Ask LH: Which Mid-Range Phone Should I Buy?

Hi Lifehacker! I have a question for you, would love to get your expert advice. My Nexus 5x is still alive, but need to make an upgrade due to storage (16GB just doesn’t cut it these days…). Having been with a cheaper mid-range, I’m interested in what is the best out there at the moment?

I’m kind of leaning towards picking up a cheap Google Pixel seeing that prices are tumbling now the Pixel 2 is nearly here. What would you suggest?

Thanks, Nick

Hey Nick, I’m a big fan of the Nexus 5X, but I know it’s a couple of years old now: probably worthwhile starting to think about an upgrade. Most smartphone owners update on a two-yearly cycle, if not a bit sooner.

In that mid-range, I actually have a suggestion for you that’s really like a 2017 version of the 5X: the OnePlus 5. It’s $599 for 64GB and $699 for 128GB, and I’m using one for the time being despite having a $1500 Note8 just sitting there waiting to go. It’s fast and simple and straightforward.

You could buy a Pixel and get a camera that’s a bit better as well as constant software updates, but you’d be spending more and getting a phone with an older less energy efficient CPU and a smaller battery. There’s definitely something appealing about having a Google phone with Google software, but the OnePlus has a very minor skin on top of Android and it honestly feels every bit as quick and responsive.

In that kind of middle-ground price range you’ve got a cheaper option in the $399 Moto G5 Plus which is cheaper but doesn’t have as nice a screen/camera and is less powerful with the same 16GB storage, or the Moto Z2 Play for $699 which gives you those funky Moto Mods. The $399 LG Q6 has the best screen around that price but has a low-powered processor.

The $649 Oppo R11 is the OnePlus 5 but with less power and a higher price. I haven’t looked at the Nokia 8 yet but it’s $200 more than the OnePlus… If you were spending that money I’d probably get a $899 Galaxy S8 with 64GB storage and a great camera and the best screen of all these.

Or you could hang out for the Pixel 2! It looks good but I’ll be surprised if the basic version (which will probably be 32GB and use Google Photos to offload storage to the cloud) is less than $1000 in Australia.

Hope this helps. If I was buying a iPhone X and the OnePlus – which should tell you how much I like the OnePlus right now.

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