How to choose an inexpensive phone – tips of experts

When choosing an inexpensive phone, you should evaluate it first its intended use.


  1. How to choose an inexpensive phone: what to look for
  2. Types of Inexpensive Phones
  3. Which is better to choose?
  4. Cheap phone options
  5. How to choose an inexpensive push-button telephone
  6. How to choose an inexpensive smartphone
  7. The best manufacturers of low-cost phones
  8. Cheap Samsung Phones
  9. Phone selection video

choose an inexpensive phone

How to choose an inexpensive phone: what to look for

The main technical characteristics that define operational characteristics and capabilities of low-cost phones, are:

  1. Type of device;

  2. Form factor;

  3. Operating system;

  4. Specifications (screen, camera, etc.).

It is also worth considering the differences between smartphones and directly by mobile phones as they are designed for operation in various scenarios.

Types of Inexpensive Phones

Mobile phones that are in lower price range, can be both phones and smartphones. The difference is in possible use cases.

  1. In its most general form, a smartphone is a device for interaction with the internet. From it it is convenient to view news in social networks, communicate in instant messengers and email, engage web surfing etc. Calls and SMS in such devices go to second plan.

  2. But the mobile phone is a device for voice communication. From him it’s convenient to call, it’s convenient to receive calls … and, in general, that’s all. T9-keyboard is not suitable for SMS, and photos taken on the camera of such a device will be ashamed to view even on the screen the device itself.

The structural differences between the devices of these classes are blurred. Exist as push-button smartphones (Blackberry, Nokia E and N series), and touch mobile phones (many models from Chinese manufacturers. But for simplicity, we assume that all mobile phones – push-button, and all smartphones – touch. Moreover, the situation on The current market is about this.



Push-button phones of the budget segment are nothing more than “dialers” – that is, they are designed to receive and commit voice calls. Other functionality like internet access either completely cut back or presented in very limited form. But due to the lack of additional features, they differ in maximum autonomy.

Such devices are the best solution to buy for older people or for use away from a power outlet (e.g. tourist hiking).


  • Minimum price (some models cost up to 1000 rubles);

  • Good mechanical strength (not afraid of falls);

  • Maximum ease of use (suitable even for grandmothers);

  • Maximum autonomy (some models can “live” without recharge more than a month);

  • Adequate work with multiple SIM-cards;


  • Limited functionality (missing or very truncated Internet access, the inability to install third-party applications, often lack of camera or internal memory for storage music);

  • The inconvenience of typing messages on a T9 keyboard.


touch phones

Low-cost smartphones are a more universal solution that suitable for any task: from phone calls to access to the Internet. Unfortunately, the low price leads to serious functionality limitations. For example, such smartphones may be equipped with too weak a processor or a small amount of operational memory, so that after a while they become In principle, unworkable before flashing.


  • Suitable for working on the Internet;

  • Well suited for communication in instant messengers or via SMS thanks to on-screen keyboard with automatic replacement and correction words;

  • They can install additional applications and games;


  • Insufficient firmware optimization, resulting in a device can “slow down”, “dull” and “freeze” after a while use (and in some cases, directly out of the box;

  • Sensitivity to falls and mechanical damage;

  • Short battery life (with the Internet turned on – less 2 days, and in most cases only a few hours);

Which is better to choose?

choose the best

If the device is purchased for an elderly relative, undemanding to modern “games” and instant messengers, tourist, etc. – it is recommended to pay attention to mobile Phones

If the device requires Internet access, view social networks, chatting in messengers, playing music and video – it’s better to take an inexpensive smartphone. Moreover, if the budget allows, it’s better to pay attention to average devices class. So, as of 2017, most of the budget smartphones are in the price range “up to 10 thousand rubles”, and here’s a good “average” can be purchased for 12-16 thousand. Sure, it’s a little expensive, but such a device will not slow down when every sneeze.

Cheap phone options

When choosing an inexpensive mobile phone, just consider only preferred form factor – other parameters similar devices are about the same (unless the battery has important, but hardly anyone goes hiking today lasting more than 1-2 weeks without a satellite phone).

But when choosing a smartphone, it’s worth considering a lot of technical characteristics that determine performance devices.

Form factor

Modern mobile phones come in three form factors – monoblock (“brick”), “clamshell” and “slider”. On the they do not affect functionality, determining mainly convenience use.

The main practical difference between these form factors is that to complete the call on a candy bar you will need to press the appropriate key, but the “clamshell” or “slider” is enough just to close. Therefore, you can avoid random eavesdropping due to an improperly broken line.

But then the “clamshell” and “sliders” have less mechanical strength and can be broken in one sharp movement.

operating system

The vast majority of modern budget smartphones are running an Android operating system with interface modifications (like LG and Samsung) or without them (Nokia), as well as firmware based on this “green robot” (Xiaomi, Meizu, Huawei).

Android OS is suitable for any “Internet operations”. Thanks a huge application store can be installed on it practically any applications – clients of streaming music services, social networks, instant messengers, web portals, games and anything else. The only problem is that this operating system is fragmented and its old versions do not support new programs. But relevant its versions heavily load the components of the smartphone, as a result of which he starts to slow down.

The best solution is to buy a smartphone on The following versions of the Android OS:

  1. 4.4 KitKat;

  2. 6 Marshmallow;

  3. 7 Nougat (but without additional “add-ons” like TouchWiz from Samsung).


