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8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Posted on 26th Jan 2017 @ 3:37 PM

 

In the tech world, and particularly so when smartphones are concerned, as a general rule you can expect the spotlight to be aimed almost exclusively at the high-end, where companies tend to be quite a bit more innovative. As a result, media and people alike usually gloss over weaker devices, resulting in a distinct lack of coverage for the low-end. For consumers, this is a big problem, as it makes the search for a cheap device that much more difficult due to the scarcity of information.

So, to rectify that problem, we’ve compiled a short list of the best sub-$150 devices which you can get right now. Whether you’re buying it for a friend, a relative, or yourself, this list can hopefully help you make the correct decision.

 

Asus ZenFone 3 Max

(Price: $149; Amazon: $149; Best Buy: $149)
zenfone-3-max.jpg
Display 5.2 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware MediaTek MT6737 CPU, Mali T720 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 128 GB
Camera Main: 13 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 5 MP
Battery 4130 mAh, non-removable

PROS

  • Good-looking design
  • Dual SIM card support
  • Huge battery
  • Fingerprint scanner

CONS

  • ZenUI can feel a bit bloated at times

 

 

 

 

 

Motorola Moto G4 Play

(Price: $130; Amazon: $130; Best Buy: $130 | Review)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU, Adreno 306 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 128 GB
Camera Main: 8 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 5 MP
Battery 2800 mAh, removable

PROS

  • Splash-proof design
  • Loud front-facing speaker
  • Near-stock Android

CONS

  • Included charger doesn’t support Quick Charge 2.0
 
As the entry-level offering from Moto’s G4 line, the Play offers a design that is similar to, but slightly less cluttered than its brethren. The device is splash-proof, meaning the occasional spilled glass of water won’t be a problem. Out of the box, the device comes with near-stock Android Marshmallow, but the upgrade to Nougat came out just a few weeks ago. Besides GSM, the unlocked version of the G4 Play also supports CDMA networks, such as Sprint and Verizon.

BLU R1 HD

(Amazon: $110)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware MediaTek MT6735 CPU, Mali-T720 MP2 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 64 GB
Camera Main: 8 MP, LED flash; Front: 5 MP, LED flash
Battery 2500 mAh, non-removable

PROS

  • Low price
  • Dual SIM card support

CONS

  • Cameras lack autofocus
 
One of the most popular devices for the relative newcomer to the smartphone scene, the BLU R1 HD comes in a few different buying options, including a discounted Amazon Prime exclusive version, which offers ads to its users and comes with preinstalled Amazon apps. However, even the regular, more expensive variant, though, manages to be one of the cheaper phones on the list, despite offering comparable specs. The 5’ screen is a good choice for the R1's 720p resolution, and is made of Gorilla Glass 3, making it scratch-resistant. The quad-core processor, clocking in at 1.3 GHz, offers adequate performance for most use cases.

Alcatel POP 4 Plus

(Amazon: $106; Best Buy: $116)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 CPU, Adreno 304 GPU, 1.5 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 32 GB
Camera Main: 8 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 5 MP, LED flash
Battery 2500 mAh, removable

PROS

  • Dual SIM card support
  • Fingerprint sensor

CONS

  • 1.5 GB RAM is too little
 
Another device with a front-facing flash, the POP 4 Plus is a slightly upgraded version of the POP 4, featuring a bigger display and a bit more RAM. The device runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and comes with an expandable storage of 16 GB. Also included is a small fingerprint sensor below the screen. The design is simple but nevertheless good-looking, due to the false metal finish on the back panel, while the battery is big enough for everyday usage, despite being on the low end of the spectrum for this list.

ZTE ZMAX 2

(Price: $120; Amazon: $142)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU, Adreno 306 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 64 GB
Camera Main: 8 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 2 MP
Battery 3000 mAh, removable

PROS

  • Large screen
  • Very good battery

CONS

  • Low-resolution front camera
 
The main draw of the ZTE ZMAX 2 is undoubtedly its display, measuring at 5.5’ with a 720 x 1290 resolution. Its internals are standard fare for the price, but a nice surprise is the big 3,000 mAh battery, which is guaranteed to last enough for almost everyone. While the included version of Android is 5.1, itt can be updated via OTA to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The design is sleek, if a bit angular, and features a rugged back panel providing a somewhat better grip.

BLU Vivo XL

(Amazon: $150 | Review)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware MediaTek MT6753 CPU, Mali-T720 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 64 GB
Camera Main: 13 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 5 MP
Battery 3150 mAh, removable

PROS

  • Pretty design
  • Large display
  • Very good battery

CONS

  • Low screen brightness
 
The most noticeable thing about the Vivo XL is certainly its striking looks – the front panel cleverly hides the large vertical bezels, while the back features a glossy mirror finish, making it one of the prettiest phones in the list. It's also a very thin and lightweight device, making it comfortable to hold. It also sports a very large battery, rated at 3150 mAh. The back camera has a 13 MP sensor, which performs well enough in bright conditions, but suffers in low-light ones. The screen is quite large at 5,5 inches, and has a 720p Super AMOLED panel. The included software has some useful features, and the latest OS version available is based on Android Marshmallow.

Alcatel Pixi 4 (6)

(Amazon: $150; Best Buy: $130)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 6 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 CPU, Adreno 304 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 64 GB
Camera Main: 8 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 5 MP, LED flash
Battery 2580 mAh, removable

PROS

  • Very large screen
  • Good battery
  • Dual SIM card support

CONS

  • Underpowered
 
At 6 inches, this variant of the Pixi 4’s screen is quite impressive in size, though the 720p resolution is more noticeable as a result. The internals aren’t the best, with a weak processor and only 1 GB of RAM available, but this won't be a problem for most casual users. Out of the box, the device comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, a large, user-replaceable battery, and also has support for two SIM cards. The visual design is modest, but the back panel comes in one of several bright colors, which certainly shake up the phone's looks.

BLU Life One X2

(Amazon: $150)

8 best cheap phones under $150 (2017)

Display 5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels
Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 CPU, Adreno 505 GPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage + microSD expansion slot up to 64 GB
Camera Main: 16 MP, LED flash, Autofocus; Front: 8 MP, LED flash
Battery 3000 mAh, non-removable

PROS

  • Good-looking design
  • Large battery
  • Full HD screen
  • Fingerprint sensor

CONS

  • Included software has a few problems
 
With the only 1080p screen on the list, the X2 impresses from the get-go. It comes in two separate versions, the $150 one of which sports the expected 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB onboard storage. The phone also features a fingerprint sensor and a large battery. The design is trendy but simple, with the aluminum back panel being colored in one of three available options. The rear camera has a 16 MP sensor, which is the highest resolution one on the list, and the phone also has two SIM card slots.