What are the best budget smartphones?

“False economy” is one of the most important terms you’ll need to know when looking for the best budget smartphones on the market. While smartphones aren’t as cheap as they once were, you should avoid the entry-level smartphones like the plague. They are often slow, rarely considered cheap and will likely only last you for a few months. With our logic explained, we can now move on with our list of the best budget smartphones currently on the market.

Samsung J3

samsung galaxy j3With a decent screen size and a solid body, the Samsung Galaxy J3 can do almost everything the Galaxy S7 owners can do. Unless you’re planning endless hours of gaming on the phone or are seeking a gateway VR headset, the J3 will do just fine.

For the people out there that think you really need to splash the cash to get a decent phone camera, think again. The J3 comes with an 8MP camera and although the sensors and detail might not be as good as the iPhone 6s, you’ll still get some decent snaps of your summer travels to pop on Instagram. It also comes with an impressive 2600 mAh battery which is likely to keep you fully powered for over a day. This phone is currently retailing at about €169.99 in most phone shops in the country and is also available on Amazon.co.uk.

HTC Desire 530

The HTC Desire 530 is pretty much on par with the Galaxy J3. While the screen resolution leaves a little to be desired (no pun intended), the trademark HTC front-facing speakers deliver a high quality audio experience. The increasinly popular trend of large sensors in cameras allowing more light in continues. The Desire 530 follows suit, meaning it’s great for snapping in low-light: we’re thinking nightclub shots with your friends.

While the resolution might not be the same level as the J3, the sizeable 5-inch screen is great for watching videos or gaming, largely owing to the great speakers. You can expect to pay around €160 in Irish shops for the Desire 530 which is also available on Amazon.co.uk for those of you looking for a SIM free version.

OnePlus X

oneplus xMy personal favourite on the list. OnePlus is a phone manufacturer that came out of no where. Dubbing their phones ‘flagship killers’, you will not find these on the high street. You’ll also be hard pushed to find them anywhere online, except of course for the OnePlus website. Here you’ll find the X is available for €239 and is great value for money at that. The majority of the specs you see on show are normally found in phones above €300.

Besides its premium and slick design, it’s got a 13MP camera plus an 8MP front-facing camera, certainly appealing to you Snapchatters out there. Finally, you throw a 2525 mAh battery into the mix and the 801 Snapdragon processor and it’s impossible to leave the OnePlus X off the list.

HTC Desire 825

The most recent phone released on the list is a beast. Boasting a 5.5-inch screen, 13MP camera, 5MP front camera, 2700 mAh battery, HD display and a very respectable 2GB of ram, the Desire 825 will only set you back €219.99. With an almost premium feel to it, this is definitely a phone for someone who wants a high end phone but just doesn’t want to fork our a fortune. Again the signature HTC speakers are the cherry on top providing a great entertainment solution. Pick this up in Irish phone shops and Amazon.co.uk for a SIM free version.

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

If you’re willing to spend a bit extra, this is probably the best of the budget smartphones on the list. With a premium glass finish similar to the S6, Samsung are really showing their quality. With an apparent shift towards avoiding cheap smartphones by the South Korean manufacturer, Samsung are making it clear they’re a luxury brand, regardless of what price range you are shopping in. Coming it at around €289.99, this phone is money well spent and won’t let you down. Pick it up in Irish phone shops now or on Amazon.co.uk for SIM free versions.


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One half of The Goosed Podcast, Dean is passionate about football and fantasy football, but just isn't that good at it. Fortunately, technology trends both past and future are just his cup of tea. Goosed Tower Limerick needs its dose of Dean to keep us all firmly on the ground. Read more by Dean

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