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Top 5 Best Budget 5G Smartphones: Affordable future-proofed handsets

It’s fall 2021 and that time of the year when we at ColourMyTech review some of the best innovations of the year. 5G is next-gen cellular network that has grabbed a lot of limelight since its advent and this year has seen the launch of some of the best top-end and budget smartphones that have the hardware to harness the best of this new generation cellular network has to offer.

5G has come with a lot of promise and today we have some of the top smartphones from the budget segment that you can order one for yourself to have a slice of the 5G pie.

Is there such a thing as affordable 5G handset

5G Handsets Source smartprix

Before we start with the listings, for those who are new, 5G is the future of mobile data connectivity where the bandwidth is measured in GBPs instead of the MBPs. 5G comes with more than 1 GBPs data bandwidth and a latency that is less than 10 milliseconds with an average speed between 300-400mbps.

5G’s extremely high speed and bandwidth would allow more devices to be interconnected to each other. 5G can support devices with high data requirements such as autonomous vehicles or remote medical procedure services and would open new avenues of data delivered and data-based development.

As more and more budget mobile processors known as SoC (Silicon-on-Chip) become available in the market from the likes of Qualcomm, MediaTek, HiSilicon and even Samsung’s own Exynos range. Budget 5G handsets are being churned out for the masses.

Each of these budget smartphones is available at a price bracket of under $300 and come from reputed brands. At this price range, these 5G handsets are extremely good value for money options. Let’s begin.

1. LG Velvet 5G

Specifications

Display : 6.8-inch OLED Full Vision (1080 x 2460 pixels)
CPU : Snapdragon 765
RAM : 6 GB
Rear Camera : 48 MP Triple Camera
Front Camera : 16 MP
Storage : 128 GB
Battery : 4300 mAh

LG Velvet 5G Source Amazon

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The LG Velvet 5G is a big phone and best for people with huge palms. It has a glass front and back on an aluminum frame and comes with a hybrid dual sim design. The smartphone is the costliest device on our list today with a factory unlocked version available for just under $300.

It comes with a brilliant P-OLED display with 395 PPI density. It also comes bundled with a 64GB SD card from some sellers that makes the deal even sweeter. In terms of performance, the Velvet is no joke as the Snapdragon 765 might not be a flagship processor but packs quite a bit of punch. The processor is a powerful mid-ranger that has two of its octa-cores operating at 2.4 and 2.2 GHz respectively.

The LG Velvet comes with a 48MP triple camera setup at the back with an 8MP ultrawide and 5MP depth sensor. It can record 4K videos at 30 fps and FullHD videos at up to 60 fps. The smartphone supports fast charging with a 25W charger.

2. OnePlus Nord N10 5G

Specifications

Display : 6.49-inch IPS LCD, 90 Hz (1080 x 2400 pixels)
CPU : Snapdragon 690
RAM : 6 GB
Rear Camera : 64 MP Quad Camera
Front Camera : 16 MP
Storage : 128 GB
Battery : 4300 mAh

AnTuTu: 279579 (v8) | GeekBench: 1848 (v5.1)| GFXBench: 13fps (ES 3.1 onscreen) – benchmarks from gsmarena.com 

OnePlus Nord N10 5G Source Amazon

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OnePlus is renowned for manufacturing quality handsets at much lower price point in comparison to some of the premium devices. The Nord was a new lineup that made headlines in 2020 and Nord N10 was launched towards the end of 2020.

The smartphone comes with a Gorilla Glass-protected 6.49-inch IPS display that has a high refresh rate of 90 Hz elating users with a butter-smooth UI. The display is supremely crisp as the 1080 x 2400 resolution panel comes with a pixel density of 406 PPI. The smartphone has Oxygen OS 10.5 skin on top of Android 10 and supports dual sims at the same time.

The OnePlus Nord N10 comes with a quad-camera set up that has a 64MP main wide sensor, 8MP ultrawide sensor, and 2MP each for depth and macro. The Snapdragon 690 processor while not as fast as the 765 or even the 750G, it is a 5G enabled mid-ranger that has 2 x 2.0 GHz cores and the rest of the 6 cores operating at 1.7 GHz.

Nord N10 can record 4K videos at 30 fps and 1080p video at a maximum of 120 fps. The camera comes with an in-built gyroscope and EIS. The battery performance of the 4300 mAh unit is mediocre and comes with a 30W fast charger in the box. The Nord N10 is perhaps the cheapest smartphone from OnePlus with an unlocked device now available for a price of just under $300.

