If this was only a few years ago, I would have trouble recommending a decent budget or mid-range Android phone. Recently, phone manufacturers have been paying particular attention to this segment of the market and launched sub-premium models that offer most of the benefits you get from their flagship colleagues.
This is good news for Chad, the latest Gizmodo reader in our “Which gadget should you buy GadgetsI assume) plays in the background.
Chad attends concerts and festivals, so a good camera is mandatory to capture the sight and sounds of these often difficult to record events. He also does not want a phone full of bloatware (though Verizon will inevitably add a fair share). Our reader did not include other claims, but said that his current Motorola G7 Plus has the “worst fingerprint scanner I have ever used”, so I will try to correct that annoyance below.
First, I want to cheat a little and go straight to the top of Chad’s budget by recommending Google Pixel 6. That starts at $ 599, has a great camera, and the fingerprint scanner under the screen works fine. I have been using one for the last few months and have already recommended it to several others. However, it is not perfect: the phone is large and Google still needs to fix the occasional software bug.
I also have to throw in a warning word here: Pixel 6 for Verizon costs $ 700 – outside Chad’s budget. The Verizon version is $ 100 more expensive because it includes tapes for the network’s mmWave 5G technology. I just recommend paying $ 600 for the unlocked version that only supports sub-6GHz bands.
It’s not much of a loss: mmWave is super fast, for sure, but only available on certain street corners in certain neighborhoods in a few supported cities. My major concern comes from Verizon customers reporting SIM card problems and updates are delayedalthough it seems that these problems have mostly been solved.
Pixels 6a and 5a
Another option is to wait Pixel 6a, which is likely to replace the Pixel 5a 5G when it arrives in the coming weeks or months. Expected to cost around $ 450, the Pixel 6a will save Chad a few hundred dollars and fit comfortably within his budget. We do not know too much about the phone, but Google’s current budget-friendly device, it Pixel 5a 5G, is the best value on the market. Its possible sequel feels like a safe bet.
If Chad can not wait and will not blow up his entire budget, the aforementioned Pixel 5a 5G remains an excellent choice (oh look, more Verizon issues. Here is a correction via PhoneArena). It has great cameras, a large OLED screen and, if you ask me, a rear fingerprint sensor that works better than the smart ones that hide under the screen.
I’m aware that I have recommended three Google options wwithout mentioning any other brand. I would not normally give anyone such narrow options, but I’m going to double it here. I feel particularly confident because our resident smartphone expert Florence Ion agrees: Chad should go for the Pixel.
Chad Sshould Skip Samsung
Why? We’re skipping Samsung – the leading Android phone maker – because its device does not meet Chad’s “no bloatware” requirements. Things have gotten better, but Samsung is still beating a stylized skin on Android and pre-installing a number of apps that some users will never touch (you can always uninstall these, FWIW). He could go with a Motorola, but their cameras are not very skilled in low light conditions, like at a festival. The same shortcoming applies to TCL’s surprisingly good budget units, such as .
And that brings us to OnePlus. If Chad for some reason chooses against Google, he should probably turn to OnePlus 9. For me, it’s a step below the Pixel devices for the same reason as so many others: poorer photography in low light. However and is damn close to being a flagship phone. Compared to the Pixel 6, the OnePlus 9 has longer battery life, faster charging, a more powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC and a 120Hz screen.
Again, it’s cumbersome to get OnePlus 9 to connect to Verizon’s 5G, then PCMag notes, but it might be worth the frustration for a phone with very few drawbacks.
Would you recommend anything else? Tell us in the comments! And if you need help deciding which gadget to buy, fill out our simple questionnaire.