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The Best Budget Android Phones in 2021: Upgrade for Cheap!

Looking for a new Android phone for cheap? We’ve got your back! Whether you want an excellent camera, fantastic performance, a long-lasting battery, or a bit of everything, we’ve rounded up a list of the best budget Android phones we think you’ll love.

Read This Article on How-To Geek ›

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Max Buondonno

Ready for some new gadgets? Here are 20 summer tech deals that are up to 83% off

There’s never a bad time for a sale on cool new tech, which is why our collection of awesome summer discounts includes big savings on a whole bunch of great gadgets. This 4th of July weekend, this assortment of more than 20 smart devices, headphones, 3D printers, and more are all on sale at up to 83 percent off with these killer summer deal prices. — Read the rest

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Boing Boing’s Shop

Which Budget Phone Has the Best Camera?

Pixel 4a blue and blackGoogle Store

If you’re looking for a phone with a great camera, you’ll quickly realize most of today’s options are pushing four figures. That’s way too expensive. But surprisingly, the best budget phone typically delivers a pretty similar experience.

Low cost doesn’t have to mean low quality, and spending less than $500 on a phone can still yield impressive photos that rival the best of the best, as long as you choose the right one. So, below we’ve recommended the best budget phones with great cameras. Obviously, everyone has a different budget or brand preference, so here are a few of your options.

Why It’s So Hard to Find a Good Camera in a Cheap Phone?

There are several reasons why it’s almost impossible to find a decent camera in a cheap phone. Consumers expect, or even demand, more than ever these days, making it difficult for any brand to deliver a great all-around camera phone for those on a budget. Brands have to pick their battle on parts, and as we know, those parts are expensive and start to add up. So, they compromise on things like the camera.

Often, manufacturers put the biggest and best screen they can into a cheap phone to lure buyers. Or, they’ll pack three cameras on the back, so it looks convincing, but then you get home and realize it’s awful. Even worse, some phones try to sound like a flagship device for $300, packing in everything but the kitchen sink, and no single aspect of the device is very good. Instead, it just “has it all.”

Honestly, that’s where Google’s Pixel line excels. Google focused on an excellent camera, smooth software, and a good screen, then cut out all the gimmicks or extras most people rarely use. It nails all the essentials. Apple did something similar with the iPhone SE. As a result, they both top our list.

Best Overall: Google Pixel 4a

Pixel 4a phoneGoogle

The Google Pixel 4a is an incredible value and offers the best smartphone camera in any budget setup, period. See, the key here is Google put the same excellent camera sensor as its flagship phone into the budget Pixel 4a, powered by excellent computational photography software that makes it one of the best on the market, so you get Google’s excellent night and portrait modes, for example. Our own Michael Crider gave it an editors’ choice award and says it’s “Google’s best phone yet, at any price.”

As a refresher, you’ll get a 5.8-inch hole-punch display, 128GB of storage for all your photos and video, 6GB of RAM, stock Android, great battery life, and one of the best cameras on a smartphone. And though it doesn’t have multiple rear cameras like, say, the Galaxy A51 or the original Pixel 4, it’s still the same great main camera as Google’s more expensive phone. As a result, taking great photos is consistently fun, easy, and hassle-free.

The Pixel 4a seriously raises the bar for how good a budget phone’s camera can be.

Pixel 4a 5G modelJustin Duino

Alternatively, we wanted to mention Google’s slightly more expensive Pixel 4a 5G. Odd name aside, it’s the same amazing phone as the Pixel 4a, only bigger, slightly better, adds 5G connectivity, and it packs dual cameras on the back. Yes, you’ll get a bigger 6.2-inch screen and a secondary ultra-wide camera to enjoy, but it does cost a little extra. When we reviewed it, we decided it’s the best camera phone for those with a slightly higher budget and who want more from their phone.

Best Budget iPhone Camera: iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE 2020Apple

This list wouldn’t be complete without the iPhone SE, mainly because it’s the best cheap iPhone camera. You could pay over a grand for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, or save most of that and get Apple’s 2020 budget phone.

