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Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

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Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

When it comes to technology, some people just don’t find it reasonable to spend crazy amounts of money on a gadget that gets old in just several years. Yet, those same people still want the full smartphone experience, the camera, the apps, and the speed. Are there any affordable phones that would fit all those criteria?

Good news is that with recent launches the answer is a resounding 'yes'. We now have phones that are cheap without being downright ruined by terrible issues - those affordable devices do not lag terribly, they have decent cameras, and some of them even come with a very likable design.

But which ones are they? We've picked the best affordable phones, where affordable does not mean ‘cheap’ in any embarrassing way. Take a look at these best value-for-the-money devices that you can get right now, and let us know which you think is the best low-cost smartphone.

#7: Huawei P10 Lite

Price: €299 | Review

P10 Lite

The good-looking Huawei P10 Lite is one stylish and not-too-expensive option: it comes with a glass back, a surprisingly smooth performance. And you get a slim phone with a great design, good battery, decent cameras, and the latest software. On the downside, the display is blueish and unbalanced, the main camera lacks some features like OIS and 4K recording, and you really need to use a case to ensure the phone's prolonged survival.

#6: Honor 6X

Price: $180 | Review

Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

Honor does a lot right with the 6X. The dual camera system is flashy and allows some interesting blurred background effects to photos (not quite iPhone 7 Plus quality, though).

The phone is also crafted out of metal and looks attractive, while not being particularly flashy. It also offers some solid hardware for casual usage without getting weighed down by too many extraneous bells and whistles, and runs software that, while it's getting a little old, is functional and very customizable.

*Not officially sold in the United States
Price: €320 for 32 GB
*Not sold in the United States.

Galaxy A5 (2017)

Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

The new mid-range Galaxy A series do not fall exactly under the definition of a "$400 flagship", but they sure feel like one. The dischord comes from the fact that the Galaxy A5 (2017), the golden middle of the A series, features the Exynos 7 Octa system chip, which is not considered flagship territory. On a positive note, though, it is a 14nm chip, meaning that it uses modern manufacturing tech and this allows it to be extremely battery-efficient. Independent testing has shown that the Galaxy A5 (2017) is an absolute champ in battery life and a decent performer. It's also got water protection, Galaxy S7-like sleek looks and runs on a TouchWiz-embellished Android 6.0 Marshmallow (with the promise for update to Nougat).

#4: Xiaomi Mi A1

Price: €225
*Not officially sold in the United States.

Mi A1

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is different than other phones by Chinese brand Xiaomi: it runs on stock Android as part of the Android One project. This is great news because it ensures that the phone will not be slowed down by custom firmware and you know that it will also get updates quicker than others.

The 5.5-inch device also has a metal design that looks more expensive than it is, and it supports the trendy dual camera system. In fact, it looks a lot like the OnePlus 5 or the iPhone 7 Plus.

#3: Nokia 6

Price: $230


The Nokia 6 features a Gorilla Glass protected, in-cell 5.5-inch 2.5D display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The Snapdragon 430 chipset powers the phone, containing an octa-core CPU and the Adreno 505 GPU. 3GB of RAM is inside along with 32GB of native storage.

The 16MP rear camera carries an f/2.0 aperture and PDAF laser auto focusing. In front is an 8MP camera, also sporting an f/2.0 aperture, for selfies and video chats.

#2: Honor 8

Price: $300


Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

The Honor 8 is a true design gem: with 15-layer glass that reflects in crazy combinations, it is a 5.2-inch design that fits great in your average-sized hand and is a beauty to behold.

It features a premium glass with metal design, a dual-camera system that allows you to change the focus on a picture after you capture it, and a smooth performance combined with killer battery life.

#1: Moto G5 Plus

Price: $230 for 32 GB / 2 GB RAM, $300 for 64 GB / 4 GB RAM

Moto G5 Plus

Affordable, not cheap: best low-cost smartphones (November 2017)

The Moto G5 Plus is the best affordable phone you can get right now. At a starting price of just $230, it offers stunning value for the money: the Snapdragon 625 system chip under the hood is powerful and extremely frugal, it has one of the fastest cameras around and image quality is above average, and battery life is also expected to be above the average in the class. The new Moto G5 Plus also ships with a clean, clutter-free interface on top of Android 7 Nougat. 

Quite impressively, this phone also works on all major US carriers with full 4G LTE support. The G5 Plus relies on a microUSB port for charging rather than the newer and more convenient USB-C, but that's hardly something to get too worried about.

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