2023: Top Budget Smartphones for Filipino Students

Posted by glenn, Date posted at February 2, 2023

Having the right smartphone to help organize your life is an all-important investment to not only Filipino students but also to folks who will need to process transactions, keep files, document events and be accessible while on the go. 

It’s true. Not all smartphones are created equal. In the same breath, the price doesn’t necessarily imply how a mobile device can be efficient and carry through beyond one’s expectations. To make sure we’re surefooted on the devices, we’ve also looked into feedback from electronic engineers, industrial engineers and IT managers. 

After all, it is an investment that need not be getting a significant chunk of your budget. Here are smartphones for the smart shopper and the models we present are the most current ones for 2023.

Here are the top 10 Budget Smartphone Brands & Models Price

  1. Nokia C21 : PHP 4,399
  2. Redmi 9C : PHP 4,790
  3. Infinix Hot 11 : PHP 5,790
  4. Realme C11 : PHP 6,348
  5. Galaxy A04e : PHP 6,990
  6. Vivo Y15A : PHP 6,999
  7. Oppo A16 : PHP 7,199
  8. Huawei Nova Y61 : PHP 7,999
  9. POCO M5 : PHP 8,599
  10. Honor X7 : PHP 9,990

For a more in-depth insight into the specifics of each device, we have made a meticulous backgrounder to guide you and see if your preferences fit. Each device was chosen based on price points, performance, reliability and value for money. There are also links to where you can buy them online. You can further find a further variety in the prices offered by different merchants. We recommend considering those who have a lot of followers and positive feedback.

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1. Nokia C21: PHP 4,399 

The Nokia C21 features a powerful octa-core SC9863a processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB ROM, and a long-lasting 3000mAh battery, all in a sleek and stylish 6.5” HD+ V-Notch display. It’s the perfect device for those looking for powerful performance and sleek visuals. 

Nokia C21

Android 11 OS 6.5″ 
HD+ V-notch Display 5MP Front Camera 8MP Rear Camera  
3000mAh Battery 32GB ROM Internal Storage 2GB RAM Memory
Octa-Core SC9863A Processor
3.5mm Audio Jack Dark Blue, Warm Grey Color Availability
Fingerprint Unlock AI Face Unlock

Sturdy and sleek design. Can withstand daily challenges.Twitchy fingerprint scanner
Sizable screen for viewing content
Long battery life
Dedicated slot for a microSD for additional storage

2. Redmi 9C: PHP 4,790

The main feature is a stunning 6.53-inch IPS DotDisplay found only in more expensive smartphones for visual sharpness for videos and online games. Also features eye protection technology to reduce blue light radiation. A solid non-removable battery 5,000 mAh battery and guaranteed 1000 charge cycles at peak performance for more than 2.5 years. 13MP AI triple camera captures in vivid colour and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio G35 processor with 2.0GHz enabling videos and games without lags.  

Redmi 9C

6.49″ x 3.03′ x 0.35″ Dimensions 
6.53″ Display 
88.84% Screen-to-Body Ratio 
270 PPI 
1500:1 Contrast Ratio 
70.8% NTSC Color Coverage
HD+ 1600 x 720px 
19:9 Aspect Ratio 
MediaTek Helio G35 
Octa-Core CPU 
PowerVR GE8320 GPU 
32/64GB eMMC 5.1 Expandable Internal Storage 
MIUI 12 on top of Android 10 OS
5MP, f/2.0 lens Front Camera 
Triple Rear Camera 
Physical Fingerprint Scanner
3.5mm Headphone Jack
Dual-SIM WiFi 802.11  
Bluetooth 5.0 
Micro USB 2.0 4G LTE 
Accelerometer, Distance, Ambient Light Sensors Midnight Gray, Sunrise Orange, and Twilight Blue Colors  

Attractive textured finishPerformance can be improved
Display quality at par with higher-priced phones
Smooth gaming experience
Superior camera performance
Impressive battery life 

3. Infinix Hot 11: PHP 5,790  

Features one of the most powerful batteries on the list. It also outranks some in its peer category on storage capacity, too. It has a 6000 mah battery, a micro USB 2.0 port, and a dual sim with dedicated external memory. If you need space for your pictures, documents and files, this mobile can deliver.  

