Best budget smartphone?

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kronological
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Best budget smartphone?

I have straight talk wireless and I’m looking for a new smart phone. What are you guys using? Are the Chinese phones worth a darn?

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atbglenn
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I think the latest 5th gen Moto G for around $200 is probably the best budget smartphone out there

Lightbringer
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DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT get a Chinese phone no matter how good it might ostensibly be, unless you’re prepared to simply buy new should anything go wrong with it. I keep hearing all sorts of horror stories about “warranties” that aren’t worth pursuing (eg, mail it back to China ($$), have it never arrive, wait forever, get back a different broken phone, etc.).

I got a ZTE Maven for nothing from AT&T for just buying a 50buk phone card (for prepaid). Else you can get a Maven for something like 30bux, runs Android, works just fine. Anything breaks within the warranty period, I can bitch’n‘moan to AT&T about it. Do similarly whether you get it from a phoneco or a big box store like Best Buy.

A phone that starts out prepaid can easily be converted to one of their other monthly plans.

First place to start is to see what phones you can get through “straight-talk”. They might have intro offers to try to get you hooked, and selling cheap smartphones is a big way to do it. Big Smile

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sb56637
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I’ve had this one for the past 18 months or so, I think it was a smashing deal for the price:
https://www.gearbest.com/cell-phones/pp_282797.html

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korpzgrinda
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I bought a Chinese phone (Zopo ZP990) in 2013 and never had an issue with it for the almost 3 years I used it. Had a custom ROM for it and everything. The problem with Chinese phones in USA is that the cellular bands are different, so most of them have no 4G or LTE capabilities here. That was acceptable for me, as I only used it for text and occasional calls, and loaded MP3’s for music (3G was usually too weak to stream). I basically just wanted to have a 6 inch “phablet” (they were being called that at the time) that I could use with a T-Mobile prepaid plan.

But please be aware, as Lightbringer stated, that once you get it, you’re on your own!

sb56637
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korpzgrinda wrote:
Had a custom ROM for it and everything.

Wow, nice. That’s actually the main disadvantage about Chinese Android devices in my opinion, usually no updates or custom ROMs.

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you should buy Xiaomi phone(more specific, xiaomi redmi note 4),imho, Xiaomi is the best budget smartphone brand(like BLF in smartphone world)
they have many forums in many countries

their stock Rom(a.k.a MIUI) is quite simple and smooth
and their big advantage is thier battery life, it lasts so loooooooong(that’s also a reason why i change from LG G3 to xiaomi redmi note 3 last year)

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mrheosuper
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BTW, if you want to go higher, there is also xiaomi MI6. which is considered as one of the “flagship killer”

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Lightbringer
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korpzgrinda wrote:
The problem with Chinese phones in USA is that the cellular bands are different, so most of them have no 4G or LTE capabilities here. That was acceptable for me, as I only used it for text and occasional calls, and loaded MP3’s for music (3G was usually too weak to stream).

And also be aware that some carriers don’t even deal with 3G or lower anymore. What spurred me to get the Mavan is that AT&T was discontinuing 3G support entirely, and my AT&T phone wasn’t 4G compatible. So I swapped my AT&T and TMobile phones (both unlocked), as TM wasn’t/isn’t that picky yet. After I got the Maven, I put back my TM phone onto TM’s service.

I think Verizon uses an entirely different system so isn’t compatible with TM nor AT&T, so there’s a schism in carriers. Be sure to get a phone which matches what you have (CDMA vs TDMA).

That’s also why I suggested first contacting ST to see what phones are compatible with their system. Smaller carriers usually piggyback onto larger carriers’ networks.

Start with this:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/cdma-vs-gsm-differences-explained/

Yeah, I was right. It’s TMobile and AT&T vs Verizon and Sprint, that are the big ones. Find out which carriers’ networks ST piggybacks onto.

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everydaysurvivalgear
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Most people go for the Xiaomi Mi phones they are good and fairly cheap most expensive of the Chinese phones. They come with heaps of bloatware and some suss Chinese programs so that is why most people custom rom them. Some do not even have google play i think its banned in China? But most companies make an international version of the phones plus updates are always lacking. As said above forget warranty i bought a Z5 as my last phone but it was Hong Kong stock so cheaper but in a sense no warranty.
Also some of the Lenovo phones come highly recommended.

vwpieces
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So, what is the budget here?
Sub 100?
I am extremely happy with my $200 Asus ZenFhone 2. Bought over 2 years ago. 16GB/2GB running an Intel chip, quad core. GSM, dual sim card slots and has micro SD card slot too for up to 64GB additional . Bought it unlocked and out of contract on Cricket wireless.

Bought Mom an Amazon edition Blu for $60 and it has been good. Deleted/disabled most of the Ad related BS. Also on Cricket wireless which runs same as ATT coverage.

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+1 for the Asus Zenfone. I like mine.
Not exactly budget, but relatively inexpensive.

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vwpieces
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The money I saved the first year out of contract paid for the Asus in 4 months. $50 less every month since for the same service and free messaging, no overage charges, No time constraints like unlimited after 9PM…

Sad what people pay every single month just to have the newest Samsung or iphone.

Reading the reviews initially on that Amazon Blu phone I got for mom… Had the Chinese security issues on the first batch. Sending personal info back to China. Most were replaced. Mine was ok.

sb56637
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kotobuki wrote:
I worry about security issues:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/kryptowire-adups-news/

I’ve owned a lot of Chinese Android devices, and I usually scan them for viruses, and at I at least have never found malware on them. Frankly I think that security is sort of a moot point on Android devices (with the exception of the Nexus and Pixel lines), which are inherently full of vulnerabilities due to the nature of the multi-tiered distribution chain that prevents upstream Android security patches and updates from reaching end users.

