Best smartphones you can get under BDT 25,000

It is not always possible to buy expensive high-end smartphones. Especially, for those living in a budget. Here are a small recommendation of budget smartphones, all under Tk. 25,000. These smartphones pack a hefty amount of features that will satisfy your phone needs.

Samsung Galaxy A50

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The Samsung Galaxy A50 was released in March of 2019. The smartphone comes with 6.4 inches of Super AMOLED glass notched touchscreen. It has a pixel density of 403 ppi and a 4000 mAh battery. It comes packed with fast charging to keep it going through the day. It’s also rocking an Exynos 9610 chipset that houses eight cores; either 4 or 6 gigabytes worth of ram and either 64 or 128 gigs of internal storage. In case that was not enough, it also offers expandable microSD storage up to a whopping one terabyte.

On the camera side, it boasts triple cameras on the back and one selfie camera.

The triple cameras on the back consist of 25 megapixels, 8 megapixels ultra-wide unit. The last one has 5 megapixels with a depth sensor. These also allow for video recordings at up to 1080p resolution and thirty frames per second and HDR functionality. The selfie camera is 25 megapixels. This allows for video recording at 1080p resolution and thirty frames per second and HDR functionality.

Besides these, A50 has a headphone jack, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, a fingerprint sensor under the screen, NFC, accelerometer, 4G, dual sim capabilities and other great small features. The screen to body ratio is an incredible 84.90%. Running everything under the hood is Android Pie (9.0) which is the latest version of Android. All this comes in only at a weight of 169 grams.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy M10, the phone designed to win Bangladesh back

Samsung Galaxy M20

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The first thing to mention for this smartphone is the teardrop notch on the screen. The screen itself is a 6.3 inches capacitive touchscreen. Packing a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 409 ppi. The battery is 5000 mAh with fast charging.

Samsung Galaxy M20 comes with the Exynos 7904 chip and two variants for storage options. One option is to get 4 gigabytes of ram and 64 gigabytes of internal storage. Another option is to get 3 gigabytes of ram and 3 gigabytes of internal storage. Both allow expandable storage in the form of MicroSD slot up to one terabyte.

The M20 boasts dual cameras on the back and one selfie camera. The selfie camera is 8 megapixels and HDR-enabled which also records videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. These also have HDR functionality and record videos at 1080p and 30 fps.

One of the dual cameras is 13 megapixels and the other is a 5-megapixel ultra-wide.

All the usual necessities also make appearances as expected. From USB Type-C to a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.0 and 4g capabilities, dual sim and of course, a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Running everything is Android Oreo (8.0) which is upgradable to Android Pie (9.0). The whole smartphone weighs a respectable 186 grams.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy M40, midrange beast

Honor 10 Lite

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The Honor 10 Lite comes in a total of five different variants. There is a 6 gigs ram version that can either have 64 gigs of internal storage or 128 gigs of internal storage. There are 64 gigs of internal storage option that either has 3 or 4 gigs of ram. Finally, there is a 32 gigs internal storage option with 3 gigabytes of ram. No matter which version you choose, you will also be getting expandable storage via micro SD card up to 1 terabyte. Although, the SD card will take up one sim slot.

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The smartphone sports a 6.21 inches LCD capacitive notched display at a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a 3400 mAh battery. On the back, it’s a dual-camera setup. One of the cameras is 13 megapixels and the other is 2 megapixels. They can record videos at 1080p resolution at 60 fps. The selfie camera is 24 megapixels which also records videos at 1080p at 30 fps. Both the front and back cameras have HDR functionality.

This device is geared towards taking selfies.

Under the hood, on the hardware side, running everything is the Hisilicon Kirin 710 octa-core CPU. On the software side, it comes with the latest Android operating system, Android Pie (9.0), with EMUI 9.1 on top of it. The Honor Lite 10 also comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, fast charging capability, and other miscellaneous features. It does not have a USB Type-C port though. Altogether, the device weighs only 162 grams.

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Redmi 7 Review: Best budget phone right now?

The decision to get a phone now is like a scale with specifications and price at each end. The scale varies with each price point, and the best options find a place right around the middle. On a budget of 12-14 thousand taka, the Redmi 7 might be the phone to go for right now.

First Impression

While the Redmi Note and Note Pro stand out the most among the Redmi series, the Redmi 7 is a good deal for a lower budget as well. While it is cheaper, it doesn’t feel like a cheap phone in your hands. The phone has a glossy plastic finish on its body that makes it appear fancy. The body itself comes with rounded edges, making the phone more wieldy. It has a very distinguishable feature in the P2i nano hydrophobic coating, which keeps water on the phone running. Although this effect is visible on the display and the back, some water does stick to the corners. And of course, we like that the phone has a 3.5 mm audio jack. We just, like that.

