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Out of all our best smartphones lists, no category gets more attention than that of the budget smartphone category. We’re not surprised.

These lists have always contained the best bang-for-buck devices you could ask for below US$ 300. 2017 as a whole had a ton of memorable affordable handsets that we continue to recommend.

Watch the video here to see what we mean.

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch’s Best Smartphones of 2017

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Motorola razr’s screen is peeling right off

Big yikes!

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Image source: Raymond Wong / Input

The foldable smartphone just can’t catch a break. Despite numerous developments and launches, the world’s “next big thing” has hit just as numerous snags and speed bumps. Recently, the all-new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip failed a scratch test, calling its supposedly glass construction into question. Previously, the Galaxy Fold kept failing bend tests, ushering Samsung back to the drawing board.

Now, Motorola’s own contender — the refreshed Motorola razr — is suffering the same obstacles. Days ago, the Motorola razr horribly failed CNET’s bend test, which was the same test administered to the Galaxy Fold. Motorola’s device fell abysmally short of the promised usage rate. Despite the alarming result, the test held a valuable disclaimer: the testing device might not have been calibrated properly for the smartphone. Motorola’s reputation might still escape unscathed.

However, Motorola can’t escape a new controversy on its doorstep. According to report by Input, the Motorola razr suddenly developed a blatantly horizontal bubble right on its hinge. Previously, the Galaxy Fold had the same flaw: the protective layer’s sudden separation from the actual screen. The Motorola razr’s bubble has the same characteristics. Particularly, users will experience touch screen failures on the affected area.

The bubble’s cause is currently unknown. According to the report, the flaw appeared without any strange circumstances: the phone was folded and didn’t experience any external pressure. The phone lasted only a week.

Notably, Input believes that temperature might be the culprit. The phone went through wintery temperatures, possibly causing the phone’s adhesive to malform.

Still, it’s not a good look for the Motorola razr. The device’s bubble is remarkably glaring. For a device of its price, you don’t want something like this happening.

SEE ALSO: Motorola razr Hands-On

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TCL is working on an ‘expanding’ phone

Should have been unveiled at the cancelled MWC 2020

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Image source: CNET

The coronavirus epidemic has robbed the world of the latest smartphone technologies out this year. Instead of a deservingly grand reveal at MWC 2020, we’ll see the more innovative prototypes and launches through quieter events. Of course, a few companies, like Samsung, have already held their exclusive launches outside of the canceled smartphone extravaganza.

Likewise, TCL had likely kept a trick up its sleeve for MWC 2020. With the event’s cancellation, the company is now scrambling for a better reveal for their prototypes. But, first: what exactly is the device?

CNET has leaked one of these devices. Released recently, the leaked phone depicts an extendable display, hidden through a slide-out mechanism.

Unfortunately, the leak is scant with technical details. However, pulling open the device has the same motions as unfurling a scroll. Given the motion, the extra screen will likely fold underneath a compartment on the device’s rear panel. At this point, who knows?

However, TCL’s device has a clear motive: upending the current foldable trend. Today, foldable smartphones use only one type of mechanism: bending the flexible screen through a hinge. Unfortunately, the hinge’s reputation is less than stellar, causing damage to the device way too easily. In contrast, TCL’s extendable phone likely won’t incur the same type of damage.

Of course, everything still depends on the device’s actual mechanism and materials. Additionally, it will depend on whether TCL is developing the device for real. A prototype is still just a prototype.

We wouldn’t be surprised at an actual device, though. Previously, TCL dropped BlackBerry as a subsidiary brand. The decision likely marked TCL’s renewed focus on its devices, rather than through other brands.

SEE ALSO: TCL introduces wireless earphones, tracks heart rate

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip fails a scratch test

Scored as low as Galaxy Fold

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Today, the average smartphone has a tougher display than it did years ago. You can’t scratch a smartphone display as easily anymore, even without a screen protector.

That said, the arrival of the foldable smartphone sets the industry back by a decade. Because of the flexible display, the current standards don’t necessarily apply. Case in point, last year’s Galaxy Fold kept breaking down in controversial fashion. It was no surprise, though; the first foldable phones were built with plastic.

Now, 2020 has promised an improved generation for the foldable smartphone. Unfortunately, Motorola has proved the year wrong already. Reported previously, the new Motorola razr’s screen failed way before its advertised usage rate.

Recently, Samsung launched the new Galaxy Z Flip. This time, Samsung’s foldable phone advertised a glass screen, instead of the former’s plastic. As expected, eager reviewers subjected the new phone to the fiercest conditions. Like its contemporaries, the new foldable kid on the block failed.

Renowned stress tester JerryRigEverything brought the sharpest knives over the Galaxy Z Flip’s screen. As always, the tester used knives with increasing sharpness.

The Galaxy Z Flip started getting scratches as early as the second level of sharpness. For reference, most smartphones today usually last until level 6. Also, the previous Galaxy Fold and the Motorola razr both got the same low score.

Still, the Galaxy Z Flip’s failure is much more resonant this time around. Before launch, Samsung advertised a more resistant screen for the foldable display, owing to its glass construction.

Unfortunately, the boast might be a marketing ploy. The screen definitely lasted shorter than glass. If anything, it might not consist of 100 percent glass, having a mix of plastic in some way. Most of the time, Samsung has not commented on the surface’s actual composition.

However, in a statement to The Verge, the company clarified that “while the display does bend, it should be handled with care. Also, Galaxy Z Flip has a protective layer on top of the Ultra Thin Glass similar to Galaxy Fold.” If true, the knives were affecting the topmost layer, rather than the glass itself. Regardless, take good care of your Galaxy Z Flip.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Hands-on

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