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In today’s rapidly advancing technological era, everyone wants the best of the best in technology. But in order to obtain that, you might have to spend a fortune. However, that is not always the case. Even if you’re on a strict budget you can get near that top-level performance. Keep in mind you might have to let go of some features in order to get a quality phone with all the basic functionality.
Now, this task might seem impossible because certain mobile carriers don’t allow you to use other carriers and might force you to spend a significant amount of money to get a phone that you can use i.e. a locked phone. But, there might be a great solution to your problems: unlocked phones.
What are unlocked phones?
Some phones are tied to a single mobile cell carrier; this means that they cannot be used with other cell phone carriers, whereas unlocked phones aren’t tied to a single mobile carrier and can be used with any SIM of any carrier. These phones aren’t restricted to certain features that a carrier might not have allowed on their locked devices and they can be used anywhere without paying any additional charges.
Benefits of Unlocked phones
There are many benefits of going with an unlocked phone. For example, if you’re a frequent traveler and like to take your locked phone abroad, then you can’t use a local SIM. Instead you have to pay very high travel and roaming rates. But in an unlocked phone, you can use your phone wherever you please as you can just simply replace your SIM with a SIM from any local carrier.
Another benefit would be that usually with locked phones you have to wait a certain amount of time for your plan to end before selling your device. This might restrict you to live with an outdated device for a while and resultantly, turn put you in loss. But that is no issue in unlocked devices as you can sell whenever you want to upgrade. Changing your service provider is also quite easy if your current service provider doesn’t provide good signals in your area.
Top 5 Best Unlocked Phone Under $300
Google Pixel 3a
The Google Pixel series is Google’s own line of mobile phone, laptops, tablets and multiple accessories. The Google Pixel 3a is Google’s budget line variant to their previous flagship which is the Google Pixel 3. This phone provides people a taste of the experience they would get with the Google Pixel 3. It provides all the necessary features coupled with extra quirks all within a budget friendly price point.
It features a 5.6” 1080p OLED screen with an aspect ratio of and a pixel density of 441 ppi. The screen is quite impressive with vibrant colors and deep blacks. It has a high quality all plastic build which doesn’t feel cheap at all. The Pixel 3a line features an option of multiple unique colors with a colored powered button.
The Pixel 3a has a punchy front facing speaker with downward facing speaker to provide that extra sound quality. It is quite loud and is fine for the majority of users. It is equipped with a mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor with an Adreno 615 GPU with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage.
Although the phone is fast enough and doesn’t lag but the RAM management is not as great (also because of low RAM capacity) and causes some apps to close and just isn’t as fast as the top runners which is to be expected from a budget phone. The Pixel 3a’s battery is also a main selling point with the huge 3000mAh battery which is actually more than the Pixel 3. But the main feature of the Pixel 3a is the amazing cameras.
It contains a main 12MP camera which is the same as the Pixel 3 which shoots and records at 4k @ 30 fps and 1080p @30/60/120 fps. The amazing camera captures very detailed photos and has tons of dynamic range and great vibrant colors. At the time of its release, it was surely the best camera in its class.
It also contains an 8MP front camera which captures great and detailed pictures and records at 1080p @ 30fps. This phone doesn’t contain any dedicated image processing chip or Pixel visual core which means that pictures are processed directly on the processor which just causes photos to take longer to process which is not an issue to the average consumer as they get the best results after.
- Top quality camera
- Amazing battery life
- OLED display
- Contains headphone jack
- Software support
- No water resistance
- No wireless charging
- Thick bezels
The Pixel 3a is surely an amazing phone at this price bracket and is an amazing for people if they are willing to let go certain features such as wireless charging, mid-range processor and less RAM. This phone is globally unlocked and provides one of the best software experience and best picture quality in this range. So if this checks your boxes and you want a phone with great battery life then this is surely a great option.
Moto G Power
Motorola is no newcomer in the mobile industry and has been around from the start from their famous Motorola Razr which has been an icon device ever since. The Moto G Power is another device we have received from the renowned mobile makers.
It comes equipped with the mid-range Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM with 64GB of internal storage. These specs are good enough and give you value at the price bracket. The Moto G Power has a 6.4” 1080p LCD display with an aspect ratio of 19:9 at a pixel density of 399ppi at a body ratio of 83%. Although the internal storage available is just 64GB, but this can be expanded by the expandable SD card slot.
The Moto G Power has a 16MP wide sensor coupled with an 8MP ultra wide which captures 118° along with a 2MP Macro lens which can take close up pictures but sacrifices in picture quality. These sensors capture satisfactory images with clarity and contrast and can shoot and record up to 4K @ 30fps and [email protected] fps with Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) and 1080p @ 60fps.
The main selling point of this phone is the amazing battery life with its 5000mAh battery, Motorola claims it can run for about 3 days straight which is quite impressive but also makes the phone a bit chunky.
- Amazing battery life
- 6.4” large display
- Expandable storage
- Impressive camera quality
- No wireless charging
- LCD display
- Discoloration around camera
Overall the Moto G Power is a great phone from a reputable company and provides you with all the basic features along with an amazing battery life of up to 3 days with a respectable price tag. The phone also has a trendy design and gives the feel of a high-end phone with its decent bezel size and punched out camera. You surely will not complain if you decide to purchase the Moto G Power which is an unlocked variant of the Moto G line.
Samsung Galaxy A51
Samsung has made its name in one of the best phone companies around and offers great quality phones in every price bracket. One of their recent launches is the A51. This is an overall astonishing phone which is available in this price.