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xxx
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+1 for xiaomi

If its have no your local warannty, make sure buy china rom and install google and uninstall aplication in china thats you dont use/need/want.

I have 4 xiaomi phone and never facing trouble.

leaftye
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Free is my favorite phone budget. I’ve bought two cell phones. My very first back in 2001 ($99), and a burner in 2010 for $15 when I crunched my screen on a trip. The rest were given to me. Right now I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. I have a wireless charging back, but I swapped it out with a much larger battery. It also has a microSD port that’s currently fitted with a 200GB card. I keep it in a waterproof case from Walmart most of the time, which was fortunate on the day of the eclipse when I saw it run over by a semi. The phone is fine!

If you can’t get a free phone from friends and family, there are used phones. I’ve heard good things about Swappa.

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aL1
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+1 for the ASUS Zenfone 2....I got the 4GB/16GB awhile back, it's a great phone-

 

EDIT: It's great, other than the charging port, sometimes when it stops charging, I unplug the charging cable and have to plug it back in again....

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I really recommend Oukitel China brand. Several of them in family and some of them almost 2 years and not a single issue. They also received updates to android 7 recently.

What I do not recommend is Hom Tom company cause I bought their rugged phone and they have build slow and lagging camera in. But for 100$ some could consider that as good deal. Oukitel gives much more than Hom Tom in that price range and if you guys want to know more about China phones visit gizchina web page. They are no.1 in the business.

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Get a China “premium brand” like Lenovo or Xiamoi from an online store in your country or from Amazon. For 250$ the ZUK Z2 offers awesome display, Cyanogen-OS compatible (instead of china bloatware), big and fast internal 64GB storage and impressive battery time.

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FPV
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I am using two Chinese phones with very low price points; one is a ZTE L5 plus, the other a Leagoo M8 Pro.
Scanned for viruses and malware, all good; the Leagoo even had a OS update OTA a few weeks back.

No issues at all so far, I use these devices when I don’t want to carry my expensive phone (mountain biking, hiking, wet/damp environments, garage, ..)

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We have four Xiaomi redmi note 3 pro (redmi note 4 is the replacement model) and one Xiaomi 4A in use in my family and they are all doing a real good job for the buck for about one year now (two of them). No bloatware no spying software, nothing. German language (and others) without flashing or whatsoever. The note 3 pro is easily comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S6. Even better in some points. No problems with 3G or 4G. Even band 20 (you need it in Germany) is present in the SE/international version.
All Accessories bought from Ali…. .
Read some reviews and form your own opinion and compare the prices.

I definitely agree to Lightbringer concerning warranties, but I never had any problems yet. Paying with PayPal makes things easier.
On problems it will be the same procedure as described in this forum concernig flashlight problems.

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Xiaomi redmi note 4 Global version

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Now I would avoid cheap chinese phone brands (except Xiaomi or other premium brands).

I have bought several cheap (100 bux or less) ones in the past (Oukitel, Zopo, InFocus), they had some problems :

- factory installed malware (adups)
- buggy stock Android rom, no OS upgrades of course (no alternative custom roms with Mediatek-based phones since kernel sources are usually not released by manufacturer)
- no replacements parts to be found in case something breaks (screen)

And you can also get a DOA device, or the phone dies in 3 months… not worth it.

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I am using a Leagoo Elite 1 since 2 years and I am very satisfied with it. I had a problem with it once (self inflicted) but I found efficient and useful help from the AE store where I bought it.

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I bought (when it was new) Xiaomi RedMi 1. It still server as my childs first phone.
Upgraded it to Cyanogen.

I upgraded to Mi5 a year ago but I made a mistake when ordering (Aliexpress, HongKond Goldway is a good seller) and took the chinese ROM. Should have taken the Global ROM.
It is possible to change it but not the easiest task.

Ordered to my friend a Xiaomi RedMi 4 pro-prime and he has been especially pleased to battery runtime after his Sony.

Recently ordered RedMi 4A to my other son and a replacement to redmi1, RedMi 4 pro to my older son.

These later times I took the Global ROM and no issues this time Wink

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Oh… They are also available locally here in Finland so warranty is possible BUT it adds 50EUR to price to buy locally a chinese 100EUR phone so I have not bothered to think about the warranty…

Kids seem to drop their phones anyway sooo…. Sad

isti242
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I vote for Xiaomi too. I’ve been using Xiaomi phones (Redmi 1s, Redmi Note 3 pro) for years.
- MIUI OS
- OTA update
- lightning fast GPS, Glonass, Beidou positioning
- good display & battery

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I purchased my Huawei Mate 9 from www.swappa.com at a cheaper price compared to BestBuy.

Worth to take a look at swappa.com for good deals

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I’m in the market for a new phone myself so I’m also interested in peoples opinions. I use T-Mobil’s pay as you go plan and don’t have data. Presently I’m using a Microsoft 640 LTE that I bought direct from MS and have never had any kind of service warrant, and I’m okay with that. I almost never make phone calls and seldom text so those things aren’t really priorities in a cell phone. Mostly I use my phone as a camera, and for podcasts, and audiobooks. I’ve been looking at the Xiaomi’s, and most people have good things to say about those.

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