The iPhone SE is a powerful new phone in a familiar old design. It looks like the iPhone 8, yet underneath the small 4.7-inch screen are upgrades like Apple’s A13 bionic processor, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, TouchID, and the same rear camera as the iPhone 11. It’s a mish-mash of devices, but the result is a phone that takes amazing photos without breaking the bank. If you don’t want an Android or Galaxy phone, the iPhone SE (2020) is the best camera phone that’s affordable.

Best for iOS

New Apple iPhone SE (64GB, White) [Locked] + Carrier Subscription

If you’re on a budget but want a great camera phone, get the iPhone SE at $349.

Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy A51

Galaxy A51 and its camerasSamsung

In closing, we wanted to offer a runner-up for Samsung fans or those invested in the brand and Galaxy ecosystem. The Samsung Galaxy A51 is one of those phones that looks amazing on paper. You have a huge, gorgeous 6.5-inch screen, 128GB of storage, a big 4,000 mAh battery, and four cameras on the back.

Yes. it’s kind of what we mentioned above, where the manufacturer packed in a ton of cameras and a huge screen to lure you in. Then again, this is Samsung, who makes some pretty great phones. All things aside, the Galaxy A51 is a solid option for buyers. You can shoot in 4K video, and the phone is surprisingly versatile in terms of taking photos day in and day out. Thanks to a good range of standard, ultra-wide, and macro lenses on the back, it’s capable of getting good photos with ease.

When you’re trying to get a great budget camera phone the options are somewhat limited. At the end of the day, though, everyone has different wants, needs, preferences, and budgets.

Hands-down the Google Pixel 4a is the best phone and camera for the price, but anything on this list will make you happy.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Cory Gunther

T-Mobile’s Latest ‘Free’ Phone Deal A Scam?

OK. It’s ‘technically’ still a free phone when you Trade-In your old phone. You still get an $800 total credit on an $800 phone. But the way they credit your account will make your bill go UP each month!

So from the initial offer, it seems straightforward. You sign up for 24 monthly payments on an $800 phone. They give you 24 monthly credits equal to the payment. So, the payment each month is $33.34 and you get a credit for $33.34, so the net cost would be $Zero. You’d think, right?

Not so fast. That would make sense, so of course, that’s not how they do it.

First Your Trade-In Must Qualify – Mine phone DID, so I THOUGHT I was all set.

Assuming your phone qualifies (mine is an S10+ so it qualified for the full $800 credit), the ‘catch’ comes down in the last item #3.

So this is where T-Mo gets tricky. Lets say your phone is worth $200.

You have to sign a contract for 24 months at $33.34. $800 total.
When they receive your trade-in, they initiate 24 monthly credits to your account.
To calculate the monthly credit, they subtract the $200 value of your old phone from the $800 price =$600.
Then they divide $600 by 24 months to get your monthly credit of $25
They also give your a ONE-TIME credit for $200 applied directly to your account.
Your bill is now $8/ month higher because you are being charged $33 and getting a credit for $25 ($33-25=8) for the next 24 months.
The $200 credit they apply doesn’t reduce the amount you owe or the monthly payment amount, it’s just a one-time credit applied to your account in general, and…and this is important, not against the equipment contract.

So: In my case, my bill is currently $140 so it will go up to $148 for 24 months
They apply a $200 credit, so the first month T-Mobile OWES ME $52 ($200-148=52) and I pay NOTHING. I still have $52 credit.
The next month, I pay $96. $148 less the $52 credit. ($148-52=96)
After that, the next 22 months I’m stuck paying $8 more, $148 each month.

While all this is confusing and likely very BAD for T-Mobile’s business, the way they EXPLAIN it is even worse. It took me over 7 hours between text messages and voice calls with supervisors to HOPEFULLY get them to understand and HOPEFULLY get my account setup to be a $33 charge and a $33 credit each month. They PROMISED it was all set. They also processed a credit for $1600 to my account, so I really had no idea what would REALLY happen when I signed the contract. I signed it anyway in total frustration.

