There are tons of affordable Android-powered smartphones available out there. Not everyone wants to (or can) spend a lot of money on a flagship device, quite a few people are trying to get the best out of both worlds, not pay much and get a really, really capable smartphone. We’ve seen quite a few solid and yet affordable smartphones announced last year, and the ZenFone 2 is one of the best examples of that. ASUS has introduced a couple of ZenFone 2 variants back in January last year, and the most powerful one sported 4GB of RAM, and was the first such device available out in the market. One would think that you’d have to pay a lot of cash for such a phone, but that wasn’t the case with the ZenFone 2.
The whole ZenFone 2 line offered really solid specs, was well designed, and in the end, you didn’t have to pay a lot for any of those phones. That being said, ASUS has introduced three new ZenFone-branded devices quite recently, the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Ultra and ZenFone 3 Deluxe. The ZenFone 3 is the company’s base model, and looking at the specs, it’s inferior to both the ZenFone 3 Ultra and ZenFone 3 Deluxe. The ZenFone 3 Ultra is the company’s all-new phablet, this phone has somewhat more powerful specs than the regular ZenFone 3, but it still ships with a mid-range SoC. And last, but not least, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe. This is ASUS’ crown jewel, a Snapdragon 820-powered smartphone which comes with 6GB of RAM, basically invisible antennas and a sleek-looking premium design. If you’d like to know more about each of these phones, take a look at our ZenFone 3 line announcement and specifications. Having that in mind, we’re here to take a look at some alternatives to the ZenFone 3 devices that are available out there. Before we begin, it is worth mentioning that the devices listed down below are not listed in any particular order.
10. ASUS ZenFone 2
The ASUS ZenFone 3 lineup has already been announced by the company, but ZenFone 2 devices are still great options, especially the 4GB RAM model. This variant of the ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) smartphone costs approximately the same as the entry-level ZenFone 3 now with 3GB of RAM, so it might be an option for some of you. This smartphone sports a 5.5-inch fullHD display, 64GB of internal storage and it is fueled by Intel’s Atom quad-core SoC. Keep in mind that the 16GB model is even more affordable, and there are models with less RAM as well. If you’d like to check out our ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) review, click here.
9. Moto G4 & G4 Plus
The Motorola Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus were introduced quite recently. These two phones are somewhat different than its predecessors, but they’re still quite affordable (around $200 each), and can be considered solid alternatives to the base ZenFone 3 model. The Moto G4 Plus has limited availability at the moment, while the Moto G4 is still not available. The two phones are quite similar, and in order to find out more about their differences, click here.
8. OnePlus X
The OnePlus X is one of three devices OnePlus has released to date. This is the company’s mid-range offering for last year, but the phone still has lots to offer. The OnePlus X is made out of metal and glass, and it sports 3GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 801 SoC fuels this phone, and the device was recently discounted by the company, it costs only $199 on the company’s official website and Amazon, which makes it a perfect alternative to the base ZenFone 3 model, not only is the price similar but both sport similar design materials (glass and metal).
7. Meizu M3 Note
The M3 Note is Meizu’s newest mid-range smartphone. This device arrived in April, and it is made out of metal. Despite the fact it sports solid build and specifications, it’s really affordable. The device is fueled by the Helio P10 SoC, while it packs in 2GB / 3GB of RAM and 16GB / 32GB of storage. Android 5.1 Lollipop comes out of the box here, and you’ll find Meizu’s Flyme UI on top of Google’s OS. The Meizu M3 Note (3GB RAM variant) and the entry-level ZenFone 3 are comparable in both spec and price department, which makes this yet another really solid alternative to ASUS’ newest smartphone.
6. Xiaomi Mi Max
The Mi Max is Xiaomi’s newest phablet. This might not be a flagship device, but it’s quite a compelling offering, especially considering its price. The Mi Max sports a 6.44-inch fullHD display, 3GB / 4GB of RAM and 32GB / 64GB and 128GB of internal storage. The device is made out of metal, and it is fueled by the Snapdragon 652 / 652 SoC. The Mi Max is still not available for purchase, but you can sign up for the ‘Arrival Notice’ if you’re interested, that way you’ll get an e-mail as soon as the device gets listed. In case you haven’t noticed, this is definitely an alternative to the ZenFone 3 Ultra, not only because of its build, but also because of the sheer size of the device.
5. OnePlus 2
The OnePlus 2 might be almost a year old at this point, and its successor will arrive on June 15th (June 14th here in the states), but the OnePlus 2 is still quite a compelling purchase. Its 5.5-inch 1080p display, combined with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage make a really nice image, espeically if you consider that the phone is fueled by the Snapdragon 810 SoC, and that it currently costs only $299 (permanently discounted recently). The phone can be purchased on OnePlus’ official website for $299, while it still costs quite a bit more on Amazon ($415), but we do hope that the company will discount it on Amazon as well considering they did the same with the OnePlus X. The OnePlus 2 and ZenFone 3 don’t really have much in common in terms of the design, but both are powerful devices and their prices are comparable, that’s for sure.
4. Huawei P9 & P9 Plus
The Huawei P9 and P9 Plus are the company’s new flagship smartphones. These two devices were announced back in April, and are already available in certain regions. The two devices have plenty in common, but the P9 Plus is a larger device. They have lots to offer, including Super AMOLED displays, plenty of RAM and a really powerful SoC in form of Huawei’s Kirin 955 chip. These two devices are alternatives to the ZenFone 3 Deluxe model based on specs and price, well, at least the Huawei P9 is considering the P9 Plus model is quite a bit more expensive. These two phones are also made out of metal, just like the ZenFone 3 Deluxe, though they are a bit smaller than ASUS’ flagship.
3. Motorola Moto X Pure / Style
The Motorola Moto X Style aka Pure Edition is almost a year old at this point. This phablet was announced back in August of last year, and its price dropped quite a bit since then. This device can now be purchased for $299 on Amazon, which makes it a really good deal, and a great alternative to the ZenFone 3 Ultra, and even the other two ZenFone 3 devices. The Moto X Pure Edition features a 5.7-inch QHD display, 3GB of RAM and it is fueled by the Snapdragon 808 64-bit hexa-core processor by Qualcomm.
2. Meizu PRO 5 & PRO 6
The PRO 5 and PRO 6 are Meizu’s current flagship phablet and smartphones. The PRO 5 was introduced last year, while the PRO 6 landed back in April. These two phones are made out of metal, and have really compelling specifications. They’re great alternatives to the ZenFone 3 line in general (though mainly the ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Ultra’ variants), the PRO 5 sports a 5.7-inch display, while the PRO 6 comes with a 5.2-inch panel. The Meizu PRO 5 now costs around $380, while its smaller sibling costs quite a bit more, at least internationally.
1. Xiaomi Mi 5
The Xiaomi Mi 5 is made out of metal and glass, just like the base ZenFone 3 variant. The Xiaomi Mi 5 is, however, somewhat more affordable than the base ZenFone 3 model, even the 3GB RAM variant of the device, but it’s still a great alternative to ASUS’ smartphone. The Mi 5 is more compact than any of the ASUS ZenFone 3 devices, as it sports a 5.2-inch FullHD display. The device is fueled by the Snapdragon 820 SoC, just like the ZenFone 3 devices, and unlike ASUS’ offerings, it sports a physical home button below the display which doubles as a fingerprint scanner.