As years have gone by, we see that cheap smartphones have a big role to play in the growth of the mobile tech space. For

Cheap phones galore: How good can low-end phones get?

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As years have gone by, we see that cheap smartphones have a big role to play in the growth of the mobile tech space. For one thing, these smartphones are affordable. The (larger) unexplored emerging markets look to these cheaper devices to go online and stay connected. Many companies are trying/have tried to capitalize on this – either by providing services or manufacturing them for these markets.


We have seen the likes of Motorola/Lenovo, OnePlus, Huawei, and many others make really good moderately priced smartphones. The gap between high-end, and mid-range smartphones is getting so thin, we can’t help but ask, “How good can low-end smartphones get?”

Sometime last week, we heard about the $4 smartphone in India. The phone carried lots of fanfare, but critics queried how they came about such ridiculously low selling price. Was it from government subsidy? A network subsidy? or actual cutting of costs? We can’t even talk about the actual feel of the phone and it’s performance in real life usage. Is the phone usable? Or is it something that would break with minimal force. I really think this would be the case.

Even here on MobilityArena, we’ve come across very good low end phones and some very crappy ones. The Motorola Moto G series, Infinix Hot and many more – a very long list. We’ve also handled some very bad ones, like the iTEl Beyond 3G and the $25 Firefox phone that offered very bad experiences.

MediaTek is making more powerful/cheaper processors that are pushing this revolution. In a report I read, the company that makes graphic chips for iPhones is working on a series of chips that will offer better graphics for far less cash. The new hardware will play high graphic mobile games without lags. Interesting times ahead.

Will cheap smartphones get better? or will there be some sort of climax? We would be here and see how it turns out.


  1. Looking at the general trend down the years I would expect improved cheap Smartphones over the coming years as the components gets better and cheaper over time,three years ago a $400 phone would come with a pretty sh!tty specs not even found on $100 devices today,with the Chinese in the forefront we in the emerging markets are well covered..

  2. I think agree wither Donbenie on this on. Only until something crazy happened to the Chinese phonemakers and they all collapse, then we can think of the end of cheap phones

  3. As long as Moore’s law is in play and the Chinese are in business, cheaper phones will get more powerful. A while ago, the single real justification for buying a mid-range relatively expensive phone was due to branding, otherwise it made no sense with chinese phones at the same price offering better specs. The high-end flagships of the renowned brands are still in a class of their own having cool & unique features (like the edge(s)), but in terms of raw specs and perhaps performance, the line will get thinner and thinner between cheaper chinese phones and those by renowned brands.

  4. quick update, the $4 phone is a scam. the phones they delivered were different from what they advertised and the company’s offices have been shuttered by regulators

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