GSMArena Smartphone Buyer's Guide: 2016 Holiday Edition: €100-€200

By 02:13 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments


€100-€200

We think this is the most exciting category. Boastful "flagship killers" occupy the €400 region, but over here are phones that will create you question why you ever paid more than €200 for a phone. These aren't fully featured - maybe the classy screen is 720p instead of 1080p, maybe it lacks Gorilla Glass, maybe the storage is a small limited. So with a bit of smart shopping and you can find an excellent phone.

Let's kick off with a familiar brand. The Moto G4 bumps its head against the €200 ceiling, but it's a remarkable deal for a roomy classy screen and fresh Android. The G4 model has a 5.5" 1080p screen, guarded by Gorilla Glass 3, runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with 7.0 Nougat already in the works. Its 13MP capturing camera does 1080p video to boot.



Motorola Moto G4

Specs

  • Build: High quality plastic (single front-facing speaker)
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (dedicated microSD slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, upgradeable to 7.0 Nougat
  • Screen: 5.5" IPS, 1080p (401ppi), Gorilla Glass 3; 495nits brightness, 2.544 sunlight legibility
  • Camera: 13MP main, 5MP selfie, 1080p video
  • Chipset: 8x Cortex-A53, Adreno 405 (bench: 6,932)
  • Memory 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB -or- 32GB storage
  • Battery: 3,000mAh (sealed); 73h Endurance; Quick Charge 2.0 (15W)

Cons

  • Older chipset than we would have liked

Review

There's a Moto G4 Plus version, which adds a fingerprint reader and upgrades the capturing camera to 16MP. That is a €50-€60 increase in price and you must be sure you want these features. There are versions with 3GB or 4GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and up to 64GB of built-in storage, but then the price delta becomes even greater.

Moto has the 5" G4 Play, which also offers a fresh serving of Android (Marshmallow now, Nougat soon). It has a 1080p-capable 8MP camera, which is also impressive, our only complaint is that the quad-core Central Processing Units (CPU) doesn't slit it for this price range.



Motorola Moto G4 Play

Specs

  • Build: Plastic
  • Connectivity: Single SIM (dedicated microSD slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow, upgradeable to 7.0 Nougat
  • Screen: 5" IPS, 720p (294ppi)
  • Camera: 8MP main, 5MP selfie, 1080p video
  • Chipset: 4x Cortex-A53, Adreno 306
  • Memory 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 8GB storage -or- 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage
  • Battery: 2,800mAh (removable)

Cons

  • Chipset not fine enough for this price range
  • Some G4 goodies missing: Gorilla Glass 3, 13MP camera

Let's go for something unusual LG X screen. Some people fell in love with the second classy screen of the V10 (and now V20) and this is a chance to acquire it at a much lower price. The main classy screen measures 4.93" (720p resolution), above it is a 1.76" one line display.

Like the Motos above, you acquire a recent Android 6.0 Marshmallow and a fine capturing camera - 13MP/1080p, not to mention 8MP selfie. And again like the Motos, the chipset is less than impressive. The battery on this one is kind of small too, considering it has to support the Always on secondary screen.

By the way, LG's X series specializes in bringing one flagship feature to a very affordable phone. For example, the LG X cam has dual-cameras on the back, similar to the LG G5 or V20. We'll visit it in the next chapter.



LG X screen

Specs

  • Build: Plastic; Always on secondary screen
  • Connectivity: Optional Dual SIM (dedicated microSD slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Screen: 4.93" IPS, 720p (298ppi); secondary 1.76" line display
  • Camera: 13MP main, 8MP selfie, 1080p video
  • Chipset: 4x Cortex-A53, Adreno 306
  • Memory: 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage
  • Battery: 2,300mAh (sealed); Quick Charge 2.0 (15W)

Cons

  • Chipset not fine enough for this price range
  • Battery is small, especially for an Always on screen

The Xiaomi Mi 4c quietly became a killer deal. For under €150 you can acquire some high-discontinue performance thanks to the Snapdragon 808 chipset (used by LG for the G4, V10 and Nexus 5X). That's not the only advantage over the pricier Moto G4 Play - the 5" classy screen has 1080p resolution, you can acquire up to 3GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and a Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C port. As with other Xiaomis, this one isn't available on Amazon, but it's fairly easy to find in the West.



Xiaomi Mi 4c

Specs

  • Build: Plastic
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (no microSD card slot); Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C; IR blaster
  • OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop (MIUI 8.0)
  • Screen: 5" IPS, 1080p (441ppi); 452nits brightness, 2.574 sunlight legibility
  • Camera: 13MP main, 5MP selfie, 1080p video (from both cameras)
  • Chipset: 2x Cortex-A57 + 4x A53 (bench: 1,233), Adreno 418 (bench: 12,096)
  • Memory: 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage -or- 3GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 32GB storage
  • Battery: 3,080mAh (sealed, Quick Charge 2.0); 52h Endurance (45h for dual SIM)

Cons

  • No microSD slot
  • You may need to go through a reseller
  • Gray imports may have their software and preinstalled services geared towards the Chinese market

Review

A similar, but newer phone is the Huawei Honor 5c. It has a metal body that houses a 5.2" 1080p classy screen and a solid 13MP/1080p capturing camera plus an 8MP selfie shooter. It runs a newer Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Emotion UI skin.

