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Exclusive: The best smartphone you can buy for under $500

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The best smartphone you can buy for under $500

#smartphone #buy

These days, you can expect a lot from a midrange phone. Apple, Samsung, and Google all offer devices that include many of the core features of their pricier phones, like top-of-the-line processors, weatherproofing, and software support for five or more years. You can’t have everything, of course, but $400 or $500 goes a long way.

There are great options at $300 and even lower price points, too. You can find a great, high-definition OLED screen, or a built-in stylus, or a battery that lasts for days. If you can hone in on the one or two features that are most important to you, then you’ll easily be able to find an affordable phone to suit your needs. And as always, we recommend getting an unlocked phone for the best price and portability, but you might find better deals by buying through a carrier and signing up for a wireless plan.

Our pick for the best inexpensive iPhone is the 2022 edition of the Apple iPhone SE. You’ll need to be comfortable using a small screen because its 4.7-inch display is starting to feel very cramped in this era of giant displays, but otherwise, this latest iteration of the SE does exactly what the previous generations have done: offer a low-cost entry point to Apple’s iOS ecosystem from a device that will last upwards of five years if you take care of it.

If you’re looking for the best budget Android phone, then the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is our top choice. It features one of the best screens in the class, with a fast refresh rate for smooth animations and scrolling. It’s also backed by the longest software support policy you’ll find among Android phone makers, with five years of security updates promised.


iPhone SE (2022)

The 2022 iPhone SE will last for upwards of five years if it’s taken care of thanks to Apple’s excellent track record of offering iOS updates to older devices. But its tiny 4.7-inch screen feels cramped now and may be tough to use in five years’ time while apps and web pages continue to be designed for bigger screens.

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Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

A good all-around device for its $449 MSRP, the A53 5G delivers solid performance, an all-day battery, 6.5-inch OLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate, and an IP67 rating.


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The 2022 iPhone SE is a low-cost entry point to the iOS ecosystem.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The best iPhone under $500

The iPhone SE remains undefeated as the best value proposition on the smartphone market, period. Even though the price went up $30 over the second-gen version, it’s still a great deal at $429 when you consider that it will continue receiving iOS updates for upwards of five, even six or seven years.

However, there’s one major consideration to make if you’re ready to pick up an SE and coast through most of the next decade without having to buy a new phone: living with its very small, very dated 4.7-inch screen. It’s the same one that the iPhone 6 used, and it’s starting to feel very cramped in an age when apps and web pages are designed for bigger screens. The SE’s big bezels make the device look dated, too, but really the usability of a small screen over the years to come is the important factor to consider.

That’s the biggest knock against the SE. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic midrange device. Its A15 processor is the same as Apple’s top-tier iPhone 13 Pro Max, so performance is excellent. There’s IP67 waterproofing — uncommon in this price range — and even though it uses the same 12-megapixel camera that iPhones have used since the dawn of time, it takes very nice photos and high-quality video clips. There’s no night mode for brighter photos in very low light, which is a curious omission. Many other midrange phones offer some sort of low-light photo mode, and the phone’s processor is certainly up to the task. Apple gonna Apple.

This generation SE, of course, offers 5G connectivity — just low- and mid-band, which is fine. You won’t get the fast millimeter wave 5G you might encounter in an NFL stadium, but it’s nothing to lose sleep over. Battery life is also improved over the last generation, and it will generally last a full day unless you really push it with demanding tasks like gaming and streaming video.

If you can live with the small screen and you aren’t bothered by the lack of night mode, we recommend picking up the 128GB version. The base model’s 64GB of storage isn’t quite enough, and you’ll be glad you spent the extra $50 when you’re using this phone for years into the future.


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The Galaxy A53 5G provides some uncommon budget-class features like waterproofing and a stabilized main camera.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The best Android phone under $500

The Samsung A53 5G offers an outstanding value for its $449 MSRP. It has one of the best screens in its class — no surprise from display maker Samsung — with a 6.5-inch 1080p OLED that provides richer contrast than the LCDs that are common in this category. It also uses a top refresh rate of 120Hz, which makes for smooth scrolling and a little bit more of a “premium” experience.

The A53 5G’s battery lasts a full day of use, and performance from the Exynos processor gets through daily tasks fairly smoothly. The phone’s main 64-megapixel camera is a cut above the usually unremarkable cameras in this class, with optical image stabilization to help get more sharp shots in poor lighting conditions.

