Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 300! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.
Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.
Here they are in no particular order:
Huawei Nova 2i / Honor 9i / Mate 10 Lite ($290)
Huawei once again confuses us with their elaborate naming scheme, but one thing is for certain: The Nova 2i is easily one of the best smartphones you can find in this price range. A total of four cameras (two in front and two at the back) and a near-borderless display are standout features at this level.
LG Q6 ($250)
How often do we see a near-borderless display on a budget-friendly smartphone? As of now, it’s still uncommon. Thanks to LG, we’re seeing FullVision on the Q6, and it’s stunning at this price point. Along with it comes a power-efficient processor, high-grade aluminum frame, and triple-card slots.
ASUS ZenFone 4 Max ($200)
It doesn’t get much more complete than this below $300. The ZenFone 4 Max has everything you’d hope for in a $200 phone, including a dual-camera setup and large 5000mAh battery in a body that’s surprisingly compact. Once its cleaner version of ZenUI arrives, this will be one tough entry to kick out.
Xiaomi Mi A1 ($230)
Putting stock Android on a Xiaomi handset is a match made in heaven. Being the first of its kind, the Mi A1 offers consistent software updates, a surprisingly good dual-camera setup, and the great battery life you’d expect from this brand. This is the phone for Xiaomi fans and Android purists alike!
OPPO A71 ($175)
If you’re on a tight budget and simply want a smartphone that’s fast enough to get everyday tasks done, it doesn’t get much better than the OPPO A71. It gives up OPPO’s signature selfie branding in exchange for a sleek, no-frills design and space for two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.
Updates as of November:
- Replaced Huawei GR3 2017 with Nova 2i
- Replaced Xiaomi Mi Max 2 with Mi A1
Updates as of October:
- Replaced Vivo Y53 with OPPO A71
Updates as of September:
- Replaced Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X with Mi Max 2
- Replaced OPPO A57 with the LG Q6
- Replaced ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.5 with ZenFone 4 Max
[irp posts=”19164″ name=”Best Premium Smartphones above $600″]
realme 9i Hands-On
Solid as usual
The realme 9i is the “little brother” in the realme 9 series. And while it doesn’t pack the same punch as its pro siblings – the realme 9 Pro and realme 9 pro+ – there’s enough here for anyone who just needs a reliable daily smartphone.
Here’s a quick look at the specs before we dive in deeper:
- 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G processor
- 6GB RAM with Dynamic RAM expansion feature up to 5GB
- 128GB Internal Storage
- 5,000mAh battery
- 33W Dart Charge tech
- 50MP main camera
- 2MP macro lens
- 2MP depth lens
- 16MP selfie shooter
Here are some samples for your appreciation.
Neat, simple, and elegant
The realme 9i is pretty understated in the looks department. The variant we got comes in blue and depending on how the light hits, you’ll see some lines to accentuate its back.
As for button and port placements, at the bottom you’ll find the usuas: speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack.
On the right side is the power button/fingerprint scanner.
And on the left hand side are the two, tiny volume buttons.
Overall, the realme 9i looks neat. Simple yet elegant. The camera stands out, obviously. But you can say that for most phones these days. It’s light for its size and appearance. It’s already easy to hold as is, but it’s even easier if you’re the phone-case-and-pop-up socket type of person.
Switching from one app to the other, or going back to the home screen for that matter is seamless and fast. There’s no trouble opening or loading apps so far.
The apps load from where I last left it, provided I haven’t closed all apps, cleared RAM, or optimized phone usage.
Media consumption and gaming
We enjoyed more than our fair share of watching sports highlights on the realme 9i. It pays to have a great-performing phone to not miss any action. We didn’t have any problems watching on YouTube at the highest resolution settings and at 60 fps.
Same is true for other types of content. The viewing experience was likewise seamless.
The speaker is really loud and complements the video. You don’t have to put it on max volume although it’s still of the best quality when put to max. It doesn’t break.
Playing Mobile Legends with friends and relatives on this phone is perfect even if it’s “only” a mid-level phone. The game’s graphics settings were set on default when opening from the phone. I tinkered it to HD mode with a high refresh rate and “Ultra” graphics, and it didn’t have problems throughout the game like lagging when I played.