Infinix Hot 11
6.82″ HD+ IPS Premium Display 
Helio G35 Gaming Processor 
13MP F1.8 Wide Aperture Dual Back Camera 
8MP Single Front Flash Front Camera 
Android 11 
6000mAh Battery 
Micro USB 2.0 
Dual Sim with Dedicated External Memory 

FHD+ screen offers high-quality visualsCamera needs improvement 
Sleek design
Solidly long battery life

4. Realme C11: PHP 6,348

This also features an impressive 5000mAh battery which can withstand a 40-day standby time. This can also act as a charging station if needed. Just the capacity to always be on the ready is already a big plus. The visuals on this device are also impressive considering the price point it’s in. A definite must-have for folks on the go. 


  • Robustly sleek design
  • Day-long battery life
  • The big screen enables delightful visual experience for movies, online games
  • The powerful processor has graphics-intensive games smoothly play 


  • Speaker output can be improved


  • 6.5″ Mini-Drop Full Screen 
  • 1600×720 HD+ Main Display Resolution 
  • 13.0 MP + 2.0 MP Rear Camera Resolution 
  • 5.0 MP Front Camera Resolution 
  • 1080P/30fps Video Recording 
  • 2GB RAM 32 ROM 
  • MicroSD External Memory Support 
  • Dual-SIM 2 SIM + 1 MicroSD 
  • Micro-USB 
  • Bluetooth v5.0 
  • 5000mAh Battery  

5. Galaxy A04e: PHP 6,990

It boasts one of the best visuals and screens among the lot. It has a  6.5-inch Infinity-V Display. HD+ technology makes your everyday content look sharp, crisp, and clear. For folks who need a mobile that can support clarity, vividness and sharp pictures, this is the one to go for. For work or games, it delivers a great optic experience. 


  • Outwits other devices with its expandable storage and a large battery.  
  • Has the capacity to store up to 64GB of storage space
  • Must have for tasks involving files, pictures, music and the like
  • Ensured 24-hour battery life with its 5000 mAh battery 


  • Camera and display not at par with expectations


  • Up to 1TB of Expandable Storage 
  • MediaTek P35 Processor 
  • 5000mAh Battery 
  • 2.3 GHz, 1.8 GHz CPU Speed 
  • Octa-Core CPU 
  • 165.5mm Main Display Size 
  • 720 x 1600 HD+ Main Display Resolution 
  • PLS LCD Technology 
  • 16M Color Depth 
  • 13.0 MP + 2.0 MP Rear Camera Resolution 5.0 MP Front Camera Resolution 
  • FHD (1920 x 1080) @ 30fps Video Recording Resolution 
  • 3GB Memory 
  • 64GB Storage 
  • MicroSD External Storage Support 
  • Dual-SIM 
  • USB Type-C 
  • USB 2.0 
  • 3.5mm Stereo 
  • Bluetooth v5.0 
  • Android OS 
  • Accelerometer, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor 
  • 164.2 x 75.9 x 9.1mm Dimensions 
  • 188g Weight   

6. Vivo Y15A: PHP 6,999  

It boasts a lot of value offered in a single package. They have 8MP Selfie Camera, 4GB+1GB extended RAM, 64GB ROM, Helio P35, and a 5000mAh Smart Phone built into the device. It lives up to the expectation of having a premium smartphone that offers more than its expected price. You can expect excellent pictures, videos and the like that can also store internally. It also has a 5000mAh battery for a day’s worth of cellphone-related activities. 


