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Forget about the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra where they cost an arm and a leg - even with installments! Budget smartphones are on the rise, be it as a second phone that’s used for work or even as a daily driver.
Especially with better features like the new iPhone SE (2022) that has the same A15 bionic processor as the iPhone 13, it’s no wonder that these cheaper smartphones are gaining traction.
Here, we list down our pick of 5 value-for-money smartphones, all under $700.
Apple just launched the iPhone SE 3rd generation on 8th March 2022 as an update of the previous SE series. They didn’t really change the looks of the phone but upgraded its internal performance. The iPhone SE boasts using the same chip as the iPhone 13 which is the A15 Bionic Chip as well as supporting 5G connectivity. It also made a few changes on the camera, they added the Deep Fusion so the camera studies multiple exposures to be able to perform better from mid to low light.
However, do take note that it does not come with the newest iPhone features - the phone still has an enormous bezel compared to other budget phones such as the Galaxy A53 which has a full-screen design. The SE also still has the home button which we rarely see nowadays in a lot of smartphone designs.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Not long after the iPhone SE announcement, Samsung also launched their newest budget phone, the Galaxy A53 5G. It’s a great contender in the budget phone war as the phone comes with an amazing 120Hz AMOLED display and has a Quad-camera setup. In other words, this phone is great for gaming and watching videos on Youtube, as well as taking incredible photos.
While it may look like the Galaxy A53 could win over the iPhone SE in terms of price and features, there may be one issue that may pull this model down. The phone display’s screen refresh rate stutters from time to time, causing discomfort for long term usage.
Realme GT Master Edition
One of the new kids on the block, Realme is known for their budget-friendly price point. One of their models,the Realme GT Master Edition,has a Samsung 120Hz AMOLED display, and the Snapdragon 778G to ensure that it runs fast. The device also has a triple camera setup with a Sony front camera.
However, the Realme GT Master also has its own drawbacks. The device itself does not have any IP rating (water and dust resistance) so it may be dangerous around water even tiny splashes. The device also does not have a stereo speaker but it does claim to have a Hi-Res Audio so kudos to that.
Oppo Reno5 Z 5G
Announced in April 2021, the Oppo Reno5 Z can still compete in this list due to it being powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 800U. What this means is that it has a similar performance to the Samsung A53 5G and supports 5G connectivity as well. The Reno5 Z also has a vibrant AMOLED display that will please your eyes all day long if you’re a heavy user especially with its great battery life.
However, Oppo also did not bother putting up a 120Hz display on this model, as this is the cheaper line of the Reno5 series. The Oppo Reno5 Z also lacks a Gorilla Glass protection which every phone has now and is only available in one RAM and storage option.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
Although it’s quite a mouthful to pronounce it, this latest Xiaomi note line up is something to look forward to. It has all the features on a budget smartphone such as the AMOLED display. A plus point for this phone would be the 5000mAh battery that allows a blazing fast 67W quick charge! This is especially useful for heavy users as you would not be running out of battery in the middle of the day.
Despite being the 5G model of the Redmi note 11 Pro, this phone only has a triple-camera setup while the non 5G model has a quad-camera setup, but Redmi claims that they use an AI system on the 5G, so let’s see if it does make it better. Also it does not support 4K video recording, so this could be a deciding factor if it is important to you.
Google Pixel 5A 5G
It's a good thing to consider a phone from the creator of Android itself - yes that’s right Google has their own phone line and one of the better ones in fact. Released in late 2021 as a budget smartphone of its Google Pixel lineup, the Google Pixel 5A 5G could be your next phone. It has a great OLED display and the best feature on the Pixel 5A would be its camera. This has been tested and proven not just by normal consumers but tech geeks alike.
But since it was launched in 2021, its chipset Snapdragon 765G is considered to be a little outdated. While the performance is okay, hopefully it can still power the Pixel for a couple of years. Another thing to consider would be the units sold in Singapore are a bit pricey, as the average price on the Pixel 5A 5G is around S$800. Perhaps you might find a good deal on marketplaces such as Shopee and Lazada.
Which one should you buy?
Well it depends on what you are really looking for. If budget is your main priority, then the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro would be the best choice for you. It does not necessarily have the best camera, but it has proven to be a solid choice for budget smartphones if you’re not into taking selfies or landscapes for your IG stories.
However, in general, we think that newcomer Realme GT Master might have a decent shot on this list as it is great value for money. Although slightly pricier than the Samsung and Oppo, you can be sure it provides more longevity than Samsung A53 and better performance than the Oppo Reno5.
And if you’re in the Apple ecosystem then the iPhone SE is a no brainer. Being able to perform as fast as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and with an improved battery life compared to previous SE models, this makes it the best budget iPhone model to choose from.
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In addition if you like these types of articles, you might also want to check out our recent article where we cover the best Lenovo laptop in 2022. Or if you are looking for some tips on handling and working your MacBook, we also do have articles covering the most frequently asked MacBook repair such as how to reset your MacBook SMC or even simple issues on how to connect your AirPods to your MacBook.