How to buy a new smartphone without breaking your budget

Jeff Ehling Image
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
How to buy a new smartphone for less
Want a new phone but don't want to spend over $1,000? ABC13's Jeff Ehling has recommendations for the best smartphones you can buy on a budget.

New smartphones are coming out soon, but of course they will not be cheap.

However, Consumer Reports says you don't have to spend a lot to get a great phone.

New phones often have better processors and better cameras, but cost a lot more.

At $1,400, Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra is one of the most expensive smartphones in Consumer Reports ratings.

The same goes for Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max at $1,100.

Both models are newer and earn excellent scores in Consumer Reports's rigorous tests.

RELATED: How to decrease screen time while in quarantine during coronavirus pandemic

Between work, video chats, and texting, screens are keeping us connected when we can't physically interact. But at what expense? And how do we manage this?

But, you don't have to spend over $1,000 for a great phone.

Take the iPhone XR. It's almost two years old, but at $600, it's cheaper than ever and packed with features like a sharp screen and very good cameras, making it a Consumer Reports "Best Buy."

The same goes for the Samsung Galaxy S10 for around $750. It's been on the market for over a year, and the price is $150 less than when it launched.

"While these phones might not have the fanciest cameras or the fastest processors, for a lot of people, they're still good options," said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Bree Fowler.

If you want to get a little more life out of your current phone, Consumer Reports has some easy tips to extend the battery life and free up storage.

  • Set the screen brightness to Auto so that the device can adjust to indoor and outdoor conditions.
  • Lower the baseline brightness. In most phones, you can do this by using a sliding switch in the Display menu.
  • Set the screen to go to sleep after 15 or 30 seconds of inactivity.
  • Turn on airplane mode when you're in a location with no WiFi or cellular-data signal.
  • Reduce the frequency of updates for email, social network feeds, and other apps to once every hour.
  • If you're streaming content over a WiFi network to stretch your data allowance (and doing other data-intensive tasks such as internet gaming), keep a power adapter handy. Our tests have found that performing tasks over WiFi can drain batteries significantly faster than using cellular-data connections.

If you're looking for an even less expensive option, Boost Mobile has phones for under $500 with monthly plans under $40.