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Affordable Smartphone Recomendations


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mrfaroukh: I think the Redmi Note 5 pro, 64 GB, 4 GB RAM was a great value in it's day.  But that was then and this is now.  I suggest you read my prior post; go to the comparison websites, plug in the Redmi 6 Pro and take a look.  I think you will discover that the Redmi 6 Pro is one heck of an affordable value right now, available from International sellers or coming soon to a Thailand shop near you.

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Xiaomi is the biggest selling phone in China and with good reason. However it's very important to buy with local customer support. Thailand post will NOT allow smartphone to be posted airmail due to l

I have a Redmi Note 5 that I like very much.  I just bought a Redmi 5 for a family member who's old 4 year old phone had died and I was impressed.  For under $100, (Lazada) a very nice phone. 5.7' dis

I want to thank the Xiaomi Official Store at Lazada for drastically raising its price for the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite.  That got me searching for alternative seller's (Cool Cool, SUNSKY) and alternative pho

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On 6/25/2018 at 11:19 PM, geisha said:

I’m thinking of buying a Huawei Nova with the double’camera. I’ve been told it’s very good. Around 10 000B  . I have an iPhone at the’ moment , find the whole Apple ID system and passwords complicated and most generally fed up’with It.  Any   views? I’ll use it more as a camera for my travelling than as a telephone. And I like uncomplicated !

Not sure if you mean the Nova 2i or 3e, probably the latter if you're talking 10k. Both are great, I have the 2i model which was released a few months earlier. The 3e costs about 2k baht more, lighter and smaller with a more powerful camera (same size as the flagship P20 and sold in the UK as P20 lite), otherwise spec is similar. Worthwhile checking out your size preferences hands on in a store... the 2i has a bigger screen and battery, but the 3e probably hits the sweet spot in terms of screen to body ratio and one handed usability. I can't comment on the camera experience in relation to your iPhone, this you'd need to assess for yourself, but user reviews have been very positive, and I'm definitely impressed with the camera and speed on the 2i.

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On 6/26/2018 at 5:33 PM, daocat555 said:
fvw53: you are very welcome. My personal opinion (which happens to be shared by millions of people) is that the Xiaomi Redmi Note models offer the absolute best value in affordable phones.  I would like to suggest that you consider the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6a, which has been just recently launched.  Here are the Redmi Note 5a, the Redmi Note 6a, and the Redmi note 6, as compared.
 
 
 
 
I think that there are some big advantages of the 6A vs the 5A.  The body size of the 6A is much smaller, with a better usable display%.  The operating system of the 6A is 8.1 Orea vs 7.1.1 Nougat for the 5A.  With the combination of a more efficient OS and a faster clock speed the Antutu score of the 6A is 55,277 vs 32,000 for the 5A; that's with the exact same 2 GB RAM and 16 GB ROM, and with the similar battery size the 6A would project to get more battery time due to the more efficient OS and process technology.
 
The 6A has a 5.45 inch screen with a better resolution vs the 5A's 5 inch screen.  Well I'm guessing you are considering the 5A with the 5 inch screen which is currently 2,990 baht at Lazada in black or gold color (there is also a 5A version with a 5.5 inch screen).  The 5A and 6A seem to have the same camera.  If you pay more for the Redmi 6 you get 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, a better rear camera, and a notification light if that is important to you (the 6A reportedly does not have one).
 
Kimovil subjectively rates the 5A as 8.2 in terms of cost effectiveness, the 6A as 8.4 and the Redmi 6 as 9.2 and I strongly disagree with kimovil's opinion on this.  To me the Redmi 6A is clearly the most cost effective of the three phones.  The 6A is about the same price as the 5A (list price wise it's lower, but you get the deeper discount on an older model), while the Redmi 6 is 22% higher in price right now on Aliexpress.
 
As many people have pointed out Xiaomi has a huge presence in Thailand, so if you can wait just a bit longer I would expect to see the 6A be available soon in the Thai shops and the Thai online stores.  If you are willing to buy from Aliexpress (some people are, some people aren't) then you can pre-order it today from a store on Aliexpress with a 98.8 positive feedback rating, which has already pre-sold 16 units in the past 10 days since they started the pre-sale.  It's least expensive in gold, but I like the baby blue of Xiaomi so in blue it's 4,059 baht.  That's for the Chinese version as the Global version is not yet available even for pre-sale.  The Aliexpress seller will open the box, test the phone, and install multi language and google apps for you.  My current phone is a Chinese model which the Aliexpress seller did this for me, and although they do not guarantee over the air (OTA upgrades), on my phone google maps and the one google game I play have updated successfully.  Here is the link for Aliexpress.
 

