best budget phone 2019 canada

With top-end smartphones in Canada costing four-figures these days, most people can’t afford them without locking themselves into a contract with their phone provider or breaking out the credit card. This roundup highlights the best options for anyone looking for the best budget phone 2019 canada, best budget android phone and best android phone 2019 canada picks.

So what can you do if you want a great phone on the cheap?

Turns out, most people don’t actually need the latest and greatest.

Last year’s phones — and even some from two years ago — are still pretty awesome and will meet the needs of the average person.

Best Budget Phone 2019 Canada

With the right model, you can enjoy a huge piece of the top-tier experience at a fraction of the cost.

We’ve highlighted options under $150, under $300, under $400, and under $550 to ensure there are great choices to fit any budget.

Best Phones Under $150

Alcatel 1

While the Alcatel 1 doesn’t have the power to play the latest games at the best settings and it’s less than snappy sometimes, it’s pretty amazing that you can get a smartphone at this price.

The phone runs Android 8.1 Go and the 1.28Ghz quad-core processor keeps things moving along steadily enough. There’s a fingerprint scanner on the rear of the phone and the screen features the newer, longer aspect ratio. But the screen is only 480-by-960 pixels. So don’t expect to be blown away.

Battery life is one area where this phone shines. Reviews indicate you can hit two days with moderate usage on a single charge.

Learn More: Our Alcatel 1 Review
Price: $109.99 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Best Buy, Bell Mobility

Samsung Galaxy J2 Core

This phone is nothing like the popular Samsung Galaxy S series of phones. The 5-inch 540p display won’t win any awards but it gets the job done for texts, emails, and even gaming. A quad-core processor to keep things moving but expect delays loading apps. You’ll also want to use a microSD card to complement the 4GB of free space on the phone.

But the weaker specs of the phone come with a silver lining — battery life. Most reviewers had little issue lasting a full day on a single charge.

Learn More: Our Galaxy J2 Core Review
Price: $129.99 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

Motorola Moto E5 Play

Offering a minimal Android experience, a solid design, a spacious 5.2-inch screen, an 8MP camera, and just enough performance to cover the daily tasks — such as checking email, keeping up with social feeds, and playing the occasional casual games — the Motorola Moto E5 Play is a great pick for anyone looking for an affordable smartphone who doesn’t require all the bells and whistles of flagship phones.

Learn More: Our Moto E5 Play Review
Price: $139.00 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

Best Phones Under $300

Motorola Moto G7 Play

The Moto G7 Play is the ideal budget-friendly smartphone for anyone looking for all-day battery life. The 5.7-inch display offers plenty of room for gaming or video watching while the fingerprint reader provides a touch of the premium phone experience.

Reviews found the performance good enough to zip between apps without much frustration and while the camera won’t keep up with top-end options, it’s one of the best in this price range.

Learn More: Our G7 Play Review Summary
Price: $295 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

Motorola Moto E6 Plus

The Moto E6 Plus checks most of the boxes for basic performance and features. It won’t win any benchmark tests and it’s definitely not ideal for gaming. But the solid design and quality feel in the hand impressed reviewers. It also ships with a relatively new version of Android — a rarity at this price point.

The 6.1-inch display and 13MP dual rear camera also meet most basic needs and can help you capture memories on the go.

Learn More: Our Moto E6 Plus Review
Price: $176.86 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

Samsung Galaxy A10e

The Samsung Galaxy A10e offers most of the style of Samsung’s loved Galaxy S series with scaled back performance. It’s easily one of the most modern looking budget phones in its price bracket.

USB-C charging means you can top off your battery quickly while the large battery had no problem lasting the day in reviews. Performance was respectable as well. No — it’s not going to respond instantly and provide a top-tier experience, but reviewers found the software intuitive to use and apps quick enough to avoid frustration.

Learn More: Our Galaxy A10e Review
Price: $199.99 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Best Buy

Best Phones Under $400

Nokia 6.1

As part of the Android One program, the Nokia 6.1 receives rapid software updates — a rare find at this end of the price lists. But it also offers great performance and reliability for the price as well. Three gigabytes of RAM makes the phone more capable of multitasking, USB-C charging makes topping off quick, and the aluminum chassis offers a great feel in the hand. It’s also one of the first 1080p phones in this roundup.

Battery life was the biggest complaint from most reviewers. While it’ll make it through most of the day, you’ll need to hit a charger before heading to bed.

Learn More: Our Nokia 6.1 Review
Price: $399.00 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

Motorola One Action

The Motorola One Action offers a unique camera arrangement designed to help it compete with action cameras. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option for recording life’s moments or starting up your own vlog, this is a great option.

