1. itguyjax8430's Avatar
    I have been on a budget phone kick here lately and I thought I would share my findings and experience with everyone. With phones getting more expensive and deductibles climbing it is always good to have an option for maybe a temporary phone to get you by or even to change to. I have Cricket which uses the AT&T network so some phones I post will be either unlocked or for AT&T.

    As a baseline I install all the exact same apps on all my phones and use them all exactly the same. My usage consist of running Waze and Google Play Music on the way to work and from work every day. I surf the web, use my craigslist app, run tapatalk, watch Netflix, watch movies on Plex, watch reviews on YouTube, and post on social media.

    Blue Life One X
    The first phone I started with was the Blu Life One X. I bought the phone on Black Friday for $99 from Amazon, the phone is normally $149.99. Out of the box the phone looked pretty good for $99 and even $150. It came with a case, headphones, and screen protector. Basically all the essentials you would buy if you bought a new phone but they were free. The phone performance was pretty good for all the things I do with my phones.

    Things that caught my attention about the phone. It had some really cool features built in like an automatic reboot option. It basically set up a time to power the phone off and then power the phone back on for you. It didn't have to be split second reboot you could set it to come back on at a certain time. Another feature that adds on to that was say you had that set up and accidentally powered your phone off for what ever reason and like me you use your phone as your alarm clock. If you have an alarm set on the phone it will automatically power itself on for the alarm to go off and when you dismiss the alarm power itself off. I thought that was pretty awesome when it happen to me. There are a good amount of other features on the phone that I could talk about but i'll keep it simple to the ones that caught my eye. If you have any other questions you can just just ask away.

    Specs for the Blue One X
    Unlocked Dual SIM smartphone, Android 5.1 Lollipop
    5.2" full HD display with Corning Gorilla glass 3
    16GB Internal memory 2GB RAM, 1.3 GHz Octa-Core Mediatek 6753 with MALI T720 GPU
    13MP Main Camera with Phase Detection Autofocus and 5MP Front Camera with LED flash
    4G LTE, (2/4/7/12/17), 4G HSPA+ (850/1700/1900/2100). GSM Quad band: US compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Pure Talk USA, and others

    AT&T GoPhone - ZTE Zmax 2 4G

    This phone is more for people who want the bigger screen experience and don't want to spend a ton of money. The phone is pretty big in size, it is about the same size as my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 but with a 5.5 inch screen vs 5.7 inch like the Note 4. The phone comes with a pretty nice display at 720p and spec wise it has some nice internals. Powered by a Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410, 2GB if RAM, and 16GB of internal storage the phone runs and looks great for a $79.99 phone. I never noticed any real hiccups when using the phone every day. It was defentally worth the money I paid for it and remains one of my back up phones.

    Specs for the ZTE Zmax 2
    2G: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G: HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, 4G: LTE 1900(B2) / 1700(B4) / 2100(B4) / 2600(B7) / 700(B12)
    5.5-inch IPS LCD Capacitive Multi-Touchscreen
    Android v5.1 (Lollipop), Quad-Core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 Processor, Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410, Adreno 306 Graphics
    8 Megapixel Camera (3264 x 2448 pixels) w/ Autofocus, LED flash + Front-Facing 2 Megapixel Camera
    Internal Memory: 16GB, 2GB RAM + microSD Slot Expandable up to 32GB

    LG G Stylo

    This by far was one of my favorite budget phones to use. It had a nice big 5.7 inch screen and pretty much weighed nothing. Granted it was made from mostly plastic (which really doesn't bother me) it felt great to hold and never made my hands tired. The phone had its drawbacks hardware wise like only having 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. You can add up to a 64GB SD card to the phone and put apps on it if you need to. The storage being 8GB never really hindered me from using the phone. I generally install about 3.5GB of apps and that is it, I have a 64GB SD card that I hardly use at all. Performance wise the phone did as I needed, I did have to put myself in the habit of always making sure that I was pulling up the recent apps menu and killing all the apps. This kept me from getting any real slow downs. The phone was able to hold up to my daily needs and if I noticed any stutters I just cleared the recent apps and I was good to go. Keep in mind there are two version to this phone. The phone for prepaid providers have the specs below, the ones for companies like T-Mobile are a little more expensive but also double some specs like 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

