PhoneArena Awards 2014: Best value-for-money smartphones

PhoneArena Awards 2014: Best value-for-money smartphones
Earlier this year, we asked our readers whether they always picked a flagship smartphone, or preferred hunting down the best value-for-money ratio when buying a new phone. Many were the folks who stated that they always went for a flagship device, but the number of buyers who prioritized value for money was even greater. 

Of course, anyone would love to have the latest, greatest, most capable smartphone of them all, but at the end of the day, most people also have a budget to fit into. That's why phones that provide outstandingly great bang for the buck are usually treated to a lot of buyers' attention. And they must be honored.

This brings us to today's category in our PhoneArena Awards of 2014 series – smartphones with best value for their money. Many were the devices nominated for the top spot, but ultimately, we had to shortlist the best three among them. And here they are.

Motorola Moto G (2014)

Hardly a surprise, we have the 2014-edition Motorola Moto G at the top of our list. It retailed for a mere $180 at launch, yet was (and still is) perfectly capable of meeting the needs of the unassuming smartphone buyer. Assets like its 5-inch, 720p display, quad-core Snapdragon processor, 8MP camera, and bloat-free Android experience made it the no-brainer choice for anyone in need of a great, yet inexpensive Android handset. Sure, the Moto G (2014) is not a flawless handset, but being one is not its mission. It is smartphone designed to be as affordable as possible without this hurting the overall user's experience. And it gets its job done pretty darn well. 

Nokia Lumia 630

While not the cheapest Lumia we had the chance to review this year, the Nokia Lumia 630 was surely the one with the best value-for-money ratio. Released carrying a price tag of around $160 off-contract, it was an ideal phone for anyone who needed a hassle-free, full-featured smartphone at a price as low as possible. Money spent on a Lumia 630 got one a decent, 4.5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 400 processor, and a 5MP camera, all topped off with the fluid Windows Phone 8.1 experience. One coulr even get LTE connectivity for a few bucks extra. Today, some six months after the Lumia 630's launch, the phone can be had for as little as $130 outright, which makes it a great pick in the entry-level segment. 

HTC Desire 816

The HTC Desire 816 was released for around $400 outright, which might seem like a lot given the prices of the two phones we highlighted above. But when you take into consideration what the phone brought to the table, you'll realize that HTC's mid-range flagship was an excellent buy at launch (and an even better pick when it landed in the U.S. for $200). It still is a phone worth considering with its huge, 5.5-inch screen, Snapdragon 400 SoC, front-firing speakers, and 13MP camera. Although its successor has been announced already and is shaping as no less attractive of a smartphone, with an upgraded processor, more RAM, and an even catchier design.

Story timeline



1. gagakiller

Posts: 176; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

best value for money is iPhone 6 Plus

6. maherk

Posts: 6773; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

That's true....NOTTT

13. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Good one...

19. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The most expensive mainstream phone out is the best value for the money? It better play with your balls or make you a sandwich for that money.

28. jonbeZilch

Posts: 6; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

Hopefully it washes its hands in between said activities.

27. JnCrls unregistered

Moto X (2014) $399 with Republic Wireless ($349 today only).

33. tedkord

Posts: 17312; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Best phone for any price is the Note 4.

52. NFSHesham

Posts: 297; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

But the best value for money? No

36. actuallyknowathingortwo

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 24, 2013

iPhone plus 128 gig.... cuz you know everyone just has a K to blow on a status symbol

46. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

i gave you the thums up for the sarcasm (im mentioning coz it can be misinterpreted as a thums up in agreement)

47. great

Posts: 85; Member since: Jan 21, 2013

nice joke....

2. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I'd take a Nexus 4 over any on that list. 2 years old, but better hardware and twice the RAM of the Moto G and HTC 816, quicker LP update, and nearly unmatched developer support.

9. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Me too, nearly always past-flagships are better choice than mid-ranges, mainly because of dev support. I'd buy HTC M7 or Lg Optimus G, both are amazing and amazingly cheap now and both have incredible community support (HTC better but LG has a lot Roms to choose from)

10. kalloud

Posts: 155; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

The battery though..

16. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Yeah...the battery...It doesn't matter which ROM (LiquidSmooth) or kernel (HellsCore) I use, the battery on the Nexus 4 simply sucks. Idle/Standby is great, but when I have to actually use the phone, battery drain is demoralizing.

48. Professor

Posts: 223; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

My Nexus 4 battery life increased to almost double with the upgrade to ver 5.0 Lollipop... Why? Don't know. But it improved at least from unaceptable to acceptable.

53. NFSHesham

Posts: 297; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

And is no longer produced nor available in many places including my country Egypt

5. aayupanday

Posts: 582; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

OnePlus One is probably the best vfm phone... If you manage to get one.

18. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

After their recent review, they should have included Xiaomi Mi 4, but i guess both Mi 4 and OnePlus One has been excluded due to availability issues.

35. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Seriously all these devices is applicable in US only, if it's in India or China, all of the above is seriously overpriced compared to domestic

42. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

Very true!! PA is based in US so logically its Best value for money smartphone you would get in US.

44. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

Motog is not a VFM product in India since once you break the glass be ready to pay more than the price of a new phone to fix it!!

7. Mena13Suvari

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 25, 2014

Moto G is awesome.

8. realjjj

Posts: 375; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

All of those are outrageouslly overpriced.

12. Darkerm

Posts: 322; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

Oneplus one is the best. Why PA don't cover OpO!!!

43. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

PA is completely biassed and has a skewed eye on the OPO because OP won't pay them for articles like what Apple/Sony/HTC do.

14. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Moto X (2013) is an amazing deal on Amazon for about $220...

25. g2a5b0e unregistered

Cool story, bro, but 2014 awards are reserved for devices that came out in 2014.

37. EC112987

Posts: 1214; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

These awards are bias just like everyones opinion, there are many 2013 phones that are better choices.

38. g2a5b0e unregistered

That's beside the point. These are 2014 awards. Would you consider giving a best phone of 2014 award to a 2013 device? No. This should obviously be treated the same way.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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