  • Lightweight but high-quality material
  • Long-lasting 5000 mAh battery
  • Tall IPS LCD
  • Impressive daylight photography capabilities
  • Custom Funtouch 11.1 UI 
  • Modern side-mounted fingerprint scanner and 
  • 10W charging with 5W reverse charging


  • It has an average image and video quality. 


  • Dual SIM 6.46″ x 2.96″ x 0.33″ Dimensions 
  • 179g Weight 
  • 6.51″ Size 
  • IPS LCD 720 x 1600px Resolution 
  • Android 11 Funtouch 11.1 OS 
  • Octa-Core CPU 
  • PowerVR GE8320 GPU 
  • 4GB RAM 
  • 64GB Internal Storage 
  • 8MP Selfie Camera 
  • 3.5mm Jack 
  • Wi-Fi  
  • Bluetooth v5.0 
  • Micro USB 2.0 
  • Side-Mounted Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Proximity, and Compass Sensors 
  • Li-Po 5000mAh Battery 
  • Charging 10W 
  • Reverse Charging 5W 
  • Wave Green and Mystic Blue Colors

7. Oppo A16: PHP 7,199

Impressively equipped with a 13MP AI Triple Camera, a 6.5″ HD+ Display, and a vast 5000mAh Large Battery — it can truly serve as the tool for projects, pictures, videos and files all in one stylishly designed package. Access is also secure with options for a fingerprint or Face unlock. A perfect companion to show off your tech-savvy tastes and also reveal that you’re a smart shopper.  


  • Hardworking capabilities
  • Lightweight and excellent design
  • Tall IPS LCD
  • 480 nits of brightness
  • Latest Android 11 OS
  • Custom UI support by ColorOS 11.1
  • Storage capacity with dedicated micro SD card
  • Extraordinary battery life  


  • It has no Near Field Communication (NFC) support. 


  • HD+ Eye-care Display 
  • AI Triple Camera 
  • 163.8 x 75.6 x 8.4mm Dimensions 
  • 190g Weight 3GB + 32GB | 4GB + 64GB 
  • USB 2.0 
  • 6.52″ Display Size 
  • 720 x 1600 HD+ Resolution 
  • 60Hz Refresh Rate 
  • 60Hz Touch Sampling Rate 
  • 71% NTSC Colour Gamut 
  • 269 PPI Pixel Density 
  • 1500:1 Contrast Ratio 
  • 480 nits Brightness 
  • LCD Panel 
  • Sheet Material PC + PMMA Cover Glass 
  • 13MP Main Camera 
  • 8MP Front Camera 
  • MediaTek Helio G35 CPU 
  • IMG GE8320 @ 680 MHz GPU 
  • 5000mAh Battery 
  • Side Fingerprint Unlock 
  • Face Unlock 
  • Geomagnetic Sensor 
  • Light Sensor 
  • Proximity Sensor 
  • Accelerometer 
  • Gravity Sensor 
  • Step Counting Function 
  • Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz 
  • Bluetooth 5.0 
  • USB Type C USB Interface 
  • 3.5mm Earphone Jack 
  • ColorOS 11.1 based on Android 11 

8. Huawei Nova Y61: PHP 7,999  

Remarkable storage capacity for its price. It carries an impressive 6GB + 64GB memory, a 50 MP AI Triple Camera, and a 22.5W Huawei SuperCharge for fast charging. Pictures are also captured excellently with its AI Triple Camera that supports 4K videos and slow motion. Fully equipped for an ultra-smooth gaming experience with the powerful Kirin 710A processor and the EMUI 10.1 operating system.  


  • Massive 5000mAh battery life  
  • Supports 22.5W fast charging
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner for added security
  • Beautifully captures pictures in daylight


  • It has a low 720p resolution display. 