    The LG G Stylo prepaid smartphone offers:
    Big 5.7" HD display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 for added protection
    Built-in stylus for quick tapping, drawing, and note taking
    Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 Quad-core processing and fast 4G LTE capability
    8 MP laser auto-focus rear camera with flash and HD video
    5 MP front camera
    Long lasting 3,000 mAh battery


    Blu Vivo XL - Ordered and on its way.

    This is the next budget phone that I have ordered. I should be receiving it on February 3rd and I will post my thoughts once I have started using it. I ordered both colors of the phone just to see which one I like the most so I can update everyone on how the colors look. On paper the phone looks great spec wise. I was able to pick the phone up for $99 on sale from Best Buy for its initial launch. The phone is normally is $149 but still worth even that.

    5.5-inch 1,280 x 720-pixel AMOLED display
    Android 5.1 Lollipop (upgradable to Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
    13-megapixel rear camera, 1080p HD video capture
    5-megapixel front-facing camera
    1.3GHz octa-core Mediatek 6753 processor
    16GB internal storage, 2GB RAM
    Dual-SIM card slots
    3,150mAh nonremovable battery

    ZTE Grand™ X Max+ - $149

    This phone is big, when I say big I mean it is very big. I used this phone for a couple of weeks and found I had to use it without a case. Performance wise it handled and did everything I needed to do. The screen was pretty great on it as well. Watching movies and viewing other content was great. The phone out of the box was on 4.4 but was easily up-gradable through a download from ZTE's website. I will say once it upgraded to 5.1 it seemed to perform better than it did on the previous version. If you are looking for a cheap 6 inch phone this phone is a great choice.

    The ZTE Grand X Max+ prepaid smartphone features:
    Big 6-inch cell phone screen with brilliant HD resolution
    Quad-core processing power and 4G LTE speed
    13 MP rear camera with flash and HD video; 5 MP front camera
    Kindle™, Evernote®, and AskMD apps included
    Faster charging with Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 1.0
    Android 4.4 (KitKat)
    01-31-2016 05:41 PM
  2. ne_stew's Avatar
    I have been on a budget phone kick here lately and I thought I would share my findings and experience with everyone. With phones getting more expensive and deductibles climbing it is always good to have an option for maybe a temporary phone to get you buy or even to change to. I have Cricket with uses the AT&T network so some phones I post will be either unlocked or for AT&T.

    As a baseline I install all the exact same apps on all my phones and use them all exactly the same. My usage consist of running Waze and Google Play Music on the way to work and from work every day. I surf the web, use my craigslist app, run tapatalk, and post on social media.

    Blue Life One X
    The first phone I started with was the Blu Life One X. I bought the phone on Black Friday for $99 from Amazon, the phone is normally $149.99. Out of the box the phone looked pretty good for $99 and even $150. It came with a case, headphones, and screen protector. Basically all the essentials you would buy if you bought a new phone but they were free. The phone performance was pretty good for all the things I do with my phones.

    Things that caught my attention about the phone. It had some really cool features built in like an automatic reboot option. It basically set up a time to power the phone off and then power the phone back on for you. It didn't have to be split second reboot you could set it to come back on at a certain time. Another feature that adds on to that was say you had that set up and accidentally powered your phone off for what ever reason and like me you use your phone as your alarm clock. If you have an alarm set on the phone it will automatically power itself on for the alarm to go off and when you dismiss the alarm power itself off. I thought that was pretty awesome when it happen to me. There are a good amount of other features on the phone that I could talk about but i'll keep it simple to the ones that caught my eye. If you have any other questions you can just just ask away.

