Is a $250 Smartphone Worth It?

Hey guys this is Austin. Flagships usually
get all the attention but can you get a decent phone for $250? Take a look at the new Moto
G and you’re getting a lot more than the price tag might suggest. With a five inch
screen and curved back the Moto G feels good in the hand especially with the new textured
rear cover. It’s also IPX7 water resistant, you won’t want to go swimming with it but
it’s totally fine getting wet. Just make sure the removable back is properly sealed,
this is where you’ll find your SIM and MicroSD card slots. You can also customize the phone
in Moto Maker, allowing you to pick the color, back cover and accent at no extra cost. Move
over to the Asus Zenfone 2 and we’ve got a much bigger 5.5 inch display. It’s about
the same size as an iPhone 6 Plus but it is a fair bit thicker. You’ll find capacitive
back, home and multitasking buttons along with the volume rocker on back. This works
nicely but having the power button on top is awkward and the button itself is small
and usually takes a couple tries to actually press. Pry off the back and you’ll find
a MicroSD and dual SIM card slots which is a cool extra feature. With the Alcatel OneTouch
Idol 3 the first thing you’ll notice is just how thin and light it is. It has the
same sized 5.5 inch screen but it comes in over three millimeters thinner than the Zenfone
and it’s even lighter than the Moto G. It might not seem like a big deal but with large
phones like this it makes a difference. You won’t find a removable back but you do have
a tray for a SIM and MicroSD card. Usually budget phones don’t have the greatest screens
but you won’t find much to complain about here. The Moto G has a five inch 720p display
that’s good, viewing angles are reasonable and colors are decent. The Zenfone steps things
up with a 5.5 inch 1080p screen and Asus includes an app to fine tune the colors although the
screen doesn’t get as bright as I’d like. The clear winner though is the Idol 3, on
paper it looks similar with a 5.5 inch 1080p screen but it’s a terrific looking display
with great colors, solid viewing angles and it gets much brighter than the others. This
would be great on a phone at twice the price. When it comes to audio they each handle things
a different way. The dual front facing speakers of the Idol
3 easily take this one, it’s right up there with the very best like the HTC One. As far as specs go the Moto G is a little
outgunned here, the Zenfone has a powerful Intel Atom processor and the Idol 3 has a
whopping eight cores. Take a look at Geekbench and the Zenfone takes a big lead thanks to
that Atom CPU and when you look at graphics it’s not even close with the Idol 3 and
Moto G falling far behind. In actual use there isn’t as huge a gap, even with relatively
weak specs the Moto G feels snappy thanks to the 720p screen and basically stock build
of Android. You’ll find a few additions like Active Notifications to check what’s
up at a quick glance but otherwise this is about as close to a Nexus as you can get.
The Idol 3 also works well in normal use, it has a slightly more skinned version of
Android Lollipop but basically all of the customizations are either cosmetic or easily
uninstallable bloatware. With the Zenfone performance definitely isn’t an issue but
the software is. There’s an enormous amount of junk that ships on the phone and Asus have
done a fairly major overhaul of Android, nothing is necessarily terrible but there are lots
of small, annoying changes that really add up. Even with the big differences in power
the group does very well for battery life with the Idol taking the win but all three
come in around the seven hour mark. One other area worth mentioning is the single stream
2.4 gigahertz Wi-Fi on the Moto G. This isn’t a huge problem for most people but my apartment
has notoriously poor Wi-Fi reception making the dual band Wi-Fi on the Idol 3 and Zenfone
far more reliable. Get into cameras and on paper all three are closely matched with 13
megapixel sensors. The Zenfone isn’t half bad but it can’t keep up in this comparison.
Many of the shots I took looked a bit washed out with inaccurate white balance. There was
also a bit of noise sometimes even in great light but there is a lot of detail and with
the option of manually controlling the camera you can get a nice shot. The Idol 3 can also
deliver solid results. It tended to underexpose a bit but the color is much more realistic
to my eye. Even though it has 13 megapixels it doesn’t quite have the same level of
detail as the other two, it’s not bad but if you zoom you’ll see a bit of softness
in the image. Motorola hasn’t exactly had a great track record with cameras lately but
the Moto G has been a pleasant surprise. There’s a ton of detail and colors are very natural,
things like dynamic range are the best here and the HDR mode is really impressive, it
brings a lot of life to images without going overboard. My biggest problem has to
do with the overly simple camera app that snaps your shot when you tap the screen or
uses an imprecise control wheel to set exposure. It took me a few tries before getting several
shots which was frustrating. All three cameras shoot 1080p video but here there’s really
no contest. Both the Idol and Zenfone deliver passable results but the Moto G gives much
sharper video and renders colors better than the others. As the cheapest phone here the
Zenfone delivers the highest performance but makes some odd hardware choices and goes overboard
on the bloatware. The Moto G delivers a great camera, solid battery life and an excellent
software experience but the superior screen and speakers along with the nicer hardware
and better performance of the Idol 3 give it the slight edge in this one. The big takeaway
is that you can a really solid phone for $250, you’re getting eighty percent of the flagship
experience for a third of the price. Hard to argue with that.

