Budget smartphones keep getting better as software matures and components become cheaper. Some companies have produced inexpensive smartphones that are good enough to replace your big-brand flagship. Others haven’t had the same success.
Good Gear Guide has compiled a list of the year’s best smartphones thus far. The smartphone’s featured are priced less than the IDC’s reported average of $337, have performed well during our testing and link out to additional resources.
5. Kogan Agora 4G
Kogan’s Agora 4G will pique the interest of people looking for a budget smartphone that packs a big screen. The 5in screen has a high-definition resolution and, coupled with its 4G connectivity, makes this smartphone ideal for internet browsing and multimedia consumption. Innards are a mixed affair for the Agora 4G as it benefits from an adequate 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, but RAM is on the low end at just 1GB. The smartphone is developed by Taiwanese manufacturer BenQ and represents its entry in the Australian market for the second time.
•Not a pretty smartphone
Price (RRP): $229
4. Motorola Moto E
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Motorola’s Moto E has been designed to wean people from developing countries off feature phones and onto smartphones. The smartphone wears Motorola’s near-vanilla version of Android, has a 4.3in screen, takes two SIM cards and has inherited some of its looks from the attractive Moto G. Motorola has managed to offer all this for $179 and that puts the Moto E in a price range of its own.
•One of the cheapest smartphones around
•Quick software updates
Price (RRP): $179
Read more: Motorola Moto E review
3. Huawei Ascend G6
Huawei's Ascend G6 does the basics really well. It’s made from good ingredients: one part good design, another respectable hardware and a final part of easy software. Those who snap photos often will value the 8 megapixel Sony camera gracing the Ascend’s rear, along with the 5 megapixel ‘selfie’ camera on its front.
•Sony 8MP rear and 5MP front cameras
•No app drawer
Price (RRP): $329
2. Nokia Lumia 635
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We’d name our Lumia 635 “Chipper”. Bright colours that match the live-tile interface of Windows 8.1 give this little smartphone plenty of personality. A front camera is missing and the 4.5in display has a lower resolution than that of the Moto G, but then again, the Lumia 635 packs 4G connectivity at a more affordable price.
•Windows Phone 8.1
•Low resolution screen
•No front camera
Price (RRP): $279
1. Motorola Moto G
Google-owned Motorola nailed the budget smartphone with the Moto G. Not only does the Moto G have the distinction of being a dual-SIM smartphone, but both SIM slots are 3G capable. Nor will you ever feel your needs aren’t met by this inexpensive smartphone because its feature set is so well rounded: it’s screen has a 326 pixel-per-inch density, there’s a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and two capable cameras. Now the Moto G is even better with the option for a single-SIM variant equipped with a 4G modem and a microSD memory slot.
•High density screen
•Dual-SIM version available
Price (RRP): $249 for the dual-SIM version, $299 for the 4G version.