Cheap/budget phones have always been a fun talking point in the Android space, but especially in a year like 2020, they became more important than ever before. Money is tight, people are keeping a close eye on their spending, and this allows more affordable devices to really shine.
Handsets like the Pixel 4a, Moto G Power, and others stand out strong as some of the best cheap Android phones available right now, and looking ahead at the coming year, even more are on the horizon.
A few of our AC forum members recently got to talking about the whole budget phone segment, saying:
This got us to wondering — What do you want to see from budget phones in 2021?
Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.
- NFC should be in every phone now, no excuse.
- It would also be great if every phone had some kind of water proofing ability and one that can be measured outside of the IP certification since that apparently costs money to get.
- All phones should have a low light camera mode even if it takes longer to process on budget. Better than nothing.
Bare bones software. Let customers decide what apps they want to ad.
Something I want to see from all phones in 2021 is the return of the bezel - no holepunches or notches please.
Great battery life and a nimble processor. Also an excellent point and shoot camera. I dont want to have to take a photography course to take decent photos. And lastly i wish never to see any phone with 16 or 32 gigs of storage again. Nobody deserves that.
In the UK Poco/Xiaomi have blown the budget phone category apart with the Poco X3 NFC and now Xiaomi mi 10t lite. These phones can both be had for under £200 and have 5160hz battery (slightly less 10t) 732g/750g SD processors, FHD 120hz 240 touch sampling screens with hdr10 support, loud stereo speakers, headphone jacks, dual SIM/expandable memory expansion, quad cameras with 64mp main camera, ir blaster, face and fingerprint readers, led notification light, 33 watt fast charging with fast charging brick included and you get a free case and screen protector in the box! And the 10t is also 5g ready. I own the Poco X3 NFC and can't believe what you get for the money. I've found miui 12 no more cumbersome than stock Android and everything works as it should and there are occasional apps but they never appear when using the phone and I can't even be bothered to disable them as I don't even notice them. The phone is fast and reliable and honestly will probably never spend more than £200 again on a phone. For once you can believe the hype about a phone and you won't be disappointed. Peace✌️
Forgot to mention ip53 rating and 6gb ram too!
I have the Redmi Note 9S which has almost everything I want except NFC and wireless charging. But it was fairly simple to add wireless charging with an aftermarket coil and a modified phone case. I don't really use NFC for anything but it would be nice to have if I ever wanted it. The cameras (4) are pretty decent and screen is full HD. The 7nm processor (720G) combined with the massive battery (5020mAh) gives you plenty of juice. The 6GB/128GB version was less than $230. It should easily last me 2 years, if not more. If I ever want to get newer technology, the most it could ever depreciate is $230 and that's after I get my full use out of it. The only thing that I would like to see in budget phones is USB 3.1 instead of the usual USB 2.0. It would also be nice to have OIS on the main camera.
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