The sub-$300 is a perfect price range for those who want to buy a mainstream smartphone with full fledged smart features and mid-tier specifications. In fact every major Android smartphone manufacturer aims to release their devices under this price range which most folks look for. Good screen sizes, more than decent cameras, latest smartphone platforms, adequate storage capacities and dutiful batteries – form the characteristic features of the sub-$300 smartphones.
We have listed out the best smartphones under $300 price range considering their ReviewGist Scores. The ReviewGist Score considers expert ratings from various authentic sources to rank a product on a scale of 1 to 100. We further narrow down our selection only to those models which have been released recently, to give you a most updated product recommendation.
1. Sony Xperia L
Sony Xperia L is one of the modest Xperias at the low end, with an attractive 4.3 inch TFT LCD screen, 8 Megapixel camera, a dual core processor and the new Jelly Bean version of Android OS. The only thing missing from the list of these specifications is the HD screen, which makes Xperia L a competitive model in the list of smartphones affordable under $300. Another attractive feature is the LED light strip which has been embedded at the bottom of the phone’s body which blinks when you have any unread notifications.
The unlocked Xperia L itself is fairly affordable, but it can be still discountable if you are going for a contract. PhoneArena review summarizes that the Xperia L is a well-rounded mid-ranger with lag-free performance in menus and nice looks. And adds that it does not have a hugely impressive screen nor a particularly great camera, though, and in the fiercely competitive Android market those are big flaws. TrustedReviews has a verdict which says that the Sony Xperia L lacks the spit and polish necessary to standout at this price; the basics are good enough, but the sluggish camera and merely ok design count against it.
Sony Xperia L offers a few good things for its price. If you have the modest demands from your smartphone, Xperia L can suffice the performance needs quite effortlessly.
2. Google Nexus 4
Nexus 4 showcases the pure version of the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, on the top of that it offers an impressive hardware. Google Nexus 4 is manufactured by LG as an OEM, which is sold unlocked and has been marked at a highly competitive price. The phone sports surprisingly sports some of the premium specifications like HD display, high quality 8 Megapixel camera, 4.7 inch IPS LCD screen and a quad core processor. Apart from the its inability to support 4G LTE network, Nexus 4 can be regarded as a perfect affordable Android smartphone.
One of the biggest advantages of choosing a Nexus 4 is that it comes with a promise of providing regular and undelayed Android updates from Google directly. The conclusion part of CNET review states that in general, the device is excellent and reliable – its internal speeds are zippy and smooth, the camera is packed with new features, and Android 4.2 is indeed sleek. PCMag has a 4-star rating and a comment that LG’s Google Nexus 4 is a powerful unlocked smartphone with a beautiful, minimalist design, fast performance, and the latest version of Android. The Wired review suggests that Nexus 4 is the best overall Android handset currently available.
If you are in need of a near-perfect unlocked smartphone and if you like to use the unadulterated version of Android OS, Nexus 4 is a great option right now, combined it just costs $299.
3. HTC Windows Phone 8S
Besides Nokia, HTC is entering into the league of the major manufacturers of Windows Phone. This time HTC has come up with a mid-range model – Windows Phone 8S, available for a very economical sub-$250 price range. With a HTC flavored body build, Windows Phone 8S features a dual-core processor, 4 inch screen and an internal memory of 4GB. Among its unique features – the phone is incorporated with Beats Audio for quality music output from the speakers. When compared to Lumia phones, HTC didn’t include as many built-in apps in 8S but definitely has the access to the Windows Phone Store applications.
HTC has stripped down few of the features from its earlier Windows Phone 8X model and has delivered a more affordable 8S. The TechRadar review’s verdict states that the HTC 8S is a good all round handset, it doesn’t do a terrible job of anything but stylish looks aside it also struggles to stand out. PhoneArena review compares HTC 8S to its direct rival Nokia Lumia 820 and remarks that the latter is capable, but more expensive and more unwieldy to handle. The Wired review notes that HTC Windows Phone 8S delivers a performing dual-core processor, solid build, okay screen and a not-bad 5-megapixel camera.
HTC Windows Phone 8S score well in many areas for its price, but considering its bleak battery life, we suggest that you might have to consider the other Lumia phones which fare very well overall. But unlike some of the Lumia phones, HTC 8S supports memory expandability via microSD slot.
4. Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
With a similar design and the toned-down features of Samsung’s earlier flagship model Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S3 Mini is a more affordable Android smartphone. Galaxy S3 Mini is loaded with the latest Jelly Bean Android OS, a dual core processor and it is available with two storage variants – 8GB and 16GB. The best part of the S3 Mini’s 4 inch screen is that it uses AMOLED technology for a great display quality but at the same time the screen hasn’t got the HD resolution.
With the popularity of Galaxy S3, Samsung had chosen to release mid-range version of the same under the ‘Galaxy S3 Mini’ name. The CNET review notes that the Galaxy S3 Mini internally uses a significantly slower processor, still delivers a pretty slick user experience thanks to Android Jelly Bean, but the screen and camera aren’t on a par with those of the S3. The TechRadar reviewer seems to be quite impressed with the device which is again expressed by statement that it ticks all the right boxes, and comes in at a very decent price.
Released at the same time, the very affordable Galaxy S3 Mini can be a comparable to Google Nexus 4 in terms of the pricing. S3 Mini is a mainstream smartphone, but unlike the Nexus, it supports memory expandability and but has quite inferior specs. If you are ready to pay a bit more and if you need a more powerful and a reliable phone – Nexus 4 stands as a great next option.
In this article, all the smartphone models were picked considering their rankings at ReviewGist in July 2013. Visit our regularly-updated page of smartphones priced under $300 to know our present day’s selection of such products.