Finding a Dummy / Beginner Smartphone
You want to give a smartphone as a gift to friends or family. The only problem is: They don’t know anything about technology, you could call them a Dummy in that regard! Techtestreport shows which devices are easy to operate – and which functions are important.
Smartphones have become an indispensable part of everyday life. These little all-rounders are great for emailing, surfing, transferring money, shopping online, checking Facebook status and texting. In view of the possibilities, it is hard to imagine that not everyone owns such a pocket computer these days. But the operation of the devices is sometimes not without its problems. Only technically experienced users can get the most out of their mobile phones. And even basic functions often cannot be performed without prior knowledge. The first step – learning how to use the smartphone – is not easy. Especially dummies, older people or people with little technical knowledge have problems with it. Techtestreport has therefore put together smartphones for you that are child’s play to use and offer many convenient functions.
Test Results: Best Smartphones for Dummies
Ranking First: Samsung Galaxy S9
- Gorgeous design
- Great stereo speakers
- Headphone jack and microSD card slot
- Swift biometric security
- Great performance
- Design is identical to S8
- Lacks the Plus’ dual cameras
Samsung Galaxy S9: Best performance for a Dummy Smartphone
The Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s flagship smartphone from 2018, and compared to the Galaxy S8 it had the reputation of being more evolution than revolution. Nevertheless, the 5.8-inch smartphone is still in great demand today – always new in offers, but also on the second-hand market. Reason for us to ask: Is it still worth buying the Galaxy S9 2020 for Dummies?
Hardware: Still great performance
In the Galaxy S9, Samsung uses the company’s own Exynos 9810, which comes with an octa-core processor and Mali G72 GPU and is flanked by 4 GB RAM. This means that the smartphone will still achieve a good performance in 2020 and will not really have to hide from devices of the following product generation in the Geekbench ranking.
In terms of memory, variants with 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB are offered. However, the surcharge for more GB can be avoided via the microSD slot. Thanks to it, the memory can be expanded inexpensively by up to 1 TB.
The brilliant and bright OLED display of the Galaxy S9 works without notch and has a resolution of 1,440 x 2,960 pixels with a display ratio of 18.5:9. It is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, the entire housing has an IP68 certification for water and dust protection.
Of course, the Galaxy S9 cannot yet come up with the current trend features 5G and Wi-Fi 6. But in the connect test, the Galaxy S9 showed good mobile phone performance in the LTE and UMTS network. The camera delivers a very good photo quality. However, there were negative points in the battery life, which falls short of expectations.
Briefly introduced: Samsung Galaxy S9
Attention – here is our note on used smartphones: The Galaxy S9 has a built-in rechargeable battery, whose runtime can naturally become weaker over the years. You should take this into account when buying a second hand phone.
Android updates and security: Everything up to date
The Galaxy S9 came on the market with Android 8.0 Oreo. However, the update to Android 9 Pie and thus the new Samsung user interface One UI is already available. Also the update to Android 10 is already available and will be rolled out.
The Galaxy S9 is also still in the first ranks when it comes to security updates. Like its successor Galaxy S10, it will continue to receive monthly security updates from Samsung.
And what will the future look like? We don’t expect the update to Android 11 for Galaxy S9 anymore. The security updates will probably continue to be made monthly until 2021 and quarterly for another year thereafter.
Price development: 500 Dollarsare possible
At the market launch in the US, the price for the cheapest Galaxy S9 model was 849 Dollar. The Galaxy S9+ was exactly 100 Dollar more expensive at 949 Dollar.
The price has dropped significantly since then. Currently, the cheapest price in the region hovers around 450 to 500 Dollar. In the course of 2019, however, bargains of 450 Dollar were also possible and there were even deals for 400 Dollar in some cases – for example on Black Friday 2019.
Verdict: Best performance for a Dummy Smartphone which is very simple to use
The price fluctuations show: With the Galaxy S9 it is worth keeping your eyes open for attractive special offers. These can be found locally limited to individual dealers or online as part of large promotion days.
