The mobile phone mar­ket is full of an abun­dance of mod­els for any wal­let. On sale there are both bud­get mod­els of Chi­nese brands, as well as flag­ships from top man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Xiao­mi and Apple. We decid­ed to deal with the issue of buy­ing an inex­pen­sive, but high-qual­i­ty phone.

Xiao­mi sub-brands are the best rep­re­sen­ta­tives of bud­get smart­phones. Source: techadvisor.com

Minimum specifications of budget smartphones

If you wish, you can find smart­phones on sale at record low prices — about 10–12 thou­sand rubles, but such gad­gets can hard­ly be called func­tion­al. They are suit­able for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and instant mes­sen­gers, but most like­ly you will not be able to get high-qual­i­ty pho­tos or launch your favorite game. It is bet­ter to give pref­er­ence to more pro­duc­tive and ver­sa­tile smart­phones. Their min­i­mum spec­i­fi­ca­tions are as fol­lows:

  • dis­play diag­o­nal — from 6”;
  • bat­tery — from 5000 mAh;
  • RAM — from 2–3 GB;
  • res­o­lu­tion of the main cam­era — from 12 megapix­els;
  • the num­ber of mod­ules of the main cam­era — from 3 pieces;
  • NFC sup­port for con­tact­less pay­ments;
  • 4G tech­nol­o­gy.

A smart­phone that meets these char­ac­ter­is­tics in 2022 can be found in the range from 15 to 25 thou­sand rubles. First, we will tell you what para­me­ters should be con­sid­ered, and at the end of the arti­cle we will give the top 5 suit­able gad­gets.

Matrix type and resolution

Smart­phone man­u­fac­tur­ers do not install expen­sive AMOLED dis­plays in bud­get mod­els, so you will have to lim­it your­self to IPS matri­ces. The main thing is to select devices with a res­o­lu­tion of at least Full HD (1920 × 1080 pix­els).

From the screen of a bud­get smart­phone, you should not expect max­i­mum col­or repro­duc­tion and wide view­ing angles. Source: businessinsider.com

A lot depends on the qual­i­ty of the screen, whether there will be dis­tor­tions on it, whether pix­e­la­tion will be notice­able, as well as the abil­i­ty to use a smart­phone, look­ing at it at an angle. The cheap­est matri­ces are TN. They are now not installed even in bud­get gad­gets. The best option is an IPS dis­play. It stands out for accu­rate col­or repro­duc­tion, good view­ing angles and an afford­able price.


The proces­sor affects the per­for­mance of the smart­phone. You should not count on buy­ing a bud­get smart­phone with a top-end proces­sor. You can choose a mod­el that will con­fi­dent­ly cope with all every­day tasks with­in 20,000 rubles.

If a few years ago, in bud­get phones, there were main­ly Medi­aTek chipsets that out­per­formed direct com­peti­tors from Snap­drag­on in price, per­for­mance and ener­gy effi­cien­cy, now Qual­comm offers inter­est­ing tech­no­log­i­cal solu­tions in dif­fer­ent price cat­e­gories.

As for obscure chips like Micro­max, Hisense or Unisoc, they are best avoid­ed. They have min­i­mal per­for­mance, and the cost of smart­phones with such proces­sors is not always jus­ti­fied. But there are excep­tions. For exam­ple, Unisoc SC are extreme­ly unsuc­cess­ful mod­els, while Unisoc T has a right to exist.

Unisoc Tiger T7520 is one of the com­pa­ny’s most suc­cess­ful chipsets. Source: ixbt.com

In addi­tion to the brand, an impor­tant role is played by the oper­at­ing fre­quen­cy and the num­ber of cores, which even in an inex­pen­sive smart­phone should have at least 4 pieces. If there are more of them, this is not a prob­lem — this does not affect auton­o­my. If there are few cores (for exam­ple, only 2), and they oper­ate at a low fre­quen­cy, then when using a smart­phone, dis­com­fort will occur even when run­ning not the most pow­er­ful appli­ca­tions or games.

As for the oper­at­ing fre­quen­cy of the proces­sor, it should be at least 1800 MHz for each core. Also in mod­ern gad­gets there is a func­tion to auto­mat­i­cal­ly turn off unused cores — this con­tributes to bet­ter auton­o­my.

Memory size

If every­thing is clear with inter­nal mem­o­ry, each buy­er choos­es an inex­pen­sive smart­phone with the amount of stor­age that he needs for pho­tos, videos and oth­er files. Plus, the mem­o­ry can be expand­ed by installing a microSD card.

With RAM, the sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent — its vol­ume can­not be increased, so you need to imme­di­ate­ly choose the right smart­phone. The amount of RAM (ran­dom access mem­o­ry) must be select­ed tak­ing into account the require­ments for the phone.

