The best smartphones under $250 in 2019 year

You can easily get a great Chinese, Korean or Taiwanese phone under $250 that meets the requirements of 90% of users. It will take good pictures and work quickly,  solid autonomy and uninterrupted operation over the years. Next – TOP of the coolest cheap models with a price tag below $250.

1 place – Xiaomi Mi A2

xiaomi mi a2

The best in price segment becomes a budget camera phone from Xiaomi – Mi A2 model. The pricing policy of the Chinese brand + optimized software from Google leads to the appearance of powerful, autonomous, and most importantly – an inexpensive smartphone.


  • Android 8.1 Oreo + Upgrade to Android 9 Pie. The smartphone is a part of Android One program, that is, there is no Xioami shell, only “naked“ Android by Google.
  • IPS display; 6 ”, 2160×1080, maximum brightness – 420 cd / m2; DeltaE color deviation – 5.9 according to GSMArena.
  • Processor: Snapdragon 660 – a powerful chip of the middle segment with Adreno 512 graphics.
  • Memory: 4/64 GB.
  • Battery: 3000 mAh + quick charge QC 3.0.
  • Autonomy: 22 hours of communication; 9:35 surfing the internet; 9:02 video playback.
  • Main camera: 12 megapixel, f / 1.8 + 20 megapixel, f / 1.8
  • Front camera: 20 megapixel, f / 2.2
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner, infrared.
  • Miss: NFC, 3.5 mm headphone jack, flash drive slots.

Xiaomi Mi A2 is an excellent smartphone that demonstrates high quality of photos and is updated to Android 9 Pie, it does not eat the battery, works quickly and regularly. Of course, uit has flaws, some – serious.

Problem 1: sticking of core frequencies

After using the fingerprint scanner, the processor cores stick at high values, that quickly consumes charge. Even in the locked mode, the phone works at full power, which is bad for the battery life. It is believed that Goodix fingerprint scanners are the culprit, although owners of the Mi A2 with FPC scanners also complain.

If you notice that the phone is quickly discharged or heated, download the CPU-Z program from Google Play, go to the SoC tab and see the core frequencies. Sticking occurs at frequencies of 1.843 GHz and 2.208 GHz. If these values ​​do not change, so you have the problem . On January 2019, it was not resolved. When you restart the glitch disappears for a while.

Problem 2: proximity sensor

While talking by phone, the users can click on the sensor with their cheek and activate various functions. Solution is simple:

  • Dial the combination: * # * # 6484 # * # *
  • Find the line Proximity sensor test in the engineering menu and press Calibrate.

Judging by the reviews, it really helps.

Other minor problems: the disappearance of the weather widget on the main screen, the unstable work of the face recognition function, which appeared on Android 9 Pie.

Despite the problems, the smartphone is still one of the best in its price category. When buying, I strongly recommend to monitor the frequencies of the cores, and if you find “sticking” in the first 14 days, then return the device to the seller.

2 place – ASUS Zenfone Max (M2) ZB633KL

2 место – ASUS Zenfone Max (M2) ZB633KL

The phone of the Taiwanese brand Asus is presented in December 2018, so in January-February 2019 it is a novelty that only appears in stores and is actively discussed. So far, its main problems are unknown, but, judging by the parameters, the smartphone is great for it’s price.


  • Android 8.1 + upgrade to 9 Pie.
  • IPS display; 6.26 ”, 1520×720.
  • Processor: Snapdragon 632 – unproductive, but energy-efficient chip of the middle segment.
  • Memory: 3/32 or 4/64 GB + slot for microSD.
  • Battery: 4000 mAh
  • Main camera: 13 MP, f / 1.8 + 2 MP depth sensor
  • Front camera: 8 megapixel, f / 2.2
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, micro-USB 2.0, fingerprint scanner, 3.5 mm jack.
  • Miss: NFC, USB Type-C, fast Wi-Fi 5 GHz, fast charging.

First of all, the manufacturer Asus has relied on autonomy – in tense mode, the smartphone confidently works from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. At the same time, the device shoots well, provides normal performance, despite the trimmed Snapdragon 632 chipset.

Disadvantage – low-function Android 8 Oreo. Plus there is no firm OS, but the phone still does not work with the Android One, and the updates are governed by Asus. The lack of fast charging, taking into account the capacious battery is also recorded in the minuses. Plus, you cannot charge it with third party adapter, because the phone will take only 1A, so it is advisable to charge it with native charger of 2A.