The Galaxy S20 was introduced in February 2020. Actually, one could have expected price reductions for the Galaxy S9. But due to the Corona crisis, the prices even rose again. Currently, we are currently around 500 Dollar with trustworthy providers at comparatively high prices. All in all a great smartphone that will not pose any problems for beginners and dummies alike.
Ranking Second: Google Pixel 3a XL
- Camera takes excellent photos
- OLED display is very detailed
- Battery life is very long
- Performance convinces in all situations
- Design looks old-fashioned
- No wireless charging function
Best price-performance ratio of all Smartphones for Dummies
The Google Pixel 3a mixes up the middle class. If you don’t want to pay a lot for a mobile phone with a good camera, this smartphone is exactly the right choice. I myself was sceptical, but I fell a little bit in love with this phone during the test – and not only because of the great camera. I’ll tell you what else convinced me about Google Pixel 3a in my test report.
High-end smartphones are getting more and more expensive, Google has understood that and presented the Pixel 3a, a smartphone for under 400 Dollar. It can annoy the upper class in the area of the camera, but also with other features. I was, like probably many, very skeptical, but was almost converted during the test period. In the meantime, I’d rather use Google Pixel 3a than my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – and that must mean something. But why actually?
Google Pixel 3a and the camera
Of course also because of the camera. The Pixel 3a has the same sensor as the more expensive Pixel 3 and can therefore take excellent pictures in any situation. Since no additional image processor is built in and the main processor also works a little slower than in the top model, the completion of a picture takes a little longer, but the result is the same. One has to say very clearly: in the range of 400 Dollar, the Pixel 3a offers the best photo quality. Even high-end smartphones are surpassed, as we noticed in the camera test.
Personally, I still miss a bit of variability, though. A telephoto lens and a super wide angle would make the smartphone even better. So you have to rely on the digital zoom and it’s not really great. If the successor gets more sensors, that would be pleasing.
What I also really liked is the display. As in pixel 3, Google uses an OLED panel in the more than half as expensive pixel 3a. The display is very good, the resolution is sufficiently high. On sunny days I would wish for an even higher brightness, but you can always read everything well. The color display is quite warm, but you can also choose another color profile. But the colors cannot be adjusted completely manually. That would still be desirable.
Google does without a notch in the display and uses quite wide frames around the screen. The Pixel 3a looks like a smartphone that has been on its heels for several years. After a while, however, this hardly bothered me any more. A somewhat borderless design would probably only raise the price.
Google Pixel 3a for plastic lovers
In order to save money, Google uses a plastic housing for the Pixel 3a instead of glass, as is the case with Pixel 3. This makes the smartphone much lighter, but you can hardly feel the difference to glass. The surface basically feels like the glass of the Pixel 3. All in all, the smartphone has a very robust construction and does not look fragile.
One thing bothers me about the case, though: the volume switch, mounted on the right. In my opinion, it is mounted on the wrong side. I keep coming back to the volume button instead of the power button. The nano-SIM slot is located on the opposite side. If this had been placed on the upper or lower side, there would have been space above the keys on the left side. At least I have a permanent annoyance this way.
Therefore, I’m enthusiastic about the fingerprint sensor. It’s located on the back and can be felt much better than with pixel 3. That’s because the sensor is a bit deeper in the case and the transition to the plastic is bigger. With the Pixel 3, the transition to the glass was almost flat, which meant that you couldn’t always feel the sensor right away.
Google Pixel 3a with stereo speakers
Even though the Pixel 3a is so cheap, Google has not given up on stereo speakers. Although the second loudspeaker next to the USB-C port on the bottom isn’t directed towards the user, the earpiece, which also serves as a speaker, makes up for this well. The sound is voluminous and can certainly fill a room. As usual, there is a lack of bass, though. If you watch YouTube videos more often, want to enjoy Netflix on the go or simply want to listen to music, you won’t be disappointed.