While the issues with glossy finishes such as smudge and scratches persist with this phone, all you need to get rid of those is a good casing. Xiaomi’s reputation for implementing high-end offerings at a budget is retained in the form of a Gorilla Glass 5 display, very unusual for a phone of this price.  It has a fingerprint scanner conveniently placed at the back along with a water drop notched 6.26 inch LCD display. The screen does have a rather large bezel, but it is utilized in the form of an LED notification light.

Performance

The basic features like fingerprint sensor and scrolling are very responsive. As they should be as the phone is powered by a snapdragon 632 processor. We recommend getting the 3/32 GB variant, as those specifications complement the processor better. And it is quite the leap in marginal utility compared to the price hike. The phone also has a large 4000 mAh battery.

The camera has a 13mp primary sensor with a 2mp additional depth sensor. For the price, it is a good camera as the pictures appear smooth, but not quite that natural. Fair warning, the color tone is a bit colder than usual, and the pictures aren’t quite rich in sharpness. But the color saturation on this camera is very natural compared to other budget options. Nighttime images and pictures with visible light sources are average to good. Selfies can be taken via an 8mp front facing camera, which actually produces decent pictures. The phone surprisingly supports full HD 60fps video capturing, with limited stabilization.  What we’re saying is it’s just better than the price point would suggest.

The Verdict

Although it is likely to remain in the Note series’ shadow, the Redmi 7 makes for a good option for people opting for a lower budget.

So if you’re unwilling to cross that 15k threshold, this might just be the phone you can settle for.

Samsung Galaxy M10: The phone designed to win Bangladesh back

When getting a phone, the price is the most important aspect to almost everyone residing in and around Bangladesh. This is evident from the sales of local brand Symphony, and more recently that of Xiaomi. They simply offer more for less, and for us, that’s usually more enticing than brand value. And thus, the Galaxy M10. Samsung’s response to losing a foothold in the Indian subcontinent’s market. I’ve used the phone for about a week, and this review will be based on my somewhat extended experience with it.

The look and feel

Designed to win back the market lost to Xiaomi, the M10 had to offer more for less. And it does.

The phone has a 6.22-inch Infinity V display with a waterdrop notch, offering almost 82% screen-to-body ratio.

It’s also a very slim and wieldy device, having 7.7 mm in thickness and just 163 gm in weight (check out the full specs). Personally, I have an issue with glossy finishes or glass bodies because of the smudge your fingers are prone to leave. But the finish on this phone works really well and doesn’t smudge much. The overall design is very lush, especially when you take the price into consideration.

The performance

It’s got a headphone jack, so you know it’s already 40% better than other phones. The M10 has an Exynos & Octa 7870 CPU and 2/3 GB of RAM. That’s not substantial in terms of Samsung. But take into consideration the price of the phone, and you will see that the power it packs is something you expect from local brands or Xiaomi. Not out of worldwide market leaders like Samsung. The phone performs smoothly and seamlessly. Someone at the office tried playing PUBG on it after I refused. I played Injustice 2 instead. Both games ran very well. It has got very decent battery life. The phone has a loud and clear speaker, if you’re into using phones like that. Basically, the phone runs everything just as well as it should. There isn’t anything to complain about.

The Camera

The camera is sort of a mixed bag.  It doesn’t have autofocus options. It does however have HDR and continuous shooting modes. The 13MP back camera allows for smooth, sharp and natural looking images to be captured in a few different modes like Pro, beauty and live focus. The selfie camera is average. It doesn’t have optical image stabilization, which doesn’t play into taking photos as much as it does with capturing videos. The captures tend to stutter a bit, but retain the right amount of exposure and lighting you would expect on a Samsung phone. Again, good value for the money.

Distinguishing Features

Does the headphone jack count?

The M10 has a very responsive face scanner unlock in place of a fingerprint sensor. Then again, a fingerprint sensor wouldn’t be feasible at this price point. The most impressive feature is the Widevine L1 support on this phone. This feature allows HD streaming from Netflix and other services. This is a feature unique to a phone at this price and wasn’t even on the Pocophone F1 at release.

In conclusion, the Galaxy M10 is a great get for the price.

It offers fine specifications with the added value of the Samsung brand. If you’re trying to get a phone on the budget, consider the M10. You probably won’t be disappointed.

Do you really need a flagship smartphone?

