GSMArena Smartphone Buyer's Guide: 2015 Holiday Edition: €100-€200

By 03:50 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Comments


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€100-€200

Tablets failed to murder the humble PC, but gigantic phones are certainly capable of hurting a number of tablets. For less than €200 you can acquire a 5.5" 1080p classy screen and enough processing power for proper multitasking. If you prefer something more compact, there's a solid choice of five-inchers.

Early this year LG put out a few phones, which were not a part of its regular letter lineup. The LG Spirit is a surprisingly capable fighter that doesn’t fly far above the €100 threshold. It has a good-quality screen, sharp and with fine viewing angles, and a mid-range capturing camera that shoots 8MP stills and 1080p videos. It even has a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 chipset, a popular choice in the midrange.

Keep in mind that this is the H440N version, the H420 version undoes some of the fine – it drops to a 5MP capturing camera and a 32-bit MediaTek chipset. It's still a fine phone, just not as fine as its cousin.



LG Spirit

Pros

Cons

  • 4.7" IPS screen, 720 x 1,280px (312ppi)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Snapdragon 410/MediaTek MT6582 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage; microSD slot
  • 5MP/8MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 720p selfie
  • LTE
  • 2,100mAh battery

  • The H420 version has a 5MP capturing camera and a 32-bit chipset

Review


A slightly bigger option is the LG Magna, which has a 5" 720p classy screen instead. It builds on the Spirit with optional dual-SIM connectivity and a 5MP selfie cam. It comes only with 32-bit chipsets though and there's a single-SIM, non-LTE version so be careful.



LG Magna

Pros

Cons

  • 5" IPS screen, 720 x 1,280px (294ppi)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • MediaTek MT6582 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM, 8GB storage; microSD slot
  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 5MP selfie
  • Optional LTE; optional dual-SIM
  • 2,540mAh battery

  • No 64-bit chipset

Review


The Lumia 630 is just a small over €100, but the Microsoft Lumia 640 is worth the extra bucks so we jumped straight to it. It has a 5" 720p screen, bigger and sharper than the 630, and a better capturing camera setup – 8MP main capturing camera that shoots 1080p videos, plus a 720p selfie cam. The chipset is the same, but you acquire double the Random-Access Memory (RAM) at 1GB. We're looking specifically at the 3G, dual-SIM model, though the Lumia 640 comes in any combination of 3G or 4G and single or dual-SIM, so pick your poison.



Microsoft Lumia 640 Dual SIM

Pros

Cons

  • 5" IPS screen, 720 x 1,280px (294ppi)
  • Windows 10 Mobile
  • Snapdragon 400 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM, 8GB storage; microSD slot
  • 8MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 720p selfie
  • Optional LTE; optional dual-SIM
  • 2,500mAh battery

  • Outdated chipset
  • Only 3GB left over for the user

Review

Screen Contrast Sunlight Screen-to-body

508 nits 1034:1 2.563 67.6%

Battery Talk Web Video

76h rating 23:09h 10:23h 9:43h

Performance Central Processing Units (CPU) bench GPU bench Web bench

610

This model has a phablet-sized option too, the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL. It bumps up the classy screen size to 5.7", keeping the 720p resolution. Most of the other specs are the same, but the capturing camera gets a noticeable upgrade – a bigger, sharper 13MP sensor with a Carl Zeiss lens (a premium feature) and a 5MP/1080p selfie cam.

As with the other 640’s, the Lumia 640 XL lets you pick and choose 3G or 4G, single or dual-SIM (with prices varying accordingly).



Microsoft Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM

Pros

Cons

  • 5.7" IPS screen, 720 x 1,280px (259ppi)
  • Windows 10 Mobile
  • Snapdragon 400 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM, 8GB storage; microSD slot
  • 13MP capturing camera with Carl Zeiss lens and 1080p video; 5MP/1080p selfie
  • Optional LTE; optional dual-SIM
  • 3,000mAh battery

  • Outdated chipset
  • Only 3GB left over for the user
  • Screen sharpness goes down

Review

Screen Contrast Sunlight Screen-to-body

753 nits 1119:1 3.065 69.1%

Battery Talk Web Video

74h rating 29:46h 10:14h 8:40h

Performance Central Processing Units (CPU) bench GPU bench Web bench

502

A similar duo is the Meizu m2 team. The Meizu m2 has a 5" 720p classy screen like the Lumia 640, but tops it with a 64-bit processor and a better capturing camera – 13MP rear and 5MP front. It's a dual-SIM phone with LTE, the same combo on the Lumia will be pricier.