It stands out from other budget Android phones in a lot of ways, but the A53 5G’s best feature might just be its excellent software support policy. Samsung has promised four years of Android OS version updates and five years of security updates. That gives the A53 5G an exceptionally long shelf life, especially among Android phones where two or three years of security updates is more common. Considering that the phone is also IP67 rated for dust and water resistance, it should last a very long time.

It’s worth noting that Google will be launching its Pixel 6A this summer, which is really the only device on the horizon that could give the A53 a run for its money. On paper at least, it compares well — with a five-year security support policy to match Samsung (though only three years of OS upgrades promised). But the A53 sets a high bar for the Pixel 6A, and right now, it’s easily the best Android phone in the class.


TCL 20S

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The TCL 20S has an usually vibrant screen for its class, thanks to TCL’s television display expertise.
Photo by Gloria Sin / The Verge

The best 4G phone under $300

The TCL 20S is proof that even $250 can buy a good phone without many compromises. It just nails all the basics that anyone would want from a phone: good performance, a good screen, and good battery life, all for a good price.

You might recognize the TCL brand from its popular budget smart TVs, where its screen expertise is what makes the TCL 20S’ vibrant, 6.67-inch 1080p screen a standout. The 20S has a layer of fingerprint-resistant, “micron-sized prismatic crystals’’ on its back that gives it a subtle shimmer. It has a quick fingerprint sensor that is built into its power button, as well as face unlock as an additional option.

While the 20S’ camera system is nothing to write home about, its 64-megapixel main camera and 15-megapixel front camera are both more than capable of taking detailed photos in good lighting conditions — just don’t use them for night or macro photography.

For a budget phone, the 20S has no noticeable lag in performance, thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM. By default, it comes with 128GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a 5,000mAh battery that lasts for around two days without a recharge.

If your budget is sub-$300 and you are on the hunt for the best bang for your buck, the $250 TCL 20S is a solid choice that should work on all major 4G networks in the US.

TCL 20S


TCL 20S

A $250 phone can be a delight to use, too. This TCL 20S has a bright 6.67-inch 1080p screen, 128GB storage, and a 5,000mAh battery.

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The Moto G Stylus has an approachable stylus feature set.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The best budget phone with a stylus

It’s slim pickings if you want a new budget phone with a stylus. With LG exiting the smartphone market and Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Note Ultra in a much higher price bracket, there’s only Motorola’s Moto G Stylus left to hold the line.

This year’s edition of the 4G-only Moto G Stylus continues to offer an excellent balance of features and cost-saving measures. It’s a good phone for the price, whether you’re a stylus devotee or just stylus-curious.

It has a big 6.8-inch LCD display at 1080p resolution, good battery life with its 5,000mAh cell, and ample internal storage with 128GB of capacity. With a capable MediaTek Helio G88 processor and a healthy 6GB of RAM, the G Stylus performs well with everyday tasks. The cameras, though flawed, are good enough to get by. You won’t find an amazing night mode or top-notch picture quality here, but for a sub-$300 phone, it does the job just fine.

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The Moto G Stylus’ stylus is built into the device like the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Popping it out brings up a quick menu of shortcuts to stylus-friendly apps, like its coloring book app. It’s a feature set intended for a more casual user than the likes of the S22 Ultra and, as a result, feels more approachable.

It is a bit of a drawback that this version of the G Stylus doesn’t offer 5G (Motorola offers a higher-spec’d, midrange model that does) and 5G networks on all US carriers will improve substantially over the next few years. But if you’re perfectly happy with 4G speeds and you’re looking for a good deal on a phone with a big screen, this is a great option.

Motorola Moto G Stylus (2022)

The Moto G Stylus complements its namesake feature with good everyday performance and a big 1080p display, though it doesn’t include 5G connectivity.


Moto G Pure phone.

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Plan to add a microSD card to your purchase to complement the Moto G Pure’s paltry 32GB of built-in storage.
Photo by Gloria Sin / The Verge

The best 4G phone under $200

The Motorola Moto G Pure gets a lot right for its very low price: just $140, permanently marked down from $160. It’s a 4G-only phone, and its biggest weak point is a slower processor — everything from opening a web page to switching apps takes just a beat longer than on most other budget phones. But as a tradeoff, it includes a capable 13-megapixel rear camera and good battery life that should take most users through a full day and well into the next.