3. Moto G 5G

Specifications

Display : 6.7-inch FHD+, 90 Hz (1080 x 2400 pixels)
CPU : Snapdragon 750
RAM : 6 GB
Rear Camera : 48 MP Triple Camera
Front Camera : 16 MP
Storage : 128 GB
Battery : 5000 mAh

AnTuTu: 312461 (v8) | GeekBench: 1980 (v5.1) | GFXBench: 17fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)

Moto G 5G Source Amazon

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Motorola made a comeback and regained its lost relevance close to a decade ago with the budget handset Moto G. This time around it has come up with a budget 5G handset Moto G 5G at a price of around $250. This smartphone was launched towards the end of 2020 and gained quite a bit of popularity although nowhere close to what the original Moto G had garnered.

It comes with a 6.7-inch HDR10 enabled Full HD+ screen that has a pixel density of close to 400 PPI. The Snapdragon 750 chipset at the heart of the device powers the Moto G 5G through anything you task your handset at and the Adreno 619 GPU allows you to game quite a bit on the handset. The CPU performance does edge over Snapdragon 765 although the GPU comes in short, as you can see from the comparative benchmarks on nanoreview.net.

As with most smartphones in the budget segment, the Moto G 5G uses pixel binning on its 48 MP main wide sensor for capturing shots and recording videos on 4K. Its front 16MP snapper captures nice selfies and the entire Android 10 UI gives a feel of a stock android in the smartphone. The device supports a hybrid dual-sim slot and uses a USB Type-C cable to charge the massive 5000mAh battery.

4. LG K92 5G

Specifications

Display : 6.7-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels)
CPU : Snapdragon 690
RAM : 6 GB
Rear Camera : 64 MP Quad Camera
Front Camera : 16 MP
Storage : 128 GB
Battery : 4000 mAh

LG K92 5G Source Amazon

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A second LG handset on our list, the K92 is another extremely value-for-money budget offering that gained traction towards the beginning of 2021. It comes with a 6.7-inch IPS LCD that operates on 1080 x 2400 resolution and a superb pixel density of 393 PPI. This budget 5G device comes with a dual-sim design and has the tried and tested Snapdragon 690 at its heart. The chip is again a step down from the 750G which makes it cheaper than the 750G.

The device comes with 128GB ROM and a microSD card to further increase the storage of the device. The LG K92 is an extremely budget-friendly device but suffers from battery issues as its 4000mAh battery doesn’t even last a full day on a single charge.

The K92 comes with a quad camera array with an excellent 64MP main wide sensor, 5MP ultrawide sensor and 2MP each for macro and depth. The graphics performance of the device is a bit laggy as the Adreno 619L is a single core GPU in comparison to the two cores in Adreno 619. The smartphone comes with Android 10 out-of-the-box and has a skin by LG on top allowing heavy customization to users.

5. Realme Narzo 30 5G

Specifications

Display : 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS, 90Hz (1080 x 2400 pixels)
CPU : Mediatek Dimensity 700
RAM : 4 GB
Rear Camera : 48 MP Triple Camera
Front Camera : 16 MP
Storage : 128 GB
Battery : 5000 mAh

Realme Narzo 30 5G Source Amazon

Search Realme Narzo 30 5G on Amazon

Our only pick with a Mediatek processor is the RealMe Narzo 30. For those unaware, RealMe is an upcoming brand that has garnered quite a name for itself as the poor man’s OnePlus. Some of their handsets come with top-of-the-line specs at throwaway prices. It has recently achieved a milestone of shipping a million devices worldwide in the shortest time amongst all other manufacturers present and past.

The Narzo 30 is one of their budget offerings carrying Mediatek’s 7nm processor, the Dimensity 700 at its heart. Out of the box, the device comes with a light RealMe UI skin on top of Android 11. The handset launched around June this year and offers a variety of RAM and storage functions to choose from between 64GB/4GB, 128GB/4GB and 128GB/6GB variants.

The camera performance of the Narzo 30 5G is average as with other pixel-binning cameras of the budget category. The Night Mode of the camera interface however does take some detailed images in low light and macro shots are good enough for a 2MP sensor.

Its front 16MP snapper is impressive and does manage to capture good portraits with excellent edge detection and detail. The Narzo 30 comes with a separate SD card slot and a big 5000mAh battery along with a fast 18W charger in the box that charges up the device extremely fast. However, the battery tends to lose a bit of consistency with time but you should still be good to go for more than a year after which almost all androids start to falter anyways.

Conclusion

Budget 5G devices are a great place to start if you are in to try out if 5G coverage is good enough in your location. Most of these devices are extremely good beginner-level devices and should offer more than decent performance as the processors in each of these devices are capable of handling heavy productivity and gaming applications.

A positive to work in favour of the users is the cutthroat competition in the smartphone manufacturing sector right now for which most manufacturers work on small margins and aim to deliver devices with good build and specifications within a budget. Favourite chips to go on these budget 5G smartphones include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, the Snapdragon 690 and Dimensity 700 from MediaTek.

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