OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3

OnePlus releases Nougat kernel sources for OnePlus 3 and 3T

This week OnePlus got some flak from folks over at XDA-Developers, as well as a number of figures in the Android development community, including Francisco Franco. The devs accused OnePlus of delaying the release of the kernel source code of the Nougat update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T and, in general, of playing fast and loose with its open-source obligations borne by the use of Android.

There was also some speculation that OnePlus delayed the release of the source code to hide the use of a debug kernel, though the company was quick to shut down the reports.

Now OnePlus made available the Nougat kernel source on its Github repository, which should please developers, as well as users waiting for improved custom ROMs for their OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T devices.

Thanks to the GNU General Public License (GPL) licensing of the Linux kernel (which forms the base of Android), all companies that use Android have the obligation to release the code of their kernels on the day of the release. Some companies comply or even go beyond their obligations in an effort to simplify the work of the developer community. At the other end of the spectrum, companies like Xiaomi take many months to release source code, if they even bother to release them at all. OnePlus is not, by any means, the worst offender in this respect.

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

There was a time, not all that long ago, that in order to own a powerful smartphone you would either need to commit to a two-year contract, or you would be expected to pay as much as $600 – $800. Thankfully this has changed considerably in the last few years. There are now several manufacturers that offer handsets that bring quality specs and yet are priced low enough you don’t need to take out a second mortgage or sign your life away to a carrier. In this article, we take a look at some of the best cheap Android phones on the market.

Now, obviously the idea of “low-cost” is somewhat subjective. For some folks it is anything under $300, for others it might mean devices that are under $200. With this in mind, we’ll bring you nine devices in all: three that are under $200, three that are under $300, and three that are under $400 — this way everyone wins.

As for how we’ll ‘rank’ the phones? Basically we are looking at a number of factors though price/value ratio is probably among one of the highest factors here. It is also worth mentioning that all devices on this list will be full unlocked, and off contract. For those US readers looking for even cheaper phones and don’t mind going with a locked-down handset through a prepaid carrier, you’ll want to check out our Cricket, AT&T, Boost, T-Mobile and Verizon prepaid lists.

Editor’s note – we will be updating this list as more devices hit the market. This article reflects things from a US/EU centric perspective, though many of these devices and pricing will apply to other international markets as well.

Best phones under $200

Moto G4 Play

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Lenovo’s Moto G4 Play enters the market with a low price tag, solid specifications and a familiar design language we’ve all grown to love.

It sports a 5.0-inch HD display, solid Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an 8MP rear camera that’s great for snapping the occasional photo. Plus, you get a removable 2800mAh battery, which is a feature many manufacturers have been leaving out of their phones lately.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Removable 2800mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 144.4 x 72 x 9.9mm, 137g

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Nexus 5X (Project Fi only)

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

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Google chose to release two Nexus smartphones in 2015 – the higher-end Nexus 6P made by Huawei and the LG-made Nexus 5X, which is the true sequel to LG’s beloved Nexus 5 from 2013. Both of these devices feature similar specifications, but they still manage to stand out drastically from one another. The Nexus 5X has a solid Snapdragon 808 processor, a 2700mAh battery and a really great 12.3 megapixel rear-facing camera. It also boasts a fingerprint scanner on the back, a front-facing speaker that provides decent audio quality and of course, this phone runs the latest version of Android.

In our full review, we had just a few gripes. While the Snapdragon 808 processor is very capable of performing just about everything you throw at it, the fact that the 5X comes with just 2GB of RAM makes us nervous for the future. It also only comes with 16 or 32GB of on-board storage with no microSD card expansion, so folks who are used to 32 or 64GB variants will need to rely on cloud storage when it comes to keeping media on the phone.
Considering that the Nexus 6P costed only $120 more than the 5X at launch, it was a tad difficult to recommend this smartphone at the start. Now Google is offering the Nexus 5X on Project Fi for the low price of just $200. If you’re looking for a solid smartphone in this price range and would like to try out Google’s Project Fi network, the Nexus 5X is for you.

Specs

  • 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 423ppi
  • 1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 12.3MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2700mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm, 136g

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See it at Project Fi

Best phones under $300

Moto G4 Plus

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

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The Moto G series has always been among the best bang for your buck smartphones around, and things remain the same with Motorola’s latest mid-ranger, the Moto G4 Plus. It has everything you’d want in an inexpensive smartphone: a big Full HD display, plenty of RAM and onboard storage, and also a great 16MP rear-facing camera. This G4 Plus model also comes with a fingerprint sensor, which is a first for the Moto G line.

