirred as much controversy as the elusive OnePlus One, and that makes sense -- the company that is believed to be affiliated (or even ran by) Oppo, announced an extremely affordable high-end flagship. The caveat here? It's not readily available, at least not from the official manufacturer. If that doesn't bother you though, and you just can't wait (not a very bargain hunter-ish trait, by the way!), you can get it from scalpers at a varied premium.