The Big Four: You Don’t Have To Break The Bank To Keep Up
It’s 2020, and what’s a new year without a little change? The flagship smartphone market is saturated with devices boasting the fastest processor, highest storage, best selfie quality, and the most seamless streaming, which in turn has people convinced we always have to have the best of the best. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Whether it’s a gift for your mum, or even a guilt-free, budget-friendly present for yourself (#SelfCare), we’ve made a list of the best budget smartphones this year, ranked lowest to highest in cost:
MOTOROLA ONE ACTION
At Fixerman, we like to exceed expectations. So when we compare and contrast budget smartphones, we’re used to a certain level of specs at this price range, leading us to be pleasantly surprised with the level of innovation that Motorola One Action has to offer in this smartphone tier. In Denim Blue, Aqua Teal, and Pearly White, the Motorola One Action is a colourful sequel to the One Vision. An aluminium frame is mounted around an elongated glass body. The standout display offers a 21:9 aspect ratio which seems above this budget’s paygrade, giving users a real bang for their buck. With a 16MP sensor for video recording, at a 117-degree field of view, the robust electronic stabilization provides a fluid capture, tied together with a pixel binning technique that elevates footage clarity. This is the first phone that comes across our desks, in which you can record a landscape video while holding the phone upright, so like the GoPro, it’s an ideal device to capture footage with one hand while you’re on the move. As a result, you just have to get past the smaller than usual viewfinder in video mode. Confident that this would be the best feature, Motorola has opted for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, embedded with their iconic logo. The Exynos 9609 processor coupled with 4GB RAM keeps this device on its toes, and the Android One software guarantees the buyer software updates for up to two years. This classy smartphone is best for users big on video recording and adventure shots, all within an attractive price range.
Price: AED 799
We’ve all seen those internet memes on how Nokias are built to last through nuclear wars, and you would think that would be outdated stereotype given the smartphone market right now, but the Nokia 7.2 is a surprisingly sturdy piece of hardware made up of gorilla glass front and back, held together with a frame of high-tech polymer dubbed “twice as strong as polycarbonate and half the weight of aluminium”. The premium steel feel of a plastic phone, in reality, is exactly the type of specs users are looking for in budget smartphones. The matte finish on the back relieves users from annoying streaks and fingerprints too. In a room of OLEDs, the vibrant LCD pulls its weight, offering smooth performance across the board, with app switching and launching, but came to a slight fumble when it was time to test the cameras. The 20MP selfie camera gets the job done with crisp photos, the triple rear camera setup talked the talk, but eventually couldn’t walk the walk. The wide-angle camera perhaps falls the shortest, with most of the frustration around this phone lying in the inconsistency of its image capturing and processing, which reminds us, that quantity of lenses doesn’t always mean quality. The Nokia 7.2 is a durable device with the promise of the quality build of its namesake, and a smooth fingerprint reader and decent performance and battery life in this price range. This functional smartphone could be appealing to those who don’t have a place in their life for a fragile phone, for those who know they can’t avoid the wear and tear but have the reassurance that their device would keep up with their lifestyle, without worrying where they would have to fix their phone in Dubai.
Price: AED 1,100
XIAOMI MI 10 PRO
Xiaomi has sparked buzz ahead of the awaited launch of the Mi 10 Pro. Keeping the colour shades still a mystery, the 6.57s-inch OLED display is a steal as it uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 platform to run smoothly. Depending on your usage, the Mi Pro 10 houses an impressive 512GB storage. For those running the rat race, the pro will also offer 66W wired and 40W wireless charging, which is an incredible speed! In the age of mobile photography, Mi Pro 10 seems ideal for those with an insatiable appetite for mobile photography. The AI legwork and punchy finish of the photographs will have your relatives on Instagram wondering when you became an amateur photographer. The Mi Pro 10 seems like a go-to phone with a 108-megapixel camera, along with a dual-camera arrangement. The sleek finish on the phone is not all, it provides a seamless gaming and viewing experience if you’re heavy on streaming.
GOOGLE PIXEL 3A
The Google Pixel 3A has a headphone jack. Just thought we’d get that out of the way since it’s what most smartphone users are curious about. With a plastic body, this device is noticeably lighter than its glass counterparts, but what makes Google have a special place in our hearts is how they never try to position themselves in a league they don’t belong — what you see is exactly what you get. Now a plastic body makes it evident that the 3A doesn’t support wireless charging, but it’s highly unlikely the Average Joe would go from a device supporting wireless charging to the Pixel 3A. We recommend this model mostly to customers looking to venture from an older Apple or Samsung smartphone. With 18W fast-charging, full battery life might last you almost 2 days, with a quick 30-minute charging session in between (if needed). The killer spec about this smartphone is that Google has given the 3A the same rear camera as the Pixel 3, with dual pixel phase detection and electronic image stabilization. Granted, this model doesn’t support the Pixel Visual Core image signal processor, like in the Pixel 3, but it still produces gorgeous images for a device in this tax-bracket. Google’s never relied on hardware to do the heavy-lifting, so most of the impressive imagery lies in its computational processing, making it the leading candidate for photography alone at this price range. We consider this one a viable option if you’re more into music and photography, and less on the streaming side.
Price: AED 1,899