Since the creation of the first smartphone, our phones have gotten bigger, better and faster — becoming a rather important part of our lives that helps us to stay connected and entertained. But with the many improvements and upgrades, smartphone prices haven’t gotten any cheaper and it can often become difficult for us to swap out our barely old interfaces for a new one.
Recognising the need to make smartphones affordable as well, tech companies have gone on to create basic smartphone models with impressive features that don’t necessarily lose out to the pricier models.
Here’s a closer look at five basic smartphone models from the biggest players in the tech industry to show you how innovative they can be even with an affordable price tag.
APPLE IPHONE SE
Apple’s iPhone SE features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display which uses True Tone technology that helps to adjust the white balance to match the ambient light for a more natural, paper-like viewing experience. The vibrant wide colour gamut offers incredible colour accuracy, and even supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 playback.
The new version of the iPhone SE runs on the iOS13 and is powered by the A13 Bionic — the exact same chip which you can find in the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone Pro Max. Even though it may be small in size, the iPhone SE is still able to handle system-heavy tasks such as photography, gaming and augmented reality experiences to create a smoother user experience. The A13 Bionic also enables great battery life with wireless-charge capabilities that support fast-charging of up to 50% charge in just 30 minutes.
Built with a single-camera system, the iPhone SE features a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide rear camera which uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of the A13 Bionic to unlock the benefits of computational photography that includes the Portrait mode, all six Portrait Lighting effects, and Depth Control. It also uses next-generation Smart HDR which intelligently re-lights recognised subjects in a frame for more natural-looking images with stunning highlight and shadow details.
SAMSUNG GALAXY A31
Entry model: Samsung Galaxy A31, $348
Flagship model: Samsung Galaxy S20, $1,298
Launched on 9 May 2020, the Samsung Galaxy A31 joins the Korean tech company’s A-series with lets you game, watch, surf, and multi-task without interruption on its 6.4-inch FHD+ Infinity-U display that uses Super AMOLED technology. Built with slimmer bezels, can deliver more vibrant colours with content that fills the edge-to-edge screen.
The Samsung Galaxy A31 uses an octa-core processor alongside 4GB of RAM which provides it with enough power to keep the Android operating system running smoothly. It also has an additional in-built AI-based feature named Game Booster which learns your usage patterns to help you optimise battery, temperature and memory to give you the best mobile gaming experience.
With the Galaxy A31, you’ll get to enjoy a multi-purpose rear quad camera system which includes a 48-megapixel f/2.0 aperture Main camera for crisp, clear photos day and night; an 8-megapixel f/2.2 aperture Ultra-Wide camera that captures up to 123-degrees angle; a 5-megapixel f/2.4 aperture Depth camera with multiple Live Focus effects; and a 5-megapixel f/2.4 aperture Macro camera for detailed close-up shots.
HUAWEI P30 LITE
Entry model: Huawei P30 Lite, $298
Flagship model: Huawei P40, $1,048
Huawei’s P30 Lite comes with a 6.15-inch FHD display which includes the Dewdrop notch at the top for the front camera. The screen has TÜV Rheinland Eye Comfort Certification that is designed to be easier on the eyes for a more comfortable viewing experience. Powered by the Kirin 710, the P30 Lite also has an improved RAM and storage which means that the phone can easily handle tasks without any problems.
For those who constantly engage in mobile gaming, the P30 Lite is also built with GPU TURBO 2.0 which is a graphics processing technology that enhances performance for a faster, smoother and more powerful gaming experience.
The Huawei P30 Lite comes with a rear three-camera setup which features the 24-megapixel Wide Angle lens (f/1.8 aperture), 8-megapixel Ultra Wide Angle Lens (that captures up to a 120-degrees angle), and a 2-megapixel Bokeh Lens. Both front and rear cameras are equipped with powerful AI scene recognition technology that can identify more than 8 categories (front) and 22 different categories (rear) in real-time. Settings like colour, lighting and contrast can also be automatically adjusted to produce stunning photos.
GOOGLE PIXEL 3A
Entry model: Google Pixel 3A, $659
Flagship model: Google Pixel 4, $1,119
With a 5.6-inch FHD+ and OLED display, the Google Pixel 3A may seem like a relatively small phone but this works to its advantage with a high 441 pixels per inch count which will allow you to view pictures or media in high resolution with much more detail. Its compact size makes it a lot easier to use for daily tasks such as texting and checking of emails which can sometimes be a challenge on plus-sized phones.
The Google Pixel 3A runs on a Snapdragon 670 chipset and is equipped with Android 9 that enables the phone to perform well alongside useful features such as adaptive brightness, gesture navigation, and adaptive battery, which learns your favourite apps and reduces power for those that you rarely use.
Made with a single 12.2-megapixel Wide-Angle rear Camera, the Pixel 3A allows you to not only capture beautiful photos but also take great pictures in lowlight environments with rich detail and colour using the Google Night Sight feature. Taking photos in portrait mode has also become easier to edit with the Depth Editor that adjusts the depth of field as well as the Colour Pop that softens the background colour to black and white to help the colour of your subject become the focal point.
Entry model: OPPO Reno3, $499
Flagship model: OPPO Find X2 Pro, $1,699
The Reno3 sports a 6.4-inch Display that features Optical-Flow Sub-Pixel Registration which matches and calibrates the sub-pixels on different frames to generate a lower-pixel original image with more information. With the Subpixel Interpolation, the original image will then become a high-resolution image of up to 108MP.
Powered by the MTK P90, the Reno3 gets a hyper boost in speed with a 38% increase in frame rate stability and a 16% increase in enhanced touch performance. It is also able to provide an immersive entertainment experience with 1080P streaming support on Netflix for you to enjoy HD episodes of your favourite series anytime, anywhere.
Reno3 comes with a 48-megapixel Ultra-Clear Main Camera, 8-megapixel Ultra Wide-Angle Lens for 109-degree images), 13-megapixel Telephoto Lens, and a 2-megapixel Mono Lens. The phone is equipped with Ultra Dark Mode which allows for you to create exceptional night scene images with the powerful NPU that shortens imaging time, and the multi-frame AI noise reduction to help image denoising.
COMPARING ALL FIVE PHONES AT A GLANCE