The new flagship iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices are fast, bring the latest version of the OS and state of the art features. Unfortunately, these top-end phones also carry flagship level prices. For the majority of people, these phones are too expensive and do not justify the cost. The good news is that thanks to Android, there are phones that are both affordable and fast. Here is what to look for in a new budget-friendly phone:

Processor

Unless you buy a used iPhone, every other phone uses some version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon. The latest version is the 835. The new chip relegates last year’s already fast 820 chip to second tier phones. Both the 820 and the 810 are more than sufficient for most people’s needs.

Memory

Memory is one spec where people might have issues with what comes with the phone. The lowest spec phones come with 16GB of built-in storage. Fortunately, most Android phones have SD-Card slots for expansion. SD-Cards are much cheaper than buying phones with more storage.

Camera

The camera is the area where the newest phones have the biggest advantage. Mobile camera technology is progressing rapidly, especially on the software side. For the advanced post processing to work, the phone needs the latest processors. However, when the new Google Pixel is released, there should be a price drop of the original model, making one of the best mobile cameras more affordable.

These are the three main areas that should affect your choice of smartphone. There are others like OS updates, but such features are mostly exclusive to top-end phones.


There are so many brands with so many models of routers that it is becoming harder and harder to choose. The boxes advertise feature after feature with no clear explanation of what they mean. Here are some points to note when buying a new router or access point:

Antennas

Do not be fooled by routers and other devices with several large antennas protruding from all sides. None of those make any difference to the signal strength of the device. Look at the technical specifications and see how many antennas are inside the device. Usually, three or more high gain antennas are what we want in a wireless device.

OS

Most vendors ship their devices with their OS. The problem with vendor specific software is that they rarely update them. Some vendors use open source operating systems like DD-WRT or OPEN-WRT. Such operating systems are feature rich and are maintained by the community.

Features

When it comes to routers, we want more than just internet connectivity and wireless. Features that most families find useful will include parental controls, bandwidth controls, device specific blocks and even a mini-firewall. More is not always better, but look out for features that you will find useful.

Build

Lastly, look at the build quality of the device. Cheap plastic construction will not last long and eventually become brittle over time. A good sturdy router will likely have quality components inside, which should last well beyond the warranty period.