Once a device for convenient communications, the smartphone is an entertainment hub now. Across the app store, you can find just about any theme or genre to appease your in-the-moment craving. You could end up with a time-walled card game or perhaps subscribe to a platform offering the latest great TV show. It’s all at your fingertips and easy to access on the smallest screen. Not everyone can get or even wants the latest of smartphones to keep up with the most high quality, tech-forward mobile entertainment options, be that 8K or near console-tier game apps. The majority of people go for a bang-average smartphone in the current market as well as a cost-effective mobile plan. With new phones released each year, the lower tier of hardware quality does get to enjoy a slight increase.
Along with some of the best cheaper smartphones that you can pick up, we’ll be exploring some of the mobile entertainment options that will continue to run well on those seemingly weaker devices.
Solid and cost-effective devices
Looking around, it seems as though people consider $450 a fair and average price for a smartphone, and so, any device that costs less could be considered a cheap purchase. While the company completely failed with their overhyped Stadia project, to bring triple-A gaming to all devices via the cloud, Google does make a rather good smartphone, with a sound cheap one being the Google Pixel 6a. It comes with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 6.1-inch screen with a 2400×1080 resolution.
Best of all, the official store lists them at $399 each. Of course, the Google Pixel 6a isn’t an Android device, which is what a reader of this site would likely expect. To appease that craving, turn to the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G. Tom’sGuide lists the device as the best cheap phone for Android fans, boasting 6GB of RAM, expandable storage of 128GB, and a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen at 2400×1080. It, too, costs $399 brand new from most outlets.
These smartphones are still fairly powerful even by today’s standards, especially when compared to the same kind of mid-range, more cost-effective devices around five years ago. Still, the devices and their similarly priced competitors tend to struggle either on the battery front, the processing power, or both. So, it’s always good to have some less demanding or lite entertainment options up your sleeve.
From Mobile-Made to Browser-Made
Mobile browsers used to be terrible. As TheVerge piece explores, they weren’t user-friendly or even particularly useful as recently as 2015. Now, refined, with massive demand forcing developers to dig deep and make mobile software as useful as desktops applications. This has helped many browser-based entertainment platforms become viable for mobile use.
Once adjusting to touch-screen controls was fine, but now developers are making apps with a mobile-first mentality. This is now the case for the online slots at Betway. For years, developers ported desktop-designed games to the increasingly popular mobile browser space. Now, however, they take a wholly mobile-focused approach. Trojan Kingdom, 9 Masks of Fire, and Lara Croft: Temples and Tombs highlight the latest and greatest of these developments that work smoothly on mobile. While the likes of Thunderstruck: Stormchaser showcases a desire to bring much older games to the modern mobile space.
Enter browser-based entertainment
Then again, it may be best to get a mobile browser that’s better suited to more demanding mobile entertainment options. Your main use of Netflix on your mobile may be for the games as the video streaming is too demanding, but if you opt for a browser like Opera or Firefox, you could find that browser-based streaming works a treat. From here, you could explore the free streaming platforms like Freevee, Pluto TV, Roku, or the usual, more popular lines of streaming like the aforementioned Netflix.
Even though it seems like the most advanced form of entertainment-seeking right now, these middling smartphones could also power excellent virtual reality experiences. To keep the costs down, Cardboard is your best bet for an Android headset, and from there, you can explore a whole host of VR websites and experiences. The Experiments with Google platform is a good place to start, with Inside Music offering a step inside of a song, while you could also check out websites in VR, like Zoo.
By adjusting the source slightly, you enjoy hours of high-quality entertainment even on much cheaper or seemingly less powerful devices than the flagship models that companies want us to buy.