The Moto G Pure only includes 32GB of storage, and that’s not really enough, considering the Android OS will take up almost half of that. Thankfully, you can add more storage via the microSD card slot. If you don’t have one already, just plan on budgeting an extra $15 or $20 for a microSD card with the purchase of this phone.

Motorola Moto G Pure


Motorola Moto G Pure

Motorola’s Moto G Pure is good enough for most casual users. Despite its slower performance and paltry 32GB of storage, it has a very capable main camera and works on all the major 4G networks in America.


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The N20 5G includes a 1080p OLED screen, with richer contrast than the LCDs common in this class.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The best budget phone on T-Mobile

The OnePlus N20 5G is a $280 phone that feels like it should cost a lot more. It offers a 6.4-inch screen with good 1080p resolution. Better yet, it’s an OLED panel in a category where lower-contrast LCDs are much more common. As a tradeoff, you’ll have to make do with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. But unless you’re coming from a phone with a faster 90Hz or 120Hz screen, you won’t know the difference. Refresh rate aside, it’s a good screen that’s enjoyable to use. Plus, there’s a good fingerprint scanner under the display that makes unlocking the phone a frustration-free experience.

The N20 5G is equipped with a good Snapdragon 695 processor and generous 6GB of RAM for very good daily performance. A charger is included in the box to support the phone’s fast 33W wired charging — another feature you’d be hard pressed to find in any of the N20’s competitors. You can charge the phone from 0 to 30 percent in just 20 minutes, which is really helpful if you’re in a jam and need a quick battery boost.

Camera quality is a bit of a weak point for the N20. The main rear 64-megapixel camera is fine; the other two cameras (a low-res macro and a monochrome sensor) are best ignored. The phone also ships with Android 11, which is a version behind most other new Android phones at this point.

At launch, it’s only available through T-Mobile, where it supports the carrier’s sub-6GHz 5G. OnePlus will sell it unlocked at some point, but it’s unlikely to offer any kind of meaningful 5G support at AT&T or Verizon. For the moment, though, it’s a great budget option if you’re on T-Mobile.

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

The N20 5G includes a 6.4-inch 1080p screen with a fast fingerprint sensor as well as fast wired charging with the included in-box charger.

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Exclusive: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Opening Titles Still Somehow Rule as an N64 Game – TalkOfNews.com

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Opening Titles Still Somehow Rule as an N64 Game

#Star #Trek #Deep #Space #Nine039s #Opening #Titles #Rule #N64 #Game

Star Trek has had an up-and-down history with video games, sometimes managing to succeed in gaming genres it arguably shouldn’t, while never managing to quite succeed in the ones it should. There’s been plenty of great ones, but now a very cool little animation imagines one of its finest entries getting a ‘90s tie-in that never was.

Twitter user SpinaSanctuary’s hypothetical title screen for a mid-’90s Deep Space Nine game on the Nintendo 64 imagines a sideways glance where the platform that gave us Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire instead took a visit to the Gamma Quadrant for some licensed gaming goodness, essentially riffing on the opening moments of Deep Space Nine’s own title sequence, but in a gloriously polygonal retro style.

What could’ve Star Trek 64: Deep Space Nine even been? An adventure game aboard the station? A starship strategy game set during the Dominion War? A retail management sim dedicated to the Promenade á la Roller Coaster Tycoon or Theme Park World? A first person shooter like Voyager got with the Elite Force games, that shouldn’t make sense, but totally does? Whatever it would’ve been, this cute little “demake” has me wishing we could’ve found out.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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Exclusive: Amazon Prime subscribers now get GrubHub Plus free for a year – TalkOfNews.com

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Amazon Prime subscribers now get GrubHub Plus free for a year

#Amazon #Prime #subscribers #GrubHub #free #year

Amazon Prime subscribers in the US are getting a new benefit as part of their subscription, the company has announced. From today, they’ll be able to redeem a free year of Grubhub Plus, the monthly subscription service that offers free food delivery on orders over $12 from participating restaurants. Grubhub Plus normally costs $9.99 a month.