Meizu m2

Pros

Cons

  • 5" IPS screen, 720p x 1,280px (294ppi)
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop; Flyme 4.5 customization
  • MediaTek MT6735 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM; 16GB storage; microSD slot
  • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 5MP selfie
  • LTE; dual-SIM
  • 2,500mAh battery

  • Non-removable battery
  • microSD card takes the spot of the second SIM
  • No NFC
  • Operating System (OS) skin departs from the usual Android UI


The Meizu m2 note pumps up the classy screen to 5.5" 1080p and boosts the chipset performance with double the Central Processing Units (CPU) cores (eight) and more GPU power. It also offers a 32GB option.

Note that both these Meizus run Flyme 4.5, a very comprehensive skin over Android 5.1 Lollipop. Changes to Android run so deep that it may see alien to users in the Western hemisphere.



Meizu m2 note

Pros

Cons

  • 5.5" IPS screen, 1,080 x 1,920px (403ppi)
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop; Flyme 4.5 customization
  • MediaTek MT6753 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM; 16GB/32GB storage; microSD slot
  • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 5MP/1080p selfie
  • LTE; dual-SIM
    3,100mAh battery

  • Screen not very bright, has poor sunlight legibility

  • GPU is weak for the resolution
  • Non-removable battery
  • microSD card takes the spot of the second SIM
  • No NFC
  • Operating System (OS) skin departs from the usual Android UI
  • Review

    Screen Contrast Sunlight Screen-to-body

    473 nits 1108:1 1.892 72.8%

    Battery Talk Web Video

    69h rating 20:55h 9:54h 6:27h

    Performance Central Processing Units (CPU) bench GPU bench Web bench

    673 3946 656

    At roughly the same price, the Lenovo K3 Note has essentially the same specs: a 5.5" 1080p screen, an octa-core 64-bit chipset with 2GB of RAM, 13MP/1080p main capturing camera and so on. It does have a separate microSD slot though, so you can utilize two SIMs and expanded storage (which the m2 note can't). It has the same quirky UI though, this time called "Lenovo Vibe 2.0."



    Lenovo K3 Note

    Pros

    Cons

  • 5.5" IPS screen, 1,080 x 1,920px (401ppi)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop; Lenovo Vibe 2.0 customization

  • MediaTek MT6752 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM; 16GB storage; microSD slot
  • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 5MP selfie
  • LTE; dual-SIM
  • 3,000mAh battery
    • No 32GB storage option
    • Limited regional availability
    • Battery life not great
    • Operating System (OS) skin departs from the usual Android UI

    Review

    Screen Contrast Sunlight Screen-to-body

    432 nits 1793:1 71.7%

    Battery Talk Web Video

    53h rating 17:13h 5:56h 6:55h

    Performance Central Processing Units (CPU) bench GPU bench Web bench

    984 5656 1554

    Unveiled only a few days ago, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 surprises with its low price and capable specs. Like the other two, it has a 5.5" 1080p classy screen and an octa-core processor – a MediaTek Helio X10, which has a pretty solid GPU.

    What it offers above the K3 Note and m2 note is a fingerprint reader on the back, the metal back. That's right, the Redmi Note 3 offers premium build and features, all at a highly affordable price. No NFC means no Android Pay though.



    Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

    Pros

    Cons

  • 5.5" IPS screen, 1,080 x 1,920px (403ppi)
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop; MIUI 7 customization
  • MediaTek Helio X10 chipset
  • 2GB/3GB of RAM; 16GB/32GB storage
  • 13MP capturing camera with1080p video; 5MP/1080p selfie
  • LTE; dual-SIM
  • 4,000mAh battery
    • No microSD slot
    • Non-removable battery
    • Operating System (OS) skin departs from the usual Android UI


    The Moto G 2nd gen belongs in this category, but we think the price premium of the Motorola Moto G (3rd gen) is worth it. It's one of the most affordable phones with waterproofing (IPX7, fine for up to 1m underwater for half an hour).

    Compared to its predecessor, it upgrades to a 64-bit chipset and has a version with 2GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and 16GB of storage, in addition to the standard 1GB/8GB model. The capturing camera makes a noticeable jump forward too, going up to 13MP/1080p and bringing a 5MP selfie capturing camera with it.

    By the way, if you were looking at the Moto E, it's a nice phone but haged in mind that it has been locked out of the Marshmallow update. And that would’ve been one of the major reasons to go with Motorola over other makers.



