How To Shop For A Budget Android Smartphone
September 4th, 2018
Google's Android OS has more than a [few things going for it](http://www.gummicube.com/2018/05/google-io-2018-wrap-up/), and is constantly providing new enhancements and innovations to improve the user experience. The one strength that has managed to [keep the competition at bay](http://www.gummicube.com/2018/07/apple-app-store-vs-google-play-revenue/) above all else is its openness. In addition to allowing users to download and install apps from anywhere, Android can be extensively customized by swapping UI launchers, installing new keyboards, replacing native apps with third-party applications, and so on.
At a broader perspective, Android's open-source nature has encouraged many manufacturers and developers to base their hardware around the operating system. Consequently, Android is by far the number one platform by the sheer number of brands, with [more than 25,000 different Android devices](https://qz.com/472767/there-are-now-more-than-24000-different-android-devices/) in use today. Therefore, although iOS limits smartphone buyers to a few overly-priced iPhones, Android offers a wide variety of gadgets to choose from, regardless of need, preference or budget.
If you're in the market for a cheap smartphone, it goes without saying that your best bet lies with Android. With a myriad of viable options to choose from, however, picking the right device for your money may be a challenge. How do you ensure the smartphone you pick is the best your money can buy?
Below are five strategies that will help you to shop for a budget smartphone successfully.
### 1. Identify The Compromises To Make
Budget smartphones are "budget" for a reason; they all come with some trade-offs to keep the price tag low. While a proper flagship phone will typically look and feel stylish, and cruise through even the most demanding functions without breaking a sweat, pocket-friendly smartphones rarely tick all the boxes.
To land the best deal, therefore, it's a good idea to have a list of requirements which your prospective smartphone must meet. For instance, if your top-most priority is mobile photography, the camera and battery life should take precedence over considerations like design and processing power. And if you love gaming, go for the phone that offers the best screen and performance within your budget, while downplaying factors like the camera, elegance, and portability.
<Image src="/uploads/identify-compromises.jpg" alt="identify-compromises" width="1280" height="800" />
Successfully shopping for a budget smartphone starts with making peace with the fact that you can't have everything, and then identifying the compromises you can make to strike the best deal.
### 2. Do Your Research
A smartphone, no matter how cheap, is an investment. Like any investment, due diligence is essential. Sure, your need for a phone may be too urgent to spare the time, but a few minutes of researching online is usually all it takes to trim your options and narrow down to the best picks.
Many experts feature extensive, up-to-date guides on the [best budget handsets on the market](https://smartphone.ninja/finding-best-cheap-unlocked-smartphones/) and are a good place to start your research.
### 3. Identify The Best Time And Place To Shop
Knowing when and where to buy a smartphone is essential if you're looking for a bargain. The best time to shop for a budget handset usually comes when new gadgets are released, and previous models become subject to price cuts. If you're not in that much a rush, you can also wait to shop during holidays like Christmas, when stores usually offer compelling discounts to customers.
<Image src="/uploads/good-time-to-shop.jpg" alt="3d illustration of a large red SALE tag attached to an upright white touch screen smartphone" width="1024" height="768" />
As for the place, it's preferable to visit large stores with a good number of both recently released and older smartphone models, rather than smaller stores which may not have enough handsets to sift through for the best value. Also, keep on the lookout for seasonal sales and daily deals by retailers like Electroworld and CmK, and online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba. Taking advantage of a sale or a daily deal is a sure way of landing a good deal.
### 4. Buy A Contract Phone
These days, you don't need to cough out the entire price of your desired smartphone to take it home with you. Contracts with mobile carriers allow buyers on a budget to pay a fraction of the total cost of the phone up-front, and then paying off the rest over time. Smart Communications, for example, offers shoppers in the Philippines great contract deals on some of the latest high-end smartphones.
Contracts are a great way to get your hands on premium gadgets without stretching your budget. If you can live with using one carrier until the term expires, a contract can be an excellent option.
### 5. Consider A Used Or Refurbished Device
Smartphone technology is advancing at a rapid pace, which means that the new device you buy can only remain trendy for so long. If you're looking for the best value for your money, therefore, you may have more luck with a used handset. Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and OLX are all swarming with smartphone owners selling their used Droids at remarkable prices.
<Image src="/uploads/used-or-refurbished-device.jpg" alt="used-or refurbished device" width="900" height="450" />
Alternatively, you can opt for a refurbished version of a high-end phone. Contrary to popular belief, being labeled refurbished doesn't always mean the gadget was defective. In fact, something as small as improper packaging or the omission of an accessory in the box can send a phone back to the manufacturer. Moreover, refurbished electronics are typically thoroughly tested before they're reintroduced to the market, and some even come with warranties.
Buying a refurbished or used smartphone is admittedly risky, but with sufficient research and a bit of luck, you can land an unbelievable deal.
It's never easy to shop for anything when you're on a stiff budget. Nevertheless, the tips above will go a long way toward helping you get the best smartphone you can afford.
From our friends at [ShopNinja](https://shopninja.io/)
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