GSMArena Smartphone Buyer's Guide:January 2018 Edition: Best Phones Under €100

By 05:57 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Phones under €100

We always find it particularly tough to recommdiscontinue anything at the very low-discontinue of the smartphone market. Despite the constant efforts of manufacturers like Xiaomi and Meizu to push the envelope, sub-€100 phones that can serve as a daily driver without filling you with red-hot rage at every interaction are rare.

Honestly, when we wrote a buyer's guide a few months ago, we were almost sure that the competitive market and especially among Chinese manufacturers was inching towards delivering usable phones, even in this price bracket. At the very least, we hoped to see things like higher-resolution screens and octa-core chipsets create their way into the hands of the most budacquire of shoppers. Sadly, this turned out to be wishful thinking.

As we mentioned earlier, we are inclined to at least partially blame the situation on the ever-growing exuberant flagship price tags. After all, if the climate is correct and the users happy, why struggle to deliver more for less. It all comes to say that we still can't wholeheartedly recommdiscontinue any device cheaper than €100.

Previously Microsoft's Windows Phone served the niche, as its lighter footprint made it more tolerable on the limited hardware that the phones here offer. But after the development of the Operating System (OS) by Microsoft got discontinued, there was a transition period where this price group had virtually no fine options. Some will undoubtedly scream Tizen here, but that's a platform with limited availability, so it's not an option for most people.

If you really can't spdiscontinue a dime over €100 and can't acquire a discount on a more expensive device from your carrier, we will reluctantly provide a few suggestions. But, you are twisting our hands here.

Kicking things off, we have the alcatel Pixi 4 (5). It costs less than €80, and that last five within the brackets denotes it has a 5-inch panel. One with a 480 x 854-pixel resolution, backed by a quad-core chipset, running at 1.3Ghz, 1GB of storage and 2000 mAh battery.



alcatel Pixi 4 (5)

Specs

  • Build: Plastic
  • Connectivity: Single SIM (Micro-SIM slot)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Screen: 5" IPS LCD, 480 x 854 pixels (196ppi);
  • Camera: 8MP main, autofocus; 5MP selfie
  • Chipset: 4 x Cortex-A7@1.3GHz
  • Memory: 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 8GB storage; dedicated microSD slot
  • Battery: 2,000mAh (removable)
  • Misc: Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio

Cons

  • 480 x 854 display
  • Weak chipset
  • 8GB storage will fill up more quickly than you can say 'microSD'
  • Small battery

Truly underwhelming, we know, but the reality is that this is about the hardware you can realistically expect in this price branch. And If you plan on settling for it, you might as well acquire it for €80, instead of €100. And just in case you were wondering, yes, we know that a Pixi 4 (4) exists and we also thought its smaller classy screen would create it cheaper. But, turns out, you can't shave all that much more off. So, please just stick to the 5-inch model.

Moving closer to the €100, you could, potentially, afford to bump your viewing experience up to 720p. Enter the Nokia 2. For about €90, it delivers on the promise of HD and even throws in a gigantic 4,100 mAh battery. Other than that, you still have to live with a quad-core Snapdragon 2012, and 8MP camera, 1GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and, perhaps more worrying - 8GB of storage. The alcatel suffers from the same complication, and unless you are careful with your app selection and count, this can render your device pretty unusable. Both do have a microSD card slot, and your best chance seems to be to home Android's storage adoption feature works for most of your apps.



Nokia 2

Review

Specs

  • Build: Aluminum frame, plastic back
  • Connectivity: Single SIM/Dual SIM (Nano-SIM slot)
  • OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat, Oreo update is likely
  • Screen: 5" IPS LCD, 720p (294ppi); 527nits brightness; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Camera: 8MP main, autofocus, 5MP selfie, 720p video
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 212 4x Cortex-A7@1.3GHz, Adreno 304
  • Memory: 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 8GB storage
  • Battery: 4,100mAh (sealed)
  • Misc:Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio with RDS

Cons

  • Weak chipset
  • 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) is not enough for lag-free experience
  • 8GB storage will fill up more quickly than you can say 'microSD'

We also realize the Nokia 2 has kind of a limited availability at this time - most places besides EU do have it. To cover that niche, there is the Huawei Y5 II 4G. It essentially costs as much as the Nokia and offers nearly the same specs, with a few downgrades, like the battery capacity. If you do go for it, be sure to find the 4G version, as a 3G one does also exist.

