Dec 23 AT 3:49 PM Nick Sarafolean 25 Comments

There’s a new hope for the budget Android market

Moto G official

We’ve all been witness to the fact that smartphones are not cheap. For the past few years, buying a flagship phone outright has set you back $650, give or take a hundred. The US market has been loaded with lots of carrier deals that discount the price of the phone down to a much lower price, often $200, if you agree to a two-year contract. Even that price is too high for many, though, and what’s worse is that the budget Android market hasn’t been friendly when it comes to getting a quality phone.

Traditionally, the term “budget Android phone” has been codename for “crappy phone.” The budget Android market has had a knack for delivering flop after flop. The specs are often horrendous, the build quality is shoddy and very few are usable after two years. The budget market simply hasn’t had anything going for it except for the dirt cheap prices that the phones are sold at. If someone really just wanted a new phone at a very low price, the abysmal budget Android phones were the way to go.

But now that’s changing.

As far back as one year ago, we got our first glimpse at a new horizon for the budget Android market. Let’s start with the Nexus 4. Coming in at a starting price of $299 for the 8GB model, the Nexus 4 offered high-end specs at a price that couldn’t be matched by anything but budget Android phones. It was a feat that hadn’t yet been accomplished in the smartphone world.

Now that we’ve reached 2013, Google is once again pushing the fold. The Nexus 5 starts at just $349 for the 16GB model and features some of the most powerful specs available for smartphones. When compared to the other high-end phones on the market, it seems like a no-brainer to get a Nexus 5 over many of the others thanks to its low price and high value.

Even more recently, we saw Blu announce their latest phone, the Life Pure. The Life Pure offers specs to rival that of the Nexus 5 at the same low starting price of $349. This shows that it’s not just Google that’s capable of offering high-end budget Android devices.

But possibly the most heartening thing that we’ve seen with the budget Android market is the introduction of the Moto G. The Moto G is designed to deliver powerful hardware and software to the world at a price that blows every other smartphone out of the water. The 8GB model starts at a mere $179. And while its price tag is low, that doesn’t mean that the Moto G is a slouch. Simply check out our review and you’ll see that we were pleasantly surprised by the Moto G.

This same trend has been happening with tablets. The 2012 Nexus 7 debuted with best-in-class specs and a price that was easy on the wallet, with the 8GB model priced at $199. Other tablet manufacturers began to follow in Google’s footsteps by offering tablets with decent specs at lower prices to compete with the Nexus 7. The 2013 Nexus 7 is once again leading the low-cost, high-end charge, along with devices such as LG’s new G Pad 8.3 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0. It’s encouraging to know that not everything has to be depressingly overpriced.

Time for you to voice your thoughts, loyal reader. Do you feel that there is a change for the better taking place in the budget Android market? Or perhaps you were fine with the way things were before cheap high-end phones began to be released? Feel free to share any and all of your thoughts in the comments below.

P.S. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • Paul

    Really looking into upgrading my phone (GS3)next year but dont want my wallet to take a huge hit. Thinking about a nexus 5 with its good specs (battery life worries me,however) unless the GS5 ends up being cheap, but that’s highly unlikely.

    Also, I want to get an android tablet. Any good recommendations (other than Samsung tablets)?

    • Daniel Redman

      I went from the gs3 to the n5 and won’t look back, apart from being able to swap the battery out when you want too, which I did all the time, the n5 kills it in battery life. Finally I have a phone that doesn’t chew stupendous amounts of charge just on standby which the gs3 certainly did.

    • Shane

      The nexus 7 2013! put CM on it and you wont look back

    • LarissaHardcastleecy

      my Aunty Evelyn got an awesome Audi Q3 SUV only from working part time online. check it out………..

    • Timo

      I got an Xperia Tablet Z a few months ago, and I am very very happy with it. World’s thinnest tablet, almost as light as the iPad Air, and waterproof to boot. The battery dies a bit faster than I would like, but I can deal with it. But for now, wait until next year to see what that brings :)

      LG G pad also looks to be a good size if you do want a smaller tablet this year…epecially the GP Edition :)

    • stu3D64bit14nmUD

      Well of course you cannot go wrong with a Nexus 5 for a phone, or a Nexus 7 FHD (2013) for a tablet, but LG’s G pad 8.3 is pretty good value and all 3 get rapid updates, because none of those have any dreadful RAM sucking company skin. Remember however at some point next year, 14nm, 64 bit CPU/GPU/RAM comes to phones, tabs, phablets, with probably twice the transistors, running at twice the speed. This means we’re looking at 4GB RAM, for example Tegra 5 with 200 GPUs, again running at twice the speed, why, because screens are already capable of running UD 4k in 7″. Chinese phablets already have 2x FHD 5″ screens, with 128 GB flash, at that pixels per inch rate repeat, 7″ UD 4k is already possible. :-).