    Specs for the Blue One X
    Unlocked Dual SIM smartphone, Android 5.1 Lollipop
    5.2" full HD display with Corning Gorilla glass 3
    16GB Internal memory 2GB RAM, 1.3 GHz Octa-Core Mediatek 6753 with MALI T720 GPU
    13MP Main Camera with Phase Detection Autofocus and 5MP Front Camera with LED flash
    4G LTE, (2/4/7/12/17), 4G HSPA+ (850/1700/1900/2100). GSM Quad band: US compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Pure Talk USA, and others

    AT&T GoPhone - ZTE Zmax 2 4G

    This phone is more for people who want the bigger screen experience and don't want to spend a ton of money. The phone is pretty big in size, it is about the same size as my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 but with a 5.5 inch screen vs 5.7 inch like the Note 4. The phone comes with a pretty nice display at 720p and spec wise it has some nice internals. Powered by a Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410, 2GB if RAM, and 16GB of internal storage the phone runs and looks great for a $79.99 phone. I never noticed any real hiccups when using the phone every day. It was defentally worth the money I paid for it and remains one of my back up phones.

    Specs for the ZTE Zmax 2
    2G: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G: HSDPA 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, 4G: LTE 1900(B2) / 1700(B4) / 2100(B4) / 2600(B7) / 700(B12)
    5.5-inch IPS LCD Capacitive Multi-Touchscreen
    Android v5.1 (Lollipop), Quad-Core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 Processor, Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410, Adreno 306 Graphics
    8 Megapixel Camera (3264 x 2448 pixels) w/ Autofocus, LED flash + Front-Facing 2 Megapixel Camera
    Internal Memory: 16GB, 2GB RAM + microSD Slot Expandable up to 32GB

    LG G Stylo

    This by far was one of my favorite budget phones to use. It had a nice big 5.7 inch screen and pretty much weighed nothing. Granted it was made from mostly plastic (which really doesn't bother me) it felt great to hold and never made my hands tired. The phone had its drawbacks hardware wise like only having 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. You can add up to a 64GB SD card to the phone and put apps on it if you need to. The storage being 8GB never really hindered me from using the phone. I generally install about 3.5GB of apps and that is it, I have a 64GB SD card that I hardly use at all. Performance wise the phone did as I needed, I did have to put myself in the habit of always making sure that I was pulling up the recent apps menu and killing all the apps. This kept me from getting any real slow downs. The phone was able to hold up to my daily needs and if I noticed any stutters I just cleared the recent apps and I was good to go. Keep in mind there are two version to this phone. The phone for prepaid providers have the specs below, the ones for companies like T-Mobile are a little more expensive but also double some specs like 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

    The LG G Stylo prepaid smartphone offers:
    Big 5.7" HD display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 for added protection
    Built-in stylus for quick tapping, drawing, and note taking
    Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 Quad-core processing and fast 4G LTE capability
    8 MP laser auto-focus rear camera with flash and HD video
    5 MP front camera
    Long lasting 3,000 mAh battery
    Good read! Thanks, I'm on the same mindset, old Linux hack but havent rooted a phone. Need a budget phone for AT&T to root i.e Zenphone2, Escape2, Desire 626. Putting all functionality aside, rooting ease/support and stock android is my top reqs. Any thoughts, ones to recommend or stay away from?
    01-31-2016 06:01 PM
  3. itguyjax8430's Avatar
    Good read! Thanks, I'm on the same mindset, old Linux hack but havent rooted a phone. Need a budget phone for AT&T to root i.e Zenphone2, Escape2, Desire 626. Putting all functionality aside, rooting ease/support and stock android is my top reqs. Any thoughts, ones to recommend or stay away from?
    Most of your budget phones have some kind of root exploit for them out there you just have to find the right one that works for it. I haven’t really rooted any of the ones above but I know that there are roots exploits for them. The only thing that you're going to run into is most developers don't support budget phones of this price range. There's not a lot of ROMs out there for these phones.