Specifications 1

  • 164.28 x 75.8 x 8.94mm Dimensions 
  • 188g Weight 
  • 6.52″ Weight 
  • 16.7M Colors LCD with 60 Hz Frame Refresh Rate
  • HD+ 1600 × 720px Resolution 
  • Octa-Core 
  • EMUI 12 OS 4 GB + 64 GB | 6 GB + 64 GB 
  • 50MP Main Camera  
  • 1920 × 1080px Video Resolution 
  • 5MP Front Camera 
  • 5000 mAh Battery 
  • 22.5 W HUAWEI SuperCharge 
  • Bluetooth 5.1 
  • USB Type-C, USB 2.0 
  • 3.5mm Earjack 

9. POCO M5: PHP 8,599 

The perfect companion for those on the go and who lead very busy lifestyles. It boasts of a powerful 5000mAh battery as well as an 18w fast charging option — longer usage without waiting too long to get to full capacity again. It’s a workhorse for those long hours completing tasks and projects as well as enjoying online games and apps.  


  • Impressively long-lasting battery life
  • Above-par and immersive audio experience with its 3.5mm audio jack
  • More storage with  a dedicated micro-SD card slot
  • Widevine L1 Support for the latest streaming services 


  • The construction can be improved.


  • 6.58” FHD+ LCD Display 
  • 240 Hz Touch Sampling Rate 
  • 500 nits Pick Brightness 
  • 83.6% Screen-to-Body Ratio 
  • 401 PPI Density 
  • 90Hz Refresh Rate 
  • 1080 x 2400px Resolution 
  • 164 x 76.1 x 8.9mm Dimensions 
  • 201g Weight 
  • Plastic Frame Build 
  • 50MP Rear Camera 
  • 1080p Video Recording @ 30/60fps 
  • MediaTek Helio G99 Processor 
  • Android 12 – MIUI 13 OS 
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack Present 
  • 5000mAh Battery

10. Honor X7: PHP 9,990 

This comes with the highest price point but is among its peers in the list that offer high value for your money. It carries an impressive 6.74″ Display, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. You will be able to get the most out of your investment. A day’s worth of continuous usage is possible with its powerful 5000mah battery and the Snapdragon 680 chipset ensures smooth and powerful performance. 


  • The impressive battery capacity of 5000mAh
  • 22.5 W fast charging support
  • Magic UI 4.2 custom UI delivers a smooth, intuitive user experience
  • Sharper, smoother display with a Tall IPS LCD with a 90 Hz refresh rate
  • Side-mounted fingerprint sensor for added security
  • Powered by a capable chipset that packs a decent punch. 


  • It has a low 720p resolution display. 


  • 6.60″ x 3.04″ x 0.34″ Dimensions 
  • 198g Weight 
  • 6.74″ Display Size 
  • IPS LCD 
  • 720 x 1600px Resolution 
  • Android 11, Magic UI 4.2 OS 
  • 6nm – Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G Chipset 
  • Octa-Core CPU 
  • Adreno 610 GPU 
  • 4GB RAM 128GB Internal Storage 
  • 48MP Main Camera 
  • 8MP Selfie Camera 
  • 3.5mm Jack 
  • USB Type-C 2.0 
  • Li-Po 5000mAh Battery 
  • Ocean Blue and Titanium Silver Colors  

Best Places to Buy Smartphones Online

To help you further with the hunt for the best budget smartphone, we’ll also provide a list of online shopping platforms. The ones on our list are already very familiar and the majority of the budget smartphone choices can be found on their pages. 

Make sure to consider the smartphone that you’d like to focus on and from there, it’s going to be more fun to look for the right merchant who also offers you the best deal around. You can also chat with the stores beforehand to really make sure they are legitimate entities. It doesn’t hurt to note the number of positive reviews, the security of the shop online and how many units have sold, too.

Here are the best online shopping websites that will provide the budget smartphone you’re wanting to have:  

Getting the lion’s share of online shoppers and followers are Lazada and Shopee. They are among the two most popular as well as among the pioneers in the industry here in the Philippines. They offer not only merchants that are within the Philippines but those globally as well. 

