Cheaper smartphones: only satisfactory
Is there such a thing as a cheap smart phone? Or do we have to resign ourselves to paying CHF700, maybe even CHF900, to make a phone call, access the Internet and take photos with the same handy device? Bon à Savoir magazine in its February 2017 edition looked at 12 smartphones costing less than CHF400. The news isn't good.
The cheapest, and the only one under CHF100, a CHF70 Switel Mambo S4018D sold in Migros, was rated "unsatisfactory" (3.4) in every category except one, including a sound level that was too low during calls. Photos were judged too low-def, dark and pixellated. Its charging time was OK.
As for the others, none of them matched up to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (5.4) for CHF700 (I ignore the 50 centimes you will get back). No 2 was Apple's iPhone 7 Plus (5.1) for CHF899: that's CHF900 outside the retail world.
Microsoft's Lumia 950 DS came first (5.0) in the "cheapo" test, but only just scraped in under CHF400 at CHF399. It's Lumia 650 for CHF129, though, ranked second-bottom (4.2). It was OK for screen quality, sound (as were all the others except the Switel), and GPS precision. But its sensitivity was low.
Acer's Liquid Zest Plus (CHF199 from Fust) scored highest of all for its battery (5.4) but fell down to the bottom range of satisfactory for its photo facility, particularly at dusk. Its 4.7 overall rating put it at the top of the "satisfactory" smartphones.
Four smartphones earned a "good" note. The cheapest of these, number 2, was Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 for CHF249 from Fust (4.9), which is still at the bottom of the range. It ranked below the Microsoft for its photos, particularly for selfies (3.6). But none of the phones rated more than 4.8 (the iPhone and Galaxy S7). Microsoft 950 DS earned a 4.4 rating.