I’ve decided to enter the 21st century and abandon my cheap-ass Virgin Mobile basic phone, which has the advantage of being dirt cheap, and dirt cheap to keep connected ($20 every three months, and I didn’t even use up that much in minutes).
But I’m still cheap. No $700 phones for me. $200 is the target amount, though I’m happy with paying even less. On a plan of $50 a month or less. No contract. Thanks in advance on suggestions!
The HTC One M8 is a great phone (one generation old, but apparently the M9 doesn’t bring much more to the table) and can be had for $1 with contract from the big three. Used and unlocked can be found for about $250.
Try the 2013 Moto G. It’s mostly the same as the 2014 Moto G, but it has LTE (downgrades are smaller screen and camera resolution). Wirecutter sez:
“Last year’s 4.5-inch Moto G is just $200 with LTE. This year’s 5-inch screen version without LTE is $180. We think last year’s model is the better value for people in the US, since both phones have the same processor and same screen resolution. The new model does have an 8MP camera that’s better than last year’s 5MP, but neither is great—last year’s shots turned out blurry a lot, and the autofocus on this year’s model is pretty inconsistent.”
The early Moto G is great…except that it kind of fails on the camera, and my iPad 2 already has a bad camera (really, it just plain sucks). Yes, I have a Nikon, but I mean a daily carry one that is at least decent (which is probably the best you can hope for with new budget phones). And the next G on the list doesn’t have 4G LTE, which writes it off the list.
I guess the important things to me are 4g LTE, a decent camera, preferably 1280x760 display, 4.5 inch display or larger (more concerned about the resolution than the size - I don’t need a “phablet”). Decent battery life. A 1.2 quad core is probably adequate (which most of these seem to have these days), and I have the iPad for games, so I don’t need a ton of storage. The LG Volt just misses on the graphics and is currently cheap (probably being phased out in favor of the LG G Stylo, which looks good, just that I was hoping to go with T Mobile over anything Sprint).
Gonna go with Android over Windows. The LG G2 looks like a really good buy at the moment - a little over $200. Used ones even cheaper. Might have to wait an extra month, but that’s why this scouting mission helps. Of course, I may just settle for a lesser but whole lot cheaper phone. Probably need to head to a store and just look at some screen displays and see what I can live with.
Another vote for the Samsung Galaxy S3. They can be found for any carrier, there are lots of accessories available, any they can be had for under $200. I had one for a couple of years, and when I accidentally broke it, I liked it so much I went and bought another one.
It’s several generations behind the current phone (S6, I believe?), but it still runs everything. Graphics intensive apps make the phone get hot and drain the battery quickly, but they still run.
I have the Z1 compact which I got a year and half ago. Still loving it and still as zippy as when I first got it even with the latest update. Which hasn’t always been the case. Great series of phones, hugely under the radar since they’re generally off-contract. I would recommend a look at them if you can squeeze it in your budget.
The price on the Galaxy S3 and the LG 2 is very close (or at least what I’ve found so far) and the LG 2 compares generationally to the S4, so, at the moment the LG 2 is ahead of it on my list. Not to mention that Samsung is currently on my Ultimate Shit List for Scumbag Customer Service (admittedly for refrigerators rather than phones). But other than that, it’s another one I’ll probably consider if I can find it for the right price.