The modern lifestyle is defined by being hyperconnected, having ready access to information, and being able to get most things done day to day efficiently, because technology has made everyday life very convenient. And the smartphone is a clear representation of that, as it is essentially a pocket supercomputer, and has become an indispensable tool for work, study, and socialising.
However, not everyone wants to shell out a four-figure sum every year to replace their smartphones with the latest shiniest flagship, even if we have nothing against it. Sometimes, all you want is a smartphone that can handle everything you need it to do comfortably and competently, and cost-effectively.
Here is a list of budget smartphones for those simply looking for a reliable workhorse at under S$1,000.
This is the next-gen iteration of the Google Pixel 4a, which is the more affordable version of the flagship Google Pixel 5. With a 12.2MP wide and 16MP ultrawide dual-camera array, Snapdragon 765G CPU, and 6.34-inch FHD display, this is a smartphone that can do everything (photography, gaming, watching shows, working on the go) decently well, even if it’s nowhere close to being the best. Not only that, it also has an IP67 rating, which means it’s dust and water-resistant. Coupled with its metal chassis and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display, this is one durable smartphone.
At S$699, this is definitely a budget phone worthy of serious consideration.
The Oppo A74 is a great option for those who want the latest connectivity tech on a budget. The sharp 6.43-inch AMOLED display and 5,000mAh battery are definitely highlights. It’s a smartphone that has good visuals while being able to last a whole day and then some easily. The Snapdragon 662 chipset and at least 4GB of RAM are also sufficient for those looking for practicality.
While there is no 5G connectivity with this model, at S$299, this is a fair compromise for a solid smartphone.
OnePlus is a leader in the Chinese smartphone market, with models catering to people looking for budget, mid-range, or premium smartphones. The OnePlus Nord CE 5G is a smartphone that lands itself squarely between the budget to mid-range niche.
With a 6.43-inch AMOLED display that boasts 90Hz refresh rate, 5G capability, and Snapdragon 750G chipset, this is a smartphone that manages to pack all the essentials and then some into a price tag starting at S$499. The 64MP triple camera is one that won’t disappoint too.
The Samsung Galaxy A series is Samsung’s budget smartphone lineup. The Galaxy A52 5G strives to be a jack-of-all-trades workhorse with a Snapdragon 778 chipset, at least 6GB of RAM, 6.5-inch super AMOLED display, 64MP rear camera, and 10-hour battery life. The non-fussy user will not find any aspect of the smartphone wanting.
At S$498, while it doesn’t offer an experience as close to Samsung’s flagship models as a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE does, it’s a more affordable and wallet-friendly option.
Redmi is a sub-brand of Xiaomi, and the Redmi Note 10 Pro is impressive as far as budget smartphones go. With a 108MP main camera, 6.67-inch 120Hz display, Snapdragon 732G chipset and 5,020mAh battery, this is a powerhouse of budget smartphones. The main downside here is the lack of 5G support, but for the most part, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro provides a high-end experience at a killer price.
Starting at S$399, this is one jaw-dropper of a budget smartphone.
Motorola claims that the Moto G Power has a battery life of three days, and can stream 150 hours of music on a single full charge. Even if that isn’t the case, its 5,000 mAh battery is definitely going to outlast most other budget smartphones in that aspect. Of course, it isn’t lacking in other specs as well – 6.4-inch LCD display, 64GB storage, Snapdragon 665 CPU, 4GB of RAM. It is a smartphone that does one thing especially well, and other things adequately.
Starting at S$265, this is a great option for those who use their smartphone heavily throughout the day.
The TCL brand is more commonly associated with budget smart TVs, and when that screen expertise is put into a smartphone, we get a pleasantly surprising result. The TCL 20S has a 6.67-inch 1080p display with a Snapdragon 665 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 5,000 mAh battery that also boasts quite the battery life. With a fingerprint sensor and face unlock option, this is a smartphone with a bit of flair for those who want that extra convenience.
At S$345, this is definitely a great option for consideration.
The iPhone SE is the only budget iPhone. Apple’s entry-level smartphone has the chassis of an iPhone 8, including the single 12MP rear camera, which means it features a home button that has been done away with since the iPhone X. Inside the iPhone 8 chassis is Apple’s A13 Bionic chipset, which gives the smartphone speed that’s comparable to an iPhone 11 Pro. Even though it only has 3GB of RAM, the smartphone, with its 4.7-inch Retina display is more than capable of simple multitasking and gaming.
At S$719, this budget smartphone sports Apple’s glass and metal design and wireless charging as the cherry on top.
This list is proof that a smartphone doesn’t have to feature cutting-edge specs or premium parts to be good. Budget smartphones can be highly effective and reliable too, and there is something comforting about that. Since smartphones have become staples in the lives of urbanites, it is reassuring to know that there’s no need to burn a hole in one’s pocket whenever we need to replace the device.