Note that this device can be found under the name Honor 7 Lite, the differences are that the 7 Lite has a fingerprint reader and the 5c does not. This is also very similar to the Huawei P9 lite, except without the price and pretense.



Huawei Honor 5c

Specs

  • Build: Metal
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (hybrid microSD slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow (Emotion UI 4.1)
  • Screen: 5.2" IPS, 1080p (424ppi); 418nits brightness, 2.506 sunlight legibility
  • Camera: 13MP main, 8MP selfie, 1080p video
  • Chipset: 8x Cortex-A53 (bench: 1,221), Mali-T880MP2 (bench: 7,735)
  • Memory: 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage
  • Battery: 3,000mAh (sealed); 75h Endurance (69h for dual SIM)
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader on the Honor 7 Lite

Cons

  • No fingerprint reader on the Honor 5c
  • Hybrid slot is limiting when you only have 16GB storage

Review

The Huawei P9 lite is perhaps the prettier device (a subjective opinion) and definitely comes with a fingerprint reader (unlike the Honor 5c/7 Lite uncertainty). It uses higher-quality components too, P9 lite's display is brighter and offers better contrast. Still, we'd be hard pressed to disclose you that you're actually getting €80 more value for your money.

The Xiaomi Redmi 3 sacrifices the classy screen a bit, though at 5" even 720p is good. We're looking not so much the original 3, but one of its variants whose availability differs by region - Redmi 3 Pro, Redmi 3s, Redmi 3 Prime. They share a metal body with a 5" 720p screen, 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video, long-lasting 4,100mAh battery and yes, a microSD slot.

The 3 Pro and 3s Prime offer a fingerprint reader on the back and have 3GB of RAM. Note that the 3 Pro runs Android 5.1 while the 3s models are at 6.0.



Xiaomi Redmi 3s

Specs

  • Build: Metal
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (hybrid microSD slot); IR blaster
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow (MIUI 8.0)
  • Screen: 5" IPS, 720p (294ppi); 489nits brightness, 2.913 sunlight legibility
  • Camera: 13MP main, 5MP selfie, 1080p video (from both cameras)
  • Chipset: 8x Cortex-A53, Adreno 505 (bench: 7,263)
  • Memory: 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage (3GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 32GB storage for 3 Pro, 3s Prime)
  • Battery: 4,100mAh (sealed); 104h Endurance (!); Fast charging
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader on Redmi 3 Pro and 3s Prime

Cons

  • Base Redmi 3s lacks fingerprint reader
  • You may need to go through a reseller
  • Gray imports may have their software and preinstalled services geared towards the Chinese market
  • Hybrid slot is limiting when you only have 16GB storage

Review

Its sibling, the Redmi Note 3 is a popular choice but it has already been superseded. Still, it's slightly cheaper with a slightly better capturing camera and battery life (traded for a slower chipset).

We'd like to direct your attention to the LeEco Le 2, from a that recently entered the US phone and TV market (it's readily available in China, India and other markets too). For not much over €100, you acquire a 5.5" 1080p classy screen and a 16MP capturing camera capable of 2160p video capture. In that respect, the Le 2 stands alone on this page. This video prowess is thanks to the surprisingly fine chipset - either Snapdragon 652 or Helio X20. The Redmi Note 3 comes with S650 or X20, for comparison. Note that the battery on the LeEco is smaller (3,000mAh vs. 4,050mAh), but that's not its biggest issue - there's no microSD slot, so you'll have to fit in the 32GB of built-in storage.



LeEco Le 2

Specs

  • Build: Metal
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (no microSD slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow (EUI 5.6)
  • Screen: 5.5" IPS, 1080p (401ppi)
  • Camera: 16MP main, 8MP selfie, 1080p video (both)
  • Chipset: 4x Cortex-A72 + 4x A53, Adreno 510 -or- 2x A72 + 8x A53, Mali-T880MP4
  • Memory: 3GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 32GB storage
  • Battery: 3,000mAh (sealed); Quick Charge 2.0 (15W)

Cons

  • No microSD slot, 32GB is only storage option
  • No scratch-resistant glass

The leatherette back of the Asus Zenfone Max ZC550KL (the 2016 model) conceals a gigantic secret - 5,000mAh big. Sure, the large battery makes the phone thicker (10.6mm) and heavier (206g) than we're used to for a 5.5" phone, but it promises fantastic battery life. The classy screen resolution is on the low side (just 720p), but if you see at it in terms of battery, we don't mind. The chipset is, shall we say, not power hungry. We would have really liked a Snapdragon 625 (like the Zenfone 3 has) - the 14nm build (vs. the 28nm of this chipset) would have saved a fine deal of energy.

Note that this model seems limited to India. There's a Zenfone Max ZC550KL (yes, the same name) in Europe, but that's with the recent Snapdragon 410 chipset.



Asus Zenfone Max ZC550KL (2016)

Specs

  • Build: Plastic (leatherette back)
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (dedicated microSD slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow (Zen UI 3.0)
  • Screen: 5.5" IPS, 720p (267ppi); Gorilla Glass 4
  • Camera: 13MP main, 5MP selfie, 1080p video
  • Chipset: 8x Cortex-A53, Adreno 405
  • Memory: 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 32GB storage
  • Battery: 5,000mAh (sealed)

Cons

  • No quick charging for the huge battery
  • Low-ish classy screen resolution
  • Sluggish chipset even for this price range


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