7 Best Cheap Smartphones (2023): iPhone, Android, 5G

1 year ago
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OnePlus Nord N300 5G for $230: This $200 smartphone has some pretty crazy specs, but there are a lot of caveats, naturally. It is only available in T Mobile And Metro from T-Mobile, and OnePlus has already rolled out the only Android OS update this phone will ever receive (Android 13). At the very least, it will receive two years of security updates. However, there is 5G connectivity, and I used one-tap payment via Google Pay to get through the New York subway turnstiles without having to pull my transit card out of my wallet. The 5,000 mAh battery easily lasts two full days, and I have no doubt about the 6.5-inch 90Hz LCD screen. Additional perks include a microSD card slot, a fingerprint sensor, and a headphone jack. Performance is smooth and fast, and the only thing that really bothers me is that there is no waterproof rating and the cameras are just fine.

i tested Samsung Galaxy A23 5G and found its performance to be annoyingly slow, which shouldn’t be the case with a $300 smartphone these days. I also do not recommend the Motorola Moto G Play 2023. Moto G Force 2022And Moto G Clean 2022 because the Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 outperforms them in every way and doesn’t cost much more.

Nokia G400 5G (6/10, WIRED Review) is a good phone, but its software policy isn’t as good as our most recommended devices above, and its performance can be choppy when you’re juggling multiple apps. I have also tested Dougie S89 Pro, secure smartphone. While I didn’t run into any obvious downsides, it’s awkward to carry around and awkward to hold in my hand. On a positive note is the massive 12,000 mAh battery, but it didn’t last as long as I expected. The company also has issues with software updates.

We’re sure we’re picking the best products in this guide right now, but if you’re not in a hurry, it’s worth the wait to see what’s announced at Mobile World Congress at the end of February. TCL will showcase its new 40 series devices in the US, Nokia will likely showcase some new devices, and we expect Samsung and Motorola to do the same. If you’re waiting for the new Pixel phone, it will most likely arrive sometime between May and July.

Consider last year’s flagship phones

If none of these phones have the features you want or they’re not as efficient as you’d like, your best bet is to look for last year’s flagship smartphones, which can be heavily discounted. Sometimes they are easy to find, but manufacturers may stop selling them altogether. Keep in mind that you will lose a year of software support, but it’s still better than the software support available on cheap phones. For example, OnePlus 10 Pro. regularly drops to $550.

5G is the next generation network, but it won’t completely replace 4G LTE just because it’s not available everywhere. You can read more about it here, but in short, 5G comes in two main types: sub-6 and millimeter wave (mmWave). The latter is usually only available in flagship phones and allows you to access ultra-high speeds, but you’ll rarely encounter mmWave (think some areas in major cities and certain places like stadiums and airports). Sub-6 is not much faster than 4G LTE, but has a wider range and is more widely available these days.

You need a 5G phone to be able to access 5G networks, and most of the smartphones we recommend here support less than 5G 6G. That said, if there’s a phone here that doesn’t fully support it, don’t worry. You will still have a decent 4G LTE connectivity experience. That said, if you’re paying $250 or more these days, you should expect less than 6 5G support on the device.

Check network compatibility

If you buy an unlocked phone from this list and try to take it to one of your wireless carrier’s retail stores, they may tell you it’s not network compatible. Probably so. Simply use a paperclip or SIM eject tool to remove the SIM from your current phone and then insert that SIM into your new phone. If it doesn’t work at first, restart your phone or wait a couple of hours.

If you need a new SIM card, try ordering one online from your carrier, or see if they give you a SIM card when you activate the line at the store (if you start coverage). Tell them you have a phone. Many times sellers will want to sell you a phone; this is one of the possible reasons why they might force you to buy another device from the store.

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