I was recently asked to find a cheap smartphone for someone. Their current phone is a Windows mobile, but Microsoft will not be supporting these. Security updates stop on the 10th of December and other services will be shut down in March 2020.
With high-end phones from major manufacturers costing over £1000, is it possible to find a budget phone that is still usable with modern apps?
As Windows phones are no longer viable we are left we two choices, Apple or Android. I ruled out Apple devices, as new phones are expensive and secondhand phones tend to be slow. This leaves us with Android.
There are lots of companies making and selling Android phones so there are plenty of options available. In order to find a cheap device, there are a couple of options, second-hand phones from major manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola, or new devices from less well-known makers. There is a big market in China for Android phones and companies such as Elephone and Blackview sell devices that are affordable.
There are pros and cons to these phones, the good things are the price (obviously) and the fact that these devices use a stock version of Android. With the bigger makers such as Samsung the phones come bundled with a lot of apps the manufacturer installs. These take up space and slow the phone down.
The downside of these phones it is difficult to repair them if they break, so a broken screen usually means the phone is a write-off. As these phones are rare getting accessories such as cases or screen protectors is more difficult, these need to be ordered online.
With secondhand phones there are also pros and cons, they can be considerably cheaper than buying new, they are easier to get repaired and accessories are easy to find. However, as they are older they are often running older versions of Android or have smaller memory than newer phones. The other big downside to these is that they are often locked to a network, meaning you cannot use the same phone if you were to switch network.
Which option you choose is down to personal preference, do you want a brand new phone, or would you be happy with a secondhand one?
I managed to find a combination of the two options here, I purchased two Blackview A60 Pro phones used from the Facebook marketplace. They cost £25 each. This meant I had a smartphone for the person that needed one and a spare handset for myself. However, after testing this phone I found it was far better than my older Samsung, so I’m now using it as my main phone.