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Budget Smartphones of 2017

Forget the new 8s, meet the 1, 3, 5, 6 and 9

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Image Credit: Supplied

While we’re still reeling from the Dh4,000+ price tag on the latest smartphone, here’s a selection of hand-picked budget smartphones for you to consider

The Budget Xperia

If the Dh2,500+ Xperia XZ Premium and the brand new XZ1 is out of your budget, allow me to introduce you to the XA1 Plus. First the bad news – it’s so ‘brand new’ that you’ll only be able to get your hands on it towards the end of October. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Now, the good news. The Xperia XA1 Plus costs Dh1,199. In typical Sony fashion – the camera on this device is crazy good. With imaging tech taken straight out of Sony’s digital cameras – the device features a 23MP rear camera and a F2.0 lens which means that low-light photography shouldn’t be an issue. The camera also features hybrid autofocus and can capture images in a reported 0.6 seconds. Your selfie snapper is an 8MP camera with a 23mm wide-angle lens for those group pictures. Other flagship features that you could get for Dh1,199 include a 5.5-inch Full HD display, fingerprint sensor and tuned audio performance.

While it runs on a 64bit MediaTek Octa Core processor, its power stats and features are the main talking points. Follow me on this, it runs a decent 3,430mAh battery, paired with Sony’s ‘Qnovo’ Adaptive Charging and Sony’s amazing ‘Battery Care’ feature.

While previously reviewing this device’s older, posher, sibling the XZ Premium, ‘Battery Care’ was a pleasant surprise. This feature kicks in after using the device for a few weeks when it learns your smartphone usage habits. Its main aim is to prolong the lifespan of the battery by learning with when you go to sleep, if you charge your phone overnight, and when you wake up. It slows down your charging while you sleep and makes sure you wake up to a fully-charged battery. This feature paired with Qnovo adaptive charging (another technology to increase battery lifespan), its 3,430mAh battery and its not-so-powerful processor, would make the XA1 Plus a good choice for a power user.

The device will be available in the UAE towards the end of October at Dh1,199.

Nokia 3 @ Dh499

While the Nokia 8 can easily be called an affordable smartphone at approx. Dh1,699, the Nokia 3 retails at an impressive Dh499. Pegged as one of the best cheap phones available, the 3 is built well and looks good.


Keeping the price in mind - the 3 isn’t very powerful, it runs on the lesser known MediaTek MT6737 processor. That being said – it is aimed at first time smartphone users who wouldn’t require that much power. Both front and rear cameras on the 3 are 8MP snappers, which (again, keeping the price in mind), does the job!

Moto G5 Plus @ Dh699

The Moto G5 Plus is still one of my favourite budget smartphones out there. Measuring 5.2-inches, the device supports dual SIM cards, features a water-repellent coating and runs Android 7.0 Nougat.


If you’re looking for flagship specs for half the price – look no further. The G5 Plus has an amazing 12-MP camera that’s quite good. One of the main features is the fingerprint sensor which you usually wouldn’t find on budget smartphones. The price of the G5 Plus starts from Dh699.

LG Q6 @ Dh1,049

LG’s latest budget smartphone has recently hit the market as well. The Q Series features the FullVision display found in their flagship devices the G6 and V30; a similar concept to the displays found on Samsung flagships and the latest iPhone X/10/Ten.


The Q6 family consists of the Q6+ and Q6. Specs differ between the two though both run Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The LG Q6 and the LG Q6+ smartphones are available in the UAE at Dh849 and Dh1,049.

Honor 9 @ Dh1,599

While we’re all hyper up with the latest 8s, the Note, the Nokia and the iPhone, Honor’s released their 9.


The brand’s latest flagship – the Honor 9 – launched last week in the UAE. Key features include a 20MP + 12MP dual-lens camera, a Kirin 960 chipset and 6GB RAM. Honor takes their design seriously, and the 9 is no different. Its 3D glass back is made up of 15 meticulously crafted layers. The device starts at Dh1,599.