The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is no doubt an amazing phone. We’re eagerly awaiting our review unit to arrive so we can bring you our thoughts on the device after some first-hand usage. But, what truly sticks out to me is the price tag. Verizon Wireless pegs the MSRP of the Note 7 at $864! That’s a crazy amount of money for a phone.
While our cellular devices are becoming ever more important to us, to the point of addiction in some cases, there is a case to be made to save that dough and pick up something almost as good for half the price. Cheap phones are getting really good these days and here are some of our choices that are half the price of the Note 7.
OnePlus has been around for a few years now and has consistently put out impressive phones. 2016 has seen the start-up release its third flagship device, the OnePlus 3 (review here).
The OP3 matches the Note 7 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 64GB of onboard storage and bests it with 6GB of RAM. You’ll find a 16MP camera on the rear of the phone and a downward firing speaker on the bottom of the phone. A capacitive home button and user programmable back and recent apps buttons dot the front of the phone just under the 5.5″ 1080p display.
Coming in at only $399, we think the OnePlus 3 is one of the best values in mobile phones today.
Pros: More RAM, DASH charging, Aluminum build, programmable buttons, Stock Android based ROM, unlocked
Cons: Only a 1080p display, no expandable storage or water resistance
Huawei Nexus 6P
Price: $399 (32GB)
The current high-end Nexus device was released almost a year ago but still holds up well when placed next to the flagships of 2016. It has an older processor than the Note 7 (Snapdragon 810 vs. 820), and less RAM (3GB vs 4GB) but runs as well as, or better than, newer Samsung devices due to TouchWiz lag that still persists in the Galaxy lineup.
The 6P (review here) has the same size (5.7″), resolution (2560 x 1440p), and technology (AMOLED) display as the Note 7, but the Note 7 will definitely win out on the quality and top-end brightness. Both devices feature fingerprint readers, Nexus on the back and Note in the home button, and 12MP cameras.
Pros: Stock Android, fast software updates, unlocked
Cons: No expandable storage or water resistance, older processor
Website: Play Store, Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo
Huawei Honor 5X
Coming in at about 25% of the Galaxy Note 7’s price, the Honor 5X offers some excellent value for a new phablet. The device has a 5.5″, 1080p display, a 13MP camera, and 3GB of RAM. The base storage of 16GB isn’t ideal, but when you’re buying a phone with a low price, you can afford to pick up a 256GB microSD card and still spend less than half as much as you would on a Note 7.
Pros: Latest version of Android, expandable storage, fingerprint sensor
Cons: Slower processor, no water resistance, heavy skin
Website: Honor, Amazon, B&H Photo
Motorola Moto G (4th Gen)
The Moto G 4th Generation, or Moto G4 as some are calling it, is another in the lineup of great, cost-efficient phones from Motorolla. The G4 can be purchased on Amazon for as low as $180 with ads that appear on the lock screen (these can be removed with this method). Even if you purchase the phone at full price, you’re still saving about $600 if you choose it over a Note 7. The Moto G is headlined by a 5.5″ display, 32GB of storage, Snapdragon 617 processor, and the latest version of Android. Not only does it have the latest version of Android, it’s a close to stock version as well with Motorola’s excellent additions baked in.
Pros: Latest version of Android, expandable storage, fast charging, big battery
Cons: Only 2 GB of RAM, slower processor, no water resistance
The Letv Max comes in at about half the Note 7’s cost and has some nice specs for the price. Headlined by a Snapdragon 810 processor, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM, this phone should have no trouble flying through tasks and pushing graphics intensive games. The standout feature of the Letv Max has to be the huge 6.33″ 2560 x 1440p display. That is truly bordering on tablet size, but if you want to be productive with your device, a huge screen will definitely help.
Pros: Huge display, fast processor, lots of RAM and storage, unlocked, aluminum body
Cons: Last year’s fast processor, huge display, software updates are an unknown
Meizu Pro 5
Meizu, like Letv, may not be the most popular brand here in the United States, but it does make some quality phones. The Pro 5 has a powerful processor in the Exynos 7420, a screen to match the Note 7’s size at 5.7″, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The aluminum body phone features a hardware home button with a fingerprint sensor and large 3000mAh battery. The main camera is 20MP with a 5MP shooter on the front for your selfies.
Pros: Large display, fast processor, lots of RAM and storage, unlocked, aluminum body, fingerprint scanner, good camera
Cons: Lower resolution display than the Note 7, software updates are an unknown
Website: Meizu, Amazon, Gearbest
ZTE Axon 7
The ZTE Axon 7, much like the OnePlus 3 is looked at as one of the new “super phones” at the $400 price range. ZTE decided to put flagship level specs in the Axon 7 for about half the price of the Galaxy Note 7. Headlining the show is the same Snapdragon 820 processor you can find in the Note 7, as well as 4GB of RAM, 64GB of base storage, and a 3250mAh battery. The 5.5″ display is the same 2560 x 1440p resolution and AMOLED technology as the Note 7 and the front facing speakers are being lauded as some of the best on phones today.
Pros: Fast processor, lots of RAM and storage, unlocked, aluminum body, fingerprint scanner, good camera, front facing speakers
Cons: Heavy skin (MIUI), smaller display than the Note 7 (5.5″ vs. 5.7″), no water resistance
Website: ZTE, Amazon, eBay, B&H Photo, Newegg