    If you're looking for a phone to ROM and that's going to have CyanogenMod available for it I would try to go with an older flagship type phone. For instance I am currently using a Samsung Galaxy S4. I picked it up for about $100. Spec wise the phone is still a great phone and there's a lot of ROMs out there for it. I'm currently running a CM ROM on it and the phone runs absolutely great. The S4 seems to be the sweet spot for that budget / old flagship phone. I looked at buying a Galaxy S5 but it did not have as much ROM support as the S4 and when I say ROM support I mean on going ROM support from the developers.

    I would say the main budget phones to stay away from are your Verizon ones if you plan on rooting them. If not there are some pretty good ones out there for pretty cheap like the Moto E.

    I do also personally think that this year is going to be the year of the budget smartphone. With that being said more developers will probably start supporting them and you might see CyanogenMod ROMs coming out for these budget phones.
    01-31-2016 06:16 PM
  4. ne_stew's Avatar
    Yep, I cross-referenced android authorities 2016 best budgets against CM, the 2015 E is the winner for what I'm doing. New Phone later . The 626 has a request out for CM, but looks iffy? Verizon dominates my area and plan to test the E with the SanDisk Wireless Connect Flash, root, put CM on and then I'm rolling! My 2nd choice would be the ZenPhone 2E, but no CM support, yet.... Thanks again, for the great help.
    01-31-2016 08:55 PM
  5. dpham00's Avatar
    Droid mini
    http://forums.androidcentral.com/e?l...token=hCy8k49I
    I have really enjoyed the Droid mini which I posted about for $8. It is a Verizon specific phone and you do need to have a Verizon account to get it for $8 (full retail is $108). But even at $108,it is very fast even though it has a dual core processor compared to the zte Zmax2 (quad core) or even the Honor 5x(octa core) . It is essentially a bastardized moto x 2013. Now it is on the small side at 4.3", so perfect for those who want a good performing small phone. It also has wifi 5ghz and nfc, something that many low priced phones lack. The wifi 5ghz is especially nice in crowded wifi areas. It also offers 5ghz wifi hotspot. Even if you don't want to use it on Verizon, at $8,it is a disposable device for kids to use.


    G2
    If you don't mind used, an lg g2 is a great choice with a snapdragon 800 processor (same as the note 3). It will run about $100 used on Swappa. It is a former flagship so like the mini, it includes 5ghz wifi and nfc and all the niceties that flagships get. I used the g2 for a while and it out performs every budget smartphone that I have used. Downside is that it could be an older unit with an older battery, and it might not be updated for much longer, though even some big names like the Verizon moto x 2014 won't be getting lollipop so... You might not be missing out on much.
    Golfdriver97 likes this.
    01-31-2016 10:50 PM
  6. gdasilva16's Avatar
    I have MetroPCS. I just upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. I love it. So smooth.
    03-13-2016 10:46 PM
  7. gdasilva16's Avatar
    Right on sale for $89
    03-13-2016 10:47 PM
  8. thegreenbot's Avatar
    This piece of article has really helped me compare various phones. As I am planning to buy a new phone, I would refer to this guide and I think out of all these ZTE seems to be my phone. I love bigger phones and like you mentioned ZTE seems to be my right fit.
    03-14-2016 11:55 AM
  9. dj7_madridista's Avatar
    Really nice, very nice choices I'd say. The LG G Stylo looks great.
    03-15-2016 06:14 AM
  10. gdasilva16's Avatar
    I bought the Google Style for my wife and I wish I had bought it for myself. I love my galaxy grand prime don't get me wrong however after playing with her style I couldn't let go. Haha
    03-16-2016 02:32 AM
  11. gdasilva16's Avatar
    Didn't mean to type google. Damn auto correct
    03-16-2016 02:33 AM
  12. emmizz1295's Avatar
    My current phone is pretty much dying and I guess I should look more into the LG stylus. It seems pretty cool
    03-16-2016 03:03 AM
  13. Joey tito's Avatar
    Thanks
    03-17-2016 05:57 PM
  14. starbug7's Avatar
    Coolpad Note 3:-
    The phone comes with a 5.50-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 720 pixels by 1280 pixels at a 267 PPI.The Coolpad Note 3 is powered by 1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek 6753 processor and it comes with 3GB of RAM. The phone packs 16GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 64GB via a microSD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Coolpad Note 3 packs a 13-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel front shooter for selfies. The Coolpad Note 3 runs Android 5.1 and is powered by a 3000mAh non removable battery. It measures 151.00 x 77.00 x 9.30 (height x width x thickness) and weighs 155.00 grams. The Coolpad Note 3 is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts two Micro-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, FM, 3G, 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India). Sensors on the phone include Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope.
    03-18-2016 02:37 AM
  15. GeoShifter's Avatar
    If you want a cheap fast android Phone, buy a china phone
    These phones are getting very good and can easely compete with all the big brands for a very small price...
    To give you an idea about the price, I bought mine for $83 (has no brand)
    octa core 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM, 8BG ROM, dual sim card, 5inch 1280*720 screen, 13 & 5MP cameras

