Smartphones up to 150 euros are in the entry-level class. If you don’t have too many demands, you will still find a reliable companion for everyday life here. You get a lot for your money that was unthinkable a few years ago in this price range. Most of these devices now have an octa-core, there is an astonishing amount of memory, large displays and even fingerprint sensors. We summarize what works and what doesn’t.
When it comes to the design, you notice the low price, at least at second glance. When it comes to materials, plastic predominates, the frames around the display are wider than on more expensive models and there is another, mostly clear indication of the low price: the integration of the front camera. In the rarest of cases, it looks through the display through a modern punchhole notch, but mostly as a drop notch. But that is also changing increasingly.
When it comes to the size of the display, there are few differences to more expensive models, but more so when it comes to technology. Full HD resolution is not normal here and there is no OLED at all. This also applies to refresh rates higher than 60 Hertz and in general, those interested should not expect too much when it comes to the important points of brightness, contrast or viewing angle stability. Nevertheless: if you search without having to forego being up-to-date, with a bit of luck you will find even higher frame rates in the meantime.
The cameras represent one of the biggest differences compared to more expensive models – even if you don’t always see it immediately on the data sheet. Main lenses with a low number of megapixels (12 to 16) are often used, which are often accompanied by lenses such as depth or macro sensors that are superfluous in everyday life. Wide-angle lenses are increasingly appearing in this lower price range, but they are not yet standard. The image quality of the cameras up to 150 euros is mostly suitable for everyday use in daylight. Front cams mostly offer 5 to 8 megapixels.
In the meantime, chipsets from well-known manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Mediatek are predominantly found in the price range up to 150 euros, but there are also providers such as Unisoc. You shouldn’t expect a lot of performance compared to the mid-range, but operation is mostly fluid and sufficiently fast in everyday use. After all, the often modern chips ensure that the typical standards such as WLAN, Bluetooth and GPS are sufficiently up-to-date on board.
NFC is not necessarily one of them, buyers have to be careful here. In addition, there are more and more inexpensive smartphones with USB-C as a charging and data port, but micro-USB can still be found in this price range. Fingerprint sensors can now be found in most smartphones for up to 150 euros. You normally look in vain for IP certifications as protection against water, in contrast to LTE: 4G can be found in all models up to 150 euros – albeit not excessively fast. 5G is currently still too expensive.
Here’s perhaps one of the biggest surprises: Gone are the days when buyers of cheap smartphones had to get by with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. All models in our top 10 offer a proud 4/64 GB or even more – most of the internal memory is expandable.
When it comes to the battery size, there is no difference to more expensive smartphones, but the charging speed is much lower. 18 watts is considered fast here. Convenience technology such as wireless charging using the Qi standard is not available for so little money. All batteries are now permanently installed and cannot be easily changed. In return, this offers minimal protection against moisture and also makes these inexpensive models flatter.
With the hardware mentioned, it is no wonder that the models in this Top 10 do not have to rely on Android Go, but come with “full” Android. Even the age of the operating system is better than expected: Nobody has to tolerate less than Android 10 and there are even cell phones with Android 11.
1st place: Realme 8i
The Realme 8i is a real exceptional device in the price range up to 150 euros. Because it is the first model to offer a full HD display with a full 120 Hertz – more is not common even with significantly more expensive smartphones. The camera also offers an enormous amount of resolution for the money with up to 50 megapixels and the Helio G96 from Mediatek is a real performance monster up to 150 euros. There is also 4/64 GB of memory, a battery with 5000 mAh and Android 11 – for just under 150 euros! A fingerprint sensor is included, only NFC is missing for bliss.
2nd place: Oppo A52
Oppo has so far not exactly made the name of offering particularly cheap smartphones, but the Oppo A52 has “aged well”. The price fell accordingly, but the technology used remains decent. As with the rest of these top 10, a conventional IPS LCD with 60 Hz is used again, but the resolution is again 2400 x 1080 pixels and the display is therefore nice and sharp.
The camera comes with the 12-megapixel main camera combo that is typical for this price range, including three additional lenses, one of which is at least an 8-megapixel wide angle. As a chipset, the manufacturer relies on the somewhat older mid-range Snapdragon 665 chip, which in combination with 4/64 GByte memory still does a good job. The battery has 5000 mAh, NFC is also available and Android version 10 is still sufficiently up-to-date.
3rd place: Realme C25Y
The Realme C25Y has a main camera with 50 megapixels and even 4/128 GB of memory, just like the Realme model that took first place, but the display only offers 720p resolution and a Unisoc Tiger T610 serves as a drive. This is also an octa-core chip, but in terms of performance it does not come close to the two models mentioned above. But that’s enough for smooth operation in connection with Android 11. The battery also has an output of 5000 mAh. There is no NFC.
4th place: Realme C21Y
And Realme again. The main difference between the C21Y and the third-placed C25Y is the weaker quad cam with a maximum of 13 megapixels and the lower-resolution front camera. In addition, there is a maximum of 64 GB of internal memory – the rest is identical, the price is lower, of course.
5th place: Oukitel C21
In fifth place there is again full HD resolution on the display and a front camera that peeps through a punch hole – the two Realme models previously placed rely on a drop notch. The camera equipment is mainly due to the 16-megapixel triple cam and the front camera with 20 megapixels, a Mediatek Helio P60 serves as the drive. In terms of storage technology, everything is within the scope of 4/64 GB, but the battery only has a capacity of 4000 mAh.
Platz 6: Cubot C20
Cubot is still less known in this country, but scores overall with a good price-performance ratio. The C20 offers a full HD display (albeit with a somewhat old-fashioned, wide bar notch), a main camera with 12 megapixels, 4/64 GB of memory and a replaceable battery – that’s pretty rare! A sufficient Helio P22 serves as the drive.
7th place: Gigaset GS290
The Gigaset GS290 also comes to the customer with a Full HD display, offers a Helio P23 with 4/64 GByte memory as a drive and a somewhat more powerful battery with 4700 mAh. In addition, in contrast to the majority of the models, this Top 10 NFC is included.
8th place: Motorola Moto G10
720p display, 48 megapixel camera, NFC, 4/64 GByte memory and Snapdragon 460 – these are the highlights of the Moto G10. The battery is also powerful thanks to 5000 mAh, but the model still costs a lot.
9th place: Doogee N30
Here, too, there is a resolution of 720p, but the camera offers a wide angle in addition to the 16 megapixel main lens. The Mediatek-Helio-A25 provides sufficient performance, in addition to 4 GB of RAM, there is even 128 GB of internal memory for up to 150 euros.
10th place: ZTE Blade V2020
Last but not least, the ZTE Blade V2020 follows with a 720p display, quad cam with wide angle, 4/128 GB of storage and a battery with 5000 mAh. A Unisoc chip serves as the drive.
An astonishingly large amount of memory and even a very recent Android is available for up to 150 euros. The camera and chipset are usually not particularly powerful, but there are exceptions – it’s exciting to see how much technology is available for so little money. If you want even more, you should take a look at our top lists of the best smartphones up to 200 euros, up to 300 euros and up to 400 euros.