Budget smartphones are a smart choice. Flagship models like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S series are getting more and more expensive. Can you imagine paying close to $2000 for a phone? That is pretty ridiculous. With budget smartphones, you pay a fraction of the price. These phones are also starting to close the gap between them and flagship models. A budget phone can do 99% of what a flagship model can do.
The next question is – which budget smartphone should I get? We have done in-depth research for you. Here are the best cheap and budget smartphones you can buy in Singapore today!
Continue reading for more in-depth reviews for each smartphone brand and model!
Xiaomi is a revolutionary of the budget phone. Before Xiaomi’s entry into the market, you likely had to pay an arm and a leg just to get a decent smartphone from brands like Apple and Samsung. If you want value-for-money, go for a Xiaomi smartphone. With 8% of the global smartphone market, Xiaomi’s dominance of the budget category is set to continue.
Here are our top recommendations for Xiaomi
- Premium features & design
- Speedy performance
- Excellent front and rear camera
The Xiaomi Mi 9T offers flagship phone performance at half the price of their competition. Personally, I am using the Mi 9T because I got sick of paying upwards of $1000 for a phone. With the Mi 9T costing less than $500, that is huge savings, especially when you don’t sacrifice any performance for the lower price tag.
Powered by the Snapdragon 730 processor, every action is speedy even when playing high-end games like PUBG. The large 6.39-inch display is crisp and clear. You’ll enjoy watching videos on this phone. With a 4000mAh battery, it can easily last you the entire day and more even if you are a heavy user.
The front camera of the Mi 9T is hidden and only pops up when you need it. This is what allows it to have an almost bezel-less display. The front camera has 20MP and the back camera has a triple AI camera setup. Pictures taken in both the day and night are exceptional quality and can match up to latest high-end smartphones.
If you want an affordable smartphone that has top-end specs, the Xiaomi Mi 9T will not disappoint you.
Check Price on Lazada
The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is a flagship killer. It matches up to even the top of the line phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X. And priced at just $529, it is a quarter of the price of an iPhone. If you want flagship performance at a huge discount, the Pocophone F1 is the number one choice.
Here is a list of its impressive specifications. It is powered by the Snapdragon 845 which is an octa-core processor. You have the option of either a 6 or 8GB of RAM. You can expect blazing fast speeds with every single operation. In this price range, it is the clear standout. With a 4000maH battery, you can go up to 2 days without charging if you are a regular user. Its cameras are also impressive. You can capture images with crispness with accurate details even under low light conditions. The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is the total package.
You can buy the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 on Lazada.
Samsung is the undisputed number one leader in the smartphone category in terms of volume. The reason for their success is their wide range of models ranging from flagships like the Galaxy S10 to budget offerings like the Galaxy A7. There are 893 million Samsung phones actively used today. More than 25% of smartphones are Samsung. Given their success, you would expect their budget phone line to be pretty good. And you would be right.
These are the best budget Samsung smartphones in the market now
- Stunning 6.7-inch display
- Huge 4500mAh battery
- Triple rear camera setup
Is the Samsung Galaxy S10 or S11 way too expensive? We certainly think that it is, especially since there’s the option of getting the mid-range Samsung Galaxy A70. It might not have the same specifications as the S10, but matches up in terms of day-to-day performance – which is the most important factor.
You’ll enjoy its stunning 6.7-inch display that showcases vibrant colour with great accuracy. Whether for gaming or for watching a YouTube video, it performs excellently. We also appreciate that Samsung added a huge 4500mAh battery which makes the A70 one of the phones with the best battery life.
You don’t need to pay $1500 for the latest Samsung phone. The Samsung Galaxy A70 gives you top-notch performance at a fraction of the price.
Check Price on Lazada
The first thing you’ll notice on the Samsung Galaxy A7 is its vibrant screen. It has a Super AMOLED panel that provides super accurate and sharp colours. You will notice that its screen is comparable to flagship models. The reason why Samsung can fit a premium screen onto the budget Galaxy A7 is that they produce their own screens.
You’ll find the Galaxy A7 snappy and fast even when many apps are open. This is because of its powerful Exynos 7885 processor that has 8 different engines. There are a total of 3 rear cameras which helps to capture lively and vibrant images. Day or night, the cameras work great. As the global leader in smartphones, Samsung does not disappoint with their Galaxy A7.
You can buy the Samsung Galaxy A7 from Lazada.
