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Five inexpensive smartphones with flagship performance

In modern life, our phones are a big part of everything we do. We all want the latest iPhone, Galaxy or Pixel, but the price is too high for today’s smartphone standards.

While flagship phones tend to get all the press coverage, smart buyers look beyond the hype towards lesser-known phones and earlier models that still keep up with the best.

Below, you’ll find proof that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have a legendary smartphone experience. You’ll be able to get the latest news from your favorite websites, download some games, chat in the latest app, take a picture or shoot a video.

Even though the flagship phones win at being the most expensive, that rarely means that they are the best performers. Whatever you want to do, you can do it on the road and still have money left over to spend when you get there.

These five overachievers work on one (or both) of Ting GSM and Ting CDMA networks. Just make sure to pick up a compatible SIM card from the Ting Shop and you’re good to go. No contract, no worries.

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

1. Motorola Moto G4 Plus | $200


You deserve a flagship phone without flagship price, and this is the one of the best. If you are gaming or doing work from home, you’ll appreciate the real estate of a 5.5″ screen. On the back sits a 16 MP camera for high quality images. You can unlock it with your fingerprint and store up to 128 GB with a microSD card.

With a water (or beer) resistant coating, the G4 Plus is perfect for active users. The lithium ion battery is designed to keep it alive for most of the day and gets you six hours of charge in just 15 minutes.

Motorola also offers the Moto G4 (available in the Ting Shop) as a slightly cheaper option with many of the same features.

OnePlus 3

2. OnePlus 3 | $369


There’s a very good reason why this got the reputation as “the original flagship killer.” It’s an Android with more style than an iPhone. Inside there’s a Snapdragon 820 processor that’s twice as fast as the OnePlus 2. Flip from app to app with no lag, thanks to a whopping 6 GB of RAM. Its 5-5 inch AMOLED display hits the screen size sweet spot.

This is the phone you want for crunching through graphics-heavy games and real-time video. It’s also well known as the second-tier phone that matched the iPhone 6s and the Galaxy S7 in browsing speed. Dash Charging puts you back in the action faster with a full day charge in 30 minutes or less. Never settle. Just pay less.

iPhone SE

3. iPhone SE | $399


When you want an iPhone, nothing else will do. Just don’t waste your money on the most expensive one out there. Get the features you want most, like an A9 processor that’s twice the speed of an iPhone 5s and a 12 MP camera for capturing beautiful images.

If video is your thing, the iPhone SE captures 4K resolution — that’s four times sharper than the standard 1080p HD video that everyone else has. It bucks the trend toward giant phones and returns to the more handy 4 inch screen.

Huawei Honor 5X

4. Huawei Honor 5X | $199


If you really like the flexibility of Android OS but you love the design of an Apple, what are you going to do? You’re going to pick up this powerful and affordable device. It’s the best deal on this list.

It has the same giant 5.5″ screen, metallic case and excellent UX of an iPhone. At the same time, you get the latest Android platform on a Snapdragon 616 chip and an octa-core CPU. Storage is never an issue with up to 256 (!) GB of space using a microSD card. As a bonus, music lovers prefer this handset for its incredible sound and built-in noise cancellation.

The Honor 5X’s 13MP camera can go toe-to-toe with any mid-range and even some high-end smartphones when lighting conditions are on point. This is a completely unlocked, dual-SIM phone, meaning it’s perfect for the traveling set.

Google Nexus 5X – $199

5. Google Nexus 5X | $331 and up
[Best Buy or Amazon]


This brilliant and affordable smartphone is Google’s entry into the market. In that sense, it runs the cleanest version of Android and qualifies as king of the flagships at a non-flagship price point.

Unlock your phone before its out of your pocket with Nexus Imprint, Google’s own fingerprint sensor. It rests on the back of the phone and, according to our 5X review, “was seriously a godsend.”

Behind its screen is a powerful 1.8 GHz hexa-core 808 Snapdragon processor to run all the apps and games your heart desires. The 12.3 MP camera captures all the detail you need, and you will see every pixel on the Nexus 5X’s astonishing 5.2 inch IPS LCD panel glass display.

Last year’s affordable flagship is this year’s absolute steal.

Here at Ting, we don’t want to pressure you to buy a phone from the Ting Shop – there’s lots of special deals online and we recommend that you take a look around. Just by waiting a few months and doing a bit of online research, you can get all the smartphone you need at a much smarter price.

Make sure to get the MEID/IMEI (serial) number of the phone and enter it in the Ting compatibility checker to make sure it’ll activate on Ting. Over 80% of phones made in the last few years are compatible with Ting, so it’s likely your new phone will be one of them.