The LG Stylo 6 phone comes with a 6.8 inch screen that’s bigger than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, has a stylus and a hefty 64 GB of internal storage – on par with the iPhone and Galaxy.
What’s also different is the retail price: $299 vs. the other phones, which both start in the $1,000 range?
That’s the good news. The phone could appeal to those looking for basic calls, texts and email reading, but when it comes to moving files, watching video and the like, you’ll probably want to shop elsewhere. The Stylo 6 has picked up good reviews for most of its features except for one very important one – sluggish performance.
That’s the tradeoff you’re going to have to make. There’s a reason some phones cost over $1,000, while others don’t. For $350 to $400, we can recommend three great phones from Apple (SE), Google (Pixel 4A) and Samsung (A51) which you can check out here. But what if you don’t have that budget, and need to spend less? We can help you there, too.
Options in the $350 and up category: Forget $1,000 smartphones — here are three great options for under $400 from Apple, Google and Samsung
Money tips: Getting a new Apple or Samsung watch? Here’s what you can get for your old one
Let’s take a look at other options, all using the Google Android mobile operating system.
But first – here’s what you need to look for in a budget phone: as much power and storage as you can afford and a decent battery.
TCL 10L is a budget phone for under $250 (Photo: TCL)
The Chinese company, best known for making high-quality, budget priced TVs (a 50-inch with built-in Roku streaming for under $300) also has a line of budget phones. The $249 10L doesn’t get dinged by the performance issues that dogged LG in reviews we’ve seen. PC Magazine calls it “a solid value for the price,” with a 6.5 inch screen, 64 GB of storage and two camera lenses, wide and ultra-wide.
Moto G Power
Even at $249, this phone boasts of something very few competitors can claim: a three-day battery. It also has a large 6.4 inch screen, two-camera lenses, wide angle and super wide angle, plus the ability to get in close with the macro lens. So what’s the catch? Is the battery a dud? Not according to CNET, which raved about the phone’s “mind-blowing battery life.” Negatives: Not as powerful as other phones (what are you expecting for $250?) and doesn’t have an NFC chip, which means you can’t use it for mobile pay.
Samsung A21 (Photo: Handout)
Nowhere as fancy as the top of the line Galaxy S20 phone, or even the $399 budget A51, but still Tom’s Guide calls the $249.99 A21 “the cheap Galaxy S20 alternative you’re looking for.” It has a large 6.5 inch screen, three-camera lenses and a headphone jack. The screen is lower resolution than more expensive phones, it can only shoot up to 1080p video resolution and comes with a paltry 32GB of storage – however, you can spring for an extra memory card and insert it, as the phone has expandable storage.
Remember that even though in the U.S. Apple dominates smartphone sales, Samsung has an 80% market share worldwide, mostly because it sells so many low-cost phones in Asia, India and Eastern Europe. And yes, Samsung has phones with even lower price tags, in the A series, like the A01, which sells for $99, and has a smaller screen, one-camera lens and weaker battery.
Finally, are you willing to ditch the smartphone and go back to a $99 flip phone? The company that makes the Jitterbug may have the best of both worlds, with the new Lively, which combines a basic phone with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant. Ask Alexa to make calls for you, hear the latest news and read back the latest texts. Or, if you need the smartphone, there’s the Jitterbug Smart 2, which is a basic, bare bones smartphone, for $149. Both phones target seniors with a simple menu and fewer choices for ease of use.
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