Android Confidential: 3 reasons why you should buy a cheap Android phone this October

You can resist the lure of premium.

Credit: Michael Simon/IDG

It's gonna be one heck of a fall for Android fans. Over the next few weeks the Pixel 3, Huawei Mate 20, and LG V40 are all due to drop, and we may even get a peek at Samsung's fabled folding phone. So I wouldn't blame you if you were already bracing yourself for the blow your wallet is about to take.

But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if you didn't need to spend nine hundred or a thousand dollars to get the best phone for you? In the latest episode of Android Confidential, I make the case for buying a cheaper phone rather than one of the outrageously expensive ones that cost as much as many laptops:

Space and power to spare

With all of the new premium phones coming out, you're sure to get as much speed and space as you can need. But do you really need 128GB, 256GB, even 512GB in a phone? It wasn't too long ago when 16GB was enough space, and nowadays we stream everything and store our photos in the cloud (or should, so you don't lose them if your phone dies or disappears). If you have to have a high-end phone, consider the 64GB option—it could be plenty for your needs. 

The Snapdragon 845 processor that will surely power the LG V40 and Pixel 3 is a beast, as is the Kirin 980 that will be inside the Mate 20. But what do we really need all that speed for? A chip like the Snapdragon 660 inside the Nokia 7 (which runs the near-stock, lightweight Android One) will be just as good for most people.

Screen overload

Over the past couple of years, phablet phones have shifted from 5.5 inches to 6-plus inches, and they're about to get even bigger. The Google Pixel 3 XL is rumored to be 6.7 inches, while the Mate 20 could be a whopping 6.9 inches. Add that to the 6.4-inch Note 9 and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max, and we're really stretching the limits of our hands and pockets.

Resolution is another thing. Retina (the point where pixels are unable to be seen by the human eye) is only 300ppi, so are we really gaining anything with 500-plus ppi? Maybe give a full HD or even a standard HD phone a shot this year.

More money, more problems

If there's one thing all of these phones are going to have in common, its that they're all going to be extremely fragile. Maybe I'm crazy, but I miss the days of plastic and metal phones that I could throw across a room without worrying about a massive repair bill.

Check out my new show above or on PCWorld’s YouTube channel, where you can subscribe or leave your comments.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?