On full standby in power saving mode without having to connect it to Wi-Fi or turn on mobile data, the phone consumes just about 5 to 10 percent of its battery power in one whole day.
When charging, it takes less than an hour to charge from 30 percent to full with its 33W fast charging.
Solid as usual
The “i” variants in realme’s numbered series phones have consistently been steady performers and the realme 9i is no different. It’s not gonna wow you with raw specs, but the overall package and performance makes it worthwhile.
The realme 9i retails for PhP 11,990. Buy it here.
vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review
vivo’s best smartphone just got even better!
The vivo X70 Pro+ was launched just several months ago. However, we’re already having a follow-up!
Namely the X80 and X80 Pro — with the latter being vivo’s latest flagship smartphone.
But what makes it different from its predecessor? And what makes the successor a lot more exciting?
Watch our vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review now to find out more!
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions
Premium, smart timepiece
Huawei has been giving us the best choices for stylish timepieces to help us reach our health and fitness goals. And they’re taking the stage again with their new flagship smartwatch — the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.
Now let’s take a closer look at this device and check what Huawei has in store for us this time.
The GT 3 Pro comes in this sleek black box with the name of the device in gold. Through the box, we also get to know that it is powered by HarmonyOS.
Lifting the cover, you’re immediately greeted by the GT 3 Pro Titanium Edition looking classy beside a gold Huawei logo.
Pulling the tab on the right, you’ll see a smaller enclosure. Opening it up, you’ll see some paperwork, a USB-C cable and a wireless charging cradle.
Now here’s the GT 3 Pro taken out of the box. Looks premium, doesn’t it?
By examining the watch strap, you can easily tell that it’s made of genuine high-quality leather.
The Huawei branding is not seen on the strap. It’s instead engraved on the buckle.
Also unlike the previous GT 2 Pro that has the usual double crown design, the GT 3 Pro has a watch crown and a button.
The rotating crown serves as its power button and scroll and zoom wheel. Rotating it feels smooth without much resistance. But it does have haptic feedback, mimicking a mechanical feel.
Powering it up, you’re notified to get the Huawei Health app and pair it with your phone.
Once paired, you can tinker with the settings and apply customizations based on your preference and liking.
What I immediately liked with the GT 3 Pro is how classy it looks. And despite it being a big smartwatch compared to what I usually use, it feels light on my wrist.
I also can’t help but admire how clean and clear it looks with its 1.43-inch AMOLED display and sapphire glass lens.
Its body, on the other hand, is made of titanium and it has a ceramic back case to complete the premium package.
Using it for a few days, it looks like this timepiece will definitely level up my expectations for smartwatches. But I have yet to fully explore and experience everything about the GT 3 Pro that I’ll share on my hands-on review so don’t forget to also check that out.
Pricing and availability
The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro retails for PhP 16,999 and is available in Titanium and Ceramic Edition.
This is what the Nothing phone (1) looks like
iPhone 14 series reportedly delayed by China lockdowns
SteelSeries adds world’s lightest gaming mice to Aerox series
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II release date, official artwork revealed
Sony’s Days of Play sale for PlayStation peripherals, titles is on
Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire
Latest ‘PC-like’ Huawei MatePad 10.4 now available
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Camera Shootout
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro melds elegance with fitness
Arcwave Voy removes the pressure on your hands during self-pleasure
Wearables1 week ago
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro melds elegance with fitness
Philippines1 week ago
13 Reasons Why I keep coming back to an iPhone
Apps2 weeks ago
Here’s what’s coming in Android 13
Videos2 weeks ago
Sundar Pichai – Up Close & Personal at Google I/O 2022
Smartphones1 week ago
Sony Xperia 10 IV is just as impressive as a flagship
Smartphones1 week ago
Sony Xperia 1 IV offers what other flagships dropped
Convenient Smart Home2 weeks ago
LG release five new Soundbars in SG
Laptops2 weeks ago
LG gram 2022 lineup in Singapore unveiled