Mack Hogan | CNBC
You don't have to spend $ 1000 or more on a new phone. You can, if you just have to own the latest and greatest, but there are many good phones that cost far less. Phone manufacturers know this.
Google recently launched its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, Apple sells the iPhone XR and older iPhones, and Samsung has a family of A-series phones that are more affordable than some of its flagships.
I tested a test bunch of them and here are some of my favorite phones that cost under $ 1
OnePlus 7 Pro ($ 669): Flagship features, no crazy price
The OnePlus 7 Pro
Todd Haselton | CNBC
OnePlus 7 Pro offers the same Snapdragon 855 processor you'll find on top Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, very high-speed memory and a great (and fast!) Display. This hardware makes the OnePlus 7 Pro one of the sleekest smartphones out there.
Plus, you get a real end-to-end display. To unlock it, use a fingerprint sensor hidden under the touch screen. There is no cutter or hole for the front camera. Instead, a small electric motor pops up the camera when needed and hides it inside when not in use.
However, you give up a few things. Although OnePlus demonstrates that the 7 Pro can absorb a few dives, there is no independently verified water resistance rating. Wireless charging is also not available, although the 7 Pro supports super-fast charging.
Samsung Galaxy S10e ($ 499- $ 749): A Great Blow For Your Dollar From Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
If you want a brand name with a discount name, the Samsung Galaxy S10e is your best bet. Now that there are no more months, it is often falling short of the suggested retail price of $ 749.99. However, unlike many iPhone deals, you don't need to add a new line or buy multiple phones to get a good price. Walmart, for example, is currently selling the S10e for $ 499 if you get pink or white or $ 599 if you want blue or black.
For this price you get the latest processor, 128GB storage, beautiful top-speed screen and great cameras. Plus you get full IP68 waterproof and wireless charging. Of course, you might not get a built-in fingerprint reader, and instead it's on the side of the phone, but otherwise the S10e comes with every feature you expect from a flagship phone in 2019.
iPhone 8 ($ 599) : If You Need an iPhone
Nina Raja | CNBC
For some people, using the iPhone is not negotiable. Whether your friends demand blue balloon loyalty or are tied to an Apple Watch, sometimes iPhones are the only option. In this case, I recommend the iPhone 8.
Still has water resistance, wireless charging, a seriously fast processor and a good camera. The biggest drop is the display, which looks dated with its large bezels and smaller size. Apple has a good history of supporting older phones and software updates.
Just know that new iPhones are launching in the coming weeks. When that happens, the prices of old models are bound to fall. So maybe wait for the price drop.
Google Pixel 3a / 3a XL ($ 399 / $ 479): For Camera Budgets
Google Pixel 3a XL
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Google Pixel 3a XL constantly takes better pictures than the iPhone XS, but costs under $ 500. Even the Triple Camera OnePlus 7 Pro can't achieve the best pixel in complex lighting. With great portrait mode and invincible Night Sight function for dark scenes, the Pixel 3a is just as capable as its more expensive brother, the Pixel 3.
The downside is that you get to the $ 399 price tag, Google had to cut costs elsewhere. The Pixel 3a ships with a significantly slower midrange processor than the normal Pixel. Applications open noticeably slower, image processing takes some time, and graphics intensive games feel slower. And while there are still good colors and brightness, the screen has large bezels that make the phone look noticeably cheaper.
Finally, as with the OnePlus 7 Pro, there is no official water resistance and the Pixel 3a cannot charge wirelessly. If you prioritize clean software and the incredible camera of a normal Pixel, the Pixel 3a is the cheapest way to get it.
Samsung Galaxy A50 ($ 350): Features Above Speed
The Samsung Galaxy A50 offers tons of high end features for its price tag of $ 350. It has a large, lifelike end-to-end display just like you would expect from a Samsung. It offers a built-in fingerprint reader for unlocking and two cameras plus a depth sensor for portrait shots.
You also get a microSD card slot to add more storage and a headphone jack, something many leading phones no longer offer, including Samsung's new Galaxy Note 10. Finally, a huge battery provides enough juice, to work throughout the day.
It is not surprising that the A50 lacks wireless charging or water resistance. Like the Pixel, it also has a lower-level processor that is not worn on a day-to-day basis, as a flagship phone would. It feels slower than the Pixel 3a and noticeably slower than the top-end phones, but this is to be expected.
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