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

By 01:49 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments


€200-€300

The best deals in this category happen to be older devices - flagships, phablets and minis - and a couple of out-of-the-box offerings. The recent flagships, phablets and minis are in the next price segment but these acquire a gigantic enough discount to create you question yourself whether you want to be part of the specs race or not.

Note that all phones in this category should have LTE connectivity and we won't mention it explicitly. We'll admonish the few that don't.

The ZTE Grand Memo almost made it to the previous chapter, it's a matter of less than €10. It has a 5.7" classy screen and a powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset (at this price point!) with 2GB RAM, plus a 13MP / 1080p camera.

There are downsides though. For some reason it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Also, the classy screen has only 720p resolution - 258ppi isn't poor but at this classy screen size 1080p would have been noticeably better. The chipset has been downclocked so the quad-core Krait 400 processor runs at 1.7Giga Hertz (GHz) but it should still blow all the Snapdragon 400s out of the water.

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ZTE Grand Memo

Pros Cons

  • 5.7" 720p screen

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

  • Snapdragon 800 (downclocked)

  • 13MP/1080p camera

  • Old Android

  • Screen resolution on the low side


The Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo keeps the 2012 Samsung flagship alive with slightly different hardware. You still acquire a 4.8" 720p Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen and an 8MP/1080p camera, putting it in competition with the Moto G 4G and Xperia SP.

That assumed it doesn't have LTE connectivity but dual-SIM instead. It's powered by a quad-core Cortex-A7 processor with 1.5GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) and runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It's a bit of a compromise but the Xperia SP and the LTE version of the Moto G don't have dual-SIM options and the Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen tops their cheaper LCDs. Beware of the outdated looks though.



Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo

Pros Cons

  • 4.8" 720p Super AMOLED

  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

  • Quad-core Cortex-A7

  • 8MP/1080p camera

  • Dual-SIM

  • No LTE

  • Slightly outdated Android

  • Outdated looks


The HTC Desire 516 dual sim didn't create the slit but the HTC Desire 616 dual sim is worth the extra cash. It has a 5" 720p classy screen and is powered by a rare octa-core Cortex-A7 processor. It has an 8MP/1080p capturing camera and a certain HTC charm.

The octa-core Central Processing Units (CPU) is choked by just 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) though and the 2,000mAh battery doesn't last as long as we would have liked.



HTC Desire 616 dual sim

Pros Cons

  • 5" 720p screen

  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

  • Octa-core Cortex-A7

  • 8MP/1080p camera

  • Dual-SIM

  • Old Android

  • Low on RAM

  • Only 4GB built-in storage

  • Battery on the small side

Review


In what could be the phablet deal of the year we found the Sony Xperia Z Ultra at small over €200. It has an expansive 6.4" 1080p classy screen and is stunningly thin - just 6.5mm thin! And it's IP58-certified so it can be used in the pool.

The phablet is powered by a Snapdragon 800 chipset with 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) and runs Android 4.4 KitKat - either the custom Sony version or the Google Play Edition. It has an 8MP/1080p capturing camera though strangely, there is no Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. It's a large device but if you're okay with that (e.g. speaking rarely or with a wireless headset) it's a proper flagship at a killer price.



Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Pros Cons

  • 6.4" 1080p screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat; Google Play Edition option

  • Snapdragon 800 chipset

  • 8MP/1080p camera

  • Just 6.5mm thick

  • IP58 certification

  • Large even for a phablet

  • No Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash

Review


Here's an out of the box suggestion - the Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom. It's a Galaxy S4 mini merged with a point-and-shoot camera. The headlining feature is a 16MP capturing camera with 10x optical zoom and optical stabilization plus xenon flash. It records 1080p video and has a capturing camera ring for some manual tuning.

It is thick and heavy and the dual-core Cortex-A9 processor is no speed demon. The 4.3" qHD Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) is better than what you acquire from point-and-shoot cameras though and it runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

Even though any Smart capturing camera would upload your photos to Facebook, the Galaxy S4 zoom would handle much more - it can work with just about any social network or messenger services, not to mention it's a proper phone as well.



Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom

Pros Cons

  • 4.3" qHD Super AMOLED

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Dual-core Cortex-A9

  • 16MP capturing camera with 10x zoom, OIS, xenon flash

  • Thicker and heavier than phones its size

Review


The regular Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is a nice mini if you don't expect too much of the screen. We'd recommdiscontinue going for the Black Edition version, which improves the looks with a Note 3-like faux leather back. It's a tiny bit more expensive than the regular edition but is well worth it.