The growth of Huawei has culminated in them taking over Apple as the number 2 smartphone maker in the world. You may be familiar with their flagship models such as the Huawei P20 Pro and Mate 20. Besides these flagship models, Huawei also makes smartphones that are cheaper. What we really like about Huawei phones is their 2-year warranty. That is rare in the smartphone segment where the usual warranty period is 1 year. That shows the confidence that Huawei has in their phones.
Here are the best budget smartphones that Huawei has to offer
Check Price on Lazada
The Huawei nova 3i is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing smartphones. It combines metal and glass elegantly with the choice either the eye-catching purple or black back. With a 6.3 inch display, you’ll love to watch YouTube videos on it. The display is crisp and clear with accurate colours.
The Huawei nova 3i has really good cameras. It has a total of 4 AI-enabled cameras which help you to take the perfect shot every single time. Very impressive! Also, it has a 3340mAh battery that will give you a full day of use. With the Kirin 710 processor, almost every task is a breeze for it, even for games like PUBG.
You can buy the Huawei nova 3i on Lazada.
Honor is a sub-company of Huawei that is focused solely on the budget smartphone category. The value proposition of every single phone launched by Honor is based on providing the best value-for-money. Honor phones are mostly sold online and they have very few retail stores. By selling online primarily, Honor transfers the substantial cost savings of a retail operation to its customers.
Here are the best Honor budget phones right now
Check Price on Lazada
The sleek exterior of the Honor 8X is complemented by its powerful hardware to potentially be one of the best smartphones in the budget category. You can get an Honor 8X in the red, black or blue variant. All of them look absolutely stunning.
It has a super large 6.5-inch display which produces sharp images and contrast. Its brightness settings are also high enough that you’ll be able to use it even under strong sunlight. The Honor 8X is powered by the Kirin 710 which gives it considerable power to complete any task swiftly. A 3750mAh battery ensures you won’t have trouble going the entire day without charging. You’ll also be able to take stunning photos with its 20MP camera that is AI-enabled. The Honor 8X is the complete package.
You can get the Honor 8X from Lazada.
Check Price on Lazada
You may think that Oppo is a relatively new entrant to the smartphone market. However, they are a sleeping giant that has been around for more than 18 years. In 2017, Oppo was the biggest smartphone manufacturer in China. You may have only heard of them recently because they have not had large advertising campaigns and outreach outside of China, till now.
Here are their best-selling budget phone models in Singapore
You can check out Oppo’s official store on Lazada.
Here are all the best budget smartphones that you can consider once more!
- Xiaomi Mi 9T
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
- Xiaomi Redmi 7A
- Samsung Galaxy A70
- Samsung Galaxy A10s
- Huawei nova 3i
- Huawei Y6 Pro
- OPPO Reno Z
- OPPO A5 2020
- OPPO AX5s Smartphone
- Honor 8X
- Honor 20 Lite
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What to look out for when buying a budget smartphone?
To get the best deal, you should be familiar with what specifications and features to look out for. Don’t be fool by marketing fluff by the phone manufacturers. Here are the key features you should examine before getting a budget phone.
How fast, snappy and responsive your smartphone is, depends on what processor or system on a chip (SoC) it uses. You may have heard of chips called Snapdragon, Kirin, Helio. Snapdragon is a very popular processor for budget smartphones as it provides excellent performance at a reasonable price. Currently, the latest smartphones will be carrying the Snapdragon 800 series chip. For slightly older and cheaper phones, you’ll find the Snapdragon 600 series chip.
If you are a heavy user, go for a budget smartphone that is slightly pricer but carries a newer chip, especially if you play graphic-intensive games. If you only use Whatsapp, casually browse the web, then a Snapdragon 600 series chip will be sufficient.
The Random Access Memory (RAM) of any smartphone has a high correlation with its effective performance. The higher the RAM, the better the performance. When using your smartphone, it is really common to keep many apps running concurrently. Spotify for music, YouTube for some funny videos and maybe Clash of Clans for some gaming. If your phone has low RAM, you’ll start to experience lag and sluggish performance.
So how much RAM should you get? If you are a light user who doesn’t use many applications, 2 to 3GB may suffice. For average users, we recommend at least 4GB of RAM. If you are a heavy user, get one with 6 to 8GB of RAM.
The most common operating system for budget smartphones is the Android ecosystem developed by Google. Android is the dominant force for smartphone iOS be it for budget or premium phones. It has over 85% in market share and growing. If you are looking for a phone with Apple iOS, we are afraid you won’t be able to find any below $1000. That is unless you are okay with an iPhone that is 2 to 3 generations old.
