Tag Archive | "smartphones"

Best bang for your buck smartphones – 2015 edition

While the budget-friendly mid-range segment continues to get more and more competitive, there is no shortage of fantastic device options for consumers. That said, the really good smartphones in this category still come in at close to, or slightly higher, than the $ 250 mark, but if you were on the lookout for even more affordable choices, we’ve got you covered.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that devices like the Moto G offer exceptional value, and while you can find some of the more common low-cost options in our official best cheap phones list, we wanted to focus on a few devices that don’t get quite as much attention — but should. With price points well below $ 200, let’s take a look at three of the best bang for your buck smartphones currently available.

Meizu M2 Note

First up is recently-released Meizu M2 Note, that, despite featuring a price tag of around $ 160, manages to stand out by including features that you would expect from a device that costs at least twice as much, and therefore offering the most bang for your buck.

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The strongest aspect of the Meizu M2 Note is undoubtedly its 5.5-inch IGZO display with a 1080p resolution, which is certainly beyond anything you’d see with any other device in this price range. In addition to the exceptional display, the M2 Note features a commendable design, a surprisingly solid build quality, and great battery life. The camera is also capable of producing some nice looking images, even though it does require some trial and error to cater the shot perfectly. The pre-installed Music app even provides legal unlimited music streaming and the option to download music for no additional charge.

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This device is not without its flaws, however. Unfortunately, it isn’t the fastest performer on this list with its 1.3 GHz MediaTek MT6753 processor, but that’s not to say that the performance is poor by any means. Everything works as it should, and any issues with performance are seen only when playing graphically intensive games. Another noticeable issue is with the single speaker unit on the back, which does get fairly loud, but sounds distorted at the highest volume. The FlyMe OS is also a sharp departure from stock Android, and will take some getting used to.

This device manages to shine where other similar low-cost smartphones don’t, and while not without its flaws, the Meizu M2 Note is still an excellent choice, especially for those who have media consumption in mind, courtesy of its fantastic display experience.

SEE ALSO: Meizu M2 Note review

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Lenovo K3 Note

Next up is the latest budget-friendly offering from Lenovo, the K3 Note. The K3 Note is a worthy alternative to the M2 Note, and is stronger in a few key areas, most notably in performance. With a 1.7 GHz MediaTek MT6752 processor, this device is noticeably faster when opening apps, and can even handle processor-intensive gaming very well.

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Performance isn’t the only strong suit of the K3 Note either, with the device featuring a good display, clear audio output, and great battery life, with users also being given the option to swap out the battery. The camera also takes some impressive images, and can take even better shots than the M2 Note in the right conditions.

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That said, while the display of the K3 Note is good, it is still far from the quality of the display of the Meizu M2 Note, and there are some issues with brightness, resulting in mediocre outdoor visibility. While the speaker features a clear audio output, it doesn’t get too loud though, and can be difficult to hear in even slightly noisy environments. The angular design may also not be for everyone, and there is the possibility of varying software experiences depending on the reseller.

The Lenovo K3 Note manages to get all the essentials right when it comes to a providing a good smartphone experience, if you are looking for the best performance possible in this price range, this is the device to get.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo K3 Note review

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Elephone P6000 Pro

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Elephone may not be the most well-known Android smartphone manufacturer, but the P6000 Pro is the cheapest of the lot, with a price point starting at just under $ 120. It has to be mentioned though that the device seen in this comparison is P6000, the Pro iteration brings only a few subtle improvements, notably in the updated processing package and latest software version.

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The P6000 Pro is powered by the same MediaTek MT6753 processor used in the M2 Note, but is clocked at a slightly faster 1.5 GHz. Performance should be about the same with both devices, but helping the P6000 Pro is its near stock build of Android 5.1 Lollipop which should allow for a smoother experience. The 5-inch display comes with a 720p resolution, but some users will appreciate the smaller form factor of the device, compared to the other two phones on this list.

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As good as the performance is, the camera does fall quite short of the benchmark set by the M2 Note and K3 Note in terms of overall quality, and doesn’t offer as good a battery life either. The speaker also sounds tinny and distorted, even if it does get fairly loud.

The Elephone P6000 Pro may not be as impressive as the other two smartphones above, but it does have some positives, such as its smaller form factor, good performance, and near stock software experience, along with the fact that this device is also a little bit cheaper than the others. There is also a version of the device with 3 GB of RAM on-board, which will set you back only an additional $ 20.

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Specs comparison

  Elephone P6000 Pro Lenovo K3 Note Meizu M2 Note
Display 5-inch IPS LCD display
720p, 294 ppi
5.5-inch IPS LCD display
1080p, 401 ppi
5.5-inch IGZO
1920 x 1080 resolution, 403 ppi
Processor 1.5 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753
Mali-T720MP3 GPU
1.7 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6752 processor
Mali-T760 GPU
1.3 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753
Mali-T720MP3 GPU
RAM 2 GB / 3 GB 2 GB 2 GB
Storage 16 GB
expandable via microSD up to 64 GB
16 GB
expandable via microSD up to 64 GB
16/32 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
Camera 13 MP rear camera with LED flash
2 MP front-facing camera
13 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
13 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
microUSB 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 4.0, GPRS
Battery 2,700 mAh 3,000 mAh 3,100 mAh
Software Android 5.1 Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop Flyme OS 4.5.1 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop
Dimensions 143.5 x 71.6 x 8.9 mm
165 grams
152.6 x 76.2 x 8 mm
150 grams
150.9 x 75.2 x 8.7 mm
149 grams
Colors White, Black Black, White, Yellow Grey, White, Blue, Pink

Camera samples

Meizu M2 Note

Lenovo K3 Note

Elephone P6000 Pro



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So there you have it for this roundup of some of the best bang for your buck smartphones currently available! While none of these devices bring anything particularly unique to the table, what is most impressive about all of them is that they do provide the essentials that make for a good smartphone experience, all for a price point well below the $ 200 mark. If you’re looking for a solid device on a budget, any of these three smartphones will be great choice.