Smartphones are very much a necessary part of the modern citizen’s life now. There’s just no way around it. Almost every service nowadays, from education to transport to even food, is based around the usage of smartphones. This has facilitated the opportunity for companies to capitalize on the growing demand for smartphones, and offer their “unique” packages to the market. Thus, flagship phones; luxurious, expensive, peerless and with a price to match the hype. But are they really necessary?

Do you really need a phone more expensive than an actual high-end camera to take photos? Is a screen bigger than your hand can hold making all that difference in your life? Are you in dire need of a bezel-less screen, animated emojis and other novel (read pointless) features?

A very personal opinion on the negative will be explored in the following paragraphs.

Market saturation and basic features

It would be relevant to mention now that the smartphone market had reached a plateau quite a while ago and continues to fall even today. This is attributed to many reasons, primary of which is oversaturation in the market. There are too many companies making smartphones now. And that is actually a good thing for consumers. Since the competition is so high, the producers are compelled to add more features to phones at any given price range to maintain their market share. This means more features for less money.

One can now get features on a mid-range phone we could only dream of just a few years ago.

The performance of basic features like the camera or CPU isn’t anything to sneer at. You don’t want to throw your phone at the wall anymore because the Facebook app is taking too long to load on a no-name CPU. You don’t need to point a torch at something to take a picture because the phone’s camera resolution and lens are worse than a built-in laptop webcam. That’s not to say there isn’t any noticeable difference in performance, quality of pictures taken and other basic attributes when it comes to flagships.

Do you really need a flagship phone?

But as mentioned before, it doesn’t add much value compared to the price hike. People in need can get a great camera and lens for 40 thousand and 8 thousand takas respectively. They don’t need to get a 60-thousand-taka camera phone. The mid-range options are perfectly viable for the rational consumer, especially in our country. This effect is evident, as local producers Symphony, famous for their low-mid budget phones are the market leaders in Bangladesh.

The durability myth

Do you really need a flagship phone? 4

A common argument flagship defenders make is that these phones are built to last longer. That is almost entirely false. Samsung phones are well known for their performance fluctuations beyond 1.5-2 years of use; they tend to get slower and consume more power. Apple is infamous for its lack of customer care. This is magnified after the launch of their new yearly device, as the previous generation becomes effectively obsolete. Moreover, to add to their aesthetic value, flagship phones tend to have glass bodies as opposed to plastic or metal. This means they tend to get damaged worse, and servicing costs for them is significantly higher. Of course, you can carry some of them into the shower, waterproof/resistant and all. But why would you carry a phone into the shower?

That’s a rhetorical question. Please don’t answer that.

Price vs Innovation: Where actually is progress being made?

Compare an iPhone X to an iPhone 7. You’ll see that they have almost the same specifications. Of course, the newer iPhone X is faster, wielding a 6 core CPU against the 7’s four cores. It has a 1gb RAM advantage, fewer bezels and a bigger screen, and it has face identification and wireless charging capability. It’s twice as good in the price department though, sporting a whopping $1000-dollar price tag against the iPhone 7’s mere $550 dollar one. Does that deal sound especially enticing? What justifies the 90% price hike?

Do you really need a flagship phone? 1
Does “innovative” features take the focus away from primary functions a phone should serve?

And that’s just one company. Try taking any company’s current flagship and compare it to the previous edition. There will be some difference, a performance increase, a slightly enhanced image processing system, better stabilization. The common point of these “innovative” new features is they are all marginal. And while performance development is minimal, the price hike is anything but. Try going back just two years in time and telling someone that a consumer smartphone is going to set them back 1000 dollars. What seemed borderline impossible so little time ago is reality today, and I am not talking about facial recognition. That is a very diminutive and honestly pretentious feature that was around a long time before it was implemented into a smartphone. Companies take these minute and showy features, put them on a device and charge you a kidney. Sounds like a good deal for half a year of showing off.

Software: Something that actually matters

It has been more apparent than ever this year. You can run the same things on a budget phone as you can on a flagship option. So much so that the development on premium options of 2018 seemed almost exclusively cosmetic. There were still companies that implemented useful features to make their product a more bang-for-you-buck option. But what actually matter on a phone, the operating system and software platform were almost the same. You will encounter some problems running newer Android and iOS versions that come with flagships on budget phones, but to me at least they seem minimal; while the price difference is almost a deal breaker for many.

So, unless you’re a very busy person who needs to be productive most of the day, or part of a very niche class of consumer, the marginal enhancement offered in flagships isn’t something you require. The budget options offer everything a normal consumer might need. Thus, a completely personal opinion (with the added benefit of having a platform to share it on), don’t buy a flagship phone unless you absolutely need to.