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.”

Great phones from 89 bucks

GadgetGuy’s advice

  • 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.

You can see the Sunrise segment here.

Note: The specifications provided are subject to change. Apologies if there are any errors. Pages include

2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks, Great phones from 89 bucks

Alcatel

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
Alcatel 1C/3G
$89
Alcatel 1X/4G
$129
Telstra Superior
Alcatel 3V
$199
Also 3 and 3X
Alcatel 5 OR
Alcatel 5V
<$300
Screen5.3”, 960 x 4805.34”, 960 x 4806”, 2160 x 1080,5.7”, 1440 x 720, 18:96.2”
1500 x 780 19:9 ‘Notch’
ProcessorFour-core 1.3GHzFour-core 1.3GHzFour-core 1.45GHzMT6750
MT6762
Ram/storage/microSD1/16GB/microSD slot1/16/microSD2/16/microSD3/32/microSD
3/32/microSD
Camera Rear MP8812/212/2
13/5
Camera Front MP5558
Battery mAh2640246030003000
Android78.1 Go88
Review or websiteTelstra
Review
AlcatelTelstra
Alcatel
Alcatel
Great phones from 89 bucks

Next page Nokia
2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

Nokia

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.

ModelNokia 1 $149Nokia 3.1 $249Nokia 6.1 (2018) $399Nokia 7 Plus $649
Screen4.5” 854×4805.2” HD+5.5” 1920 x 1080, 16:96”, 2160 x 1080
Processor4-core 1.1GHz4-core 1.5GHzSnapdragon 630
8-core
Snapdragon 660 8-core
Ram/storage/microSD1/8/microSD2/16/microSD3/32/microSD4/64/microSD
Camera Rear MP5131612/13
Camera Front MP28816
Battery mAh2150 removable299030003800
Android8.1 Go888
Review or websiteNokia  ReviewNokia Review
Nokia
Nokia Review
Great phones from 89 bucks

Next page Motorola
2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

Motorola

Motorola is back under new owners Lenovo. It too is an iconic brand. Motorola was used to talk to astronauts. Its RAZR Flips sold a record 130 million. It deserves to succeed. Knowing Lenovo it is back on track.

Lenovo has the C pre-paid at $129. Then is the e5 at $299. After that is the G6 series from $329 to $499. Then the x4 2017 currently at $399. Then the flagship Z series that uses the innovative Moto Mods. Something for everyone!

GadgetGuy’s pick here is the massive 4,000mAh battery in the G6 Play. But we can’t help but like the G6 Plus. It offers value well above its $400 price.

ModelMoto e5
$229
Moto G6 Play $329Moto G6 $399Moto G6 Plus $499
Screen5.7”
1440 x 720
5.7”
1440 x 720
5.7”
2160 x 1080
5.9”
2160 x 1080
ProcessorSnapdragon 425
4-core
Snapdragon 430
4-core 1.4GHz
Snapdragon 450
4-core
Snapdragon 630
8-core
Ram/storage/microSD2/16/microSD3/32/microSD3/32/microSD4/64/microSD
Camera Rear MP131312/512/5
Camera Front MP581616
Battery mAh4000400030003200
Android8888
Review or websiteMoto
Review
Review
Moto
Review
Moto
Moto
Review
Great phones from 89 bucks

Next page Huawei
2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

Huawei

Huawei only started branding their phones a few years ago. Before that, they made white-label phones for many Telcos. In a few short years, they have gone from “Who are we” (actually pronounced Wah-Way) to become the world’s second largest smartphone maker behind Samsung. Incredible.

Huawei has a huge range of phones. We don’t see half of them here. It makes its own ARM chips called Hisilicon Kirin and has a range similar to Qualcomm’s four, six and eight series.

Top of the range is the fantastic camera phone P20 Pro (Huawei / Review), but at $1099 it is not part of this overview. Their mid-range is the Nova series and their entry level Y series.

GadgetGuy’s pick here is the value-packed Nova 3i that has AMOLED screen, 4/128GB memory and much more for $599. Last year you would have happily paid $799 for this!

ModelY5 2018
$149
Y6 2018
$229
Nova 3e $399Nova 3i
$599
Screen5.4”
1440 x 720
5.7
1440 x 720
5.84”
2280 x 1080
6.3”
2340 x 1080 AMOLED
ProcessorMT6739Snapdragon 425Kirin 659
8-core
Kirin 710
8-core
Ram/storage/microSD2/16/microSD2/16/microSD4/64/microSD4/128/microSD
Camera Rear MP13131616/2
Camera Front MP551624
Battery mAh3020300030003340
Android8.1888.1
Review or websiteHuaweiHuaweiHuawei
Review
Huawei
Great phones from 89 bucks

Next page OPPO
2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

OPPO

OPPO are also newcomers arriving in Australia in 2014. OPPO (pronounced Oh-Po) is a force to be reckoned with. Its trademark is the ‘cameraphone‘ and what it does for the price is impressive.