But it also checks most of the other boxes people look for in a solid phone with a sleek design, all-day battery, ample performance, fast charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Learn More: Our One Action Review
Price: $319.72 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

Best Phones Under $550

Google Pixel 3a

As one of the newest phone in this lineup, the Pixel 3a takes the majority of the innovative features and premium quality of the higher priced Pixel phones and crams them into a slightly smaller — and much lower priced — option.

Reviewers found very little to complain about. The phone performs like competitors costing twice as much, the OLED display offers rich color and plenty of detail, and the battery will last a day with ease.

If you plan to take pictures with your phone, the camera on the Pixel 3a is one of the best in this roundup. On top of the hardware features, you’ll enjoy a near-stock Android experience with fast updates and a load of Pixel-only features such as Active Edge and Digital Wellbeing.

Learn More: Our Pixel 3a Review
Price: $549.00
Get it from: Amazon, Google

Moto G8 Plus

The Moto G8 Plus is one of the largest phones in our roundup with its 6.2-inch display. While it doesn’t have the fastest processor available in 2020, the 4GB of RAM make it a great option for those looking for a good multitasking phone on a budget. Pair that with 64GB of storage and a Turbocharge-enabled battery and you have a phone that is great for work or play.

The only noted weak point in phone reviews is the camera. But it still can take attractive images with proper lighting and a bit of patience.

Learn More: Our Moto G8 Plus Review
Price: $538.79 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus built a reputation on making affordable “flagship killers.” While the OnePlus 6T might now be the newest model in their line-up, it’s still one of the most powerful phones in this entire line-up.

It checks nearly every box of phones two- to three-times its price with a spacious AMOLED display, snappy octa-core processor, 8GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, Android 9.0, and a respectable dual-lens camera.

Learn More: Our OnePlus 6T Review
Price: $419.99 (At time of publishing)
Get it from: Amazon

What kind of smartphone do you need?

Before choosing any smartphone you should get your priorities straight first. A smartphone is basically a computer you carry around in your pocket that allows you to perform various tasks. This can be anything from ensuring that you’re able to remain connected with the outside world through to sitting in a darkened room playing Clash Royale. But how do you actually use your smartphone every day?

Before choosing any smartphone you should get your priorities straight first.

The point is that in order for you to send WhatsApp messages and publish a few posts on social networks you shouldn’t really need to spend more than about $200. For a gamer who is not prepared to give up a fluid and smooth gaming experience, they had better be on the lookout for smartphones priced at around $400. Whereas those who want the best of the best in terms of design and performance will need to be prepared to spend from about $500 and up.

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Having so many options makes the choice complicated. / © NextPit

Let’s see what are the 10 most important factors to consider before choosing your next smartphone.

1. Mobile carriers and affordable plans

Do you want a new smartphone? Well, you’re pretty much spoiled for choice. Before you whip out your credit card to purchase something online, you should search for the best cell phone plans offered by the various mobile providers. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile each have something interesting to offer customers, and will often provide complete packages including data, calls and SMS. Who knows, maybe it’s the right time you to consider changing your current provider…you can even keep your current phone number.

Here are some offers from the big four networks in the US:

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Choosing a provider can be complex, but there’s something for everyone. / © NextPit

2. Operating system

If you’re reading this article, you’ve already decided to focus on buying an Android-based device, but there are several versions, and versions of versions, of this Google software. Before buying a new smartphone, so you should brush up on your history of Android – or at the very least examine the differences between the last two versions, Android 9 Pie and Android 10.

Besides these being great treats to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth, these names correspond to different versions of the Android operating system and each offers unique features and functions. The latest Android version available is Android 10, but unfortunately not all devices have the honor of showing it off. I advise you not to buy a smartphone with outdated versions of Nougat or Marshmellow and instead look for a smartphone with Android Pie at least (and if you are guaranteed an upgrade to the newest and latest Android version, that’s even better).

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Google dropped the sweets theme for the latest version of Android. / © NextPit

3. Design and functionality

In selecting a new smartphone, personal taste is a major decision point, both in terms of software and outward appearance. Some people may prefer more rounded lines and a sinuous design, whereas others like a sturdier look, characterized by straight lines and sharp metal edges. We must admit that with each passing month and the succession of launch events we see within the industry, smartphones are increasingly starting to resemble one another and the choice available is strongly influenced by marketing campaigns and trends.

But, design is based on functionality. A metal unibody is stylish and trendy, but in some cases prevents you from using some features such as a microSD card or a headphone jack. Before buying, check the quality of the device to ensure you’ll be able to use it in the way which is most comfortable and convenient for you (provided these elements are important to you).