The best part? It’s available for just $250 through Moto Maker, so you’ll be able to customize the colors, engraving on the back, greeting, and more.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2/3/4GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm, 155g

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ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL)

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

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While the ASUS ZenFone 3 might be a sub-$300 handset, that doesn’t mean it makes many compromises.

In our full review, we told you that the ZenFone 3 is a reliable daily driver, and doesn’t break a sweat while pushing for performance or gaming. Plus, it has a wonderful 16MP rear-facing camera, as well as a battery that will certainly have no problems lasting the entire day on a single charge. Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, this phone is downright beautiful.

When comparing the ZenFone 3’s specs with other devices in this price range, it’s worth noting that you can probably find a similarly-spec’d device for a little less money. Still, if you’re a fan of ASUS devices in general and are looking for a low-cost smartphone that offers very little compromise, you can’t go wrong with the ASUS ZenFone 3.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Super IPS+ LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 3/4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.6 x 77.4 x 7.7mm, 155g

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Honor 6X

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

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2015’s Honor 5X has been one of our favorite budget-friendly smartphones for awhile now, but its specifications and software have been aging a little bit lately. Luckily, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is back with a successor to the 5X, aiming to win over the growing number of consumers looking for a decent smartphone that won’t break the bank.

The Honor 6X sports a big 5.5-inch 1080p display, a zippy Kirin 655 processor, plenty of RAM, 32 or 64GB of on-board storage and microSD card expansion up to 256GB. This device also comes with a feature that we don’t often see on sub-$300 phones – a dual camera setup.

Perhaps our favorite part about this phone is the battery life. While a 3,340mAh unit doesn’t seem all that big, it allowed our Honor 6X to last well into a second day on a single charge. Not bad at all!

This is basically one of the most competitive phones you’ll find in this price range. Dual cameras, a long-lasting battery, an excellent fingerprint sensor and an asking price of only $250… what more could you want?

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403ppi
  • Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655 processor
  • 3/4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 12 and 2MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,340mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm, 162g

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Best phones under $400

ZTE Axon 7

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

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ZTE’s Axon Pro from 2015 was a good phone, but it fell short in a few key areas. It came to market with only one storage option, no expandable memory, and the dual camera setup on the back of the device felt a bit gimmicky. Not only does the company’s latest flagship fix all of those problems, it brings much more to the table.

It has a big 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon processor, plenty of RAM, multiple storage options, and yes, expandable memory up to 256GB. It also sports some killer front-facing speakers, all-day battery life, a great camera, and a sleek, attractive design. While certain parts of the software could use a little more polish, the ZTE Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with the best in the Android market. It’s also inexpensive at only $400, making this an even more attractive option for folks looking to score a solid flagship device.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 20MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3250mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm, 175g

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Honor 8

Best cheap Android phones (January 2017)

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Huawei has brought what many have wanted from an affordable flagship for a while now: a gorgeous design, a smaller size, and a great camera. In addition, the Honor 8’s excellent performance and IR blaster are not always common on an affordable smartphone. The Honor 8’s software might not be for everyone, but we think the impressive camera performance and high-end design really make up for it.

While the Honor 8 enters the market in an incredibly competitive price segment, we can say that this is one of the better phones you can buy for around $400.

Specs

  • 5.2-inch LTPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 423ppi
  • HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 145.5 x 71 x 7.5mm, 153g

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Buy now from Amazon

So there you have it – our picks for the best budget-friendly options Android has to offer at the moment. Did we miss anything? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

See also:

Best Android phones

2 weeks ago

Next: Best prepaid phone plans

OnePlus 3 and 3T Google Play Store bug fixed with OxygenOS 4.0.2 update

OnePlus continues to update OxygenOS for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, after launching the big 4.0 version that introduced Android Nougat to those devices a few weeks ago. Today, the company is rolling out OxygenOS 4.0.2, which fixes a small, but important, issue on both phones.

See also:

OnePlus Bullets (V2) Earphones review

1 day ago

According to the changelog, the 4.0.2 update fixes a download bug with the Google Play Store. Obviously, if some OnePlus 3 and 3T owners were not able to download apps correctly, this could be a bit of a problem. Hopefully this OxygenOS update will deal with this issue. The changelog also notes some more stability improvements with this release.