It has an extremely high quality lightweight plastic back with a 6.5” 1080p AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and a pixel density of 405ppi which is quite amazing and is hardly found in the budget segment. The screen is amazing with its vibrant colors and deep blacks with a cutout for its great 32MP front facing camera which takes great detailed pictures.
It comes equipped with an Exynos 9611 Octa-core processor and a Mali-G72 GPU along with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, and if the storage is still not enough then you can expand it with its expandable SD card slot along with Dual SIM capabilities. These incredible specs enable it to be snappy and quite fast.
The Samsung Galaxy A51 has an astonishing 4000mAh battery which can undergo heavy usage and can be charged to 70% in just an hour with its fast charging capabilities. The A51 features four cameras at the back which are a 48MP main camera, 12MP wide angle, a 5MP depth sensor which focuses on the subject and blurs the surroundings and a 5MP Macro lens which allows it capture really close detailed shots.
It can shoot and film at 4K @ 30fps and 1080p with gyro-EIC (Electronic Image Stabilization). The front 32MP wide angle lens is able to shoot and film at 1080p @ 30fps. These camera specs are hard to come by and even compete with some high end phones.
- AMOLED display
- 4000mAh battery
- Astonishing camera quality
- Headphone jack
- In display fingerprint reader
- Plastic back
- No dual speakers
Samsung have indeed outdone themselves once again with this impressive phone. The Galaxy A51 provides near high end flagship features in a compelling price. Even though you might have to forgo wireless charging, a glass back and mediocre speakers, but honestly this phone is well worth it. Another amazing quality is the Dual SIM capabilities, which can allow you to use your local SIM and another SIM for another country when you’re travelling abroad at the same time.
Huawei P30 Lite
Huawei is a China based company which has produced phones which check all the boxes all in a budget friendly price point. The P30 is another product in the line and features a front and back glass body with a plastic frame along with a 6.15” LCD IPS display with a pixel density of 415 ppi and an 84.2% screen to body ratio.
It houses a Kirin 710 processor with 4GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage which is ample. It has an AI triple camera setup in the back with a 48MP main, 8MP ultra wide and a 2MP depth sensor which shoots and records at 1080p @ 30fps and a 24MP front camera. It has an amazing 3340mAh battery which supports fast charging.
- Full glass premium body
- Headphone jack
- Fast charging
- Great battery
- Camera quality
- LCD display
- No 4K video recording
Huawei surely hasn’t disappointed us with its high end phones. The P30 lite is no exception either as it is the more affordable version of the flagship P30 and offers some high end specs and is overall a great phone for its price.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
The Redmi Note 9s is a phone produced by the Xiaomi Company. Xiaomi are an up and coming mobile manufacturer and they offer phones with all around good specs with an inexpensive price tag. The Redmi Note 9s is another astonishing product from Xiaomi.
It has an all-around Gorilla glass 5 body with a metallic coated plastic frame, curved edges and a unique fingerprint sensor on the side which gives the phone a premium look and feel. It houses the quite impressive Snapdragon 720g processor along with the Adreno 618 GPU and 4GB RAM with 64GB of internal storage which can be expanded via the expandable SD card slot.
The processor offers flagship level performance and is quite fast and snappy. It features a massive 6.67” FHD+ IPS display with an aspect ratio of 20:9 with a pixel density of 395ppi along with an 84.5% screen to body ratio.
The Redmi Note 9s has four sensors at the back which are a 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra wide, 5MP macro lens to capture those close up detailed shots and a 2MP depth sensor which focuses on the subject and blurs the surroundings. They are able to capture and shoot at 4K @ 30fps and 1080p @ 30fps (with EIS), 1080p @ 60fps and 1080p @ 120fps slo-mo.
These sensors produce detailed pictures with an all-around vibrant look but the camera bump protrudes out more than usual. In the front screen cut out you can find a 16MP wide angle camera which can shoot and record up to 1080p @ 30 fps/ 120fps (slo-mo). The Note 9s has an impressive 5020mAh battery which is claimed to give 12 hours of consistent on screen time and an overall 2 days of use.
- Offers a lot spec wise
- Fast performance
- great day time photos
- amazing battery life
- Minor camera crash bug
- No EIS for with 4K
- Slow charging
The Redmi Note 9s is quite impressive in the price point and offers excellent performance with a very impressive battery life and great screen quality. If you’re in the market for a budget phone then you should definitely consider this as an option.
What to Look for When Choosing an Unlocked Phone
When choosing an unlocked phone you should definitely consider if the phone has ample features and offers great specs in the price you’re willing to pay because some companies tend to overcharge for their lack of features while others will offer flagship level specs with a low price tag.
If you’re in the market for an unlocked phone, then you should consider if the phone you’re about to put your hard earned money on, even justifies the price. The phone should offer you amazing specs and which checks the majority of your boxes and should provide with a satisfactory experience.
While choosing an unlocked phone, you need to consider the fact that you might want to keep that phone for a while and in order to do that the manufacturer needs to provide constant updates to keep the phone up to date. So it is recommended to buy a phone which you know will be supported after a couple of years.
All the phones mentioned in the list are all amazing options if you decide to go for them; however, we think that the Samsung Galaxy A51 has the best price to performance ratio among all picks as it provides near flagship features and is quite a stylish phone for its price.
It is also future proof because Samsung keeps even some of their very old discontinued phones up to date with its constant security and firmware updates. But if you disagree with our suggestion, then hopefully our top 5 picks will help narrow it down. Rest assures that whichever phone you decide to go for in this list, you will surely not be disappointed.
Nowadays a mobile phone plays a huge role in our day to day life and activities. In order to make your life easier you have to purchase a phone with all the greatest features without paying a fortune. The list provided gives amazing options on what to purchase but in the end it all comes down to your needs and requirements.
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