All of these devices are powered by ARM and it’s their partner ecosystem that has made these aggressive price points possible. Their tech powers more than 98% of the world’s smartphones, and we encourage you to check out their developer community if you’re interested in learning about how to develop for ARM. 

Android Authority

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Deal: Save up to 50% on select refurbished smartphones on eBay for a limited time


If you’re looking for a powerful, off-contract Android smartphone that won’t break the bank, there are currently a ton of great deals on eBay that may be worth your while. Each one of the smartphones listed here come with free shipping if you happen to live in the United States, which could save you quite a bit of money. These smartphones are also seller refurbished, so they’re in good cosmetic condition, but it’s still something to keep in mind if you end up purchasing one.

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First up is a 32GB Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (N910) for Verizon for just $ 399.95. It’s available in both Black and White color options and, like all the other smartphones on this list, comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. The Galaxy Note 4 is the latest phablet to come from Samsung. Although we may be expecting its successor sometime soon, the Note 4 is still one of the better devices on the market. It comes with a 5.7-inch Quad HD display, 3GB of RAM, a microSD card slot for expandable memory and a powerful 16MP rear facing camera.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 rumor roundup

Next up is the 32GB Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (N900V) for Verizon for just $ 239.99, which also comes in Black and White color options. Even though this device’s successor has been out for some time, it’s still not a bad phone in the slightest. Featuring a 5.7-inch Full HD display, microSD card expansion and 32GB of storage, the Galaxy Note 3 is a multimedia powerhouse through and through. And for just $ 240, this isn’t a bad deal in the slightest.

The last two smartphones we’ll showcase here are the Galaxy S5 Active (G870A) and Galaxy S5 (G900A) proper, which are both being sold for just $ 269.99. They’re both factory GSM unlocked which means neither will work on Verizon or Sprint networks. The Galaxy S5 Active is available in Red, Black and Green color options, while you can pick up the S5 proper in either Black or White. Whether you choose to go with the ruggedized or standard version, we’re sure you’ll be quite content carrying around either of these devices.

If you’re interested in any of these deals, hit up the links below for more information. And if you didn’t find anything interesting in this post, head to the source link below to check out some more smartphone deals on eBay.

Android Authority

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Sharp in-cell display promises thinner smartphones

Sharp Aquos-5

Sharp has announced that it has begun mass production of its in-cell type touch displays for smartphones this month. This design technique promises thinner, lighter displays, which could reduce the thickness and weight of upcoming smartphones.

Typically, smartphone displays are constructed from two layers. One layer for the actual light emitting parts, such as the LCD, with a separate touch recognition layer placed on top to detect user inputs. Sharp’s in-cell display technology integrates the two parts into the same layer, with touch sensor circuitry and LCD drive circuitry sitting side by side in the LCD module.

In-cell display example

An example (not to scale) of how in-cell saves on display thickness.

Integrating the two parts into the same layer means that Sharp’s displays will end up being slightly thinner than before, enabling manufacturers to produce smaller devices or use the additional space for extra hardware, such as larger battery capacities.

Sharp has been at the cutting edge of several recent developments in mobile displays. As well as consistently pushing the limits of pixel density with a range of small form factor 4K panel prototypes, the company has also been pushing the use of IGZO backplane technology, resulting in lower power consumption and a wider range of possible free-form design shapes and sizes.

However, the company recently cut 6,000 jobs as part of this year’s restructuring plans, necessitated by Sharps’ third annual net loss in four years and a large bank bailout to keep the company afloat. Sharp’s LCD business accounts for the majority of its sales, thanks to orders from Apple and a number of Chinese manufacturers, so the company has been reluctant to make changes to this part of its business. Sharp seems to be hoping that new technologies will help increase orders from customers.

The first batch of in-cell displays to leave Sharp’s production line are destined for future smartphones. However, the company is also in the process of developing medium-sized in-cell touch displays for use in tablets and notebook PCs, where a little less bulk and weight will no doubt be even more appreciated.

Android Authority

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Samsung will ‘fundamentally reform’ its smartphones going forward

Samsung Store Logo Wikipedia

Samsung has announced that their earnings this past quarter were as bad as the some had predicted with profit from smartphones diving to the lowest in more than three years. With their operating profit down 60 percent and income from sales is down 20 percent than a year ago, Samsung’s revenue is and has been heading downwards.

Samsung’s head of investor relations, Robert Yi, told an earnings conference call that Samsung was lagging behind changing market conditions and that their response “was not quick enough.”

Now, Samsung is vowing to to “fundamentally reform [its] product portfolio.” According to Senior VP Kim Hyun-joon, Samsung will look to compete for “each price tier.”  This is in contrast to Sony who recently announced their own plans to focus on more premium, high-end devices. Kim also admitted that Galaxy Note 4 sales were only “marginally” successful and that Galaxy S5 sales were lukewarm.

“High-end smartphone sales result was somewhat weak,” said Kim Hyun-joon, senior vice-president at Samsung’s mobile communications business. “We will fundamentally reform our product portfolio.” – Guardian

It isn’t hard to see why Samsung would feel the need for radical change. While Apple, Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG Electronics all had more than 15% growth, Samsung’s shipments fell 8% to 78.1m smartphones in the third quarter and its market share fell from 33 percent to 24 percent.

Android Authority

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