In the land of a smartphones, the sea of devices, which one is best for you. Sure their are many different opinions of which phones are the fastest, or the smartest, or the most simple. The argument which most REALLY want to know is which is the most budget-friendly that also is crappy in terms of performance.
We can easily section this off into different brands, camera, and quality of devices. To keep it very simple Ill go over all three.
There is Apple, Android, and Windows (very small ecosystem). So for Apple there is only iPhones which since this is the budget-friendly phones only leaves the iPhone 5S ($200) and the more powerful 5S named the iPhone SE ($400 w/ Verizon). These are great offerings from Apple if you truly need an iPhone and the 5S is still highly rated in my book, just lacking the gimmicky features of the newer phones like live photos and force touch.
The iPhone SE in all its coloured glory (golden, silver, rose gold (pink), and space gray).
Now onto Microsoft with their Lumia Lineup these are affordable with the exception of the 600+ numbers then the price is substantially higher, yet with the added bevy of new features could be worth it if Microsoft had a more diverse platform making developers more willing to partner with them. Stick with the Lumia 640 XL which is the safest bet among the Microsoft line.
Lastly we have the Android devices which outnumber the iPhones and Lumias about 1,341:1 respectively. There are so many that it would be very difficult to break down the very best of Android. Luckily the Android platform has an operating system (OS) that is run by Google this means non-OEM brands have a personalized skin on top of Google making them slower by default, in the cases of past Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy line (dramatically so). Now the gap is diminishing more and more and in 2016 with budget phones having 2-3GB of RAM its almost not noticeable. So to conclude the brand debate, Ill do the Android winners from top OEMs. Here they are in order:
Google: Nexus 5X
Motorola: G (3rd Generation)
Samsung: Galaxy A3
HTC: Desire 626
BLU: Studio X Plus
Some may note that I highlighted the top 2 instead of top 3 phones this is because of that “pure/stock Android” mentioned before. Those two phones are pure Android, so they have nothing hindering them from their full potential. I believe these are easily the best for the money!
This one is surprisingly cut-and-dry. We can go with the less important megapixels, or more important resolution or aperture. For megapixels Lumia phones are a clear winner, with many having 18+ even in this category (see above). Now for the camera lover that wants to take fantastic picture, look no further than Nexus 5X and iPhone SE which both can record in 4K (4x the resolution of HD) in 30 FPS basically amazing cameras! The Nexus has a better aperture of course.
Overall it comes down to what YOU consider to be high quality, the tech industry for years, converted the companies to make metal/glass based phones. This made Android “more premium”, but to an iPhone user you would still be another Android pleb, so plastic or metal, use the device that you want. Build quality is subjective and changes annually.
Top two phones are the Nexus 5X and Moto G (3rd Generation), if you have a few extra bucks and want to join iPhone team go for the SE, but honestly for the specs I would just get an iPhone 6 with your carrier and see the Current Specials. The Nexus 5X clearly listed better in every category and is our winner, write in the comments below if you have any suggestions for a sub $350 smartphone that should have been featured.