Choosing the right smartphone is not easy, especially when you're on a tight budget. Even if you can understand the technical specification properly, this doesn't mean that the phone's real-life performance will match the specs. This is why we turned the market inside out to find some of the best smartphones under $200.
There's a good reason Moto G is our top choice for a budget smartphone under $200. It has everything you'd want from a smartphone - Moto G is well built, snappy enough, features a battery that easily gets you through the day, as well as a pretty decent 13MP camera that can also record full HD video. Motorola's budget offering definitely packs a lot of punch for such an affordable phone.
The Idol 3 is our second choice for the best smartphone under $200. It's a great option if you're looking for a more compact phone, since it has a 4.7 inch display and is incredibly thin and light. Pair that with decent build quality, a good 13MP camera and surprisingly good front-facing speakers, and you get a really nice smartphone for the price.
If you have a somewhat bigger budget, you probably won't go with the Moto E. Don't get us wrong, it's a great phone, but for slightly more money you can purchase Motorola's very own Moto G or Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3, both of which are better phones. However, if you want a decent phone for as little money as possible, this is the one for you.
The Lumia 928 is one of the best smartphones under $200 that's not running on Android. If you've never used Windows Phone 8, then it will take a little bit of time getting used to, but it's a joy to use since the Lumia 928's performance is very smooth. The camera features Carl Zeiss optics, which is one of the best features of this phone. Some people will be turned off by the fact that the phone is not as thin and light as most modern smartphones, but if this doesn't bother you, Nokia's budget offering is a good choice.
The LG Leon is the cheapest smartphone on this list, but it also lacks quite a few features compared to other phones. First of all, the camera is really bad and the performance can be sluggish at times, even with the most basic tasks. The battery life is good, but unfortunately the main reason for this is Leon's low-resolution display. If you need a cheap smartphone and don't care about the quality of the camera, then LG Leon may still be a good choice for you.
What makes a smartphone worth buying? It needs to be reliable, offer smooth performance without many hiccups, have a decent camera (let's face it — not a lot of people carry around a dedicated camera these days), as well as enough storage to store all your photos, music and other important information. And in this case, the phone needs to have all these features for less than 200 dollars.
We managed to find five phones that meet the criteria. Our first choice in this comparison definitely deserves its spot. It is priced about 20 dollars below our limit, and it offers many interestubg features including good battery life, great camera, modern design, and one unexpected feature — water resistance.
The next smartphone on our list, Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3, is similarly priced and has pretty much the same features, minus the water resistance. It also has a smaller screen than the Moto G, which may be appealing to some people.
All other smartphones on our list are at least $50 cheaper than Moto G and Idol 3. If you're working with a really tight budget than Moto E is your best option, while the Nokia Lumia 928 is a great choice if you want to step out of the Android world and try something else, since the phone runs on Windows Mobile Phone 8 OS. Finally, LG Leon is a passable budget phone, but its camera is pretty bad, which will turn away most buyers.
Motorola Moto G - 5.0 inches (1280x720 pixels)
Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 - 4.7 inches (1280x720 pixels)
Motorola Moto E - 4.3 inches (960x540 pixels)
Nokia Lumia 928 - 4.5 inches (1280x720 pixels)
LG Leon - 4.5 inches (854x480 pixels)
All smartphones in our comparison sport quad-core processors produced by Qualcomm, except Nokia Lumia 928, which has a dual-core processor from the same company. As you might have guessed it from the price, Motorola's Moto G and Alcatel's Onetouch Idol 3 have the best processor and best overall performance, but the Lumia 928 isn't too far behind.
Memory-wise, most of these phones are pretty similar, and as far as storage goes, almost all of them come with 8GB of internal memory, with the exception of the Nokia Lumia 928 that comes with 32GB of storage. Don't let this fool you though, because the Lumia's storage can't be expanded via external micro SD card, an option that's available on the other four phones in our comparison.
When it comes to the camera, the Moto G and Nokia Lumia 928 are definite winners, while Alacatel's smartphone is trailing a little bit behind. The Moto E's camera is just OK, while LG Leon's camera is simply bad.
If you have close to 200 dollars, then the Moto G or Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 are your best options. On the other hand, if you're working with a really small budget that's closer to $100 — go with the Motorola Moto E, as it's truly a bargain. The Nokia Lumia 928 features a great camera and is a good option for people who don't mind a phone that's a little bit older and running Windows Phone 8. If other phones are an option, we would skip the LG Leon.