Thank you once more for your highly appreciated advice

 

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Has anybody seen geisha?  We're talking serious camera phones here but we need geisha's input.  Anyway, thinking of geisha, and her desire for a phone with a good camera I stumbled upon a sale at Lazada for the Huawei P20 Pro, in either Black, Rose Gold or Blue; 19,790 baht.  That's a nice discount from the list price of maybe 34,000 baht.
 
Here are three nice phones, each with a nice camera, sound output, battery, reasonably easy to hold in one hand, and favorable reviews from reliable websites.  The Huawei P20 Pro, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and the Xiaomi MIX 2S.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Let's then quickly eliminate the Xiaomi as it has the weakest battery, the greatest weight, an IPS screen vs AMOLED for the other two, and the weakest audio output, 
 
So comparing the Huawei P20 Pro with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro I will note that both have stereo speakers; the P20 Pro has a max voice level and ring level of 71 dB and 91 dB, compared to 70 dB and 84 dB for the Mate 10 Pro.  The P20 Pro is a bit narrower and thinner vs the Mate 10 Pro, thus easier to hold in one hand.  The P20 Pro also has a slightly larger screen, a better screen resolution, and a better % usable display area.  They both have an ample 4000 mAh battery but only the P20 Pro supports wireless charging.
 
Camera wise the P20 Pro clearly beats out the the Mate 10 Pro.  Selfie of 24 MP vs 8 MP.  Triple back camera on the P20 Pro vs dual back camera on the Mate 10 Pro.  They both have optical stabilization (absent on all the nova's), and the P20 Pro has a 3x optical zoom while the Mate 10 Pro has a 2x optical zoom.
 
The list price of the Mate 10 Pro is maybe 25,000 baht, and it's available at Lazada for 19,280 baht; as I said the 34,000 baht list price'd P20 Pro is on Lazada for 19.790 (ok it's a flash sale, don't know how long it will last, also Lazada stores sometimes mislist a phone....the 19,790 baht is a bit suspicious since other sellers on Lazada list it for more, like, 24,600 baht).
 
Winner............Huawei P20 Pro, in a landslide.  If the 19,790 baht price is legit.  Winner....Huawei P20 Pro even if you have to spend 24,600 baht for it.  Here is the link to the Lazada sale.
 
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The Xiaomi Mi A1 came up in the Mid-range smartphone topic.  I already stated my view on that phone there, and I don't want to pile on about it again in the same topic.  So I'll switch to the affordable topic and offer some phones for comparison.  All the four phones here are in the range of 4,357 baht - 7,613 baht.  
 
I don't really understand the "pure" Android vs the MIUI Android OS situation.  I tried to read a few internet articles on it but they were too boring, so I didn't finish them and I still don't understand the issue.  However I think that the Xiaomi Mi A1 is one of the only, or maybe the only, Xiaomi phone running pure Android.  And some people feel that this makes the Xiaomi Mi A1 preferable.  Perhaps because of more frequent security updates.  
 
So I'll compare boring things like display, body size etc, but keep in mind that the Xiaomi wins for some people because of the OS.  Hey, my phone has the Flyme operating system, and I'm a poster on the Flyme forum, so my taste in OS's is well established.  I included a Samsung phone in the four compared phones; now there's a company known for bloatware,  two Xiaomi phones, and one of my favorite affordable phones, the Leagoo S9.
 
 
 
The Mi A1 is the oldest model, so it has the widest body, 75.8 mm, compared to 70.2 mm, 71.7 mm, or 72 mm for the other three models, and per devicespecifications the usable display is 71.02%, compared to 76.18%, 79.79%, or 81.79% for the other models.
 
The body weight of the four phone vary from 154 grams to 178 grams, which correlates with the battery size of of each model, from 3000 mAh to 4000 mAh, with no surprises there.
 
The Samsung Galaxy J6 is the only model with a Super AMOLED screen, the other three models have an IPS screen.  The screen size varies from 5.5 inch to 5.85 inch, with the phones using body size the most efficiently having the larger screens.
 