    but there are a few things you should consider before buying one of those phones:
    - Finding roms / drivers is not always easy
    - guarantee / hardware issues are a big mess and can cost you alot of money (doesn't happen often)
    - A few of these phones don't support google apps/services
    - Some of the phones will startup in chinese language, it's tricky to change it like that
    - the gps sensors they use are usually pretty bad, lately they are improving
    - difficult to find cases
    - possibly you have to pay extra tax to your country customs

    but hey if you're on a low budget and want a fast phone maybe this can be something for you.
    For me it was a good choice, I'm using my latest one for almost 3 months and I love it.
    03-19-2016 05:02 PM
  16. dpham00's Avatar
    Zte axon $170 but good specs



    32GB ZTE Axon 5.5" GSM Unlocked 4G LTE Smartphone - Slickdeals.net
    03-28-2016 07:17 AM
  17. smf98aggie's Avatar
    I bought a Zmax a couple weeks ago, after being on WP for about 4 yrs. Took a little while to get used to, but I really liked the phone. It worked well, but after installing all the apps I have missed over the last 4 years 😁, I noticed a lag on certain things, so I ordered a Vivo XL. I have to say this was the best decision I've made on a phone in a long time! This thing is a beast! LOVE IT. It's fast, doesn't lag, pics look great ( haven't done any in low light yet), screen is bright and clear, and sound quality is good too. It's definitely worth $149 👍👍👍👍👍

    Posted via the Android Central App
    libra89 likes this.
    05-02-2016 12:45 PM
  18. hotdogchilli's Avatar
    I am a fan of ZTE, I had one for 2 years, and the quality is high for that price. So, depending on your budget, I would go for one of these ZTE models!
    05-17-2016 03:54 PM
  19. cirkit's Avatar
    Thanks, I am looking into getting a low cost android phone. It kind of slipped my mind until reading this thread. You may have made my search a lot easier.
    05-28-2016 08:41 PM
  20. smf98aggie's Avatar
    The Honor 5X is also a really nice looking phone from what I've heard. That was my other choice, but I went with the Vivo XL, because it was $50 cheaper and almost identical specs.
    06-01-2016 09:05 AM
  21. phonexpert's Avatar
    Xiaomi 4 Prime has an excellent performance for its price, running Qualcomm Snapdragon 625(octa) and 3gb of ram and has a decent primary camera. It also have a FHD display.

    Also check out Lenovo Zuk z2(SD 820) and Huawei P9 Lite (3gb variant)
    01-16-2017 09:41 AM

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