The fewer additional “extensions” – the better. A Android 5.0 Lollipop is poorly optimized and therefore not recommended for purchase.

Alternative operating systems – Sailfish, Nokia X OS, Nokia Asha, Samsung Tizen, Microsoft Windows Mobile – due limited number of applications in relevant stores to purchase not recommended.



When choosing an inexpensive phone, it is advisable to pay attention to two screen parameters – its diagonal and resolution.

Diagonal is the physical size of the screen. Measured in inches from one corner to the opposite (e.g., from top left to lower right). The diagonal determines the comfort of use device. The most optimal size is from 4 to 5 inches. Devices with a smaller diagonal fit too little on the screen information, but with more require two-handed control.

But the screen resolution determines not only the quantity information on the display, but also power consumption. More pixels the more he discharges the battery. Therefore, devices with Full HD have a fairly short battery life – about 4 hours active screen.

But the extremely low screen resolution is also not worth choosing. It will cause the objects on the display to be too large. In addition, the low-resolution screen image quality itself limps on both legs.

Optimum screen resolution:

  1. 640×960 or similar – for 4-inch smartphones;

  2. 720×1280 or similar – for 5-inch smartphones.

Buy devices with a smaller screen or significantly smaller resolution impractical. They are suitable only for calls.


In budget smartphones, a matrix made by like IPS or AMOLED.

IPS has large viewing angles, but actively consumes a charge batteries. AMOLED boasts even better color reproduction (although he is far from IGZO level, but such displays are installed only in top-end smartphones), as well as less resource intensive, but with this is much more expensive and in addition to everything burns out over time time.


Describe the characteristics of processors that are used in smartphones – an occupation at least ungrateful. On the performance is somehow affected by the number of cores, the clock core frequency, clock frequency of the whole module, architecture, governor operating system kernels, additional modules on SoC and a lot of characteristics. But you can do much easier. Check year processor release.


The “fresher” the processor – the better its performance and lower Energy consumption. In addition, Qualcomm’s chips are always faster. analogues from MediaTek and have the best power management system.


Therefore, Qualcomm Snapdragon chips are preferred.


Minimum camera resolution required for everyday shooting – 5 megapixels. Modules with a smaller sensor will give image with minimal detail, resulting in a picture seem greased.

It is also worth considering that some manufacturers indicate not the actual resolution of the module, and interpolated, and The 13-megapixel smartphone turns out to be checked 8 megapixel.


Smartphones use two types of memory – operational and constant. The first is needed for the operating system to work, but in the second one stores various photographs and other custom documents.

RAM size

The minimum allowable amount of RAM in smartphones in 2017 – 1 GB. With a lower value of this indicator the device will dull and slow down. Optimum 2 GB, with The opportunity is to take a smartphone with 3-4 GB.

The amount of permanent memory

The minimum permissible amount of permanent memory in smartphones in 2017 – 8 GB. Because 2.5 GB of them are right out of the box will be occupied by the operating system, and the remaining “clog” various applications very, very fast.

Better, of course, is 16 GB or more.

It is also worth considering that expand the internal memory by Installing a flash drive does not work. Applications anyway will not be installed on it. USB flash drive suitable for storage photos, music and movies.


The larger it is, the longer it will live on a single charge device. For budget smartphones, the minimum capacity battery – 1800 mAh. Devices with a smaller battery to buy pointless.

How to choose an inexpensive push-button telephone

inexpensive push-button telephone

When choosing a push-button phone of a budget class build on the following parameters:

  1. The number of SIM cards (two more than enough);

  2. Display (better black and white than color – higher readability under the sun or in difficult conditions);

  3. Ergonomics (how it lies in the hand, how comfortable it is to press buttons);

  4. Battery capacity (the more, the better).

Depending on your own needs, you can also turn attention to the presence of Bluetooth, headphone jack or headset, memory card slots and other parameters.

How to choose an inexpensive smartphone

How to choose an inexpensive smartphone

When choosing an inexpensive smartphone, you should pay attention to following parameters:

  1. Operating system (one of the above is better);

  2. The amount of permanent and RAM;

  3. Other technical specifications;

  4. Battery capacity;

  5. Manufacturer.

The manufacturer is very important. For example, Xiaomi budget smartphones are more durable and practicality than Doogee models from a similar price range.

The best manufacturers of low-cost phones

In 2017, the best manufacturers of budget phones and smartphones are:

  1. Nokia, Fly, Texet (namely mobile phones, not smartphones);

  2. Nokia

  3. Huawei

  4. LG

  5. Xiaomi;

  6. Sony

  7. Meizu.

Samsung may also be mentioned, however it is more known for its average price and flagship segments. “Successful” budget devices from this manufacturer are found infrequently.

Cheap Samsung Phones

Speaking about Samsung, we can mention the following devices, which can be used today without special brakes and other troubles:

  1. J series – ultra-budget line in which there are smartphones at a price of several thousand rubles (and specifically, then J1 costs approximately 5000-6000). For purchase optimal models J1 Mini Prime, J1, J2 Prime, J3, J5, J7;

  2. A series – a line of budget and mid-priced devices segment. Any smartphones from this series are suitable for purchase.

Even the same smartphone models can have different prices. On the the cost affects the color of the case, the configuration (Mini, regular or Prime), the amount of permanent memory and many other parameters. Therefore, when choosing a smartphone, you should pay attention to the technical device specifications.

In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose quadrocopter, secrets of choosing an MP3 player and the main factors of choice voice recorder.

Phone selection video

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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