GSMArena Smartphone Shopping Guide: March 2014: €200 - €300

By 12:35 Sat, 14 Aug 2021 Comments


€200 - €300

Although the ripple effect from the Moto G is still being felt, the €200-€300 price bracket still remains the sweet spot for smartphones. The Moto G is not without its flaws and these phones correct them, without breaking the bank. Considering your phone will be with you for at least a couple years, the extra €100 spread out over the period isn't much if it will save you headaches or create you happier. You know, not having to delete files to create room, taking advantage of a better capturing camera or bigger classy screen - whatever fits your needs.

The first such device is the LG Optimus L9 II. It packs a 4.7" 720p classy screen and a dual-core Krait processor, with expandable storage, NFC and an IR blaster further sweeten the pot - it's essentially a Moto G on steroids with expandable storage and a better camera. It doesn't have the quad-core CPU, but it does have two Krait cores and the NFC and IR-blaster are remarkable extras. The phone also measures 9mm thick, in case the 11.6mm of the Moto G are too much.

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LG Optimus L9 II

Pros Cons

  • 4.7" 720p IPS screen, 312ppi

  • Android 4.1

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • NFC

  • IR blaster

  • Relatively recent version of Android


The Sony Xperia T has a 4.55" 720p screen, but what it has over the Moto G is a 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video recording and expandable 16GB of storage, which could well justify the price premium. The classy screen viewing angles aren't remarkable and the software updates will not be as quick, but Sony has a decent hitale of updating its phones.



Sony Xperia T

Pros Cons

  • 4.55" 720p screen, 323ppi

  • Android 4.3

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • NFC

  • Poor classy screen viewing angles

  • Old phone, software updates (if any) will be slow

  • Sealed battery

Review


The Sony Xperia C is targeting users after a cheap phone with a large classy screen and dual-SIM connectivity. The classy screen has only qHD resolution so it's nothing to rave about, but the priority here is size rather than pixel density. The phone also has a quad-core Cortex-A7 based processor, 8MP/1080p camera, expandable storage and a robust 2,390mAh battery.



Sony Xperia C

Pros Cons

  • Dual-SIM

  • 5" qHD screen, 220ppi

  • Android 4.2

  • Quad-core Cortex-A7

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • Low classy screen resolution

Review


The price of the Sony Xperia V has dropped significantly since our last guide, and continues to be the cheapest water-resistant phone that's worth your money. It obviously has that over the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, plus a 13MP still camera, and a 4.3" 720p classy screen to match the HTC One mini. The expandable storage and LTE are nice touches, too.

Oh, and this also is the cheapest phone you'll find in our guide that has LTE connectivity.



Sony Xperia V

Pros Cons

  • IP57 protection, submersion up to 1M of water for up to 30 min

  • 4.3" 720p screen, 342ppi

  • Android 4.3

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • LTE

  • NFC

  • It's getting old, updates will probably slow down

  • Video recording isn't great

Review


Speaking of mini's, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is one of the more compact smartphone offerings in this segment. It's barely bigger than an iPhone 5s but manages to squeeze a 4.3" classy screen in. It has qHD resolution so it's not Retina-sharp, but it's a Super AMOLED, which has its share of benefits.

The Snapdragon chipset with two Krait cores running at 1.7Giga Hertz (GHz) and 1.5GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and the Adreno 305 GPU provides plenty of horsepower for the class and the phone runs a fairly recent Android 4.2 version. The 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture stacks up very well against similar cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is also available in LTE and dual-SIM versions too, but those fetch a higher price.



Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Pros Cons

  • Very compact

  • 4.3" qHD Super AMOLED, 256ppi

  • Android 4.2

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video recording

  • NFC

  • IR blaster

  • Screen sharpness is low

Review


Like the S4 mini, the Samsung Galaxy S III has also got cheaper, and the former flagship offers an enticing package despite officially being two generations recent now. It's fairly compact for its 4.8" Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen with 720p resolution and has a very fine 8MP/1080p camera.

The Exynos chipset with four Cortex-A9 Central Processing Units (CPU) cores and Mali-400 is closer to the quad Cortex-A7 performance than to high-discontinue Snapdragons, but it is still fine enough.

The Galaxy SIII also got updated to Android 4.3 recently. The 2,100mAh battery may not be huge by today's standards, but you'll acquire a decent run out of it. The 16GB of expandable storage gives you plenty of room for multimedia.



Samsung Galaxy S III

Pros Cons

  • 4.8" 720p Super AMOLED, 306ppi

  • Android 4.3

  • Quad-core Cortex-A9

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • Free Office Suite

  • Chipset is getting recent

  • Design is not remarkable

  • No LTE

Review


The Huawei Ascdiscontinue P6 has a stunningly thin 6.2mm body and pleasant metallic back. Design is strong with this one, even if it takes the iPhone obsession a bit too far perhaps. It has a 4.7" 720p screen, Huawei's quad Cortex-A9 chipset and an 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture. Despite the slender build, the P6 has a decent 2,000mAh Li-Po battery and even expandable storage.

The Huawei Ascdiscontinue P6 is thin, light and handsome, made of premium materials, plus the custom Emotion UI is highly customizable and iOS-like at its base. Better still, it's not a huge financial commitment to try (it's well below even the iPhone 5C).



