Best Android phone under $400, Battery saving tips, Snapdragon vs MediaTek, and more – Android Q&A

February 1, 2014
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    Welcome to this week’s edition of Android Q&A! As always, we try to answer as many of your great questions as possible. This week, we talk about the best Android phone under $400, some battery saving tips, Qualcomm Snapdragon vs MediaTek SoCs, and more. Let’s get started!


    Question 1

    I am on $300-400 budget on my next phone. Which one should I get? – MrGarchomp123

    Answer

    The best Android smartphones within the budget you’re looking for are the Nexus 5 and the Motorola Moto X. The Nexus 5 offers the best solution for anyone looking for a high-end device at a great price, and what the Moto X lacks in specifications, it more than makes up for with user experience and some very useful features.

    If you’re hoping to save some money, you should definitely take a look at the new line of Asus Zenfone smartphones, that won Android Authority’s Best Smartphone(s) of CES 2014, as well as the Moto G.  You’ll find a bunch of useful review and first look videos in the playlist below.


    Question 2

    Battery saving is always a hot topic for Android users, and many apps like Battery Doctor recommend a full cycle charge at least once a month. How much merit is there to this? I have come across mixed opinions. – sirjargon1

    Answer

    While some pundits and blogs may say that it is a good idea to do a full cycle charge, the cold hard fact is that each lithium-ion battery comes with a limited number of cycles. The best way to prolong the battery life is to keep the charge between 10% and 90%, or even 20% and 80%, depending on what is more convenient to you. Granted, you don’t have to fanatical about this, and it’s okay to charge the battery fully. But try and avoid discharging the battery completely, as well as not keeping the phone plugged in for a long time, once it is fully charged. You can find out more about how to prolong your li-ion battery life here.


    Question 3

    Which processor is actually better and faster for phones? Snapdragon or Mediatek? I heard that mostly MediaTek’s processors are slow and often lag, while Snapdragon does its job at its very best. – Andrew Beh Jian Yuan

    Answer

    The simple answer is that the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are the higher performing one compared to (equivalent) MediaTek SoCs, and has been seen consistently not only in benchmarks, but general real world performance as well. That being said, the Snapdragon processors are generally more expensive, and is mostly found in high-end devices like the HTC One, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Xperia Z1, and others. On the other hand, the MediaTek processors may be slower, but are also more cost effective, and allows OEMs to manufacture budget-friendly devices that still have sought-after features like quad-core processors.

    And, it has to be said that the current crop of MediaTek processors are a far better option than anything that was available in budget devices over the past few years. If you want to find examples of cheap devices featuring quad-core, and even octa-core, MediaTek processors, all you need to do is look at smartphones that are proving to be quite popular in China and India.


    We love answering your amazing questions here during the Android Q&A show, but here’s our question for you  -

    Why did Google sell Motorola Mobility’s hardware division to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, when Google bought the company two years ago for more than $12 billion? What is going on? 

    Send in your answers, for a chance to pick up some great Android Authority gear!

    As always, keep sending us your questions in the comments section below, in the comments section of the Youtube video, or on Google+, and we’ll try our best to get you the answers you need. See you next week!

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    Comments

    • Arcybiskup

      “The best Android smartphones within the budget you’re looking for are the Nexus 5 and the Motorola Moto X.”

      Hey, how about Xiaomi Mi3, Meizu MX3? If you look good, you can find those under $400.
      Eventually Nexus4, Xiaomi Mi2/Mi2s if you want a better price and dont care so much for the top-top-specs.
      (Yes i know, you can probably find even a few more, but those ones were just my 1st idea)

      • krispy2525

        Stock Android and near stock Android make them better choices plus the processors are higher end. Not to mention touch less control.

        • Arcybiskup

          Your opinion. Some people hate/dislike stock (or near stock). They like the functionallity. Also not evryone cares for the top-top-specifications…
          Thats exactly why i hate questions like “What’s the best phone?”… Its like asking “Whats the best PC?” or “whats the best car?”
          It all depends what your prefferences are, what you need exactly, what you care most for.