People like different things in their phone.  I would happily use the Samsung J6 as my daily phone.  It has the lightest weight, narrowest body, AMOLED screen, and I had a Samsung phone once and the bloatware didn't bother me too much.  The Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro is so new it hasn't hit Lazada yet, or yet have a Global version, but it packs a lot of nice features (7,613 baht in blue at Aliexpress).  The Leagoo S9 is available at Banggood for 4,357 baht, and I see it as a nice all-around phone with no hardware weaknesses, expect for the rather unknown quality reputation as compared to Samsung or Xiaomi.
 
And then there's the Mi 1A with pure Android, known quality audio output as measure by gsmarena, a fast Antutu score, and available on Lazada for 5,610 baht in the gold color.  
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The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro remains the number one top phone by daily interest on gsmarena so in this post I will offer eight non Xiaomi affordable phones, all, I guess you could say "off brands", all cheaper than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, and each with some aspect or another of interest.
 
Four phones below each have a bigger screen and a better screen to body ratio.
 
 
 
These phones range in price from 3,923 baht to 4,631 baht, and are available from Aliexpress.  
 
The Umidigi S2 lite is 4,620 baht with the biggest screen (6 in), the biggest battery (5100 mAh). the most RAM (4 GB), a dual 16 MP and 5 MP main camera, and has sold over 500 units recently from the Umidigi store on Aliexpress.
 
The similarly priced Elephone A4 has a notched 5.85 in screen, the least ROM (16 GB), Android 8.1 OS, and an excellent screen to body ratio, which I would feel better about saying if I knew the body dimensions for sure; because there is conflicting information from different websites about the body size; which might be 72.8 mm x 154 mm x 80 mm.  This model has sold over 50 units recently on Aliexpress from the Elephone Official Store.
 
The Bluboo S8 is 3,923 baht, has a 5.7 in screen, a 13 MP and 3 MP dual main camera, a narrow 70.6 mm body width, and a 3450 mAh battery,, and the Bluboo Official store on Aliexpress has sold more than 200 units of this model.
 
The Leagoo S8 is 4,477 baht, has dual front and rear cameras, a 5.7 in display, a 2940 mAh battery, and the most narrow body width at 69 mm, and about 500 recent sales from the Aliexpress store I viewed.
 
If you are willing to buy a phone with a 5.5 in screen size there are a gazillion Chinese models to choose from, and I have carefully reviewed each of the gazillion phones and culled that number to four for consideration.
 
 
 
The least expensive Cubot J3 Pro has the worst screen resolution and ppi, the smallest RAM, but is the only phone of the four running Android Go Edition, which shows in it's Antutu score which beats out the Bluboo, ties the Gionee and trails only the Umidigi A1 Pro which comes with 3 GB of RAM but runs stock Android 8.1.  
 
The Bluboo D5 Pro has the most ROM, 32 GB, but runs Android 7.1 so it has the worst Antutu score.  It comes in either black, red or blue colors which have gold accents; for me it's the most attractive model.
 
The Gionee F205 runs Android 7.1 and it ties the Umidigi for the best screen resolution (720 x 1440 px).  It is the lightest, 135 grams, with the weakest battery, 2670 mAh, and is the only phone here not currently available at Aliexpress but expected soon.
 
The Umidigi A1 Pro has the narrowest body at 69.1 mm, but the heaviest weight at 173 grams, as it packs a 3150 mAh battery.  It has the best screen-to-body ratio, the best back camera at 13 MP, and Kimovil which will list a subjective cost-effectiveness score rates the Umidigi A1 Pro the highest.  It clearly has the best connectivity and is the only model here with a USB type C charging connector and supporting fast charging at 5V/2A; which is more convenient than the other three models.  The Antutu score of 45,110 is better than 66% of all devices
 
For me, the Umidigi A1 Pro is a pretty nice phone, and the Cubot J3 Pro is a workable phone with a 2,656 baht price tag.  I would not recommend the Android 7 running Gionee or Bluboo.
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There are three, older, Nubia phones available at Lazada for a great discount.  The downside of buying an older phone is poor screen to body ratio and OS system.  The upside is that you get great specs otherwise, and an affordable price.  Consider the Nubia M2, the Nubia M2 lite, and the Nubia N2.
 