OnePlus also says that some people might still be experiencing some Wi-Fi connectivity problems with this update. If you happen to be one of those folks, you can send a private message to the company to report on this issue via its forums.

As with previous updates for the OnePlus 3 and 3T, this latest version of OxygenOS is being rolled out to a small section of those phones, before it is released to a wider number of the devices in the near future. You can go into the phone’s settings to select “About phone”, and then “Software updates”, to see if your OnePlus 3 or 3T can snag OxygenOS 4.0.2.

OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T receive OxygenOS 4.0.1 update

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OnePlus has rolled out the OxygenOS 4.0.1 update to the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. The 36 MB update follows swiftly after the original upgrade to 4.0 last week, which first introduced Android Nougat to the devices.

The new build features updated access point name (APN) settings for carriers — which had been the source of some mobile data issues — and a proximity sensor bug fix which occurred during calls. The Oxygen 4.0.1 patch notes also mentions increased system stability, which might be more perceptible than usual as OnePlus was rushing to meet a self-imposed New Year’s Eve deadline for the initial OxygenOS 4.0 rollout.

For those who were yet to upgrade to the Nougat-based software, here is the complete list of improvements from OnePlus:

  • Upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat
    • New Notifications Design
    • New Settings Menu Design
    • Multi-Window View
    • Notification Direct Reply
    • Custom DPI Support
  • Added Status Bar Icon Options
  • Improved Shelf Customization
  • Updated APN Settings for select Carriers
  • Fixed Proximity Sensor bug during calls
  • Increased System Stability

This is an incremental rollout, so the update will arrive over-the-air to a small percentage of users to begin with before wider distribution in the coming days. Go to settings > about phone > software updates to see if you’re ready to receive the download.

You can also visit the OnePlus website via the links below to report bugs or leave feedback on the user-interface direct to OnePlus.

Can supermodel Emily Ratajkowski make OnePlus’ Dash Charge seem sexy?

Some smartphones made by OnePlus, including the recently launched OnePlus 3T, include support for its own technology to charge smartphone batteries faster called Dash Charge. But what is the difference between Dash Charge and the other competing technologies that promise faster ways to charge smartphones? OnePlus decided to recruit American supermodel and actress Emily Ratajkowski to explain in a video how Dash Charge really works.

See also:

OnePlus 3 Dash Charge requires both a proprietary adapter and cable

June 15, 2016

Ratajkowski calls herself a “tech fan” in the clip, and we must say she does a pretty good job detailing how Dash Charge does indeed work. She tells us that while competing fast charging battery tech methods turn up the voltage, at the expense of higher heat, the Dash Charge method increases the amps for a faster battery charge without the heat. She even shows us OnePlus’ proprietary adapter and cable that is needed to make this process work.

What is your opinion on OnePlus’ latest promotion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

OnePlus 2 update fixes network drop problem

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OnePlus has released an update for the OnePlus 2 which addresses a network reception problem which arrived with the previous build. The issue arose in OxygenOS version 3.5.5, which began rolling out on December 22, and would reportedly cut out network signal several times per minute.

The new update, OxygenOS 3.5.6, was announced in the OnePlus forums on Friday, December 30 and is said to correct the problem. No other improvements were specified in the post.

See also:

OnePlus 3T Nougat beta goes live, OnePlus 3 and 3T stable updates roll out tonight

2 days ago

OnePlus says the rollout will occur in stages, so if you haven’t been notified of the update already, look out for it in the coming weeks. Additionally, OnePlus asked for patience regarding the IMEI loss issue affecting some users. “We are still drafting a plan to resolve this,” said OnePlus’ Tony L in the forum post.

Has the network drop issue now been resolved for your handset? Let us know in the comments.

OnePlus 3T Nougat beta goes live, OnePlus 3 and 3T stable updates roll out tonight

It looks like OnePlus is working down to the wire to release its promised Android 7.0 Nougat stable updates for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T by the end of 2016, at least in some time zones. The company has a Nougat beta update available to download for the 3T right now, and OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei stated via Twitter that the stable over-the-air Nougat update will begin to roll out tonight for both the 3 and 3T phones.

See also:

Android Nougat on the OnePlus 3 is impressive, even in beta

4 weeks ago

The OnePlus 3T beta update is the first, and likely only, OxygenOS 4.0 beta for that phone. The older OnePlus 3 phone has received 10 beta updates over the past several weeks. In his Twitter posts, Pei said the Nougat stable OTA update for the 3 and 3T will be a “gradual” one, so not every owner of those phones will likely get access to it tonight.

