After several hours of research and in-depth examination of around thirty Best Smartphones For 200 Dollars, we have selected the 5 most interesting models of the moment. Among them, it is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro which wins our preference, thanks to its excellent quality/price ratio.
Indeed, it offers an attractive design, good build quality, performance worthy of the superior range in daily use and a good autonomy.
How did we choose?
Today, it is difficult to do without GSM on a daily basis. But not everyone can afford the latest fashionable smartphone. When our budget does not exceed $250, how can we be sure of investing in a model presenting a good value for money, which will not force us to buy another after only a few months of use?
Even though we are aware that, in this price range, it is impossible to find a smartphone rivaling the most efficient models on the market, we have determined the major criteria to observe before purchasing:
- The processor: often highlighted on the description sheet, it is the heart, or rather the brain of your smartphone. The more powerful it is, the faster you can navigate, perform complex tasks, etc. The processor (CPU) is coupled to a graphics chipset (GPU) which determines the fluidity of the interface and the games. The latest-generation processor can often drive up the price.
- RAM: this is what will determine the speed of your smartphone to perform tasks, and above all will facilitate multitasking (simultaneous management of several pages). The offer generally varies from 2 to 8 GB, always allowing faster processing. But beware, having too much RAM is useless, however: it is one of the most energy-consuming elements of your phone, and it is only a guarantee of the speed of the device if the processor can keep up.
- The screen: if the fashion is OLED (a device where each pixel is individually lit, which generates better contrasts and drains less battery), it is an expensive device. Under the $250 mark, you will, therefore, find mainly LCD screens. These must provide sufficient lighting and good colorimetry. Finally, to obtain a correct display quality, turn at least to an HD screen (720p).
- The photosensor: as we explain in our comparison dedicated to the best photo smartphones for 200 dollars, it is useless to invest in a smartphone competing with pixels if the hardware quality does not follow, because the rendering will be bad anyway. If you really want to get an idea of the quality of the camera, we recommend that you check out the existing tests.
- Storage space: at present, many smartphones offer you an extension of the storage space via microSD card, but this is not always the case. So check, according to your needs, the space that will be the most profitable for you. Under 16 GB, unless you only have very basic use of your smartphone, you risk quickly finding yourself limited, if only in photo space.
- Autonomy: this is probably the least reliable data. Expressed in mAh, it is only relevant if one has in mind the sum of the consumption of all the components of the phone. Thus, a smartphone may offer twice as much mAh as another, it will not necessarily last longer. We can, therefore, once again, only recommend that you consult the dedicated tests to get an idea of the real autonomy of a model.
- Quality of construction: there is no point in investing in the best smartphones for 200 dollars. if it has to be changed within 3 months. Of course, it is very rare to find certain features such as a water resistance certification in this price range, but consider whether the set looks solid and offers neat finishes.
The analysis of these criteria allowed us to keep about twenty models out of the thirty available on the market. For the remaining models, we consulted a multitude of specialized tests, to check which were the most balanced models. This led us to isolate a dozen.
For each of these smartphones, we looked at a maximum of user reviews (English and French), to check, among other things, what their reception is and how they behave after several months of use.
This allows us to present the following 5 models as the most interesting value for money at the moment in terms of the best smartphones for 200 dollars.
The best, very inexpensive smartphones
In this first category, it is rare to find a truly coherent smartphone.
However, it happens that some of them reserve good surprises, like the model we have selected, which is distinguished in particular by its use of Android very simple.
📱Xiaomi Redmi 7A: the best very inexpensive
It’s no surprise that we find a Xiaomi in this section. This manufacturer is a reference in the field of the best smartphones for 200 dollars.
The heart of this model is the entry-level Snapdragon 439. Coupled with 2GB of RAM and well optimized, it delivers acceptable performance for your daily tasks. It makes Android work without problem but be careful not to multiply the applications open simultaneously. Regarding the game, it is unfortunately difficult to take advantage of the latest titles but the lighter games should work without too much worry.
Its 5.45 ”screen is fairly standard and offers HD resolution. If its calibration is not bad, it is not the case of its brightness which is very low. Thus, combined with a fairly high reflectance, it makes the phone less easy to use in the sun. There is still an advantage to this fairly low brightness: you will not damage the retina by using it in darker environments.
From a photo point of view, no multi-lens but a single 13MP sensor. Compared to the competition, the Xiaomi offers surprisingly good shots thanks to the software processing. So, whether day or night, the pictures will still be usable! However, do not expect as qualitative a result of more expensive models.
To store your data, you will have 16GB of storage. You can easily extend it using a microSD card up to 256GB.
The real strong point of the 7A is its autonomy. It will last without a problem for up to 3 days in normal use. Intensive use will cut this time in half.