This also applies to users who still have classic headphones with a 3.5 mm plug. In contrast to the Pixel 3, the Pixel 3a has a 3.5 mm jack plug. This connection is simply standard in the mid-range sector, so Google can’t do without it. Google even includes headphones.
Google Pixel 3a in test: Software and performance
On the Pixel 3a Android 9 Pie with the Pixel-Launcher is pre-installed. Compared to the really pure Android, the mobile Google operating system offers some additional features that have been adapted to the smartphone. For example, you can configure the pressure-sensitive frame. Overall, however, you get a quite pure Android experience and some features that you know from other manufacturers like Samsung or Huawei are missing. This also includes the “Dark Mode”. Google will only introduce this dark mode for the Android interface in version 10. But then correctly and with many Google apps, which will also be displayed dark.
The handling of Android 9 Pie is very intuitive and you can easily find your way around. Many functions are very easy to reach and not hidden in the shallows of the operating system. As this is a Google mobile phone, you also have an update guarantee of two years and security updates should be available for at least three years.
I would describe the performance of the interface as very good. Although the Snapdragon 670 is only a midrange processor with 4 GB RAM, the system runs stable – even if an app is updated in the background. You can scroll cleanly through web pages and move quickly from app to app. Loading large games takes a minimum of time compared to a high-end smartphone. But in the end, nothing to complain about.
The internal memory could be a problem. Google only offers the Pixel 3a with 64 GB. There is no larger version and no way to expand the memory. If you subtract the operating system, only about 50 GB remain. In the long run, this could simply be too little for many. A version with 128 GB would make more sense, but would drive up the price. Google might have had to bite the bullet and install a microSD slot. Then one would not have this problem.
Google Pixel 3a tested: The battery life
The Google Pixel 3a is “only” equipped with a 3,000 mAh battery. However, I achieved very good runtimes in the test due to the middle class hardware and the economical OLED display. Even with intensive use I got through the day easily and still had a small reserve for the evening. With normal use there are also two or three days inside. I always achieved a display on time of 6 to 7 hours. That is an excellent value.
Thanks to the quick charge function, the phone is quickly fully charged again. But this only works via cable. There is no wireless charging function.
Google Pixel 3a Verdict: Best price-performance ratio for a entry-level smartphone
The Google Pixel 3a has convinced me. While the Pixel 3 was priced way too high, the Pixel 3a brings a breath of fresh air to the smartphone market. No other mobile phone in the price range below 400 Dollar can compete with the Pixel 3a. The performance is right, you get updates directly from Google and a very long battery life. What more could you ask for? I can do without gadgets like wireless charging or waterproof features. If you can’t do that, you have to go for pixel 3 – and pay more for it. In my opinion, this mobile phone should be enough for just about every user. Here the saying fits: Nobody needs more Smartphone! Especially beginners, seniors and dummy user.
If I had the choice between the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, I would choose the more expensive XL model. I personally like larger screens and I would assume that the battery life of the XL model would be even better. Otherwise, the smartphones don’t differ.
Ranking Third: Samsung Galaxy A50
- OLED display with top scores
- Good middle class performance
- Convincing battery life
- Performance convinces in all situations
- Disappointing triple camera
- No dust and water protection
Great entry-level Smartphone
Samsung is continuing its popular Galaxy-A class of mid-range phones, only that the smartphones are now getting new names. Instead of annual updates for the different models such as A5, A7 and A9, there is now a sequential number – which should make for less confusion. The first one is the successor of the Samsung Galaxy A5: the Galaxy A50. The South Koreans have packed good hardware into the mid-range mobile phone and also worked on the design. The result is very interesting.
The Galaxy A50 looks high-quality and in many ways like a high-end mobile phone. This is partly just for show, but still appealing. The back of the smartphone has given a Samsung a metallic-looking rainbow shimmer. But these are just color effects, as the case is made of plastic and the surface collects fingerprints in no time at all. In return, the Galaxy A50 lies comfortably in the hand and is beautifully finished, even at the edges.