Their interface is highly intuitive and easy to use even for the newbie when it comes to online shopping. They are able to effectively provide filters to your searches so that you can pinpoint the item as well as the merchants offering the same product. Both Shopee and Lazada offer promos, vouchers and the like to all customers but there are really good bonuses for first-time shoppers. 

They also have payment options that can accommodate buy now-pay later schemes and other various options on payment methods. You can definitely find the right way that would fit your preferences.

Zalora is a close third player and runs a very streamlined and calm interface — compared to Shopee and Lazada whose pages are very busy visually. If you’d like to have filters and searches using another approach, this would be the right online shopping platform for you. They also offer payment options that can be in installments. They also are very transparent and this complements a great customer experience to shopping on their page.

MetroMart is more popularly known as a site where you can purchase from S&R without a need for an S&R membership card. Nonetheless, they do work with very reputable merchants who have brick-and-mortar shops. This can spell the difference if you are new to online shopping and feel more secure with your purchase if there is an existing shop you can go to if needed. 

ShopSM has it all for you and on their online shopping platform, they do have all items that are available in their brick-and-mortar malls, too. You can choose to watch out for sales to carry your budget further to have a mobile phone that carries more than your expected target. They do offer one of the best prices around and not just on best budget smartphones.   

What is the Price Range of the Best Mobiles? 

Despite the inflation that’s been on everyone’s minds, there are great budget smartphones that have amazing features starting at PHP4,399. There are a lot of ways to hunt for a good deal, too However, it’s quite rare to find all of the features at the high end of the spectrum. 

Our guide is an example of what you can go for if you’re looking for a smartphone — if you will be using this non-stop, it’s best to aim for budget smartphones that have 5000mah but not necessarily a high-end camera. Usually, smartphones that offer their edge as their battery life would also have fast charging included in the mix. 

If you are going to use your budget smartphone for visual references like taking videos, pictures, or project presentations requiring a lot of storage, there are choices available that are within the range of PHP 5,000 and up to PHP 9,990. But sometimes, this also means that the battery life is not as long or charging it fully would take some time.

You don’t need to break the bank just to have a smartphone that has what you need and what you’re looking for. Just pinpoint what you hold most important in a mobile and you’ll be able to find the perfect one for you and your budget. 

Will purchasing mobile devices online be better? 

Shopping online for your budget smartphone will bring you accessibility to numerous merchants and information that would help you choose which smartphone and from which store you’ll purchase it. It’s a great way conveniently look through the choices all in one go. Imagine if you’re going to a brick-and-mortar shop but are unable to find a good bargain.

In particular, when it comes to buying budget smartphones for Filipino students, online stores provide more competitive prices than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Not only do online retailers offer discounted products from leading brands like Samsung and Apple, they also provide a wide range of models tailored specifically for budget shoppers. 

What makes budget phones a smart buy?  

Budget smartphones are increasingly gaining popularity among Filipino students who want to stay connected with their peers but don’t have the means to purchase a high-end device. It is important for these young people to stay connected and keep up with the latest technology trends to improve their academic performance, so budget phones offer a great way for them to do this without breaking the bank. 

The top online shopping platforms also enable merchants to build their own edge when it comes to winning your approval to buy a product from their shop. For example, by scanning through the online information and filtering it right, you can have at least five different online shops. You can then look closer into their offering like warranty coverage or money-back scenarios should the purchase not meet expectations,

The online shopping platform can have agreements — most of the time with the top merchants — to have a money-back guarantee should the product not meet the promised features that they show online. 

But you do have the option to do research first online and once you have narrowed it down to at most three merchants who have brick-and-mortar shops, you can definitely pay them a visit. As a consumer, you have the power to choose, all the time. 

What are the types of budget phones around? 

Let’s face it. Despite being trendy and short-lived, being able to connect at the same level with one’s peers is a definite must-have. Worry-not if your smartphone is not in that high range of very expensive models. A budget smartphone will be able to keep up with the way apps are making folks laugh or gain more followers.

