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Three cheap smartphones: entry level to high-end

Not every user needs the best, and certainly not always the most expensive. Fortunately, the Android smartphone market offers a ton more option and diversity on this side of things.  For the budget savvy consumer, there are also some different levels when we talk about budget smartphones and will showcase them in this article: the Nokia X, Moto G, and Nexus 5.

nokiax motog nexus5
The competition (left to right): Nokia X, Moto G and Nexus 5 / © Nokia, Motorola, Google, AndroidPIT

Nokia X – for the beginners

The Nokia X is a super affordable smartphone, however, it’s suited mainly for those who are looking for an introduction to Android.  Coming in around $150 (€89 in Europe), it’s still spotty as to what locations you can actually purchase the device, you can find it online in such retailers such as Amazon and the like. For more information on the device, check out the following article on the device.

nokia x front
A small white brick: the Nokia X. / © AndroidPIT


If the main point of your smartphone is to make phone calls, send text messages, and very rarely take photos, need a lot of storage, don’t watch media or play games on your mobile device (so in short, use your smartphone as a phone), then you can’t go wrong with the price of the Nokia X.


Technically, the Nokia X is classed at the very low end of the spectrum and it shows. The camera is almost unusable, the system is jerky, and the processor is lacking. Although the software is based on Android, it is a forked version of the operating system and doesn’t offer any of the official Google services, such as the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps, etc. For those who do decide to grab the Nokia X as an entry level device should definitely take this as a note and not judge the Android experience on the Nokia X alone.

Moto G – the all-arounder

The Moto G is Motorola’s budget smartphone and has been so far very successful. It is currently available for $180 for the 8 GB version and $199.99 for the 16 GB version. For more information, check out our detailed review of the Moto G.

motorola moto g 4
The affordable device for the average user: the Moto G. / © AndroidPIT


The Moto G can almost be classified as a high-end smartphone, but just to a little bit of a lesser extent. On the software side of things, it will be receiving pretty quickly updates as it was a conjunction of Motorola and Google and the operating system is very close to pure Android. As such, it dispenses from unnecessary software bloatware and as an added bonus, it’s durable and water resistant, is reasonably well designed and the hardware is well matched with its software. Despite rather modest technology in the device, its camera and battery are sufficient for casual everyday use.


If you have high expectations for a device, you might not be happy with the Moto G. Despite good hardware, the software doesn’t run as smooth and fast as other current devices on the market. In our tests, we’ve noticed some micro-stuterring during operations although it seems to be hit or miss. The camera is adequate, but doesn’t provide much for those who like to take a ton of photos. It also has a relatively small display and the resolution lags behind current standards.

Nexus 5 – the affordable formula 1 car

The Nexus 5 is in almost every respect a top device that can hold its own against the biggest. You’d be looking at spending about $350 for the 16 GB version and $400 for the 32 GB version. Check out our detailed review on the Nexus 5 here.

Nexus 5 teaser pic
The affordable high-end smartphone: the Nexus 5. / © AndroidPIT


The Nexus 5 is an all-in-one package when it comes to performance and cost. It has an attractive design, has high-end hardware, and sports the pure Google experience with Android which gives a fresh look on Android compared to the like of Samsung, HTC, Sony, et al. The Nexus 5 is equipped to handle whatever the next few years will bring with it and is a wise investment for those looking for a high quality smartphone for a budget friendly price. While it may be leads ahead of the Moto G and the Nokia X, compared to other flagship devices, it’s a steal of a bargain.


The trade-off here is that when comparing to other higher-end devices, the camera and battery are lacking in the Nexus 5. For the price, however, this is more justifiable.


For me, it’s clear: the Nexus 5 is probably the best choice when you’re looking for a good trade-off between price and hardware. For those who are looking for something a bit more cost effective, but that will still be able to handle todays demands for mobile devices, the Moto G will definitely not disappoint. As for the Nokia X, unless you’re looking for a very standard phone at a low price, we would steer clear of it. For the little bit extra, you might as well just splurge on the Moto G and actually enjoy using your smartphone.  

  Nokia X Moto G Nexus 5
System Modified Android 4.1 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.2
Display 4 inch
800 x 480 pixels (233 ppi)
1280 x 720 pixels (326 ppi)
4.95 inch
1920 x 1080 pixels (445 ppi)
Processor Snapdragon S4 Play
1 GHz 
Snapdragon 400 
Quad Core

Snapdragon 800
Quad Core

Main memory 512 MB 1 GB 2 GB
Internal memory 4 GB (+ microSD) 8/16 GB 16/32 GB
Connectivity HSPA, WiFi, Bluetooth  HSPA, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
Camera 3 MP (rear) 5 MP (rear), 1.3MP (front) 8 MP (rear), 1.3 (front)
Battery 1500 mAh 2070 mAh 2300 mAh
Dimensions 115.5 x 63 x 10.4 mm 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6 mm 137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm
Weight 128 g 143 g 130 g


Write new comment:
  • In an age when the mobile smartphone market is very much about looks over substance, the Motorola Go makes a refreshing change as it backs up its stylish appearance with a robust and durable chassis that ensures the phone will be as goods as new months down the line.

  • Leonardo May 12, 2014 Link to comment

    Nexus 5 rules!

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