- Very good autonomy.
- Overall photo quality.
- Good colorimetry.
- Use in difficult sunlight.
- Limited power
In the end, this model, although limited, is what is best in this price range. It will delight less demanding users who are only looking for a smartphone for relatively simple use.
The Best Smartphones For 200 Dollars
In this section, we begin to find high-performance devices both for everyday use and for providing correct shots.
📱Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T: the best cheap
A worthy successor to the Note 7, the Redmi Note 8 line retains its place as the best quality/price smartphone at this level of the range. With the 8T (improved USA version of the Note 8), Xiaomi again offers a good versatile smartphone.
First of all, for performance, it opts for a Snapdragon 665 coupled with 4 GB of RAM. This version is one of the best processors that can be found at this level of the range. It will allow you to benefit from a user without grip for your daily tasks while having the possibility of making turn a majority of the available games, except for the most greedy. Be careful though that if you ask too much, you could face some slowdowns, which is not uncommon for models of this price.
Its 6.3 ”IPS screen offers FHD resolution and occupies 82% of the surface. Its calibration is of very good level when the phone is turned on and its brightness makes it possible to use it in all circumstances, whether at night (without damaging your eyes) or in full sun.
The back of this camera contains the photo module. It offers 4 different lenses: the main in 48 Mpx, a very wide angle in 8 Mpx, a macro in 2 Mpx and the last lens of 2 Mpx which acts as a depth sensor.
The main objective uses Pixel Binning technology which combines 4 photosites in one to improve the final rendering. This module is quite qualitative and offers good quality shots during the day. The very wide-angle lens is also effective, but the one for macro shots is unfortunately anecdotal.
Night shots are of little use except for those made with the main lens. This problem is recurrent in all models of this price.
Regarding storage, this model is offered in two versions: one of 64 GB and one of 128 GB. These two capacities can be extended via the dedicated microSD port (if you are not using a second SIM card).
Its autonomy, although correct, is down from Note 7. However, it will easily accompany you for 2 days in normal use but if you use it more intensively, it will be reduced by half.
- Very good daytime photo quality.
- Reference quality / price ratio.
- Qualitative screen.
- Narrow fingerprint sensor.
- Decreasing autonomy.
In conclusion, this model retains the reference title of the best smartphones for 200 dollars obtained by its predecessor. Its classic but effective design hides a very balanced phone.
📱Xiaomi Redmi Note 7: the cheap alternative
The Redmi Note 7, although outdated by the new version remains an interesting product.
Its design, well worked, has a well-optimized edge/screen ratio. This time, the back is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, a very resistant and reflective material (you can look at yourself in your smartphone almost like in a mirror), but which has the defect of catching fingerprints.
Its 6.3-inch screen is well-calibrated, with controlled colorimetry, good brightness and very good contrasts for an LCD screen (even more so in this price range).
Like the previous models, it is available in two versions: one with 32 GB of memory (expandable via microSD) and 3 GB of RAM, and the other with 64 GB and 4 GB of RAM. Combined with a Snapdragon 660 chip, it does a great job, even if it will be necessary to make concessions on graphics for the most demanding games.
Finally, its endurance is improved compared to the Redmi Note 6 Pro, since it this time reaches more than 19:30 of autonomy in intensive use! In addition, this time, the charging is done by USB-C (well!) And takes only a little over 1h30.
And as for the photo, it has a double sensor, but this time of 48 and 5 Mpx. Note that, by default, it still shoots at 12 Mpx and you have to go through the pro model of the photo application to capture at 48 Mpx.
Like the Note 8T, it uses a technology known as pixel binning, which consists of combining photosites in order to capture more light. So, in broad daylight, we get a very detailed result (but not completely free of smoothing either).
In low light, on the other hand, electronic noise is even more present. Admittedly, it has a night mode, but the smoothing is also there.
- Corning Gorilla Glass case.
- Well calibrated screen.
- Correct photo quality.
- Excellent autonomy
- Photo almost unusable in low light.
You will understand, the Redmi Note 7 is always excellent, and is dethroned only by its successor. It brings performance and results that are still relevant for a price slightly lower than the new model. In our opinion, it’s quality/price ratio is still very interesting.
The best mid-range smartphones
Here, the two selected the best smartphones for 200 dollars flirt with the border of the lowcost.
We focused particularly on the performance of these models, in terms of ergonomics, screen quality, photo quality, and autonomy.
📱Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: the best mid-range
When it comes to smartphones with a high price/quality ratio, Xiaomi is on everyone’s lips. The inflated version of the Redmi Note 8T, this model offers very interesting modifications.
