Best Cheap 4G Phones: Five of the best
UPDATED: Smartphones used to be almost luxury items but they quickly hit the mainstream, and as more people buy them and more models are released, competition along with the economies of scale have pushed the prices down.
Now not only are many smartphones quite affordable but in many cases they’re still quite powerful and feature packed. Some cheap smartphones are even 4G ready. With that in mind here are 6 of the best affordable 4G phones.
Moto G with 4G (£150) – Great value
The Moto G is Motorola’s most successful phone ever and with good reason. It combined solid specs (a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM), with a large, high quality 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 display, an attractive build, the latest version of Android and a low price tag.
All it was really missing was 4G LTE and a microSD card slot, both of which have been added for a new version dubbed, logically enough, the Moto G with 4G. Its one remaining Achilles heel is the camera, which at 5 megapixels isn’t great, but then this is a £150 phone so it’s more than forgivable.
Google Nexus 5 (£299) – High end on a budget
Admittedly at £299 the Google Nexus 5 isn’t exactly cheap, but it is fantastic value for money, as with a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM it has the specs you’d expect from a £400-£500 handset.
Add to that a stunning 4.95 inch 1080 x 1920 screen with a pixel density of 445 pixels per inch, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 support (as well as 4G LTE of course) and it really is approaching the full package. Its 8 megapixel camera is pretty average for a high end phone and there’s no expandable storage, but when it’s as much as £200 cheaper than the competition we can live with that.
Not to mention the fact that being a Google device it has the latest version of Android (4.4.2) and is likely to get subsequent updates on day one.
If you want a high end 4G handset on a tight budget then this is undoubtedly the one to go for. In fact even if money is no object the Google Nexus 5 is still well worth considering, it’s that good.
EE Kestrel (£99) – Bargain bucket
EE had one goal with the Kestrel: to bring more users over to its 4G network. It plans to do that by selling a 4G equipped phone at just about the lowest price possible, with the EE Kestrel retailing for just £99.
Despite the incredibly low price though it’s not actually a bad handset. It has a 4.5 inch screen, which at 540 x 960 is sub-HD, but still of reasonable quality. It also has a slim build, coming in at just 7.85mm thick and with a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM it’s not exactly under powered either.
Its 5 megapixel camera isn’t special and it only has 8GB of internal storage, but there is a microSD card slot to expand that and really, it’s £99. This isn’t the best phone on the list but it’s possibly the best value and right now it’s the cheapest way to get a 4G smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 (£165) – Mid-range thrills
Samsung has so many different handsets that it’s hard to keep track of them all, but the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 sits around the lower middle end of its line-up. With a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM it’s nowhere near the powerhouse the Nexus 5 is, but at just around £165 it doesn’t need to be.
Its 4 inch 480 x 800 display is a decent size and has a reasonable pixel density of 233 pixels per inch and while it only comes with 8GB of storage it also has a microSD card slot, so it’s easy to expand that. It also has a 5 megapixel camera, which isn’t bad for the price. The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 isn’t much to look at with its bland plastic shell, it also isn’t particularly slim at 9.8mm and it’s running Android 4.2, which is a little outdated now, but it’s a reliable performer and excellent value for money.
Sony Xperia SP (£249.99) – Slick and stylish
If you’re hungry for style then consider the Sony Xperia SP. The back might be plastic but it has an attractive, curved aluminium frame. Its specs aren’t bad either, as it has a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. While the screen is big and bold, at 4.6 inches with a 720 x 1280 resolution and 319 pixels per inch.
Even the camera is decent, coming in at 8 megapixels and perfectly capable of taking some pleasing photos. Plus the phone has NFC and 4G LTE. If there’s anywhere that the Sony Xperia SP does disappoint a little it’s in the storage, which is limited to 8GB (though there is a microSD card slot) and the battery life could also be better, plus it’s slightly fat and heavy at 10mm thick and 155g, but for £179.99 this is a bargain.
Nokia Lumia 625 (£179.99) – Windows Phone 8 on the cheap
While most cheap 4G phones run Android, if you prefer Windows Phone 8 you still have at least one option. The Nokia Lumia 625 has a large 4.7 inch 480 x 800 display with a pixel density of 199 ppi. So it’s not the sharpest screen we’ve seen but it’s adequate.
The build is much like most other Lumia’s, which is to say colourful and plastic and at 159g it’s a heavy beast, while under the hood there’s a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM, which isn’t much but it’s enough to keep the phone running fairly smoothly. It also has 8GB of storage, a micro SD card slot and a 5 megapixel camera, but really the main selling points of the Lumia 625 are the fact that it has 4G and a big screen without costing very much.
So there you have it, six 4G phones that you can pick up without breaking the bank. The Google Nexus 5 is undoubtedly the best of the bunch but at £299 it’s not the most affordable. With that in mind the best all-rounder and the test winner is the Moto G with 4G. It’s not perfect but with a stylish build, solid specs, a great screen and a price tag of just £150 it’s hard to say no to.
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