Top five budget smartphones money can buy (Part I, 2014)

The best value for money smartphones to hit the Australian market this year

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.

•5in screen
•4G connectivity
•Quad-core CPU

•Not a pretty smartphone
•Low RAM

Price (RRP): $229

Learn more on the Kogan Agora 4G

4. Motorola Moto E

Read more: Harman Kardon CL headphones review

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

•Looks cheap

Price (RRP): $179

Read more: HTC Desire 610 smartphone

Learn more about the Motorola Moto E by clicking here

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.

•Refined software
•Sony 8MP rear and 5MP front cameras

•No app drawer

Price (RRP): $329

Read about the Ascend G6 in our comprehensive review

2. Nokia Lumia 635

Read more: Oppo Neo 5 review: $219 buys a whole lot of phone

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.

•Well built
•4G connectivity
•Windows Phone 8.1

•Low resolution screen
•No front camera

Price (RRP): $279

Read more: Motorola Moto E review

Read the full review of Nokia’s Lumia 635

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
•Well designed


Price (RRP): $249 for the dual-SIM version, $299 for the 4G version.

Read the Motorola Moto G review here

Have your say: which budget smartphone do you believe represents exceptional value for money?

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Tags smartphonesMotorola Moto GKogan Agora 4GMotorola Moto EHuawei Ascend G6budget smartphonescheap smartphonescheap phonesNokia Lumia 635

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