The mid-range smartphone segment is saturated. So, it can be really challenging to choose a phone. One of the questions I get asked a lot is. Which smartphones have the best specs at the lowest possible price? In this post, I’m going to recommend four smartphones, with the best value for money, that cost less than $700.
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Apple iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pros
My first choice is also the only pick for iOS users. Even though the iPhone 12 launched recently, apart from its design and new colors, there isn’t that much of a reason to spend $830 for its base 64GB model. Yes, it has the faster A14 bionic. But Apple’s previous-gen A13 bionic still performs so fast that the average consumer would probably not notice any difference in speed between the iPhone 12 and an iPhone 11.
So, why not save up $200 and instead get an iPhone 11? It starts at $599 for 64GB and $649 for 128GB while providing a near-identical user experience to the iPhone 12. With its detailed color accurate photos and videos, the iPhone 11 can still be considered as one of the best smartphone cameras today. It brings the same 12MP primary and 12MP wide-angle lens that’s also found in the iPhone 11 pro’s main camera. On the front, you get a 12MP selfie. The rear and front cameras can record video at 4k 60fps. Both also shoot slow-motion video at 120fps, with the rear camera can do slow-mo at 240fps.
It has a low-resolution display. But after using it for almost a year now. I sometimes forget that it’s only 720p. Because it’s a very good LCD display. Moreover, when you combine fewer pixels with a beefy chipset, an optimized buttery smooth operating system, and a 3100mAh cell, you get exceptional battery life. In fact, when it was launched back in 2019, the iPhone 11 had the longest battery life on any iPhone estimated at about 6 to 7 hours of screen-on time. The iPhone 11 supports standard wireless charging and fast wired charging up to 18W only.
Apple is notorious for supporting its phones for at least 5 years, and because the A13 bionic is such a powerful chipset, you can buy the iPhone 11 and not find any pressing need to upgrade for several years.
iPhone 11 Cons
The cons of this phone are its low resolution 720p LCD display and slow 18w charging speeds.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
Galaxy S20FE Pros
My next recommendation is the galaxy s20 FE 5G. This phone is essentially a stripped-down version of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series. They pulled out the best and most essential features from their flagship phone. Then delivered it to the consumer at an affordable price. You can find it at $500 for the 256 GB and $425 for the 128GB storage option. It also has support for expandable storage through the second sim card slot.
So, what value does the S20 FE provide? First, you get a flagship rear camera that can take some of the best pictures on any smartphone. And that’s because it has the same 12 MP primary and 12MP ultrawide lenses found in last year’s Flagship Galaxy S20 models. Plus, an 8 MP telephoto lens. There’s also, a 32 MP front-facing camera. Just like the iPhone 11, both its rear and front cameras can record video in 4k at 60fps.
The s20 FE 5G has 8GB of Ram and is run by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 SoC which has an amazing performance and efficiency rating. I’ve been using this phone as my daily driver ever since it was launched and it has consistently taken me over a full day of use. It supports 25W fast charge and 15W fast wireless charging to make it easier to refill its beefy 4500mAh battery which in turn has to power its crispy, beautiful looking 6.5-inch AMOLED display at Full HD and 120Hz.
Long-term users would be happy to know that Samsung promised up to 3 years of Android OS and security updates for the S20 FE. My phone arrived with Android 10 and One U.I. 2.5. But it’s now updated to Android 11 and One U.I. 3.0. I have to say that Samsung’s One U.I. is among the best skins for Android smartphones. It is simple, clean, and user-friendly.
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Galaxy S20FE Cons
The cons of this phone. I previously faced a few occasional software hookups. But credit to Samsung, those issues ended ever since I got the Android 11 update. Also, the phone has a plastic back. But it doesn’t really matter because most people are going to end up putting it in a case, which may as well be plastic.
One Plus 8T 5G
One Plus 8T Pros
The One Plus 8T is a direct competitor to the Galaxy S20 Fe. It comes with a really good 6.5-inch 120Hz Amoled display. It uses the Snapdragon 865 Soc and supports 5G. Its front and back are made of gorilla glass 5 which gives it a more premium feel over the Galaxy S20’s plastic back.
One thing I really like about the One plus 8T is its extremely fast charging speed. I mean this phone is capable of 65W charging. And is advertised as being able to fill up its huge 4500mAh cell in about 40mins. It has a solid battery life, lasting a full day on average. Out of the box, you get the Oxygen OS 11 skin over Android 11. Oxygen OS is a very smooth, customizable, and probably the best skin for Android smartphones. One Plus also promises three years of software updates.
There’s a triple camera setup on the back. Including a 48MP primary, 16MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and a depth sensor? That’s a lot of lenses and sure, it can produce very good images and video. But I feel that it’s macro and depth sensors are just there for show off. Because the images from those two are not particularly the best. Its 16MP selfie camera takes nice pictures. Its rear camera can record video at 4K 60fps or 60fps and 240fps at 1080p. But its selfie is limited to 1080p at 30fps.
You can find the one plus 8T under $650 for the 128GB variant with an 8GB ram. However, there’s also a 256GB storage option which comes with 12GB of ram and costs about $740.
One Plus 8T cons
The setback of this phone is its lack of wireless charging and no 4k video recording on the front-facing camera.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 10T pros
Next is the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro. The highlight of this phone is the 108MP lens on its primary camera. It also has a 13MP ultrawide and a 5MP macro lens. That’s a lot of megapixels. But you’ll be surprised to find that by default the phone takes 25MP photos. You would need to manually change it in the camera settings if you want to take pictures in the full 108MP resolution. The Mi 10T Pro can record video at 8k 30fps. But it also supports 4K 60fps, and 1080p 60fps or 120fps. Its 20MP front camera supports 1080p 30fps and 120fps at 720p.
The Mi 10T Pro’s front and back are made of gorilla glass 5. The phone comes with 5G and dual sim card support but no expandable storage. It has a 6.67-inch LCD display with a variable refresh rate that maxes out at 144Hz. It comes with Xiaomi’s skin, MiUI 12 over Android 10. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 865 chipset, and 8GB ram. Powering this smartphone is a ginormous 5000mAh battery that supports up to 33W of fast charging with its included charger. The Mi 10T Pro is available in either 128GB or 256GB storage options. You can find the 256 GB version somewhere around $650 depending on your region.
Xiaomi Mi 10T cons
The cons of this phone are; the lack of wireless charging and its only an LCD display even though it’s a very good display.
So, there you have it. These are my four most recommendable smartphones under $700. If I were to choose only one, I would definitely go for the Galaxy S20 FE. Simply because I feel it’s the most balanced in terms of features, price, and support for 3rd party accessories. Following it closely is the one plus 8T. The Xiaomi Mi 10T pro is really good but I don’t think its 108MP Camera makes such a huge difference. And finally, I wouldn’t rank the iPhone 11 here because it’s meant for a different group of users. By that, I mean iOS users. Anyway, anyone buying either of these phones is sure to get a good bang for their buck..
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