In this buyers guide you will find our top Android smartphone choice for a consumer looking for good hardware at a good price. This guide is not about the best phones but rather the best phone for a moderate budget in the range of around $100-$400.
In some cases, you can get similar hardware for $200 compared to some other popular brands newest phone costing 600$ and more.
I get often asked for smartphone recommendations from people who want to save some cash sine I’m usually buying high quality phones for moderate prices. Instead of answering the same question multiple times I can point to this article which I will try to update from time to time.
How to compare phone specifications
There are multiple sites for comparing phone specifications but the go-to site which I have used for multiple years now and it seems the local stores use it too is gsmarena.com.
Usually I just search for the phone I have and add a comparison to the couple of best phone candidates I have and start comparing the specs. But first you need to find the phone candidates and the price plays a huge role here so you need to read the next chapter on how to find good candidates.
How to find good smartphone candidates within your budget
I live in Europe so I like to use the geizhals.eu site since it’s in my opinion the best comparison site in Europe for this purpose.
First go to mobile phones without contract and then start selecting criteria that are important to you.
I’m not willing to buy just any brand of phone so I usually choose specific brands which I know have good phones. Currently, my favorites are the Moto (Motorola) phones and other Android One phones. Samsung, LG, Nokia, Google, Xiaomi, Sony should all be fine too. Below you can see the ones I selected for this search.
I’m not too picky about screen size so I don’t select that at all. Usually, I like something in between 5″ and 5,5″ but most smartphones are anyhow that size.
I’m not too focused on CPU power but I do look at the RAM. Currently I wouldn’t go under 3GB of RAM even for a low budget of around $100 but personally, for myself, I would choose 4GB+ RAM. For the purpose of this exercise lets’ select from 3GB (It’s called Memory in the Geizhals website).
Then just sort based on the price and start looking at candidates. For example, I found the Moto G6 with 3GB of RAM a possible low-cost option.
However, for me, it does make a difference where the phone is available at. So see below my preferred phone shopping sites.
Where to purchase a smartphone from
I have purchased smartphones from local stores and online in my home country and from Europe mainly from multiple sites in Germany and the UK. By far the best customer service experience has been offered to me by Amazon.de.
One great benefit is also that Amazon.de has free shipping which in my experience has been quite quick.
It’s especially tempting to purchase a warehouse deal from Amazon.de before Christmas time since you get -20% off during a special period. Please see my article on the warehouse deals before Christmas here.
I have been buying smartphones for the whole extended family and have had a few devices malfunction. The best part about Amazon is that they have been so easy to deal with if a return has been needed. An additional benefit, if the device was a warehouse deal, is that they give you the money back since it was a unique one of a kind item. So in some cases, I have had an almost two-year-old phone malfunction and then got the original purchase price back which allowed me to buy a newer better phone with the same money. That’s a sure way of keeping the customer happy.
So the bottom line is that currently I always order from Amazon and always purchase my smartphones as warehouse deals. The only exception was when someone dropped a weight on my phone at the gym and I needed a replacement right away during the same day so I just bought a Nokia 7.1 (Android One phone) at the local store.
How to find good smartphone options from Amazon.de warehouse deals
The Amazon.de warehouse deals section might be tricky to find if you are looking for it the first time. You can easily access Amazon.de warehouse deals section with smartphones with this link.
A good way to approach the searching is then just to tick the boxes for the brands of phones you are interested in (same approach as with Geizhals above). Usually, there aren’t that many phones so you should easily find some that are interesting for you. You can also use some of the phones you found in the Geizhals step to see for what price you could get them for.
Let’s use the Moto G6 we found in the Geizhals step as an example. So let’s just filter for Motorola phones in Amazon. Sorting based on the price it’s quite easy to find the Moto G6.
If you want a direct link to Amazon.de Moto G6 here it is. Just click on the used ones and you will find if it’s in stock as a warehouse deal. I found it for 127€ in Good condition as a warehouse deal. For a phone released in 2018 just about a year ago with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage and expandable with an SD card and upgradable to the new Android 9.0 I think this is a great find. Just look at the specs on GsmArena and compare to your current phone or some 200-400€ phone at the local store and you might be wondering why would you spend that much more.
If you want 4GB of RAM instead of 3GB then look at the G6 with 4GB of RAM or Moto X4 or some Android One phone.
Best if you are really tight on cash – around $100
Would recommend the Moto G6 linked above.
Best if you can spend – around $200
Will update with more information when I have the time but phones I would look into currently are:
- Moto X4 with 4GB RAM on Amazon.de warehouse deal for around 233€
- Motorola One 4GB RAM on Amazon.de warehouse deal for 148€
- Nokia 7.1
- Other Android One phones