    • Harvie Galenzoga Boles

      Probably Google wants to compete with Xiaomi when it enters the US market. Long story short Hugo Barra goes to Xiaomi and possibly they want to create another mobile OS that would be a threat to Android or Google, Google already got the gold by acquiring many patents from Motorola, the rising problem again would be the Xiaomi threat. We all know Google Motorola only released a few Android devices (Moto G and Moto X) afraid of being overrun by Xiaomi they let Lenovo buy Motorola for some reasons,
      1. Lenovo releases many Android Devices, it should have boosted the Android OS percentage of use as a mobile OS.
      2. Lenovo is from China which means closer to Xiaomi, much tighter competition if Xiaomi releases another Mobile OS.
      3. I could be wrong, whenever I am wrong please refer to number 4.
      4. I could also be right.

      Sorry for the long story short for being slightly long lol. Whatever the real reason is it will surely protect Android.

      • thartist

        One of the most stupid comments I’ve ever read. Or to put it better, i wholly disagree with your opinion.

        • Harvie Galenzoga Boles

          I don’t give a damn about your opinion, it’s my opinion by the way. No one knows the real reason is, ask Google. :3

          • thartist

            Lol, yyyeeaaah… Google sold Motorola to Lenovo because… Xiaomi! Laughable.

    • Aamir chokwala

      Probably the discussion that Lenovo bought Motorola is pretty hot right now, as per the statistics that Lenovo was one of the top 5 shipped phones in the fourth quarter of 2013 its pretty obvious by this cool purchase they want to enter into to the mobile market. Google on the other hand sold Motorola by keeping more than 15000 patents on its name to protect android from being messed up and the fact that it was just backing up Motorola financially. Let’s see how far can lenovo can take Motorola.

    • vinc

      Google sold Motorola because it doesn’t want to compete with hardware manufacturers and also it had secured all those patents to save android’s future

    • William Peters

      Why don’t I ever see a android mini pc review or preview passing by??
      I’m thinking about buying one (the minix neo x7). This thing runs on android 4.2 jellybean, has a quadcore processor, and supports 2 GB of RAM! Isn’t this the way to have a great android experience on your TV!!??
      I was wondering what you guys think of such devices.

      Is there a reason why you never mention anything about this subject?

      • Arturo Raygoza

        I second this motion

      • Jayfeather787

        That is a pretty good mini PC, but it has a rockchip processor.

        • William Peters

          Is a rockchip processor a bad processor??

          • Jayfeather787

            Yeah pretty bad. Not nearly as good as a Snapdragon. Might not lag severely or anything like that, but its just not the best.

    • harrold

      Patents

    • Dylan44

      Google soled Motorola but they kept Motorola’s patent portfolio which is valued at 4.3 billion.Hence they could sell Motorola mobility unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion

    • akash

      The future may be :
      Software industry hold by Google (android)
      And
      Hardware industry hold by Samsung .
      Recent discussion between Google and Samsung may be the reason .

      Samsung and Google are planning something big .

    • Jasen Walker

      Google got what they wanted out of Motorola, their advanced research team and project ara, but their recent deal with Samsung would probably suggest that there is more to it than we’ve been told, with Samsung probably promising to back down on software if Google backs down on hardware, hence they sold Motorola.

    • krispy2525

      The reason that Google actually sold Motorola is because when they teamed up with Samsung they made an agreement. The agreement was that they would give up motorolla (a big competitor) and they wouldn’t mess with android as much (the magazine ui). I personally think that it is a very smart move. Google taking over android a little bit more but keeping patents and not making bad decisions in the process.

    • Jayfeather787

      Nexus 5 for number 1

    • Jake

      Hi team AA.
      GOOGLE didnt sold what it actually bought.
      They only sold the some part of the motorola.
      They kept the patents which are important.
      Also they kept the advanced development team along with project aara.
      Hence they kept the quite some important things of motorola.
      And that’s why the price.

