As exams approach, along with an increase in Covid-19 cases in many Arab countries and a return to virtual classrooms for many, students are asking about the best reasonably-priced smartphones suitable for online study and exams.
Mohamed Yousry, an electronics engineer, has some suggestions.
He advises students to look for a smartphone that has “a large memory to accommodate the curriculum, a powerful processor to manage the device’s operations, in addition to an ideal battery to withstand work for a long time and a large screen for easy browsing without experiencing eye fatigue.”
As the cost plays an important role in choosing a smartphone, even for students lucky enough to be able to afford one, Yousry suggests five smartphones that are considered to have an average cost, ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 Egyptian pounds (about $190 to $380). (See two related articles, “The Shift to Online Education in the Arab World Is Intensifying Inequality” and “Arab Girls Often Lack Access to a Key Educational Tool: Mobile Phones.”)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
This smartphone has the best performance in its price category and has a large 6.67-inch IPS LCD screen with FHD+ resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and a Corning Gorilla Glass protection layer.
The phone’s performance is excellent, thanks to its having a powerful Snapdragon 720G processor and a battery capacity of 5020 mAh, which makes it last longer before recharging. The device works with the Android 10 operating system. It also supports using a secondary microphone for noise isolation while using the phone for speaking, recording or video-shooting, in addition to the feature of running two chips and a memory card simultaneously.
There are two versions of the Redmi Note 9S: One with a 64 GB hard memory with 4 GB RAM, and the other comes with 128 GB hard memory with 6 GB RAM. Prices range from around 3,200 to 3,750 Egyptian pounds ($200 to $240).
Samsung Galaxy A51
The Galaxy series of smartphones from Samsung are considered to be among the best phones on the market, with an elegant new design this year, strong performance, and a “Super AMOLED” screen that offers good color accuracy and control buttons that can be hidden, so users can use gestures instead, to enjoy the best screen experience.
The smartphone comes with a 32-megapixel front camera and an F/2.2 lens slot with 4K-quality selfie video shooting. It also offers a relatively long-life battery, with a capacity of 4000 mAh, and supports fast charging of 15 watts.
The device is available at a price of about 4,000 Egyptian pounds ($260) for the 128 GB version with 6 GB RAM.
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Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro
This smartphone has several leading features, the most important of which is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor, which is seen for the first time in a mid-price smartphone. It also has a large 6.67-inch screen with a “hole-punch” front camera, and a giant 5160 mAh battery with 33-watt fast charging. The price of the 128 GB version with 6 GB RAM is about 4,400 Egyptian pounds ($280).
Oppo has improved the performance of its smartphones in the mid-price category. The Reno4 model comes with the most popular processor in the mid-range, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G. The phone has a large screen that supports viewing in dark mode; the front camera comes with 32 megapixels, while the rear camera comes with a quad-camera. The phone supports the use of a secondary microphone for noise isolation while using the phone. The battery has a capacity of 4015 mAh and supports fast charging of 30 watts.
The 128 GB version with 8 GB RAM costs around 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($320).
Samsung Galaxy M51
This smartphone reflects Samsung’s interest in large batteries and screens, and a focus on performance as well. The phone comes with a powerful mid-range processor from Qualcomm. The screen also supports displaying larger content for watching videos or browsing and viewing in darkmode, and it has a third-generation Corning Gorilla Glass protection layer.
The phone also has strong performance, as it contains a Snapdragon 730G processor with 8-nanometer technology, and an Adreno 618 graphics processor. The battery has a capacity of 7000 mAh and supports fast charging of 25 watts to give it more power to work for two days or a 12-hour streak.
The device’s 128 GB version, with 8 GB RAM, costs about 5,850 Egyptian pounds ($370).