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Mobile phone comparison: What do affordable smartphones have to offer?

The most expensive version of the current iPhone 14 Pro Max costs around CHF 1,900 in the Apple Store – not everyone can afford that. That’s why we’re comparing smartphones under CHF 500 and checking whether inexpensive mobile phones really lag behind more expensive ones by that much.

Kathrin Fink

October 5, 2022 . 3 minutes read

The Motorola moto G22

Together with the Samsung Galaxy XCover 5, the Motorola moto G22 is the cheapest mobile phone on our list. In many features, however, it’s comparable to its expensive competitors. There’s a high-quality display, the refresh rate of 90 Hz allows smooth scrolling and the battery easily lasts 17 hours. The camera also delivers solid performance, and you can take really good pictures with it, even in tougher lighting conditions.


However, it loses a few points for processor performance. In everyday use, you’ll notice that the Motorola moto G22 isn’t always the fastest.


Price: CHF 239.–

The Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 and Galaxy A33

The Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 is made for construction sites (or at least for outdoor use)! This small mobile phone can even withstand harsh weather conditions such as dust and rain. The HD+ display also has increased touch sensitivity and can be used with gloves or wet hands, for example.


However, we do have to deduct a few points for camera performance and battery life.


Price: CHF 239.–


The Samsung Galaxy A33 has a clear unique selling point for a mid-range mobile phone: a camera with four lenses. The quad camera comes with an optical image stabilizer that’s intended to make filming and taking pictures easier in low light. The smartphone also boasts a sharp 6.4-inch display and good contrast values, so you can keep reading even in bright sunlight.


The downsides: A charging cable is not included and the camera doesn’t handle poor lighting conditions very well.


Price: CHF 299.–

The Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G

The Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G from the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi came onto the market last spring, but will still win you over with its great battery life and high display resolution. The camera also takes good pictures and shows weaknesses only when it comes to coping with backlight.


As a downside, however, there’s the long charging time of over two hours. Otherwise, the Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro is a solid, affordable smartphone for everyday use.


If you’re looking for a model with comparable performance but better camera resolution, take a look at the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE.


Poco M3 Pro 5G price: CHF 249.–
11 Lite 5G NE price: CHF 449.–

The Oppo Reno6 5G

It lasts and lasts and then lasts some more. The Oppo Reno6 5G impresses particularly with its excellent battery life (approx. 13 hours) and very short charging time (36 minutes). The simple, stylish design is complemented by a display with very good pixel density. Everything is sharp, and a high refresh rate allows for seamless scrolling.


The only pitfalls for this smartphone are the rather high price and the fact that the main camera’s sharpness isn’t so great in wide-angle mode, even though it’s actually well equipped with 64 megapixels.


Price: CHF 499.–

The Nothing Phone

Welcome to the world of glyphs. The latest affordable smartphone on our list is the Nothing Phone – the debut product from the British brand «Nothing». It features a stylish design with a transparent back that reveals these LED glyphs.

The various light symbols can be assigned to your contacts, so you only need to pick up the phone when someone «important» calls or messages. This function is designed to increase your digital well-being by making it possible to use your smartphone more consciously and only in specific situations. The Nothing Phone also boasts good battery life and solid performance.


Although the camera comes with additional photo illumination thanks to the glyph ring light, this feature plays more of a secondary role (even according to the manufacturer). Unfortunately, as lighting conditions deteriorate so do the levels of detail and sharpness of photos.


Price: CHF 479.–

This list is not exhaustive. Of course, there are a number of other providers (e.g., Nokia) that offer inexpensive smartphones.


Need a new mobile phone? Our mobile phones at a glance.

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