Billophones - How awesome are they really?

If you're like me you like cheap low-end smartphones for less than 100.- CHF. Let's call them billophones.

It's self-explanatory that they can't keep up with flagship devices like the HTC One or the Sony Xperia Z1 on the spec sheet.
Flagships have quad-core processors, 2 GB RAM, 16+ GB storage, 8-42 MP cameras, LTE, NFC, 5" screens with 400+ ppi and whatever.

And it's clear that you can't expect all that stuff you get in 600+ CHF devices in one 60.- CHF device.

But do billophones have qualities flagship devices don't have I asked myself.
I've come up with five things billophones do better than their expensive counterparts:

  1. SIM card
    Expensive devices use micro or even nano SIMs to "save space".
    Billophones mostly offer a normal mini SIM slot. So you can use your elderly SIM cards.
    Smaller providers often only provide mini SIMs. You can put them into a billophone while you would have to cut them into pieces to work in your flagship device (and you maybe destroy the card by cutting it).

  2. "Bang for the buck"-ratio
    While you can't expect all the performance you get from a flagship device from a billophone you get an incredible amount of technology for next to nothing.
    Of course you buy most of these phones on a pay-as-you-go plan which is why they are so cheap, but you can unlock most of them for less than 10.- CHF.

    So overall they're well worth what you pay for them.

  3. Battery
    Most billophones come with a battery around 1500mAh. This is not much compared to 2300mAh or even more you get from today's flagships but if you realize that billophones don't have power-hungry DC-HSPA+ or LTE radios, a smaller screen, a slower processor, less memory, etc. which all consumes power, you can still get a day or more of juice out of these batteries. Which is more than you get out of some much more expensive models.
    Another plus is that if your battery goes empty, you could just open the back, put another battery in and get another full charge.
    Of course you could get a battery-pack for your flagship and recharge your battery on-the-go, but you have to charge your battery-pack to charge your battery with it, which means that you have to wait and it's not very handy to have a cable at your phone all the time. It's also very stupid to charge a battery to charge another battery with it. Which means that you lose (a lot of?) power.

  4. Storage
    Most flagship phones come with a certain amount of built-in storage and that's it. Since Android 4.0 most of them have a huge data partition which means that you have to transfer your data using MTP.
    But with billophones you get maybe 2-4 GB built-in storage and you can extend its storage with microSD cards. And the best part of it is that most of them still have a separate data and sdcard partition. Which results in you having two SD cards but you can mount both of them using the standard USB mass storage mode, which is just AWESOME.

  5. Durability
    Because most billophones are made out of plastic they should be a lot stronger than devices like the Sony Xperia Z which is made almost completely out of glass.
    Smaller displays (and thus handsets) reduce the chance of getting your glass broken, so overall you have a pretty durable phone.
    And if it breaks you just get a new one because they're so cheap.

So there you go! 5 reasons why billophones are better than their counterparts for maybe 10x the price.

Billophones I can recommend are e.g.:

There are many more available. Just check your local phone store.
Of course it depends on your local carriers whether they have something to offer, but if they do, I'd get one ;-)

written by: Takashi Yoshi
Tags: Windows Phone, Android, opinion