How to buy a new smartphone without breaking your budget

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020
How to buy a new smartphone for less
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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.

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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.