 
 
 
All the reviews I read on the Nubia M2 were positive, in particular the loudspeaker, although down firing, was rated to be loud and of good quality.  I read one review of the Nubia N2 which was not positive, the reviewer complaining of strong color shifts with the screen and less than robust audio output.  The main selling point of the N2 is the 5000 mAh battery for those people who like a big battery.
 
The Nubia M2 lite (IPS screen) is selling at Lazada for 3,850 baht, which is pretty cheap for a very usable phone.  The N2 is 4,490 baht at Lazada, and I don't know of any other phone with a 5.5 in AMOLED screen that's more affordable.
 
5,990 baht can get you the Nubia M2.  4 GB RAM, 64 GB ROM, Snapdragon 625 CPU, 62,000 Antutu score, 3630 mAh battery, good cameras, and good sound.  A 5.5 in Super AMOLED screen!  The body width is big at 75.9 mm, but fortunately it's slim at 7 mm. and has a reasonable 168 gram weight.  It's also, to me, a very attractive phone with gold accents.  The Nubia M2 had a list price of 15,430 baht not all that long ago, so you are getting a deep discount on a phone which stands up to the competition very well in 2018 with the exception of body size and OS.
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So for 3400 baht I can get a  Umidigi A1 Pro and it's a good phone.  That will blow the doors off my Motorola Droid turbo? Yes turbo 1.  I may have to order one when I get back to the states.  

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Fvw53; two weeks ago I posted about the Xiaomi 6A being available for 4.059 baht at Aliexpress.  Today it's 3,155 baht; which is typical as prices start high right after a launch and then tend to drop.  I do still expect the Xiaomi 6A to reach the Thai online stores as well as the Thai shops; but that hasn't happened yet.  The Xiaomi 6A is still my best recommendation for an affordable phone with the "perfect minimum" specifications.  And Xiaomi has announced that they will be releasing the Xiaomi 6A in different versions with more RAM and ROM for those people who know specifically what kind of memory they want.
 
Ellski; I just checked the Umidigi A1 Pro price at Amazon USA and it's $120.99.  At Aliexpress it's $109.99.  At Lazada it's 4,427 baht, in black, blue, or silver.  Unfortunately it is only available from one seller on Lazada, Freebang, a store with only a 60% positive seller rating.  I would hesitate to buy from a Lazada seller with a 60% positive seller rating, but, to each his own.
 
My Cubot J3 finally shipped from Aliexpress.  I ordered it on June 15'th; and it seems that at the time I ordered it the seller did not have the unit in stock, bummer, as they were very slow to get it and ship it out.  I paid 2,139 baht for the Cubot J3.  Back in June 15, 2018 the Xiaomi 6A was not yet launched and was expected to launch on June 25.  As it turned out; if I had waited for the launch of the Xiaomi 6A and ordered it right away I would probably have it in my hands right now. 
 
To sum up my thoughts since I started this Topic on June 24; for 3000-4000 baht there are just a lot of choices, brands, and models which have an IPS screen. 
 
If you want an AMOLED screen then you'll have to pay more and you'll have less of a selection.  The Meizu Pro 7, Samsung J6 (2018), and the Nubia M2 come to mind as my top three recommendations, and they can be had for 5,990 baht, 4,990 baht, or 4,899 baht; respectively, available at Lazada.
 
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I really had a price range in my mind of up to 10,000 baht.   I mean all the phones they try to see you at Verizon stores are like 700 USD it 20,000+ baht.  With 2 yr agreement.     So I'm stoked that you can get a good phone for 120$ USD on Amazon.  I would have thought 3-8000 baht was low price range, 8,000-12,000 mid range.  

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Ellski; I have a singular recommendation just for you.  OK, it's my recommendation for everybody in the market for a mid-range phone, but that applies to you as well.
 
The Meizu 16 is due to come out on August 26'th, which will be my high end recommendation for everybody; well except for niche people like wanting a big battery or something.  So the prices are dropping on the Meizu 15 which was released in April 2018.  I bought the phone right away and like it a lot.  If you're interested you can find my review of the Meizu 15 in the high end topic, or a different review of mine which I have posted on the Flyme site, or another review which I posted on the gsmarena site.  I might have mentioned it here at ThaiVisa in the Mid-range smartphone recommendations topic as well. 
 
The price today for the Meizu 15 is $361.89 or 12,027 baht at Aliexpress.
 