3 place – Xiaomi Mi8 Lite

In stores, this device is available on average for $250, but on Aliexpress you will find a model with global firmware for $200, therefore, so it is appropriate to include it in this TOP.


  • Case: glass everywhere, aluminum frame.
  • OS: Android 8.1 + MIUI 10 out of the box. Upgrade to Android 9 Pie.
  • Display: IPS, 6.26 ”, 2280×1080.
  • Processor: Snapdragon 660 (same as Xiaomi Mi A2)
    Memory: 4/5 GB of RAM + 64/128 GB disk.
  • Rear camera: 12 megapixel, f / 1.9, dual pixel + 5 megapixel depth sensor, f / 2.0.
  • Battery: 3350 mAh, QC 3.0 support.
  • Connectivity and connectors: Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner, face recognition function.
  • Miss: NFC, headphone jack 3.5 mm.

Fast and productive phone that allows you to play games. Plus, it has a very cool flagship IPS-matrix, good cameras.

As for the problems of the phone, first of all I will highlight the front camera without autofocus. That is, the focus is set at a distance of 30-40 cm – if you trying to take a picture further or closer, then your face will always be out of focus. This imposes serious restrictions. For example, you cannot use a selfie stick for a group picture – all faces will be blurred.

Known problem 2: Wi-Fi signal drop, if you close the top of the phone with your hand. However, users in 99% do not cover the phone with a hand in such way.

Even with the weak front camera, the phone is still cool and one of the best in the segment.

4 place – Huawei P20 Lite

p20 lite

This phone belongs to a low-price cegment, in spite of this it has NFC chip for contactless payment. If Google Pay support is fundamentally important for you, then it is the best phone for $220-230.


  • Plastic case, aluminum frame.
  • OS: Android 8.0 + EMUI 8.
  • Display: IPS, 5.84 ”, 2280×1080, maximum brightness 482 cd / m2; color deviation – 4.2.
  • Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 659 is am and old chip for Huawei phones of the middle segment.
  • Camera: 16 MP, f / 2.2 + 2 MP depth sensor.
  • Front camera: 16 megapixel, f / 2.0
  • Memory: 4 GB of RAM + disk 32 or 64 GB.
  • Battery: 3000 mAh, fast charging with 18 watts adapter.
  • Autonomy: 16:55 h of communication in the 3G network; 11:09 hrs surfing the internet; 9:44 h video playback.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, fingerprint scanner, face recognition, USB Type-C, headphone output 3.5 mm.

Huawei P20 lite is a good phone with a weak processor, but excellent optimization of the OS EMUI , which eliminates the lack of power. As a result, the smartphone quickly copes with easy tasks, instantly loads sites and Full HD videos on YouTube. Of course, you will not play games with such a device.

The phone is successful – it works stably and takes good pictures in daylight. In the evening and indoors, photos are weak, especially on the front camera, so for people who like selfies, this is not suitable (in this regard, there is nothing better than Mi A2). But there is NFC and the ability to pay for purchases by phone.

The main disadvantage – yellow spots on the display. Judging by the users comments, about 10% of smartphone owners are faced with the problem of yellow spots on the screen. They appear in 1-6 months, which makes it impossible to identify them immediately and return the phone to the seller.

There are no other global problems peculiar to this model. Other subjective shortcomings: poor autonomy, bad front camera, unsafe face recognition, easily scratched display, slippery body.

5 place – Samsung Galaxy J6+ (2018)

galaxy j6+ 2018


  • Android OS 8.1
  • Screen: IPS, 6 ”, 1480×720.
  • Processor: Snapdragon 425 – a weak chip developed in 2016, which Samsung somehow used in a new smartphone.
  • Memory: 3/4 GB of RAM + 32/64 GB disk.
  • Main camera: 13 MP, f / 1.9 + 5 MP depth sensor.
  • Front camera: 8 megapixel, f / 1.8.
  • Battery: 3300 mAh.
  • Connectivity: micro USB, jack 3.5 mm, Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, fingerprint scanner.
  • Miss: fast charging, USB Type-C.

So, for a little money, you can get a good phone of the Korean brand, which is primarily intended for simple tasks: surfing, video, communication. It does not compete with Chinese phones, but it has an NFC. Without contactless payment technology, the model would not be interesting to anyone at all.

Snapdragon 425, a 3300 mAh battery and a regular TFT display are weak points. The two cameras on the back panel are most likely an attempt to show the smartphone as a trend modern device. With good lighting, you certainly get a decent shot, but the quality is poor in a room with lamp lighting and in the evening. Plus, an additional camera is a depth sensor that works only in portrait mode.

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