      • Alisan_C

        That development team was actually a creation of Google :)

        They just moved it to android.

    • Data

      They sold it for a number of reasons. The most important being Samsung – both companies are going to focus on collaboration rather than competing with eachother.

    • bob

      to compete with apple, google realised it needs vertical integration. they tried to build one buying motorola, but they were appearently incapable of doing it themselves so they sold it in the end, keeping only patents, which are a necessity for google because large parts of android are in fact stolen. seeing how they were unable to keep up with vertical integration and perks of such integration of apple, they have run to samsung to cooperate both on hardware and software levels, a kind of merger if you will. why? first, before mentioned vertical integration. unless google wants to be new microsoft with POS OEM PCs. second, large part of android are stolen, so they need to get rid of it in favor of a combination of tizen and chrome os. third, samsung is ideal candidate because of its hardware vertical integration. for google to keep up with apple, they need vertical integration (through samsung, so they can optimise their SoC, like apple does) and much much better control of the ecosystem – they cannot achieve that through android, so they are leaving it behind. anyone noticed how slow android releases have become? in the future, there will be some kind of hybrid between internet-dependant chrome os and local tizen with probably parts of android, those that are not stolen hopefully. most importantly, they need to get rid of android because it is a stolen intellectual property and apple and oracle will sue them to death. anyone has something to say on the contrary?

    • Michael

      For $2.9 billion is a pretty decent sale by Google as when Google first purchased Motorola for $12.9 billion Motorola had in fact several billions on hand thus, reducing the totally purchase price paid by Google and add to the fact that Google sold other parts of Motorola for several billion only further decreased the overall purchase of $12 billion. In addition, with Google maintaining a majority of the patents and licensing it to Lenovo, the asking price of $2.9 billion is actually pretty decent by Google…. well played

    • Likethisway

      Why Google sold Motorola at a discount price? It’s simple and its calls intellectual properties. It was what Google was interesrested in and not making physically cellphones.

    • Alexandre Santos

      Why nexus 5 is so expensive in Portugal??

      • Alisan_C

        In europe it’s 399eur

    • Alisan_C

      First of all, Google didn’t lose that much money, some even say they made good profit.

      They bought Motorola for 12b (-3b because Motorola had 3b cash when Google bought it)
      - They sold Motorola Home for 2.6b.
      - They sold Motorola Mobility for 2.9b
      = 3.5b (excl. losses this year and next year.)

      The fact is Google can put this “loss” in their tax calculations just like any other company.

      + Google can start being a patent troll with the Motorola Patents, like Apple and they can start sueing other companies and get money out of it ;) – tho we hate patentwars-

      + Meanwhile they’ve now learned how a ‘fully equipped’ mobile manufracturer works, the pros and cons, they now got more experience. + 15K portfolio.

      + Experience they can use on their new company NEST: they can start from 0 without making too big gambles/mistakes

    • amitpd1

      1. To make peace with Samsung
      2. To focus better on innovation rather than gaining market..(phoneblocks, google_glass, smart home, and maybe watches)
      3. They had bought Motorolla for the patents and not to make money off it.. So purpose served!!!

    • districtjack

      Why did you change your web site again? Last time you did this, you went back to single column shortly after the test. What percentage of your readers are using an android PHONE vs tablet to view this awesome site? I found it frustrating when I opened android authority today. I even checked my settings to make sure I hadn’t accidentally hit request desktop view.

      There’s an old saying that comes to mind: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

    • Aditya Bhatt

      Google Motorola Lenova deal in a nutshell

    • nicholas vanni

      Google sold motarola to lenova because google wanted to become a skynet from terminater because of connecting every aspect of our lives more like the eras of begone years

    • nicholas vanni

      Motorola sale was less than what it was acquired for because of exchanges rate

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