A high-end OLED display
The display is one of the Samsung Galaxy A50’s highlights, because for under 300 Dollar you get a high-quality OLED display with impressive scores. The 6.4-inch screen with Full HD Plus resolution (2,340 x 1,080 pixels) has a brightness at flagship level: in direct sunlight the mid-range mobile phone turns up to 710 candelas per square meter. At the same time, the chessboard contrast increases to 189:1, a top value in our best list.
As you would expect from an AMOLED display from Samsung, the color space display is also excellent: the standard RGB color space is covered by 147 percent, the extended DCI-P3 color space by 97 percent, i.e. almost completely. With these values, there’s nothing to prevent HDR content from being displayed with intensive colours. However, you have to do without HDR streaming on YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video – the Galaxy A50 is not activated for this. Apart from that, the OLED display is completely convincing; it definitely belongs in the high-end category.
Samsung processor with solid midrange performance
Samsung has built its own eight-core Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 9610 with a 2.3 GHz clock rate into the Galaxy A50. Its performance is roughly on par with that of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 – a mid-range processor that is found in the Motorola Moto G7 Plus (for testing) and Nokia 7.1 (for testing), among others. The Galaxy A50 shows a good performance in everyday use with the processor and the 4 GByte RAM. Basically, everything runs smoothly in the menus and apps, only the loading times are a bit longer than in smartphones with high-end processors.
In terms of graphics performance, the A50 even achieves slightly better results than its Qualcomm competitors – but the 7.7 fps that the mid-range mobile phone achieves in the benchmarks are far from being enough for demanding games. This would already require a Samsung Exynos 9, as it is built into the Galaxy flagships. For the performance score, there is still a smooth 2, because the Galaxy A50 can easily cope with “normal” tasks. In an internal company comparison, it currently ranks between the 2018 versions of the A7 and A9.
Large memory, good features, lots of Samsung hoo-ha
Although the equipment is also mid-range and thus, for example, lacks certified dust and water protection, the Samsung Galaxy A50 still has some positive surprises in store. Among other things, 128 GByte of internal memory are on board, which is rather rare in 300 Dollar cell phones. About 110 GBytes of it are actually available. In addition, there is a support for SD memory cards up to 512 GByte. A separate slot is available for this, the two slots of the dual SIM function (4G/4G) remain free.
The current standards are available in the area of wireless modules: With WLAN you get a fast connection through 802.11-ac and Bluetooth 5.0 is also included. The download via LTE Internet reaches a maximum of 600 Mbps. Both a USB type C interface and a jack socket for headphones are available, and a headset with jack plug is included as an accessory. The fingerprint sensor is now no longer located on the back, but in the display.
The operating system is Android 9 with a security update current at the time of testing. Samsung has modified the user interface quite considerably and installed a lot of its own apps. As the past has shown, this usually delays the delivery of current Android versions. But in return, the Galaxy phones are supplied with updates for quite a long time. With Samsung’s additions you can now choose between the language wizards, for example: The Google Assistant or Bixby – in order to use the latter, however, you have to log in with your own Samsung account.
A “photo artist”
After all the good qualities of the Samsung Galaxy A50, there is a disappointment with the camera – the manufacturer even advertises the phone as a “photo artist”. Although the main camera has three sensors with 25, 8 and 5 megapixels available, these are not convincing. The camera features provided are a 123-degree ultra-wide angle and a live-bokeh effect. An optical image stabilizer or an optical zoom would be more helpful.
The triple camera’s pictures don’t convince us: the whole picture lacks sharpness. What is irritating here is that although texts are visibly sharpened, they still remain blurred. Often, cameras of middle class mobile phones show a quite good quality in daylight pictures, but have problems with twilight. With the Galaxy A50, it’s the other way around: the photos in low light are quite solid, especially when it comes to color reproduction. Due to the soft focus against noise, details are lost. The 25 megapixel front camera lacks autofocus. The selfies are ok, but out of focus.