Depending on your smartphone brand and model, it may be running stock Android or a customised version. Many smartphone brands personalize the Android experience for their phones. For example, OnePlus has the OxygenOS, Xiaomi has the MIUI and Huawei has the EMUI skin. Fundamentally, there is little to no difference as both runs on the same ecosystem. You’ll still be able to access similar apps and functionality. The main differences are the visuals and user interfaces.
You’ll want to choose a smartphone brand that is prompt in updating its Android version to be able to access the latest features. Usually, big brands like Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei have pretty regular updates. Sometimes, updates are a little irregular for budget phone models, but it will not affect day to day usage much.
Display screen and size
Do you like to watch videos on your phone? If so, a good display and large screen size may be the most critical factor when choosing a smartphone. There are 3 main aspects you should take note of.
Firstly, what is the resolution of the phone? The higher the resolution, the clearer and crisper the images and videos displayed will be. For budget smartphones, a 720P resolution display is the minimum nowadays. Most should come with a 1080P resolution display. For now, 2K and 4K displays are out of reach for the price range of budget smartphones.
Secondly, what panel your phone is using? The standard panels used on smartphones are LCD, OLED, AMOLED and IPS. LCD panels are not as common anymore because their display is not as sharp as the others. As long as your smartphone does not use an LCD panel, you should be pretty happy with the screen as they are all of high-quality.
Lastly, how big is the effective display size, excluding the bezels? Smartphones seem to be getting larger and larger over the years. That is because more and more of us are starting to consume video content on our phones instead of our TVs and computers. If that sounds like you, a larger screen display will suit your needs better. In our opinion, any screen display over 5 inches is good enough. Now, you can even find budget smartphones with displays of 6 inches and larger.
Do you like taking pictures and videos with your smartphone? If your answer is yes, then a good camera is essential. A budget smartphone can produce good quality images and videos. However, there will definitely be some quality differences when compared to flagship models which cost 5 to 10 times more.
Most budget smartphones come with cameras with megapixels starting from 12MP. For better quality phones get one with 16MP. If you like taking selfies, also take note of the MP of the front-facing camera. Anything above 6MP should help you take picture-perfect selfies.
Taking photos in portrait mode is also really popular. It allows you to focus on an item or person and blur out the background to stand out. For the best portrait photos, you should look for a smartphone that has dual cameras. Although the portrait effect can be achieved with software, having dual cameras is preferable.
This is one area where budget smartphones can sometimes outperform flagship models. Battery performance depends on two factors, the battery and how much energy spent. Batteries are relatively cheap. Therefore, phone manufacturers can afford to put larger batteries even in budget smartphones. Good budget smartphones have batteries that start from 3500MaH. When you combine the large batteries together with their lower energy requirements, you can expect a full day of heavy usage without any problems.
Price and budget
What is your budget? The price range for budget smartphones is quite wide. You can find models selling for less than $200 or more than $500. If you have the budget, we recommend getting one that is within the $400 to $600 price range. Phones within this range often have similar specifications and features to flagship models, at a fraction of the price. An example of this is the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 which is priced below $500. It comes with excellent specifications that are almost comparable to Samsung Galaxy S9 which costs more than $1200.
For budget smartphones below $250, they do offer decent performance for their prices. But do not expect their cameras and processor to reach the levels of flagship phones. For the average user, they are good enough.
When you buy a smartphone, you’ll expect to use it for a year or two at least. Having a valid local warranty ensures your phone repairs and troubleshooting will be covered. You’ll be happy to know that smartphone manufacturers do offer warranties of between 1 to 2 years even for their budget models.
Some budget smartphones do not come with a warranty. These are usually exported sets from overseas. The plus point is that they are cheaper than local sets, generally between 10 to 20 percent cheaper. It is up to you to decide whether you want a valid warranty or short-term saving. If it was up to us, we would go for the official local set so we won’t have to worry for a year or two.
Internal and external storage
If you are planning to install many applications or store music and video on your smartphone, having sufficient storage space is essential. You should get a phone with at least 32GB of internal storage with an external microSD card slot. With an external slot, you can expand your phone’s storage to 128GB or more. All or most phones that we recommend have external storage capabilities.
Having a phone that can carry two SIM cards means you don’t need to bring another phone around. This feature is also very convenient if you have to travel often. You can insert your overseas SIM card in without missing out on messages or important calls on your local number. Thankfully, more and more budget smartphones are starting to come with dual-sim functionality.