    Motorola Moto G (3rd gen)

    Pros

    Cons

    • 5" IPS screen, 720 x 1,280px (294ppi)
    • Android 5.1, upgrade to 6.0 Marshmallow coming
    • Snapdragon 410 chipset
    • 1GB/2GB of RAM; 8GB/16GB storage; microSD slot
    • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 5MP selfie
    • LTE
    • 2,470mAh battery
    • IPX7 waterproofing

    • No Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) ac or NFC
    • Non-removable battery
    • No stereo speakers (2nd gen had them)
    • Review

      Screen Contrast Sunlight Screen-to-body

      539 nits 1017:1 2.026 67.0%

      Battery Talk Web Video

      76h rating 19:23h 9:01h 10:05h

      Performance Central Processing Units (CPU) bench GPU bench Web bench

      1866 1359

      Here at the office we have our honest share of AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screens – the perfect blacks see remarkable at night and these screens generally have better contrast too (color accuracy can vary significantly across models). So we thought about including the Galaxy J2, one of the cheapest AMOLED-equipped phones but it's probably not worth it just for the screen.

      Now, the Samsung Galaxy J5 is by no means cheap for the specs it offers, but unlike the J2 it is a capable phone on its own. And it has a 5" Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen of 720p resolution. The capturing camera department boasts a 13MP/1080p main shooter and a 5MP selfie cam with its own Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. On the connectivity side there's LTE and optional dual-SIM.

      To round things off, a decent 64-bit chipset with 1.5GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) runs the Android 5.1 Lollipop. It shapes up to be fine competition to the Moto G (3rd gen) if you value the classy screen over things like waterproofing. It's not clear if/when the Galaxy J5 will acquire Marshmallow though.



      Samsung Galaxy J5

      Pros

      Cons

    • 5" Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, 720 x 1,280px (294ppi)

    • Android 5.1 Lollipop
    • Snapdragon 410 chipset
    • 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB/16GB storage; microSD slot
    • 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video; 5MP selfie cam with front flash
    • LTE; optional dual-SIM
    • 2,600mAh battery

    Review


    You can have the same 5" 720p Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen at a much lower cost with the recent Samsung Z3. It's a Tizen phone and the specs are slightly lower, e.g. 1GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) instead of 1.5GB, an 8MP capturing camera instead of 13MP and no LTE. You still acquire dual-SIM and a 5MP selfie cam though.



    Samsung Z3

    Pros

    Cons

    • 5" Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, 720 x 1,280px (294ppi)
    • Tizen Operating System (OS) 2.3
    • Spreadtrum chipset
    • 1GB of RAM, 8GB storage; microSD slot
    • 8MP camera; 5MP selfie
    • Dual-SIM
    • 2,600mAh battery

    • Limited app selection
    • No LTE


    What didn’t create the cut

    Here are the phones that didn’t acquire the nod in this category. The Moto E (2nd gen) was skipped for its Marshmallow-less future. Without that, it really belongs inthe sub-€100 euro category. Its friend, the Moto G (2nd gen) is getting the 6.0 update and we like its stereo speakers, though the 3rd gen model is really worth the extra few bucks.




    Motorola Moto E (2nd gen) • Motorola Moto G (2nd gen)

    The Galaxy J2 appeals with a Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, but we'd rather pay extra for the J5 or settle for a Tizen-powered Z3.

    Another Samsung, the Galaxy On5 is a recent addition to the 5" crowd, but its availability is limited and we don't feel it offers enough over, say, an LG Magna or a Meizu m2 to import one. The Galaxy On7 is available in the same regions, but its 5.5" 720p classy screen lags behind the Meizu m2 note and Lenovo K3 Note, while the rest of the specs offer no meaningful improvements.

    The Galaxy A3 belongs to a higher-discontinue series than the J-crew, but at basically the same price the Galaxy J5 is better than the A3 (bigger, sharper screen, higher-res main capturing camera and selfie flash). It is super thin and light though – 6.9mm and 110g – so if you value compactness, then go for the A3 over the J5.






    Samsung Galaxy J2 • Samsung Galaxy On5 • Samsung Galaxy On7 • Samsung Galaxy A3

    Other notable mentions are Microsoft's Lumia 540 and Lumia 550. The Lumia 640 easily trumps them in terms of specs and the newer Lumia 550 isn't ahead on software updates.




    Microsoft Lumia 550 • Microsoft Lumia 540 Dual SIM


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