Video recording in UHD resolution is not possible, and Full HD recordings can only be made at 30 frames per second. Slow-motion recordings are limited to HD (720p). A digital image stabilizer for video recording is available after all. The fact that Samsung has built in a triple camera, but then abandoned so many details, is a bit incomprehensible. Our low rating of the camera as “sufficient” hurts the Galaxy A50’s overall score.
Over 10 hours battery life in the endurance test
The battery of the Samsung Galaxy A50 proves to be solid: In the endurance test with LTE internet and medium display brightness, the mid-range mobile phone achieves a runtime of just over 10 hours. Theoretically, more could have been possible with the 4,000 mAh battery, but the result is satisfactory. A quick-charging adapter is included, but charging takes an inconspicuous 02:04 hours. After 30 minutes, about 29 percent of the battery is charged. Overall, these are good results, but the Galaxy A50 doesn’t show any particular battery highlights. Wireless charging is not available.
An acceptable price with a lot of competitive pressure
The price for Samsung’s middle class mobile phone, which is convincing in large parts, is around 300 Dollar at the time of testing. This is an acceptable price, but the Galaxy A50 can hardly compete with the many competitors on the market. Various Honor-, Nokia- and Motorola models are in the same quality range, but are partly significantly cheaper. And for the A50 price you also get the high-end Xiaomi Pocophone F1 (for testing). Those who are convinced of the Samsung quality can still get hold of it.
Verdict: Great Smartphone for Dummies in lower price segment
With the Samsung Galaxy A50, the South Korean manufacturer continues its very popular range of mid-range mobile phones. The smartphone shows some highlights in the test, like the beautiful OLED display and the large memory. In almost all other areas, the A50 is in the upper middle class and should satisfy most users. Merely the meager camera clouds the picture a bit. The mid-range Galaxy is also not a price-performance hit. All in all a great smartphone for dummies and beginners.
What’s important: Beginner / Dummy Smartphones
A good entry-level smartphone no longer has to be expensive – even inexpensive models now offer sufficient power, an excellent camera and a high-resolution display. Find out here with which smartphones you can do nothing wrong.
The smartphone market is hotly contested: Big players such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei are trying to win more customers for their premium products year after year with the latest technology and sophisticated advertising strategies – but mobile phones from well-known manufacturers are also becoming more and more expensive as a result.
It may well be worth considering a so-called entry-level smartphone for little money: Many manufacturers who produce at significantly lower prices are now able to convince customers with equally sophisticated technology.
Mobile phone under 100 Dollar: A cheap entry-level smartphone can be worthwhile
Especially for beginners, who want to gain first experiences in handling a smartphone, a cheap mobile phone under 100 Dollar is suitable in any case. Many parents decide on an affordable entry-level model for their children, because it can happen that a mobile phone disappears or breaks down quickly. But also many seniors, who use the advantages of a smartphone in everyday life, but want to familiarize themselves with the technology step by step, are well advised with an entry-level smartphone.
However, the decisive factor when buying a smartphone should be: In order to be able to use the touchscreen well, the screen should have a minimum size of five inches – smaller models can otherwise quickly cause dissatisfaction, especially when writing and surfing. An almost unbeatable offer is offered by the manufacturer Blackview with the A60* model for under 70 Dollar: With a 6.1-inch screen, the entry-level smartphone fits well in the hand. The 13-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel secondary camera even provide an appealing depth-of-field effect when taking pictures. A 5 megapixel front camera is also integrated in the display. The bargain is equipped with Androids Light operating system 8.1 Oreo (Go-Edition) and a RAM of 1GB – so all common apps can be used quickly.
Almost as inexpensive and just as powerful: the UMIDIGI A3. Thanks to Android 8.1, less RAM and flash memory is required here as well, which makes the entry-level smartphone react quickly. The main and front camera are also more than suitable for snapshots in daylight.
Smartphone operation for beginners
If you decide to buy a cheap smartphone, you will probably use it with the Android operating system – besides iOS, which works with Apple mobile products, there are also a few models with the Microsoft operating system. Models of the Lumia brand, for example, use this. Basically, the operation is self-explanatory even for beginners. The first step is usually to set up the smartphone with a SIM card with or without a mobile phone contract. The phone can also be connected to the WLAN at home. Afterwards, all desired programs and games can be downloaded from the respective store (the Google Play Store for Android). One of the most popular apps is still the news app WhatsApp. Many programs now also require an e-mail address for registration.