So I guess I’ll find out eventually how this turns out. Fingers crossed. 🤞

Why You Don’t Need an Expensive Smartphone Anymore

The $500 Pixel 4a 5G.The $500 Pixel 4a 5G sets the benchmark for mid-range phones, but you can still go a lot cheaper. Google

As flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, Google, and OnePlus get more and more expensive, you might feel forced to keep up with the increased prices. But times have changed, and most phones under $500 offer the performance, battery life, and camera quality that used to be reserved for high-end handsets. In other words, you don’t need an expensive phone anymore.

“Downgrading” from a flagship to a mid-range or budget phone can be a little anxiety-inducing, especially if you’re a geek who loves cutting-edge features. But cheap phones can still feel like a solid upgrade thanks to improved camera tech, faster charging speeds, and other neat perks. Sure, you won’t get the groundbreaking features that come with $1,000 devices, but you may be surprised to see just how unimportant most of those exclusive features actually are.

Mid-Range Phones Rock

The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, a $300 phone that punches far above its weight.The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, a $300 phone that punches far above its weight. Andrew Heinzman

In our recent buying guide What’s the Least You Should Spend on a Smartphone, the standout devices all lay within the $300 to $500 range. That’s where “flagship” performance meets killer camera tech, flashy OLED displays, and the occasional 5G modem. Some devices, like the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, even throw 30-watt Warp Charging charging into the mix—but what does the average mid-range phone look like?

Let’s take a look at the Pixel 4a 5G. Released at the tail-end of 2020, the 4a 5G sets the benchmark for today’s mid-range phones. It sports a large 6.2-inch OLED HDR display, an unbeatable dual-camera array, a headphone jack, NFC for contactless payments, and an impressively snappy 5G-capable Snapdragon 765G processor. What more do you need?

Other mid-range phones dance around the Pixel 4a 5G’s specs, usually swapping camera quality or processing power for a larger display, a two-day battery life, wireless charging, flexible quad-camera arrays, ultra-fast wired charging, a 90hz refresh rate, and other perks.

And while you might assume that $300 phones offer slower performance than the $500 Pixel 4a 5G, that isn’t necessarily the case. The 4a 5G’s price tag is mainly a consequence of its 5G capabilities, which aren’t all that useful today. Cheaper 4G LTE devices like the standard Pixel 4a, the BLU G90 Pro, and the iPhone SE (2020) offer comparable performance at a much lower price. In fact, the iPhone SE (2020) contains the second-fastest mobile phone processor of all time, Apple’s A13 Bionic chip (bested only by the iPhone 12’s A14 chip).

This isn’t to say that mid-range phones are perfect. Manufacturers often skip wireless charging and IPX water-resistance ratings in mid-range phones to cut costs. (The iPhone SE is a notable exception.) Mid-range phones also tend to use older, less durable Gorilla Glass than their flagship alternatives. The Pixel 4a 5G, for example, uses Gorilla Glass 3, while the more expensive Pixel 5 has a Gorilla Glass 6 panel. These shortcomings won’t impact the average user’s experience, but they may be a turn off if you’re upgrading from a flagship device.

Today’s Cheap Phones Offer Years of Usability

The Pixel 4a 5G, a benchmark for mid-range phones.The Pixel 4a 5G, a benchmark for mid-range phones. Michael Crider

One of the big selling points for flagship phones is that they last for a long time. Why buy a cheap phone every year when you can enjoy a flagship device for three or four years? In the not-so-distant past, I would agree with that argument. But today’s mid-range phones are here for the long haul thanks to their advanced performance and, depending on the manufacturer, guaranteed update cycles.

The big thing here is power and performance. So long as your phone has a decent processor (and most mid-range phones do), you shouldn’t have any trouble running your usual apps and games for the next few years. You’ll only run into problems with demanding applications, like 3D games, which grow more resource-hungry with every release.