The 4.3" qHD classy screen isn't the sharpest but it's a Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) unit and it is very competitive compared to the LCDs in this class. It's powered by an overclocked Snapdragon 400 chipset and runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It has an 8MP/1080p camera.

The Galaxy S4 mini comes either in LTE or dual-SIM options (the Black Edition is LTE only). The phone weighs just 107g, perfect for those not enamored with huge smartphones.



Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Pros Cons

  • 4.3" qHD Super AMOLED

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 8MP/1080p camera

  • Optional dual-SIM (but no LTE)

  • Screen not the sharpest

Review


The HTC One mini is a touch more expensive but the aluminum unibody feels more premium than even certain flagships. Its 4.3" classy screen is sharper than the Samsung's (720p) and it's a high quality Super LCD2 unit. The phone also boasts front-facing stereo-speakers.

The chipset is a bit slower than the S4 mini (lower clockspeed) and the storage is non-expandable (you acquire just 16GB). Also the 4MP UltraPixel capturing camera while being fine on its own, is no match for 13MP cameras by competing manufacturers.



HTC One mini

Pros Cons

  • 4.3" 720p IPS screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Dual-core Krait

  • 4MP/1080p camera

  • Aluminum unibody

  • Front stereo speakers

  • Non-expandable storage

  • Low-res still camera

Review


A 2013 flagship can be had quite cheaply these days - the compact (for its classy screen size) Sony Xperia ZL has a 5" 1080p display and a Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset (with quad-core Krait processor). It runs Android 4.4 KitKat and boasts a 13MP/1080p camera.

It's not water-resistant like the Xperia Z but it does have an IR blaster for what that's worth.

The Xperia ZL is a bit of a downgrade compared to the Z Ultra but it's noticeably more compact. It's almost the same size as the 4.6" Xperia SP.



Sony Xperia ZL

Pros Cons

  • 5" 1080p screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon S4 Pro

  • 13MP/1080p camera

  • IR blaster

  • Very compact

  • Old (but still fast) chipset

Review


The Sony Xperia Z is a touch more expensive than the ZL and not as compact but it is IP57-certified so it isn't afraid of water. It also drops the IR blaster but other than that it has essentially the same hardware and software.

Try to weigh how much that IP57 is worth though, compactness and a few euro less shouldn't be underestimated.



Pros Cons

  • 5" 1080p screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon S4 Pro

  • 13MP/1080p camera

  • IP57-certified

  • Old (but still fast) chipset

Review


The Asus Padfone mini tackles the Galaxy S4 mini and One mini with a 4.3" qHD IPS classy screen and a quad-core Cortex-A7 processor. It's a dual-SIM phone (which lacks LTE) and runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

The most vital aspect, however, is that it comes with a tablet dock - the Padfone Station features a 7" IPS classy screen with 1,280 x 800 resolution and an extra 2,200mAh battery. The two together costs only slightly more than the two minis but you also acquire a tablet classy screen for your money.

There is only one caveat - the tablet and the phone can't be used simultaneously, you can only utilize either the phone or the tablet as the tablet slacks brains of its own and uses the ones inside the phone.



Asus Padfone mini (with tablet)

Pros Cons

  • 4.3" qHD IPS screen

  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

  • Quad-core Cortex-A7

  • 8MP camera

  • Dual-SIM

  • 7" WXGA tablet

  • Old Android

  • No LTE

  • Small battery (1,500mAh)

Hands-on


Another 2013 gigantic shot adds to the phablet suggestions in this class. The LG Optimus G Pro boasts a 5.5" 1080p classy screen and is powered by a Snapdragon 600 chipset. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat and has a 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture.

It's more expensive than the Xperia Z Ultra and the hardware isn't really enough to justify the price premium. However with a classy screen almost an inch smaller, it's a noticeably smaller device - we're only listing it here for those who can't imagine handling a 6.4" phablet but still want a gigantic screen.



LG Optimus G Pro

Pros Cons

  • 5.5" 1080p IPS screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon 600

  • 13MP/1080p camera

  • IR blaster

  • Pricy compared to the more powerful Z Ultra

Review



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