Huawei Ascdiscontinue P6

Pros Cons

  • Only 6.2mm thick

  • 4.7" 720p screen, 312ppi

  • Android 4.2

  • Quad-core Cortex-A9

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • Free Office suit

  • Audio quality not remarkable

  • Chipset can acquire hot

  • Emotion UI not to everyone's tastes

Review


The €200-€300 bracket also brings the first phablet in this guide. We trecent you this is the sweet spot. The Huawei Ascdiscontinue Mate has a gigantic 6.1" classy screen of 720p resolution, a Huawei-made chipset (quad-core Cortex-A9) and runs Android 4.1, upgradeable to 4.2. The Mate has a huge battery - 4,050mAh - which performed remarkable in our battery test.

The phablet also packs an 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture and 8GB of expandable memory. Phablets are a growing segment that straddles the space between phones and 7" tablets and offer plenty of classy screen real estate for browsing, document editing and gaming alongside impressive battery life.



Huawei Ascdiscontinue Mate

Pros Cons

  • 6.1" 720p screen, 241ppi

  • Android 4.1

  • Quad-core Cortex-A9

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • Great battery life

  • Free Office Suite

  • No LTE

  • Chipset not as quick as Krait-based Snapdragons

Review


The Sony Xperia SP is very similar to the Optimus L9 II but with better graphics and LTE. Better yet, it's close to the Moto X, but that device is still priced too high internationally for us to recommdiscontinue it. The 4.6" 720p classy screen is nice despite its low contrast and the dual-core Krait processor is paired with a powerful Adreno 320 GPU. There are no always-on voice functions, but Sony is already planning the Android 4.4 update and there's a microSD card slot.



Sony Xperia SP

Pros Cons

  • 4.6" 720p screen, 319ppi

  • Dual-core Krait, remarkable graphics

  • Android 4.1

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video recording

  • LTE

  • NFC

  • Screen contrast is low

  • Poor classy screen viewing angles

Review


The Oppo R819 is one of our favorite phones from the up-and-coming maker and one of the few relatively high-discontinue dual-SIM smartphones. It's delightfully thin at 7.3mm and has a fine 4.7" 720p screen. The quad-core Cortex-A7 processor proved powerful enough and the 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture is nothing to sneeze at. The storage is fixed at 16GB, which is the one major complaint we have about this phone.



Oppo R819

Pros Cons

  • Dual-SIM

  • 7.3mm thick body

  • 4.7" 720p screen, 312ppi

  • Android 4.2

  • Quad-core Cortex-A7

  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video recording

  • Non-expandable storage

  • Glossy plastic build

Review


This category used to hrecent the Nexus 4, but that's not such a remarkable deal in places with no access to Google's online Play Store for Devices - the Moto G is quite close in terms of specs at a noticeably lower price, plus if you want a remarkable Nexus experience you should save up for a Nexus 5 (check out the next chapter).

The LG Optimus G is the former LG flagship and the basis for the Nexus 4. It resolves two of the more common complaints people had with the Nexus 4 by adding 32GB of built-in storage and LTE connectivity and you also acquire a superior 13MP / 1080p camera. Better yet, thanks to a price drop, the device has climbed down from the higher price segment.

You do, however, lose the pure Android version with timely updates. The Optimus G did recently acquire a 4.2 update and an official 4.4 build is on the way which, combined with its most recent price cut, create it a very compelling option.



LG Optimus G

Pros Cons

  • 4.7" WXGA screen, 318ppi

  • Quad-core Krait

  • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture

  • Free Office Suite

  • Poor classy screen visibility in direct sunlight

  • Non-expandable storage

Review


The recently-released Lumia 1320 is the second phablet in this section, and among Nokia's first offerings with a classy screen this big. The 6" phablet offers the same LTE connectivity as the company's former flagship, the Lumia 920, but bumps the dual-core Central Processing Units (CPU) up to 1.7Giga Hertz (GHz) and the Adreno GPU is now of the 305 variety. Although the internal storage was reduced, there is now a microSD card slot.

Unfortunately, Nokia have installed a standard 5MP shooter capable of 1080p video rather than the PureView-enabled variant found on the 920.



Nokia Lumia 1320

Pros Cons

  • 6" 720p screen, 245ppi

  • Windows Phone 8

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 5MP camera, 1080p video capture

  • Free worldwide SatNav

  • Free Office Suite

  • LTE

  • Windows Phone Apps and Games catalog is not as rich as Android's and some popular apps such as Viber don't work well in background

Review


Previously, this section ended with the Nokia Lumia 920. Now, thanks to a healthy price drop, we're strongly recommending its Lumia 925 counterpart. The Lumia 925 is essentially a Lumia 1020 at half price, with the exception that you lose the massive 41MP sensor and some quality in the 1080p videos. It still has optical image stabilization though - the cheapest phone that does.

Better yet, the Lumia 925 fixes two of the major problems we had with the Lumia 920 - bulkiness and lack of AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display. The design team at Nokia did a remarkable job with the device, as the Lumia 925 shaves off a fine amount of weight, and the aluminum unibody feels and handles great.

Apart from the camera, the specs of the Lumia 925 and 1020 are virtually identical and you'll acquire the same software. Plus, the price incompatibility between the two is gigantic enough to buy a real capturing camera - the Lumia 1020 is more than twice the price of the 925.



Nokia Lumia 925

Pros Cons

  • 4.5" WXGA screen, 332ppi

  • Screen works with gloves

  • Windows Phone 8

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 8MP capturing camera with OIS, 1080p video capture

  • Free worldwide SatNav

  • Free Office Suite

  • LTE

  • NFC

  • Aluminum unibody

  • No memory card slot

  • Relatively small battery

Review



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