But you don’t just want your phone to be usable, you also want it to keep up with new features and security patches. That’s why, if you plan to use a mid-range phone for more than 2 years, you may want to stick with Google, Samsung, or Apple. These companies guarantee 3 years of security updates and 2 years of OS updates (iPhones go a bit longer, with around 5 years of security and OS updates). While your phone doesn’t need the latest version of an OS to run your most-used apps, the regular OS updates can keep your phone feeling fresh, and extended security updates make you less vulnerable to hackers, bugs, and unsafe applications.

Budget phones in the $100 to $200 range still lack the lifespan of their mid-range and flagship counterparts, which is why I suggest a year-old mid-range device if you’re on a tight budget. It’s also worth pointing out that, while brands like OnePlus, LG, ASUS, Motorola, and Sony don’t commit to 3-year update cycles, their phones are usually more cost-effective than products from The Big Three, which may be a decent trade-off if you don’t care about OS updates or security patches.

Do You Really Need High-End Features?

The $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro---a pretty expensive phone!The $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro—a pretty expensive phone! Justin Duino

Mid-range phones offer great performance and years of usability, and they often support features that were exclusive to flagships just two or three years ago. But what about all the cool cutting-edge features that come with a $1,000 phone? Isn’t that stuff worth the extra money?

Yeah, some flagship features are absolutely worth the money, but they probably aren’t the cutting-edge features that you’re thinking of. Like I mentioned earlier, flagships usually have tougher glass than their mid-range cousins, along with IPX water-resistance ratings and wireless charging. These perks are accompanied by brighter display technology, premium “clickly” buttons, high-quality speakers, better night photography, extra RAM for multitasking, and glass backs (although some flagships are pivoting to plastic, which is fine).

These are modest features make your phone more reliable, durable, and usable. They aren’t flashy or superfluous, and they give you a real reason to spend the money on a flagship device (or a flagship that’s a year or two old, if you don’t mind the limited manufacturer support). Cutting-edge flagship features, on the other hand, are rarely worth spending your money on. Foldable display tech is in its infancy, MagSafe charging is cool but unnecessary, and LiDAR is … well, it has a lot of potential, but app developers need to get serious about it first.

The two most compelling cutting-edge features are 120hz displays and 5G support, although both technologies eat up battery life and aren’t nearly as useful as they may seem. It’s true, 5G is faster than 4G LTE and will revolutionize the internet, but 5G networks (and especially the ultra-fast mmWave5G networks) won’t be available to the average person for another couple years. And while a 120hz display might make the animations on your phone look buttery-smooth, 60hz and 90hz displays look fine as it is.

While expensive flagships still have a place in the world, the benefits of buying a high-end device are questionable. Mid-range phones kick ass at half the price of their flagship counterparts, and often offer years of usability and guaranteed OS updates. Plus, flagship features aren’t as groundbreaking as they used to be, and may never impact the average person’s experience.

Tip: Shopping for a new phone? Be sure to check out the companion piece to this article, What’s the Least You Should Spend on a Smartphone. It provides an overview of the best phones at each at each price point so you can buy a killer device without breaking your budget.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

The 11 Best Free Games for Your New Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch

When you drop hundreds on a brand new console, either for yourself or your kids, dropping another load of money on games isn’t exactly appealing. Fortunately, there are plenty of great free to play titles available on all the major systems.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

Epic Games’ free giveaway list has leaked

The period between mid-November until around the first week of January is always filled with sales, discounts, and even some giveaways. That almost applies to all industries but even more to those in the digital content distribution enterprise. In short, gamers can expect a lot of giveaways during the holiday season and Epic Games’ Christmas list has just been leaked … Continue reading

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ewdison Then

Epic Games Will Give Out 15 Free Video Games Starting December 17

The only thing better than video games is free video games, right? Well, starting on December 17, Epic Games is kicking off its exciting 15 Days of Free Games celebration where it will be giving away a free video game every day. You’ll have 24 hours to claim each game, but you can keep them forever. 

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

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