Speaking of local availability, if you live in India, an fascinating option to potentially consider is the Samsung Galaxy J2 (2017). If you are looking for a compact, sub 5-inch device, it fits the bill perfectly. Especially considering the panel in question is Super AMOLED. Unfortunately, though, you will be giving up some resolution with the underwhelming 540 x 960 pixels its classy screen has. The rest is a pretty similar setup to what we have seen so far.



Samsung Galaxy J2 (2017)

Specs

  • Build:Plastic body
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Screen: 4.7" Super AMOLED, 540 x 960 pixels (234ppi)
  • Camera: 5MP main, autofocus, 2MP selfie, 720p video
  • Chipset: Exynos 3475 Quad 4x Cortex-A7@1.3GHz, Mali-T720
  • Memory: 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 8GB storage
  • Battery: 2,000mAh (removable)
  • Misc: Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio with RDS

Cons

  • 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) is not enough for lag-free experience
  • 8GB storage will fill up more quickly than you can say 'microSD'
  • 540 x 960 display
  • Low-resolution selfie camera
  • Small battery

Cough up another €10, and things start to acquire more interesting. Right at the €100 imprint is where the Motorola Moto C Plus resides. It's got a 720p panel, a gigantic 4,000 mAh battery, and a decent 8MP camera, all of which create for a solid offer. To add to that, the Moto C Plus comes with 16GB of storage in its base configuration. That makes it a bit more usable than its 8GB competition.



Motorola Moto C Plus

Specs

  • Build: Plastic body
  • Connectivity: Single SIM/Dual SIM (Nano-SIM)
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Screen: 5" IPS LCD, 720p (294ppi)
  • Camera: 8MP main, autofocus, 2MP selfie, 720p video
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6737 4x Cortex-A7@1.3GHz, Mali-T720MP2
  • Memory: 1GB/2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage
  • Battery: 4,000mAh (removable)
  • Misc: Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio

Cons

  • 1GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) is not enough for lag-free experience
  • 16GB base storage means you will soon have to acquire a microSD card
  • Low-resolution selfie camera

And last, but not least, we even have something for the capturing camera buffs. Well, to be fair, at this price, you can't realistically expect much, but the ZTE Blade V7 Line is still about as fine as it gets, thanks to its 13MP snapper. It also comes with 16GB of storage standard, but does compromise on battery some, with a 2,500 mAh battery pack.



ZTE Blade V7 Lite

Review

Specs

  • Build: Metal body
  • Connectivity: Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Screen: 5" IPS LCD, 720p (294ppi)
  • Camera: 13MP main, autofocus, 8MP selfie, 1080p video
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6735P 4x Cortex-A53@1.0GHz, Mali-T720MP2
  • Memory: 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) + 16GB storage
  • Battery: 2,500mAh (sealed)
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader; Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio

Cons

  • Smallish battery capacity
  • 16GB base storage means you will soon have to acquire a microSD card

This is where we would traditionally put a Xiaomi Redmi model and watch it pretty much blow the competition out of the water. In this case, it would likely be the Redmi 4A. However, the Redmi 5A is correct around the corner and offers a few improvements here and there over its predecessor, for the same asking price.

Plus, on a bigger scale, there is still the issue that none of these sub-€100 devices offers a smooth and fluent enough experience to be considered good, even for casual use. On the other hand, for €15 or so more, you can acquire devices like the Xiaomi Redmi 4 (4X) or even better, the recent Redmi 5, with actually usable hardware.

To that end, we will leave you with the same advice as a few months ago: Don't spdiscontinue less than €100 on a smartphone. Find a way to up your budacquire just a small and acquire a device which can hrecent its own in various utilize cases. On the next page, we have several remarkable value options lined up.

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