OnePlus promised that those phones would get Nougat before the end of the year. In follow-up posts on Twitter, Pei stated, “Many members of our R&D are not taking any time off to celebrate New Year. But we all feel proud to finally deliver on our promises. Thanks for all the support in 2016. I promise we’ll come back stronger in 2017, see you next year!”

Get OxygenOS Open Beta 1 for OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3 gets another small Android 7.0 Nougat beta update

OnePlus has just released its latest Android 7.0 Nougat beta update for the OnePlus 3. This is the 10th such update for the smartphone, with its Android-based OxygenOS, and it appears to be a pretty minor one, with only one new feature as well as some bug fixes and optimizations.

See also:

Android Nougat on the OnePlus 3 is impressive, even in beta

4 weeks ago

According to the changelog, the latest beta update adds the Data Saver feature to the OnePlus 3. Two bug fixes are mentioned as well. One of them solves the problem with the lock screen clock issue when the phone is in portrait mode, and the other fixes a bug with the phone reverting to its default theme after a reboot.

Finally, the changelog states that optimizations have been put in for overall system performance, Wi-Fi performance, battery consumption, the phone’s fingerprint unlocking speed and the quality of expanded screenshots. This feature gives OnePlus 3 owners a way to screenshot a longer, scrollable page rather than a regular screenshot.

OnePlus has already stated it plans to release the final Nougat OTA update for both the OnePlus 3 and the recently launched OnePlus 3T by the end of the year. However, with just a few days away from the end of 2016, it is looking more likely that the company could miss that deadline.

Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale includes the OnePlus 3, to Carl Pei’s surprise

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Flipkart’s upcoming ‘Big Shopping Days’ sale is scheduled to kick off on Sunday, December 18, and will last until Wednesday, December 21. The company is now offering us a sneak peek into the deals that will soon be available.

Flipkart will offer discounts on a bunch of products, including the OnePlus 3. The device, which launched in India for Rs. 27,999, will be available for less than Rs. 20,000. While the price is nice, its presence in the sale is odd, seeing as OnePlus is selling its smartphone in the country exclusively through Amazon.

We may not know how Flipkart has managed to pull this off, but apparently neither does OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei. Following the announcement of the sale and the OnePlus 3’s appearance in it, Carl Pei sent a tweet to Sachin Bansal, Flipkart’s co-founder, asking him about the sale and saying that OnePlus is exclusive with Amazon India.

Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale includes the OnePlus 3, to Carl Pei’s surprise

Pei has not received a response to his question yet, so we’ll just have to wait for a bit to see how this story plays out in the end.

In addition to the OnePlus 3, Flipkart will also offer discounts on a bunch of other smartphones. For example, you’ll be able to get your hands on the Moto E3 Power for Rs. 7,499 (Rs. 500 off) or the LeEco Le 2 for Rs. 10,999 (Rs. 1,000 off). There will be more smartphones, smartwatches, headphones, and other electronics on offer, but Flipkart has not revealed the exact prices for every product that will be available during the Big Shopping Days sale.

If you want to know more, click the button below and take a closer look at some of the items that will be on sale. But you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see exactly how much some of the products Flipkart has listed will cost. And if you’re after a OnePlus 3 – let us know if you manage to buy one.

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Latest OnePlus 3 Android 7.0 Nougat beta update arrives

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OnePlus has released its latest Android 7.0 Nougat beta update for the OnePlus 3. The new OxygenOS build is part of OnePlus’ open beta program, employed by the company to help it deliver the official Nougat OTA before the end of the year.

OnePlus is relying on user feedback to support the development of the new software and includes a survey with each build to assess its success. Here’s the changelog for the most recent release:

  • Added Expanded Screenshots
  • Shelf Design Optimizations
  • General UI Optimizations
  • DPI Optimizations
  • Battery Performance Optimizations
  • Stability and Performance Optimizations
  • General bug fixes

It’s an unspecific list of improvements, save for the “expanded screenshots” feature, which allows OnePlus 3 owners to screenshot a long (scrollable) page rather than a regular screenshot. It nonetheless should provide a more stable experience than OnePlus’ first Nougat beta released at the end of November.

If you want to get involved, you can flash the latest build via the link at the OnePlus forums but note that OnePlus may remove it once it receives enough feedback.