Its processor, an Helio G90T, allows it interesting performances. 6 GB of RAM is added to it, giving it a fluidity to any test. It will easily accomplish all your tasks, whether web browsing or gaming, without large graphics concessions. According to several tests, it is even at the level of products in the upper range!
A 6.53 ”FHD + IPS panel (2340 × 1080 px) takes care of the display. Its calibration is well controlled and its brightness can be used in all circumstances if you think of going through the parameters to activate the “default” mode. Without this modification, you will benefit from disappointing results which do not do justice to this slab.
Its quality design is often the prerogative of models at twice its price. The back, framed in hard plastic with a shiny effect, is made of Gorilla Glass 5 which will allow it to withstand daily use.
Its good grip is favored by the slightly rounded shape of its back and compensates for its fairly high weight (200 g). Its screen occupies 85% of the front face, despite a notch containing the front camera.
The fingerprint reader is located on the back and falls perfectly under the finger. In connection, it uses the codes of the standard version, namely: USB-C, NFC, 3.5 mm jack and Nano-Sim and microSD port (which can also read a second SIM card).
For its smartphone, Xiaomi uses a brand new lens that offers a very good rendering without distorting your shots (with a drop in quality on the ultra-wide-angle all the same). Common in this price range, night shots are perfectible.
What would a great power be if it only lasted an instant? The Note 8 Pro can boast great endurance in addition to its high power. Normal use will reach the end of its reserves in about 3 days while very intensive use will cause it to bow in a day and a half.
- High level performance.
- Manufacturing quality.
- Daytime rendering.
- Record autonomy.
- Disappointing ultra wide-angle module.
- Quite high weight.
Finally, this Chinese smartphone ranks as one of the best value for money at this level of the range. It stands out mainly from its competitors by its great power and autonomy.
📱 Honor Play: the mid-range alternative
As the name suggests, it was launched on the market for mobile game enthusiasts, without having to make an excessive investment.
Without necessarily presenting a revolutionary design, the Honor Play has a rather pleasant look: rounded edges, relatively small notch, matte metal coating, Full HD + 6.3-inch screen that occupies the surface well … It is rather successful.
Its screen also delivers good colorimetry, even if this requires first passing through the display parameters (in particular by activating the warm colors mode).
If it is so efficient in games, it is because it has, despite its low price, a Kirin 970 8-core processor and 4 GB of RAM, and its heating is extremely well controlled. In addition, its autonomy is good, since it easily exceeds 16 hours of intensive use, which allows it to last about two days in standard use.
It is recharged via a USB-C port and has a 3.5 mm mini-jack and a microSD port. On the other hand, its fingerprint reader is again integrated on the back (this seems almost a constant at the moment among inexpensive smartphones).
On the photo side, it has a dual 16 and 2 MP rear sensor. And the general rendering is pretty good since the Honor Play has long been put in competition, photo point of view, with the Pocophone F1, reputed champion of the best smartphones for 200 dollars in the matter.
In bright light, the result is very detailed. And in low light, even if, as always, a smoothing appears, the result remains very correct. This is the best of this comparison at this level.
The front sensor also offers 16 MP. If the backlight is fairly well controlled, the result, again, is quite smooth.
On the video side, it can record in 4K, but it is in Full HD that you will get the best rendering in that stabilization is only active up to this level of definition.
- Very good photo result for this price range.
- Good colorimetry.
- Run all games.
- No major faults.
In the end, this smartphone currently has an extremely interesting quality/price ratio, which offers those who do not have too many means, all the same, to be equipped with a smartphone with photo quality ( very) correct.
Huawei P Smart: Another alternative in the cheap model’s section, the 2019 P Smart is a good smartphone. Its Kirin 710 processor has already proven itself and delivers good performance. Its photo quality is sufficient without being transcendent. It bowed to our selection because, although it is an efficient smartphone, it remains below in terms of power and overall quality.
Xiaomi Mi A3: Internal competitor of the Note 8T, it has more or less the same advantages but loses in versatility. However, it does have an OLED screen and offers an Android stock experience with no frills. Unfortunately, its slab is not a good example of calibration and reminds us that sometimes it is better to settle for a less noble but better-mastered technology.
Motorola Moto G7 Power: with its Snapdragon 632 chip, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of expandable memory, this smartphone offers good performance, but not optimal for games. If it is not the most efficient in photography, it is nevertheless a champion of autonomy, with no less than 26 hours of intensive use (or nearly 4 days in standard use).
In the end, if we had to choose only one from the models in our selection, our choice would be on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, mainly for its consistency and its unexpected performance.
If such a riot of power is useless and you are looking for a functional model for more basic use, the Xiaomi Redmi 7A is the one for you.
Finally, if you are looking for a balance between these two proposals, consider the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T. It offers a real balance between our different criteria for a relatively contained price.