Better Buy: Older flagship smartphones are better than current budget offerings

By Scorpus · 26 replies
May 2, 2016
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  1. Which of the two would you rather hold?

    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 at a price comparable to brand new budget and mid-range phones ($100+ to $350).

    More often than not, smartphones that used to retail for $600 at launch can be bought for half that price the year after, and these are exactly the sort of phones that should be on the radar of price-conscious consumers. We often see Apple playing this card with older iPhones -- with great results -- but not so much for Android manufacturers. We believe that's a missed opportunity.

    To save yourself the trouble, here are our picks for the seven best older smartphones that provide much better value than mid-range or budget devices at a similar price point. All of these handsets come in at $350 or less, and the cheaper options in particular shouldn’t break the bank.

    Read the complete article.

    misor likes this.
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Xiaomi note looks like it's going for $250, pretty good.
  3. phillai

    phillai TS Enthusiast Posts: 43   +6

    Just bought two spare phones recently that are similarly priced.
    The very capable WileyFox Swift for £150 and the iPhone 5s for £168.
    Both are great but for value and build quality, I do prefer the iPhone 5s!
  4. G0DofPaiN

    G0DofPaiN TS Booster Posts: 58   +35

    I'm looking to buy the samsung A5 2016, is any phone with better battery/specs around $350?
  5. Zenodroid

    Zenodroid TS Booster Posts: 132   +27

    Just not the samsung galaxy s6, even if rooted. it is a flop phone from samsung, no matter what you do with it :/ that was my worst "flagship" for 2 months, and then I went back to the galaxy alpha.
  6. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    As far as my budget smartphone purchases, the only thing that matters most is the OS upgrade path. I bought cherry mobile android one and android one g1 phones because of direct upgrades from google.

    sure, there are lots of enticing phones with discounted prices (android 4.4 KitKat?) but the lack of upgrade path to android 6 marshmallow and beyond (or at least android 5 lollipop) make the offerings meh...
  7. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Guru Posts: 355   +71

    I will probably stick with the Nexus 5X until it breaks, especially as I paid release price "doh!"
  8. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,963   +231

    Go the G4 or Nexus 5X
  9. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    That's when you root the phone anyhow. But still, my old Galaxy S4 still runs just fine. It doesn't have 6, probably won't ever get it natively, but so what. Besides some performance optimization, what does it really change? The newer ones are faster and smoother but it doesn't make the old ones less functional.
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,332   +1,978

    Well, the optimum word here is "budget". As the population continues to age there are just a lot of people unwilling to shell out $500 plus for the latest and greatest. Considering the cost of the phones and the inflated costs of services, the makers were simply pricing themselves out of the business. For a lot of us simply having a basic wireless phone and keeps names and phone numbers in it is plenty.
  11. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,663   +1,949

    The best value is an old-school non-smartphone, like Nokia 6310i, which you can get for free with just about any phone provider, and it works for 2 weeks on a single charge.


    Man, I feel so old now...
    ajpat3 likes this.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    That's a nice device, I have one courtesy of having wonderful kids but it's definitely not worth $350 in my opinion. It's a high quality, classy looking device but the specs are very anemic. You would be better advised to look at the Nexus or LG devices for that price.
  13. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Currently using the G3 and it has 6.0, for a phone now over 2 years old that's pretty impressive, sadly I feel it won't be upgraded past this OS version, but at the same time OS upgrades hardly give you anything new these days so it's almost a moot point. The biggest downside to this handset is easily the battery life, everywhere else it performs fantastically, still find the picture it takes to be top notch and the screen was ahead of it's time back in the day.
  14. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 616   +175

    My LG G4 already has Android 6.0, go with it if you want 6.
    veLa likes this.
  15. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,335   +843

    What about Xperia Z1 or Z2?
  16. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +648

    ajpat3 and VitalyT like this.
  17. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +648

    Personally, unless you are really into high end graphic intensive games, any good phone with an 80x chip will work just fine. I prefer the budget phones in the first place, because my phone is a tool, not a fashion statement ;)
    I've been using a Huawei Mate2 for almost 2 years that has a SD400, 720p screen, 4,050mAH battery. Only thing I wish it had was NFC. Battery lasts 2 days easy, it gets a TON of phone, email, photos, web use during the week and a lot of Pandora on the weekend. Best $299 I've spent in years.
    I don't care about flashy, fast, pricey crap that is replaced year after year. I want something that lasts, and this one did. Changed my whole mind about rooting, flashing, benchmarks and all that other garbage. Hey, if you want to spend more than some people pay for a monthly rent/house payment, feel free! Not MY money.
  18. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 414   +186

    I've been eyeing these 2 devices my self. The minor spec bump of the latest gen flagship devices don't justify paying twice the price. I'm just now having to replace my HTC One M7.
  19. Levi Sterling

    Levi Sterling TS Booster Posts: 80   +26

    I would also prefer something I can get on boost mobile and something I can root
  20. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    I got the galaxy s5 just before the s7 came out, it was new and sim free for less than half its original price.
  21. RBBrittain

    RBBrittain TS Rookie

    You left out the fact that the Moto X Style is known in the U.S. as the Moto X Pure Edition. Its software is not quite as "pure" as a Nexus, but it's sold *only* as an unlocked phone (compatible with all U.S. carriers up to 4G LTE) thru Motorola, Amazon or Best Buy. That, plus aggressive discounting (currently $300 for the base model) and full microSD support -- including adoptable storage in Lollipop (disabled on many phones) -- makes it a very good buy.
  22. Godel

    Godel TS Booster Posts: 75   +27

    Good article, hope you do it again next year.
  23. lazer

    lazer TS Booster Posts: 111   +26

    I totally agree with the author. I have been buying many tech products, new, but one year old or more, after the manufacturer has come out with the new brand.

    The strategy is two fold:
    a. after a year or two, it is known which is the best and has no problems.
    b. the price drops drastically when the new model comes out.
  24. noc81

    noc81 TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +29

    Well, I guess I got a great budget deal when I nabbed my girl and myself a pair of Moto-E 2015 LTE's for $10 apiece. Still can't beat with going with a nexus, or at least a moderately popular device -- it makes a huge difference when third party roms become your only upgrade path..
  25. Ranger1st

    Ranger1st TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +124

    I was in a toss up wit the new NEXUS 6P or the old S6 curve plus... both the same price. but then I realize the hideous amount of bloat ware added by the carrier and Samsung, also at 32gig.. I was not about to get that. So, I tried to utilize this articles thought string.. but sadly corporate idiocy got in the way.. NEXUS 6P it is.

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