Tip: If you want to avoid hidden costs or accidental purchases, you should not store payment data in any of the programs. This precautionary measure is particularly recommended for entry-level smartphones for children. The data volume that can be used can also be regulated in the settings and with the mobile phone provider.
Cheap smartphone with a good camera
An easy to use product and a smartphone with a good camera is for example the Xiaomi Redmi 7, which is compatible with the latest Android operating system 9.0 Pie. At 6.26 inches, the smartphone has a respectable size. An 8-megapixel self-sufficient camera is integrated into the HD display, and an even more powerful 12-megapixel camera is also located on the back. Thanks to the processed Octacore chip, common apps for texting or surfing can be operated quickly and easily. In addition, the internal memory can be expanded by up to 512 GB using an additional MicroSD card. Previous users also praise the entry-level smartphone’s powerful battery.
Entry-level smartphone that are unlocked
Especially those who are interested in a starter smartphone often wish for full cost control – and that even without a mobile phone contract. Models without SIM lock are suitable for this purpose: the SIM card of a prepaid provider can also be inserted. Those who do not attach importance to always carrying the latest (and most expensive) smartphone model with them will quickly find what they are looking for in the lower price segment: The DOOGEE Y8, for example, which even has face and fingerprint recognition, is recommended for unlocking. Amazon buyers also praise the brilliant display and the above-average battery life.
Samsung entry-level smartphone
There are also numerous models from the premium brand Samsung that are suitable as entry-level smartphones. Particularly noteworthy is the Samsung Galaxy A50, which is characterised by the long battery life of the powerful 4,000-mAh battery. The main camera with an ultra-wide angle lens and a resolution of 13 megapixels, as well as the expandable memory, also make the device a versatile companion for anyone wanting to gain their first experience with the smartphone.
Even more popular, by the way, is the Samsung Galaxy A7 with a functional triple camera that takes expressive photos even in low light thanks to the low-light function.
Buy an entry-level smartphone: What should you look out for?
As you can see, an entry-level smartphone that doesn’t cost a fortune in everyday use doesn’t have to be expensive. When buying a smartphone, however, you should not only look at the size of the display and the workmanship, but also at the memory – 32 gigabytes are already standard for many inexpensive products.
One more tip: It can also be worthwhile to cut back on processor performance – somewhat weaker chips are quite sufficient for common requirements
Assistance: The Easy Mode
Whether Samsung, LG, HTC & Co. – current top smartphones as well as older models from numerous manufacturers usually offer a “simple mode” that makes handling easier – ideal for smartphone newcomers. Instead of the regular home page view, this option gives you an optimal overview of functions. App icons as well as the time and various widgets are displayed very large, making it easier for people with impaired vision or without the necessary technical knowledge to find their way around the menu. But also DeepL accesses can be easily obtained on the display – with a wipe across the display on the current Galaxy-S models. To find out whether a device is capable of Easy Mode, look for the option “Easy Mode” in the settings, for example on the Galaxy S6 Edge (Settings > Easy Mode). On other devices, such as the HTC One M9, you will find the appropriate option under Settings > Personalize > Change Home Launcher. Depending on your operating system and phone model, the names of these options may differ.
Does it really have to be a smartphone?
There are many advantages for the smartphone and against the old-fashioned phone. For example, the smarter companions offer a larger and sharper display than the clunky plastic phones with their 1 or 2 inch screens. Above all, smartphones are all-rounders – by downloading apps you can often add important functions that the device does not offer ex works. You also get a fast Internet connection when you buy a smartphone – via LTE or 3G and surf the net just like on your PC. This fast access also saves you money, as Internet calls (VoIP) are usually free of charge. If you like to take pictures or film reminder videos, current smartphones offer you practically all the possibilities.