Budget smartphones are leaps and bounds from how they were just a scant five years ago. There are very robust units that concentrate on one particular feature that make it stand out and keep abreast with higher-priced models. Staying connected is not a problem at all and these budget smartphones are built to perform. 

Basic functionality is all you need and you’ll be able to find a way to make things as you expect. What would you need more of if a budget smartphone will enable you to communicate via calls or texts, access all forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter as well as make videos if TikTok is your cup of tea?

Advantages of Using Top Budget Phones 

The latest budget smartphones move the same as their more expensive peers. They offer the basic functions and some have more staying power than some more costly units. Flagship models can be so alluring largely due to perception and tested advertising and marketing. 

You can definitely march to the beat of your drum by looking into what you really want out of your budget smartphone. Once you have decided on this, it’s very easy to hunt for the best bargain around. You can definitely enjoy mass media as well as use social media apps effectively on your budget smartphone without sinking a breathtakingly high amount of money.

These budget smartphones are also available with friendly payment options. Most can be purchased via installments, a buy now pays later scheme and the like. After all, smartphones definitely have the same features but just differ on certain factors that make the prices jump sky-high. 

Is there a Substitute for Budget Phones? 

Definitely, there are ways to find a substitute or other options if you’d rather not get a budget smartphone. You can go for mid-range phones that offer solid specs at an affordable price. These devices do have better cameras and more RAM than budget smartphones. But the drawback here is there won’t be wireless charging, curved displays, lack waterproofing or dust resistance.

There is another way to go about this by going to refurbished smartphones. Do note to go only to certified resellers or manufacturers’ outlets. They may have a few dents and scratches but share the same warranty as new products and are in good working order. These are priced way lower than brand-new phones but possess basically the same systems.

How to Choose the Best Budget Phones 

If you’re having a tough time deciding on which budget smartphone you’re going to get, it’s best to simply pause and assess why you’d like to have one and for what purpose would this serve you? If you absolutely need this, that’s a step forward to the goal.

Next, you’d need to really plan out how you’re going to pay for the budget smartphone. Always place a ceiling on the highest amount you’re willing to go for. The most important considerations that you need to include in your criteria would be the following:  

Battery life must be the top priority

Go for the budget smartphone that has at least 5000mah. Make sure that the battery life will last the entire day. After all, you have a very busy schedule and being able to make sure you’re updated on the latest news is a factor to consider. You’ll also be able to focus on tasks at hand where you need your phone’s video or picture functions.

The higher the RAM and storage memory, the greater the advantage

Make sure that you’re checking out options on this with the unit you’re going after. You do need apps to function smoothly and if there are more RAM and available extra storage space — it’s a keeper. It’s a great convenience to have everything you need in one device and this will be your budget smartphone helping you through your tasks. 

Taking Care of your Budget Phone 

The Philippine weather and the dusty environment of being a big city or near a busy street can lend some challenges to keeping your budget phone working smoothly for years at a time. Here are absolutely necessary ways to take care of your budget smartphone. After all, it’s an investment meant to help you for quite some time:

  • It’s worth it to invest in a good screen protector. This will keep the screen scratch-free and prevent cracks from ever appearing for a longer than expected time. 
  • Try to clean any dust or dirt build-up with the sockets to charge your smartphone. Just keep things clean with a microfiber cloth or a damp cotton swab.  
  • Make sure you have allotted a permanent space where you can keep your budget smartphones safe and in a dry place when not in use. This will prevent any accidental exposure to water or too much heat and humidity. 
  • Always avoid any activity that would require you to use a stylus or any other tool on your smartphone’s screen. They are not built to withstand this friction and can damage the screen.  

There you have it. We hope that this article was a great help to find the best budget smartphone that fits your preferences. Always remember that as consumers, we have the power to choose which budget smartphone to buy, whether online or the traditional land-based stores. Test things out and check warranties, too. Just trust your gut and pinpoint what you’re looking for in a budget smartphone. Once you have this down pat, you’re in the right direction.

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