It's almost always better to purchase a last-generation flagship over a current-gen mid-range device. Last-gen flagships routinely pack better hardware, superior cameras, better performance, and more software features. You won't be getting the freshest hardware, however you'll be surprised at the value some year-old products can provide.
What if you want a mechanical keyboard but only have $40 to spend? With the market now flooded with loads of Cherry MX knock-off switches, this has enabled companies to develop very affordable mechanical keyboards. One such case is the GranVela MechanicalEagle Z-77, available on Amazon for as little as $35.
For budget smartphone buyers, the phone series I continually recommend is the Motorola Moto G. Now in its fourth iteration, the Moto G has delivered excellent entry-level value since its inception, despite increasingly stronger competition from Chinese vendors. The recently-released Moto G4 Play is no exception.
It isn't often that we see Nvidia being so aggressive in the entry-level segment and historically they've seemed happy to let AMD take the hit on margins here. Driving the sub-$150 GeForce GTX 1050 is the newly developed GP107 GPU that is more powerful than anything we've tested before on this price range.
In the past we’ve had no trouble recommending the Moto G for those after a fantastic budget smartphone. In 2016, Motorola has expanded the Moto G line and the $250 Moto G4 Plus is the most fully featured of the bunch. It shares the same display, SoC and design with the basic Moto G4 but upgrades the camera and includes a fingerprint sensor.
The new Radeon RX 460 is a Polaris 11 part that starts at only $109. Products based on Polaris 11 will also be turning up in ultra-portable devices as the power draw is expected to be very low. On the desktop, AMD hopes to capture the entry level eSports market by providing acceptable 1080p performance in titles such as CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League.
If you’re in the market for a new phone and don’t have a ton of money to spend, most companies would want you to look at their collection of mid-range and entry-level handsets. But that’s not always the smartest move. If you know where to look, the flagship phones of yesteryear can provide considerably better hardware and value.
Which of the two would you rather hold?
The Oppo F1 is loaded with a collection of very respectable hardware for its $200 price tag. Inside is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 SoC to power a 5.0-inch 720p display, all in a slim metal body. The cameras are billed as the stars of the show, alongside the 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 that protects the display. But the question is, what don't you get given the cost of admission?
The FX-8320E has been AMD's go-to option for budget quad-core computing without integrated graphics for a few months now. But the landscape has shifted on Intel's side with the arrival of its new Skylake-based Core i3 and Pentium processors. After being disappointed in August by the marginal performance between Skylake and Haswell Core i7s, we're interested in seeing how the i3-6100 stacks up against the older i3-4360, as well as the i5-4430 and the overclocked FX-8320E.
These days you might expect buying a new processor to be fairly straightforward. The choice seems clear: Intel has proven to offer superior core performance with considerably greater efficiency. However, many enthusiasts argue that AMD offers better overclocking on its more affordable processors and therefore delivers a better bang for your buck. We put that notion to the test.
Having just three phones on the market has allowed Motorola to give each the time and polish needed for success. The Moto X's innovative contextual processing features made it a compelling flagship option, while the Moto G is arguably the best sub-$200 device you can buy. Motorola's budget model, the Moto E, aims to be the best option for $130, unlocked and off-contract. Better yet, you get stock Android, which means no bloatware and timely updates.
Nokia's first Android-powered phone is meant to slot in a new product segment between the low-end Asha feature phones and Lumia smartphones. Despite reading a few pieces on the Nokia X, nothing really prepared me for the first time I used it. Surely a handset released in 2014, even if it is at the lower end of the product tree, couldn’t feel this unfinished.
Low-end desktop SoCs typically come soldered to motherboards, including AMD's 2011 Brazos platform as well as Intel's Bay Trail-D. AMD hopes to change that with its AM1 platform, which currently offers four APUs as well as a range of affordable motherboards. While checking out the new AM1 APUs, we have rounded up competing chips to give you a clearer picture of what is available in the budget CPU market.
Marking the introduction of its Maxwell architecture, Nvidia has targeted AMD's $150 Radeon R7 265 with the new GeForce GTX 750 Ti. With fewer cores being used to get more performance, Maxwell consumes less power and improves Kepler's performance per watt. Does that mean AMD's newly relaunched Radeon R7 265 could be in trouble considering it's essentially a slightly overclocked and steeply discounted HD 7850?
The Moto G is Motorola’s biggest and best effort yet in conquering Android's entry-level market. It’s not a handset meant to break records, but the 4.5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 400 SoC and dual-SIM support (in certain models) will please the right crowds. Plus, at $179 for the 8 GB model and $199 for 16 GB, unlocked and off-contract, it certainly fits the definition of what an affordable smartphone should be.