 
I am not without my biases which I know not all people share.  I like a small and light phone with good audio quality, a Super AMOLED screen, and I don't need much of a battery.  The Meizu 15 suits me so much I am pretty sure I will be buying the Meizu 16 as soon as the Global version, in piano white, is available at Aliexpress.  
 
The Xiaomi Redmi 6A dropped another few dollars today on Aliexpress, bringing it below 3,000 baht.  I suppose I should restrain myself from buying one of them; as there are only so many people I know who I can give away a phone to.  Does anybody want to buy an open box Cubot J3?  Oh well.
 
 
 
 
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Price drops every day on the Meizu 15.  Now it's 11,598 baht.  I have it on good authority that if you wait a while they will be soon giving away this model.

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Why do you say battery life not important to you?  How do you define this?   My battery is getting dinner weak now I must always carry lipo charger.  Do on tour around thailand or s day in USA I want a battery to last all day off  charger  and be ok.  I can charge each night.  

You recommend a phone for 3,000 baht and the 15 for sub 12,000 that is big difference.  What does the extra 9 k buy me.   I have not taken the time to learn all the latest technology speed hardware and performance numbers.   Sound isn't important to me for music just for conversation.   I don't watch movies or play games.  I do hope my phone brains is faster than me and won't lag like my current one does.  

I can wait but that's the trouble prices always dropping and new phones coming out.  

I want good connectivity, good talking sound quality, good battery life and a phone that will last two years including done drips from waist level. I really like a good camera.   I live how I can turn my camera on by shaking and snap some quick shots touching anywhere on my screen. Even if my phone is locked Motorola let's me do this.   so on bike rides I'm able to stop shake my phone take scenery pictures stick it back in my pocket before my buddies even have their iPhones halfway unlocked.  This also is a handy feature for bedroom pictures.   I do think there are apps that will allow me to do this with other brands of phones besides Motorola

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The Motorola Droid was a nice phone back in October, 2014.  It has a Super AMOLED screen, which is helpful for seeing it outside, and it just looks better than an IPS screen.  It has a nice camera, a 3900 mAh battery which supports wireless charging, and it's chipset holds up well against many of today's budgets phones.  Well the battery on your Moto Droid is no longer 3900 mAh....time to buy a new phone.
 
I do not know about camera software which allows you to turn on the camera by shaking the phone and then take a picture by touching anywhere on the screen. I don't know if this is available on newer Motorola phones, or can be available by adding an app.  On some phones you can snap a quick picture by double pressing the volume down button, so I guess you need to look at the phone models you are considering on a case by case basis.  I don't know of any shortcuts for the back camera on the Meizu 15.
 
As for battery, I want a battery to last all day. The Meizu 15 has a 3000 mAh battery which is the smallest that quality phones come with; but it lasts two days or more for me, I think it will last all day even with moderately heavy usage.
 
I like quality audio for conversation also, I don't do music or movies either.  
 
A phone that can survive drops from waist level?  Hmm, that might be a problem.  There are "ruggedized" phones, I haven't mentioned any of them as they tend to be bigger and heavier than average; not my cup of tea.  My suggestion is, don't drop your phone from waist level.
 
There are many phone models to choose from.  With respect to camera I recommend a phone with dual back cameras, optical image stabilization (OIS) and an optical zoom; so that you'll be getting an nice upgrade over the camera on the Moto Droid.
 
You mentioned the Huawei P 20 for 20,000 baht in the Mid-range phone topic.  I have gone on the record as saying I think that's an overrated and overpriced phone. A single down firing speaker with a maximum voice level of 66 dB as measured by gsmarena is not good; the screen is IPS; the cameras are good, but no better than the Meizu 15 in my opinion.
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The gsmarena full review is out on the Meizu 15.  With respect to audio output gsmarena called it "very clear", and measured maximum in call voice volume at 77.6 dB.  With respect to the screen gsmarena noted that maximum brightness is not good,  Concerning battery life gsmarena gave it a 77 hour endurance rating with 18 hours of talk time, 10.38 hours of web browsing, or 12.40 hours of video playback.
 
With respect to the camera gsmarena was not impressed noting that although color reproduction can be accurate, images suffer from a bit too narrow dynamic range, softness, problems with getting correct white balance, and too much noise.  So I stand corrected in my praise of the Meizu 15 camera and defer to gsmarena.  
 
In it's verdict gsmarena said it "will likely be a perfect match for many retro-minded smartphone users."  Well, I guess I'm a retro-minded smartphone user.
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