Flagship phones are safe for now, but their commanding lead is steadily under threat from fabulous, fully featured phones. Great phones from 89 bucks and topping out at $799.
Channel Seven Sunrise GadgetGuy Val Quinn was impressed with the vast range of great phones from $69 to $799.
“There is so much choice under $799. It is hard to go wrong with any – all are very good. It comes down to what you want to spend and if you need certain features. Things like water resistance (IP67/68); larger AMOLED screens; AI technology; more RAM/storage; dual cameras will move the cost up a little – but nowhere near the $1000 plus for a flagship.”
- Assume all phones within price brackets do similar things. You can’t get everything from an $89 phone!
- The new 18:9 format screens are taller but narrower. There is nothing wrong with 16:9 (movie format) screens.
- Wi-Fi N is a feature of most. It is perfectly adequate. If you move a lot of data, then look for Wi-Fi AC, but this is usually only in the higher price phones.
- Screen resolution of 720p is fine for everyday use. Don’t worry about 1080p. AMOLED will give better daylight readability.
- Almost all have a microSD slot so don’t worry if the phone has 16GB of RAM. A 32GB card costs around $10.
- While we all want great cameras, the lower cost ones are ‘social media’ standard cameras. Great for day and office light shots but not so great at low light. Again, the better dual cameras will cost up to that $799 price ceiling.
- Don’t hesitate to buy last years model. For example, the uber flagship LGV30+ is on sale at $799 (was selling for $1199), and at that price, it blows everything out of the water.
- If you use your phone a lot look for fast charging. Anything using a Snapdragon 4xx, 6xx, or 8xx will have this, but you may have to buy a rapid charger to use it. OPPO have VOOC fast charge on most models.
- Most lower cost phones will not receive a later version of Android. They should receive Android security updates. The exceptions are those using Android 8 One (Pure Android) and Android Go (for 1GB RAM phones). Motorola and Nokia use pure Android and are more likely to offer version updates.
- Warranty is usually one year. Don’t fall for so-called extended warranties at extra cost – not worth the paper it is written on.
Note: The specifications provided are subject to change. Apologies if there are any errors. Pages include
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Telstra and its network resellers are blitzing the prepaid market with its Essential Plus (Alcatel 1C/3G) at $89. And if you want more, it has the Alcatel 1X/4G at $129 and the Telstra Superior (Alcatel 3V) at $199. Fantastic value, modern 18:9 screens and Alcatel reliability.
GadgetGuy’s low-cost pick here is either the $89 1C/3G if you want a basic, reliable phone. If you need 4G, then the 1X is the option although we suggest you go for the 3V at $199 with a dual camera.
|Model|| Telstra Essential Plus|
Also 3 and 3X
|Alcatel 5 OR|
|Screen||5.3”, 960 x 480||5.34”, 960 x 480||6”, 2160 x 1080,||5.7”, 1440 x 720, 18:96.2”|
1500 x 780 19:9 ‘Notch’
|Processor||Four-core 1.3GHz||Four-core 1.3GHz||Four-core 1.45GHz||MT6750|
|Camera Rear MP||8||8||12/2||12/2|
|Camera Front MP||5||5||5||8|
|Review or website||Telstra|
Nokia is just over a year-and-a-half-old under its new Finnish owner HMD. It is an iconic brand, and HMD is doing everything it can to regain the crown. The range starts with the famous 3310/3G ‘dumb’ phone and goes up to the $1000+ luxury 8 Sirocco.
The 3310 is a 3G phone. No need to pay for data or learn to use a smartphone. It is a great little phone with buttons to make calls, send texts and play Nokia’s classic Snake game.
Nokia’s new range is impressive. All screens are 18:9 unless noted. There is both tradition and innovation here. The 8 Sirocco (Review) is a flagship at $1099 and not part of this value line-up.
GadgetGuy’s pick here is the Nokia 7 Plus that offers almost everything that $1,000 flagships do in a very nice, modern Black or White and Copper design.