It has the entry-level A-series (under $300), mid-range R-series (under $800) and its new Find X (OPPO  GadgetGuy)  flagship with a pop-up camera and nearly 100% screen space. That is $1099 and not part of this overview.

GadgetGuy’s pick here is all about ‘moving goalposts’. OPPO launches new models every six months. One day its R9/Plus, R11s/Plus and now R15 Pro is fantastic value. Offering the best in class camera, generous memory, AMOLED screens the R15 Pro is the pick of the litter. But the A73 at $299 provides way above that value too.

ModelA73
$299
R11s/Plus $699/799R15
$659
R15 Pro
$779
Screen6”
2160 x 1080
6”
2160 x 1080
6.43”
2160 x 1080
sAMOLED
6.28”
2280 x 1080
sAMOLED
6.28”
2280 x 1080
sAMOLED
ProcessorMT6763TSnapdragon 660MT6771Snapdragon 6608-core
Ram/storage/microSD3/32/microSD4/64/microSD
6/64/microSD
6/128/microSD6/128/microSD
Camera Rear MP1320/162020/16 AI
Camera Front MP152020
Battery mAh32003205400034503430
Android7.17.18.1
Review or websiteOPPOReview
OPPO
OPPOOPPO
Review
Great phones from 89 bucks

Next page LG
2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

LG

LG has some fantastic products that cover from mass market to flagship. Its entry-level includes the pre-paid Leon at $149 and K-series from $249 to $299. Then the Q-series from $399 to $649. Upper-mid-range is the G series. The new G7 Thin Q at $1099 is everything you need in any smartphone but not part of this review.

A little-known trick with LG is to bag a bargain on last year’s models. The 2017 flagship G6 (predecessor to the new G7) is down from $1099 to $599 at JB.

GadgetGuy’s pick is the uber flagship V series – the V30+. It has been software/firmware upgraded to ThinQ and usually sells for $1199. It is on special at JB Hi-Fi at $799. If you can stretch the budget, it blows everything else in that price range out of the water. All prices in brackets below are from JB Hi-Fi

ModelK8 $249 ($199)Q6 $399 ($249)Q7 $549V30+ $1199 ($799)
Screen5” 1280 x 7205.5” 2160 x 10805.5 2160 x 10806” 2880 x 1440
sAMOLED
ProcessorMT6737Snapdragon 435MT6750SSnapdragon 835
Ram/storage/microSD1.5/16/microSD3/32/micro SD3/32/microSD4/128/microSD
Camera Rear MP13131316/13
Camera Front MP5585
Battery mAh2500300030003300
Android67.1.18.18
Review or websiteLG
JB
LG
JB
LG
JB
Review
LG
JB
Review
Great phones from 89 bucks

Next page Samsung
2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung

Samsung

Samsung is the world’s largest phone maker. Like LG and Huawei, it has dozens of models and bargains can be found on last year’s models.

It has the J-series (2, 3, 5, 7, 8) from $229 to $449, A-series from $499 to $699 and the Galaxy S8 ($888), S9/Plus (1199/1349/1499) and Note9 series ($1499/1799).

GadgetGuy’s pick is the A8 because it heralds a new direction of high screen-to-body-ratio infinity screens. The J8 is also impressive.

ModelJ2 Pro $229J5 Pro $349J8 $449A8 $649
Screen5” 960 x 540
sAMOLED 16:9
5.2” 1280 x 720
sAMOLED, 16:9
6” 1480 x 720
sAMOLED 18:9
5.6” 2280 x 1080
sAMOLED 18:9
Processor4-core 1.4GHz8-core 1.6GHz8-core 1.8GHz8-core 1.6/2.2GHz
Ram/storage/microSD1.5/16/microSD3/32/microSD3/32/microSD4/32/microSD
Camera Rear MP81316/516
Camera Front MP5131616/8
Battery mAh2600300035003000
Android7788
Review or websiteSamsung
JB
SamsungSamsungSamsung
Review

2 – Alcatel
3 –Nokia
4 –Motorola
5 –Huawei
6 –OPPO
7 –LG
8 –Samsung