According to Amazon, free deliveries associated with Grubhub Plus are available from hundreds of thousands of restaurants across over 4,000 cities in the US. After the year is up, Grubhub will automatically start charging $9.99 a month for continued access. Existing Grubhub Plus subscribers can still make use of the promotion, which will be applied from the start of their next billing cycle. Canceling Prime automatically cancels Grubhub Plus.

The deal comes just a few short years after Amazon shut down Amazon Restaurants, its own attempt to compete in the takeout delivery market. The service was live between 2015 and 2019 but faced stiff competition from the likes of Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Since then, the e-commerce giant has mainly focused on grocery deliveries, but has kept a toe in the takeout delivery market through partnerships with other firms. It announced an investment in Europe-focused Deliveroo in 2019, and started offering access to its Deliveroo Plus subscription service as an additional perk for Prime members in the UK last year.

“Amazon has redefined convenience with Prime and we’re confident this offering will expose many new diners to the value of Grubhub Plus while driving more business to our restaurant partners and drivers,” Grubhub CEO Adam DeWitt said in a statement. The company, which is owned by Just Eat Takeaway.com, says it expects Grubhub Plus subscriptions to rise as a result of the deal.

GrubHub Plus isn’t the only additional benefit Amazon is announcing for Prime members today. The e-commerce giant is also making a short teaser trailer for its upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power available exclusively to Prime subscribers for 48 hours. Members can watch the teaser over on the show’s Amazon page. The trailer ends by promising yet another teaser is coming on July 14th ahead of the release of the series on September 2nd.

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Exclusive: Explained: What is the Toll Fraud malware, how it attacks digital wallets and how to protect yourself – TalkOfNews.com

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Explained: What is the Toll Fraud malware, how it attacks digital wallets and how to protect yourself

#Explained #Toll #Fraud #malware #attacks #digital #wallets #protect

Microsoft recently published a blog post that warned Android users of a new malicious malware that is going around, called the Toll Fraud malware. The concern that Microsoft raises about this malware, is the fact that it can drain the payment wallets in infected devices, and, can also empty your bank accounts.

Microsoft researchers Dimitrios Valsamaras and Sang Shin Jung detailed the continuing evolution of “toll fraud malware” and the ways in which it attacks Android devices.

The malware falls under the subcategory of billing fraud “in which malicious applications subscribe users to premium services without their knowledge or consent” and “is one of the most prevalent types of Android malware.”

According to a Google transparency report, most of the installations of this malware are in India, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Turkey.

How does the Toll Fraud Malware work?
What this malware does, is that it disconnects your device from WiFi, and allows the device to only operate on the cellular network. It then takes over the WAP or the Wireless Application Protocol.

WAPs, normally allow consumers to subscribe to paid content and add the charge to their phone bill. Once it hijacks the WAP, the malware starts subscribing to premium services while also intercepting one-time passwords (OTP) that a legit service provider may have sent you to verify your identity.

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These SMSs are then forwarded to a database, which malicious hackers and actors can use to hack into various accounts that you own, even your bank accounts.

The Toll Fraud malware is one of the oldest malware in existence and has been going around since the time of dial-up internet. However, over the decades, it has evolved into something very sophisticated.

The current version of the malware is able to evade detection and can achieve a high number of installations before a single variant can be removed. It uses dynamic code loading, which makes it difficult for genuine mobile security solutions and antiviruses to detect threats.

It also suppresses SMS notifications and app notifications from wallets and dedicated banks. This way, by the time a user gets to know that their device has been infected, it is very late.

How do Android devices get infected by the Toll Fraud malware?
Not all apps on the Play Store are legit. Most of the free antiviruses, file managers, beauty filters and wallpaper apps have some sort of malware embedded in them.

The biggest red flag that such apps throw up is asking for bizarre permissions. For example, a camera app, asking permission to send or read SMSs make no sense. Or, a wallpaper app, asking for permissions to read notifications and monitor them again makes no sense. People often ignore what sort of permissions certain apps ask for. 

How to protect yourself from Toll Fraud malware?
Users need to be very careful of the apps they download, even if they are doing it through the Play Store. Also, avoid sideloading apps.

Avoid installing apps that ask for excessive permissions for programs that don’t require such privileges. Also, avoid apps which have similar UIs or icons to that of legitimate proper apps.

Keep an eye on the developer profiles that look fake or have poor grammar, and if the app has a slew of bad reviews.


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