Best Budget Smartphones of 2018 (Buyer’s Guide)

by Linus 0

If you read Gizmochina chances are you love smartphones. However, not everyone can afford to buy flagships that can cost $1000. In this article, we are going to take a look at great budget phones that cost just about $200 or less but they bring a lot of value to the table. We honestly believe these are the best budget smartphones of 2018 yet.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

As usual to Xiaomi, you get great specifications for the price. I have a lower-end model but I suggest you pay $30 more for an extra gigabyte of RAM and 64GB of storage. I just love the new Snapdragon 636 chipset since it both power-efficient and it can handle 3D games very well.

As far as design goes, we have a typical Xiaomi phone that is made out of metal and the overall build quality is excellent.

For the price of about $200, you get a premium-looking phone with excellent display, great specs, very good overall performance, one of the best cameras, a fantastic battery and many extras like the IR blaster, a headset jack, very good loudspeaker and so on.

Overall, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is yet another great budget smartphone. Despite a few minor flaws, I can easily recommend this as one of the best budget smartphones you can buy at the moment.

You can now get the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 for just $189.99.

Xiaomi Redmi 5

Xiaomi Redmi 5 is one of the cheapest budget phones you can buy but it offers a lot of value for the price. The phone is made of metal and plastic, it has great specs, modern 18:9 aspect ratio display and nice cameras.

The phone handles graphically intensive games really well and it does not get very hot while gaming either. Really impressive considering the Snapdragon 400-series processor.

You can now get the Xiaomi Redmi 5 for just $149.99 which is one of the best deals you can get.

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

If you want a bigger and better version of the Redmi 5, the Plus model is worth checking out.

The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus follows the trend of 18:9 displays by offering a large panel that is pretty sharp and vibrant for everyday use.

The highlight of the specs is the Snapdragon 625 chipset that has already proven to be a capable performer when it comes to gaming and especially when it comes to power efficiency.

Obviously, you get a nice metal design, great build quality, very good cameras and a lot of extra features for the price of just $189.99.

Xiaomi Redmi S2

Even though the Xiaomi Redmi S2 is not our top recommendation when it comes to budget phones as we usually suggest taking a look at other Xiaomi phones, the device still has plenty to offer for the price. Same as other Xiaomi phones, the S2 offers a Snapdragon 625 chipset. It also has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Moreover, the phone has a pretty good camera on the back and on the front. You can now get the Xiaomi Redmi S2 for just $159.99.

Nubia M2

Nubia is the ZTE’s spinoff company that has been making phones for quite some time.

We don’t have a full-screen design but the Nubia M2 is just gorgeous. It’s all metal, it has nice a really nice combination of black color with gold accents and nicely chamfered edges. The display is easily one of the best in this price range. The AMOLED panel has deep blacks, punchy colors and good contrast.  Snapdragon 625 is known not only for its superb power efficiency but also for great overall performance. You also get 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.

Overall, the Nubia M2 is a great budget phone. I love its design and excellent build quality, great overall performance, solid cameras and a very good battery life. The only thing that may disappoint you is outdated Android 6 but at least the phone is very snappy. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from this phone but after using it for a couple of weeks, I can easily recommend it as one of the best phones in this price range as it offers a lot of value for the price of just about $160.

Nubia Z17 Mini

Nubia Z17 Mini is yet another great budget option. The phone costs about $235 but it offers quite a powerful Snapdragon 652 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, a 5.2″ display and all of that is packed into a compact all-metal body.

Nubia Z17 Lite

We do not want to look like we are promoting Nubia brand but they have quite a few phones that were released some time ago but now they offer a lot of value for the price. The Z17 Lite is a great example. It is similar to the Z17 mini in a lot of ways but key differences include a larger 5.5″ display and a bit more powerful Snapdragon 653 CPU. In addition, you get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The phone now costs just $169.99 which is just a steal.

Meizu Pro 6 Plus

Meizu Pro 6 Plus was released quite some time ago as a budget flagship phone but you can now get it for just $198.90

You may ask why you would want to buy an older phone but for less $200 you get a 5.7″ 2K resolution Amoled display, all-metal build, Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa Core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Finally, you get an excellent 12MP Sony camera and a huge 3400mAh battery.

Meizu M6 Note

The Meizu M6 Note has a classic all-metal design, a huge battery, decent specs and more for less than $200.

The M6 Note does not follow the trend of the full-screen budget phones. Instead, it sports a more traditional design with a 5.5” 1080p LCD display that has reasonably small side bezels. Moreover, the phone has a rather compelling dual camera setup that consists of one 12MP shooter with bright f/1.9 aperture lens and another 5MP snapper. Other specs include  a Snapdragon 625 chipset, 3/4GB RAM and 32/64GB of storage.

Buy Meizu M6 Note from Banggood Buy Meizu M6 Note from Gearbest

Lenovo S5

Lenovo is known for making laptops and other electronics but they are certainly capable of producing high-quality phones. The Lenovo S5 looks very similar to the budget phones made by Xiaomi, Meizu or Nubia but the company has their own take on the UI and other aspects of the device.

The S5 rocks a 5.7″ full-screen display, a Snapdragon 625 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Also, the phone is made of metal and the build quality is nothing short of a flagship. Other key features: the phone has a dual-camera setup that consists of two 12MP shooters. Also, there is a beefy 16MP snapper on the front. Finally, a 3000mAh battery keeps the lights on. You can now get the Lenovo S5 for just $199.99 which is a great value.

Buy Lenovo S5 from Banggood Buy Lenovo S5 from Gearbest

Asus ZenFone Max (M1)

Asus Zenfone Max (M1) may not be the phone you’ve heard about but it actually offers a lot of value for the price of $199.99. The highlights of this device include a huge 4000mAh battery, a 5.5″ display that has 18:9 aspect ratio, Snapdragon 425 chipset, a dual camera setup and much more that is packed into a beautiful metal body. We think Asus Zenfone Max (M1) has a lot of value for the price and we definitely suggest you checking this phone out.

Buy Asus Zenfone Max (M1)

HUAWEI Honor 9 Lite

HUAWEI Honor 9 Lite is a solid budget phone made by Honor – the Huawei’s subsidiary brand.

As for the looks, We have a classic design as the phone uses a sheet of glass on the front and rear, a metal frame and buttons that are easy to press. It’s really comfortable to hold the phone in one hand due to that 18:9 aspect ratio display.

In terms of hardware, the phone ships with the Kirin 659 chipset, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.

We like this phone for its beautiful design and great build quality, solid all-around performance, great cameras, good battery life and the fact that the device still has a headset jack.

You can now get the Honor 9 Lite for just $187.99.

Buy Honor 9 Lite from Gearbest Buy Honor 9 Lite from Banggood

Honor 7X

Honor 7x was released at the end of 2017 but it is still a pretty solid phone. The device sports a trendy 18:9 aspect ratio display with a good amount of brightness, punchiness, and sharpness. I love the all-metal design, excellent display, pretty good daily performance, good cameras and great battery life. Just like the Honor 9 Lite, this phone ships with Kirin 659 chipset, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. At the moment, this phone costs $219.99. It may not be the only budget option out there but it’s definitely worth checking out.

Buy Honor 7X from Banggood Buy Honor 7X from Gearbest


Keep in mind that we will update this article when the new devices come out so make sure to bookmark this page and check it out from time to time! Keep in mind that I have used and reviewed most of these phones and I can personally recommend them if you are looking for a great budget device. In this article, I state my genuine opinion and I do not have any intentions to promote any brand or model. 

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