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 for 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 battery from 5000 mA 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 has 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 was equipped with 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 receives 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.