100 thoughts on “Is a $250 Smartphone Worth It?

  1. the galaxy j7 is my current phone and is AMAZING for the $240 price… octa core processor 2gb of ram 8gb rom 720p screen and…… its samsung, so u know u will be getting a trustworthy phone

  2. Been using my Zenfone 2 ZE551ML (4GB RAM, 2.3 gHz Atom 3580) for a full year now, I'm giving it to my dad and getting an HTC One M10. In hindsight, I probably should've gotten the Idol 3, but it was a good phone for the most part.

  3. yeah I've been using my Alcatel one touch idol 3 for more than a year now, bearly noticing it slowing down, great phone

  4. could you make a video for this smartphone

  5. Just get the Nexus 5, sure it's a bit outdated, and no longer gets updates, but a quick flash of cyanogen mod fixes that! You can pick one up now for only £93!

  6. I've been using the Moto G generation 3 for about one year. It has been amazing! The battery life is decent and 16 GB of memory is enough (atleast to me). It doesn't lag at all when playing video games!

  7. I love the Moto g… but it has serious battery life issues. I had one that drained super quickly, and it charged very slowly which is a horrible combination. My iPhone 5s even has better battery life and charges in less than half the time… both with their chargers that came with them stock. Otherwise it's a great phone especially because of that water resistance

  8. Moto G 2015 snapdragon 400? Men I can just buy Alcatel one touch pixi 3 with those same CPU! I do prefer zenfone 2, but I don't prefer idol 3

  9. Watching on a Moto g3. Just wished it had always on okay Google and a fingerprint scanner.
    Used a discount I had and got it for less than $39 at Walmart.

  10. "Bad connection" In the uk I have some of the fastest non business wifi and we get 72mbs tops and have he national average is 14mbs so just stop bragging

  11. WTF? Since when is 250 dollars considered cheap? Those flagship phones you talk about are supposed to be premium stuff. Ofcourse a 250 dollar phone will get the job done.

  12. Ex-flagships are nice too. I got a samsung galaxy s5, and it's one of the few phones with USB 3.0 :). The swiping fingerprint scanner is not that bothersome at all, and I actually use the heart rate monitor because it's faster than the gym equipment.

    And, of course, water resistance.

    I have a PC for doing the heavy lifting, so my smartphone doesn't have to pack the latest Snapdragons… but I do like removable batteries and a phone I can take apart myself.

  13. Great video I like 😊 it I have the iphone4 and I wil bay it and keep the great woor you are amaizing

  14. I mistook the Moto g 3rd generation for the Moto x pure edition… they look so similar from the back

  15. I bought a leeco lepro3 4k vid recording 4gig ram 64 gig internal snap dragon processor I paid $230 on Amazon the fk u mean

  16. Why is everyone talking about how they can't afford these, i think that should be the basic prising of a phone. I Myself, have a phone that costs around 900-1000 dollars so..

  17. I bought the Zenfone 2 because of this video back in 2015. Mostly because it looked like the best option for your money. The fast Wi-Fi, 1080p, and fast processor was hard to pass up. But aftering using it for about a year, holy shit was that thing a nightmare. The specs might have been good, but you can tell that's what used up the entire budget of the phone. The build quality was trash. The extremely plastic and light design made the phone super fragile. The backplate would constantly pop off and come loose during regular use. Not only that but something came loose and would rattle inside the phone. To rub salt in the wound, the headphone jack broke too. The god awful build quality affected the software experience too. At first the phone was snappy. But that was short lived. I was plagued with crashes. Nearly all apps woukd crash after about 10 to 15 minutes of use. I literally had to plan my app usage on a 10-15 minute basis to compensate for the crashes. Anyways fuck this trash phone. I have a s8 now, and I enjoyed smashing the fuck out that Asus phone. And then I threw the remaining pieces into a bon fire. Should've got the Moto G.

  18. Hi Austin .. big fan. Can u help with something . I have Amazon fire stick and 2013 Samsung computer. I m using Amazon fire stick but can't connect my 2 tv hard disk to computer

  19. How do they compare to old Samsung phones for great screen quality, the Samsung Note 2 3 and 4 or great options, as well as Samsung's budget lineup if you're not willing to buy used. Also the Note 4 might not have the greatest person to Performance but it is capable of emulating Nintendo DS and I believe it has 1440p screen.

  20. Do a video about the huawei p smart it costs 250 dollars and it wil blow these phones away it has 3 gb of ram 32 gb rom cpu 2.35 gigahertz octacore 5.6 inch display 3000 mah battery with around 6.5 hours screen on time


  22. Here in Feb. 2019, for under $250 you can get:
    -LG V30 (a 2017 flagship, top 3 best phone cameras!) Or…
    -LG V20 (Only $150 NEW in box on ebay!)
    -Pocophone F1 (known for the past 18 months as the best budget/midrange phone, period!)
    -Google Pixel 2 (older flagship, still one of the best cameras ever on a phone!)

    Older flagships are the way to go IMO, just don't buy refurbished!! 👍👍👍

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