      • stu3D64bit14nmUD

        See my comments about moto G latter too, great cheap phone, with a lot of power.

  • Saptech

    This article kinda touched me. I was in the market after my current contract ended this month and wanted a better phone. I couldn’t afford to buy a flaship type phone outright and didn’t want to upgrade again with my carrier.

    I was looking at getting the LG Optimus F6 until Motorola came out with the Moto G. I decided to get the MG, it is serving my purpose very well, other then no SD Card slot or LTE networking. The price was just right for what I got in return!

  • ihatefanboys

    M*** X or G shouldnt even be in the same conversation with anything that says NEXUS. Get a Nexus of some sort, avoid anything with the M, even the Droids suck these days.

    • kiki.utena

      Geez you sure sound like a fanboy!

    • Rushaoz

      You must be retarded. The Moto X is more “Nexus” than the Nexus line itself because Google owns Moto now. Which means they had a hand in the entire production of that phone and it shows. My girlfriend recently bought a Moto X and I would swap both my HTC One and GS4 for it.

      Don’t be ignorant and talk about what you don’t know. You made yourself look like a total and complete idiot.

      • stu3D64bit14nmUD

        I’m a Nexus fanboy, but you’ve got to admit at that price range the hardware / software tailoring of Motorola’s stuff is mighty good, with processors for voice and context to take the load off the other two CPU cores. It also has Android 4.4.2, which because of project svelte also takes the load off of the hardware, to let the hardware do its magic, while your waiting for 14 nm, 64 bit stuff next year, its a good cheap powerhouse.

        • donger


      • Perry

        Just curious as to why you would swap out the HTC One for the X? From what I’ve seen & heard the One is supposedly “the” best android handset of 2013. I must admit I was very impressed when I played with the one at my local Tmo store.

        • masterpfa

          I had the HTC One for a brief time, I got rid of it because it did not offer for me any significant improvements over my existing Nexus 4.
          Before people start talking about better hardware, best Android phone of 2013 etc.etc. please note “for me”. I was frustrated by HTC implementation of Jelly Bean, did not like some of the features of sense and at the end of the day it has to be about the user experience for each individual.
          So best Phone does not equate to “Best for everyone”

    • redraider133

      Geeze who peed in your cheerios. The moto x is no slouch and got fast updates to rival that of the nexus. Plus those added extras moto added are actually useful unlike some of the other features OEMs cram into their devices just to have. For someone whose name is “ihatefanboys” you sure sound like one…

    • Orion78

      Wow you have reached Richard level of stupidity with that comment. Congrats.

  • redraider133

    I think the low price is a good move. You have so much competition in the high end segment, but really no competition in the low end if you produce a phone like the moto g with pretty good specs, and a rock bottom price. Will be interesting to see if others go this route.

  • Eli Gaffke

    For a budget tablet that works great I love my ASUS Memo Pad HD. Doesn’t best the Nexus 7 but it is a lot cheaper. Definitely beats the Galaxy Tab 3 7″ in screen quality and price.

  • Prefte

    my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $76 every hour on the laptop. She has been fired from work for 8 months but last month her income was $16438 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check it out,,,,,,

  • mrjlwilliams

    I just got kit kat on my Moto G, while all of my other so called high end phones will not get it anytime soon. Sad, so sad lol. The moto g I’d s great buy, and the others better wake up before it’s too late. Go get the Moto G if you need a great device, at a low cost. It’s amazing!

  • Perry

    I got the Mrs a G for xmas to replace her ancient GS2 that I gifted her when I upgraded to the nexus 4. I’m sure she’ll be happy as the GS2 is starting to show it’s age.

  • rr2009

    The way motorola is upgrading their software, if they can keep up nice hardware and price, they will be back in the game soon.

  • unknoww unknoww

    I want that wallpaper of the phone in the picture!!! any body have that?????

  • nishalbhoya

    use is cheap in nepal.just around $150