Back To School 2015 Buying Guide – Unlocked Smartphones


Although the summer rolling around is one of the highlights of the year, as each day passes, so does the week in which you have to prepare to go back to school. If that is you, then you might be at least looking forward to picking up a few new items to go back with. While smartphones are probably not typically a back to school budget item, thanks to the influx of good devices at a reasonable cost, this year you can start thinking about a new smartphone. Here is our pick of unlocked smartphones for when the budget matters…and in no particular order.

ASUS ZenFone 2

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The year saw some really amazing products land in the budget-to-mid price market. One of the first devices which came with some blazing specs was the Asus ZenFone 2. While there are a few variants of this device, if budget is the key then the smaller option will be your best bet. This one comes sporting a 5.5-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Inside, you are looking at 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage and powered by a 64-bit Quad-core Intel Atom Quad processor (clocking at 1.8GHz). Cameras on offer consist of a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front. This one comes running on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and powered by a 3,000mAh battery. If this sounds like the option then it will currently cost you $199. Of course, if you want the better model with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage then you are looking at $299.

Buy the ASUS ZenFone 2 from Amazon

ALCATEL OneTouch Idol 3



If you're after something a little bit different then you might want to give the Alcatel Idol 3 a try. This is another popular option for the price and again comes with some decent specs
including a 5.5-inch display with a 1980 x 1080p resolution. Inside, this one comes sporting 2GB RAM and powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa-core processor. Additional features on offer include 16GB internal storage, microSD card slot, 13-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel selfie camera and a 2,910 mAh battery. This one will currently cost you $249.99

But the ALCATEL OneTouch IDOL 3 from Amazon

Huawei P8 Lite

Huawei P8 Lite AH 01-2


The P8 Lite is one of the latest devices to come from Huawei and one of the first to become available directly in the U.S. This is the budget version of their flagship device, the Huawei P8 and comes with some fairly decent specs. On offer is a 5-inch display with a 1280 x 720 resolution. On the inside, the P8 Lite comes equipped with 2GB RAM and powered by a 64-bit Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor (clocking at 1.5 GHz). This is a dual-SIM device and comes equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera as well as a 5-megapixel selfie camera option. This one comes equipped with a 2,00mAh battery and unlike most of the others is currently still on Android 4.4 (KitKat). This one is currently available for $248

Buy the Huawei P8 Lite from Amazon

Motorola Moto G

Moto G 2015 Hands On AH 04


If you are after a really new device then you might want to consider the latest from Motorola, the Moto G. This is the budget line from Motorola, but is still a seriously good device. The Moto G (3rd Gen) come equipped with a 5-inch display with a 1280 x 720 resolution. Inside, here are a couple of variants available although if budget matters, then you might want to go for the 1GB RAM model which comes with 8GB internal storage. The Moto G is powered by a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and comes equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. This one comes running on Android 5.1.1. (Lollipop) and powered by a 2,470 mAh battery. This is one of the best-priced devices on the list, as it is currently available for only $179.99.

But the Moto G (3rd Gen) from Amazon

OnePlus 2

AH OnePlus 2-11


Of course, if you really want to stand out this year and can stretch the budget a little then you might want to consider going for the latest offering from OnePlus, the OnePlus 2. This comes with a lot of great specs but is also the most expensive device on the list. Not to mention, this one won't see its release until August 11th and you will need an invite to buy. That said, the OnePlus 2 comes packing a 5.5-inche display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Inside, is 4GB RAM and powered by a snapdragon 810 processor. Internal storage is set at 64GB, there is a 13-megapixel rear camera as well as aa 5-megapixel selfie camera. Everything is powered by a 3,300 mAh battery and this one comes running on Android 5.1. As mentioned, this is the most expensive option on the list and will be available for $389. There will be a slightly cheaper version ($329) with 3GB RAM and a reduced 16GB internal storage capacity, although, this one does not have a firm release date set as yet

Find out more about the OnePlus 2

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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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