Reviewing Smartphones - Value Devices

“Value” smartphones don’t always have to be “bad” smartphones! To help you get the most out of your investment, we’ve put together a list of the best and brightest value smartphones on the market today. You might be surprised by how much value these manufacturers can pack into such devices!

Google Pixel 5a 5G

One might mistake the Pixel 5a 5G for its predecessor, the Pixel 4a, as it has the same brushed aluminum back and Gorilla Glass 6 front. The Pixel 5a 5G sports a nice 6.34-inch, 1,080 x 2,400 pixel OLED display powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G chip, along with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of onboard storage, as well as the Android 12 operating system.

For cameras, the Pixel 5a also has a 12.2MP wide-angle lens and 16MP ultra wide-angle lens. The front-facing lens is an 8MP wide-angle lens. The battery is better off than other Pixel phones with a 4,680 mAh battery (an approximately 122 hours endurance rating) and 18W fast charging.

The Google Pixel 5a 5G is only available in Mostly Black, $449 can get you the Pixel 5a from the Google Store.

Google Pixel 5a
Body:  Aluminum frame, aluminum back, Gorilla Glass 3 front. 
Display: 6.34-inch OLED, 1,080 x 2,400 (~415 ppi)
OS: Android 11, Upgradable to Android 12
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Memory: 6 GB RAM, 128 GB Storage
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear – 12.2 MP 27mm; 16 MP 119º; Front – 8 MP 24mm
Sounds: Stereo sound
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,680 mAh (122 hours)
Security: Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
Miscellaneous: IP67 dust and water resistant
Other versions: n/a

Motorola Moto G Power

Built with a hard plastic frame and a glass front, the Moto G Power is not the sturdiest device out there, but it does have a 6.6-inch IPS LCD, 90 hertz display with a resolution of 720 x 1,600, running Android 11 on its Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset, with 4 GB of RAM and your choice of 64 GB or 128 GB of onboard storage. Considering the price point, it’s not a bad device at all.

This smartphone offers a 48 MP wide-angle camera with a pair of 2 MP cameras for depth and macro resolution. On the front, there’s an 8 MP wide-angle lens. It also has a 5,000 mAh battery and 10W fast charging, as well as a 130-hour endurance rating. Its offerings are complete with a fingerprint scanner and a water-repellent coating. At just under $200, it’s hard to beat the value you get from this pick.

The Moto G Power is an affordable option that comes in Flash Gray and Polar Silver.

Motorola G Power
Body: Plastic frame, plastic back, glass front
Display: 6.6-inch IPS LCD; 720 x 1,600 (~270 ppi)
OS: Android 11
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
Memory: 4 GB RAM; 64-to-126 GB onboard storage
Expandable Memory: microSDXC
Cameras: Rear – 48 MP wide; 2 MP depth; 2MP macro; Front – 8 MP wide
Sounds: Stereo sound
Battery (battery endurance rating): 5,000 mAh (~130 hours)
Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Miscellaneous: Water-repellent coating
Other versions: n/a

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G is a sturdy device with a plastic back, aluminum frame, and Gorilla Glass 3 on the front. This build encases a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display powered by an Exynos 980 chipset with either 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 126 GB of onboard storage (further increased with microSDXC). While the device runs Samsung’s One UI 3.0 operating system and Android 10, it can be upgraded to Android 11 and One UI 3.2.

The Galaxy A71 5G has four rear-facing cameras in total: one a 64 MP wide-angle lens, another 12 MP ultrawide lens, and a 5 MP macro lens joined by a 5MP depth camera. The selfie camera is a robust 32 MP wide-angle lens. Furthermore, it has a 4,500 mAh battery with 25W fast charging, 5G capabilities, and an in-display fingerprint scanner, making it a worthwhile investment for fans of value.

The Galaxy A71 5G is available in Prism Cube Black, Prism Cube Silver, and Prism Cube Blue online for $250 to $350.

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Body: Aluminum frame, plastic back, Gorilla Glass 3 front
Display: 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus, 1,050 x 2,400 (~393 ppi)
OS: Android 10, upgradeable to Android 11; One UI 3.0
Chipset: Exynos 980
Memory: 6-to-8 GB RAM; 128 GB onboard storage
Expandable Memory: microSDXC
Cameras: Rear – 64 MP 26mm; 12 MP 123º; 5 MP macro; 5 MP depth; Front – 32 MP 26mm 
Sounds: Stereo sound
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,500 mAh (98  hours)
Security: In-display fingerprint sensor
Miscellaneous: 25W fast charging
Other versions: Samsung Galaxy A71; Samsung Galaxy A72 (2021)

Other Ways to Get Value from Mobile Investments

While there are other mid-tier phones available, we think that a last-generation flagship device might prove more valuable in this context. These devices are generally supported by manufacturers for longer periods of time, meaning that they are going to be more likely to remain secure and operational for the foreseeable future. They also tend to have higher specs, too.

Next week, we’ll end our annual smartphone blog series by taking a look at some high-end foldable devices!

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