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Glass or leather? Curved lines or right angles? The dilemmas are endless. / © NextPit

4. Size and type of display

For those who like to receive news updates or simply get lost in the HD graphics of the latest Android games, you should really consider a smartphone that is equipped with a display of at least 5.7 inches. For those that use the smartphone mainly for WhatsApp or to read Facebook posts, a smaller screen will be more than sufficient.

As for the display technology, there are two main types in Android: LCD and AMOLED. The main difference between the two lies in the projection of light. In theory, LCD screens tend to be brighter and display content better when in direct sunlight, while the AMOLED display offers sharper contrast and more saturated colors. In practice, however, with the passage of time and the arrival of new technologies, the difference between the two is becoming less noticeable. That said, Full-HD, FullHD+, or QHD resolution for images are almost always impeccable.

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The AMOLED displays tend to be move vivid. / © NextPit

5. Processor and RAM

The processor is the hub of a device on which depends the overall performance. Sometimes, processor capability is what limits software updates. Qualcomm and Mediatek are a safe bet.

Meanwhile, Huawei with its Kirin processor is proving itself able to offer good performance to users. It should also be noted that for any processor to be its best, the amount of available RAM is crucial. Yes, the processor is important, but we need to look to the smartphone and its technical specifications as a whole.

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The latest Snapdragon 865. / © Qualcomm

6. Internal storage

When you’re scoping out your next Android, check the RAM and internal storage, but not just what it says on the sticker. Take a look at how much space the preinstalled apps take up. Although you can use a MicroSD card to expand your smartphone’s storage capacity, do not forget that a larger internal memory is recommended over using an external card.

At the same time, before you opt for a model with 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, think about how much you’ll actually use. Are you using your smartphone as an external hard drive for your computer by saving movies, music, files and heavy apps? If the answer is no, you’re probably OK with 64GB. Not to mention that you can take advantage of cloud services to save some space and still always have your files at hand, provided you have an internet connection. As a general rule, considering smartphones on the market, it is advisable to opt for at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory.

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Expandable memory or the cloud? / © Mediatek

7. Battery life

Battery life is one of the most important features to consider when choosing a new smartphone. Do not be fooled: a higher number of mAh does not amount to more and more battery life, or to a longer battery life cycle. The factors that come into play are different and it’s worth knowing them.

For example, you should consider that screens with a higher resolution consume more energy, while the latest processors optimize battery life. Then there’s display refresh rates and quick charging technology to think about. Rather than just looking at tech specs, it’s best to check out reviews and benchmark results to know how all these factors perform when combines in a single device. At the moment, 4,000 mAh seems to be the standard.

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Don’t forget about the battery. / © Mediatek

8. Camera quality and creativity

Smartphone manufacturers are starting to pay more attention to camera quality and features lately, and that’s a great thing for users. The number of megapixels, hybrid autofocus, optical stabilization, manual modes, special effects, and special selfie features: smartphones are becoming more and more like a digital camera.

Once again, I recommend you not to dwell too much on the numbers showing on the technical sheet. The MP does not tell the whole story and it is important to get an idea of the type of integrated sensor, lens quality, and pixel size. You’ll find all the details specified in our reviews, but once you’re in the store it will cost you nothing to start the camera app and check the brightness of the shots and software features for yourself.

AndroidPIT camera test comparison 2
Megapixels aren’t everything. / © NextPit

9. Software and integrated functions

Do you need a phone that can do absolutely everything? Are you one of those people who needs a built-in fingerprint sensor, heart rate monitor, UV sensor, Swiss Army knife, and a batmobile? You have a wide range of choices here, from the latest top of the line to a mid-range smartphone you will find all the latest hardware innovations.

But don’t limit yourself to choose a smartphone based on the hardware features. Activate the display and explore the software in-depth to find out what hidden features are there and if it provides options that work for you. Often share the device with your children? Ensure you have a guest mode or parental control. Do you like reading ebooks directly on Android? Select an interface that allows you to adjust the hue of the display and that implements some anti-strain eye protection. In short, do not stop at appearances and thoroughly investigate the system. 

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Navigate between the features of each device. / © NextPit

10. Price compared to performance

Last on our list, but probably the first factor to consider if you have a limited budget, it is definitely the price. What do you want to spend on your next smartphone? Is it worth it to use all your salary or is it perhaps appropriate to limit yourself and choose something cheaper but equally powerful and in step with the times? The choice is yours, but be aware that for any price range there are some devices better than others.

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