  • if a smart­phone is required to solve every­day tasks, 2–3 GB of RAM will suf­fice;
  • if you need high­er per­for­mance, for exam­ple, for games, you will need at least 4 GB of RAM.

4G and NFC support

The 3G com­mu­ni­ca­tion stan­dard is a thing of the past due to the crit­i­cal­ly low data trans­fer rate when access­ing the Inter­net. The pres­ence of 4G is one of the impor­tant require­ments for mod­ern smart­phones. Almost all gad­gets cost­ing from 15,000 rubles sup­port this stan­dard, but it is bet­ter to make sure of this before buy­ing.

The NFC mod­ule is a great fea­ture cre­at­ed for con­tact­less pay­ments. Source: androidauthority.com

NFC is anoth­er must-have fea­ture in 2022. This is a mod­ule for mak­ing con­tact­less pay­ments. In oth­er words — an option that sim­pli­fies the pay­ment of pur­chas­es. Own­ers of smart­phones with NFC do not have to car­ry a wal­let or bank cards with them.

Top 5 inexpensive but good smartphones

The list of bud­get smart­phones with decent fea­tures is quite exten­sive, we have tried to high­light five of the most inter­est­ing mod­els.

Realme C21‑Y

The smart­phone has been on sale in Rus­sia since the fall of 2021, but is still pop­u­lar. At a price of less than 10,000 rubles for the 3/32 GB ver­sion, it has quite inter­est­ing tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics: a 6.5 ″ IPS dis­play, a slot for two SIM cards and microSD, an 8‑core Unisoc Tiger T610 chipset, a 5000 mA bat­tery h and NFC sup­port.

The back cov­er of Realme C21‑Y has an orig­i­nal pat­tern. Source: scoopblogs.com

The main block of cam­eras con­sists of three mod­ules. The main one has a res­o­lu­tion of 13 megapix­els, it is com­ple­ment­ed by a 2 megapix­el b / w sen­sor and a 2 megapix­el macro mod­ule. The res­o­lu­tion of the self­ie cam­era is 5 megapix­els. Realme C21‑Y is offered in black and blue col­ors.

Xiaomi Redmi 10

A bud­get smart­phone from a Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­er cost­ing from 14,000 rubles for a 4/64 GB ver­sion. The phone is equipped with a 6.71” IPS dis­play, Medi­aTek Helio G88 proces­sor and four cam­eras. The main mod­ule with a res­o­lu­tion of 50 megapix­els pro­duces good shots.

The smart­phone has good auton­o­my thanks to a 5000 mAh bat­tery. Comes with an 18W fast charg­er. There are 4/64 GB, 4/128 GB and 8/128 GB ver­sions of Red­mi 10 on sale.

Samsung Galaxy A12

A bud­get best­seller from Sam­sung cost­ing around 12,000 rubles for the 3/32 GB ver­sion. The design of the smart­phone looks a lit­tle out­dat­ed — rather thick bezels around the dis­play and a large cutout for the self­ie cam­era, but in terms of tech­ni­cal stuff­ing for its price, it is not bad. The phone is equipped with a Medi­atek Helio G35, a choice of 3 or 4 GB of RAM, a 6.5‑inch IPS dis­play and four cam­eras, the main of which has 48 megapix­els. The bat­tery has a capac­i­ty of 5000 mAh and comes with a 15W charg­er.

The Sam­sung Galaxy A12 has rather thick bezels and a mas­sive “chin” at the bot­tom. Source: gsmarena.com

Poco M4 Pro

Poco M4 Pro, like its pre­de­ces­sor, is a bud­get gad­get. It installed a fair­ly pow­er­ful Medi­aTek Dimen­si­ty 810 chipset, 6 GB of RAM (there is a 4 GB ver­sion), 64 or 128 GB of per­ma­nent mem­o­ry, a 5000 mAh bat­tery and a 6.6” IPS dis­play with a fre­quen­cy of 90 Hz.

There are three cam­era mod­ules in the main unit — the main one is 50 megapix­els, the ultra-wide angle is 8 megapix­els, and the macro lens is 2 megapix­els. The res­o­lu­tion of the front cam­era is 16 megapix­els.

Honor 50 Lite

Anoth­er good and rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive smart­phone costs about 22,000 rubles for the 6/128 GB ver­sion. The buy­er gets for this mon­ey a 6.67 ”IPS dis­play with rich col­or repro­duc­tion, a Snap­drag­on 662 proces­sor, a 64-megapix­el main cam­era and an 8‑megapixel wide-angle one. The only weak point of the smart­phone is a 4300 mAh bat­tery, but this is off­set by 66 W fast charg­ing, with which the smart­phone can be charged up to 40% in 10 min­utes.


Let’s con­clude that in the bud­get seg­ment you can find smart­phones that can con­fi­dent­ly cope with every­day tasks and more. a gad­get with a bet­ter cam­era, Hon­or 50 Lite or Poco M4 Pro will do.