Online degrees are becoming more popular not only among professionals who want to pursue master’s degrees while maintaining their full-time jobs, but also among graduating high school students who want to earn a university degree while working, starting a new business, or even travelling the world. Online degrees offer extra flexibilities that conventional brick-and-mortar programs don’t. Online students can study on their own time and from anywhere in the world, making the whole process of earning a university degree more manageable.
Since the entire course is done through an online learning platform – plus you have to do most of the learning yourself – you need the right tools for the online course of your choice. A capable laptop is a must, but it is certainly not the only gadget you need. You also need a capable smartphone to help you go through course materials, access the online learning platform, and be connected to the internet at all times. Which mobile phone should you get as an online student? Let’s find out, shall we?
Vivo V15 Pro
The newly released Vivo V15 Pro offers a nice balance between price, features, and performance. It uses an in-display fingerprint scanner as a security measure, so its body design is not disrupted by the presence of a fingerprint scanner on the back. It also uses a pop-up selfie camera to eliminate the need for a notch.
These may seem like gimmicks, but they actually make the phone more usable. The lack of a notch makes the screen more immersive, with an edge-to-edge display maximizing your viewing pleasure. It is also a Super AMOLED screen, so you know you will get rich black and vibrant colors from the display. It is perfect for reading and browsing the web as well as enjoying multimedia content.
The Vivo V15 Pro doesn’t skimp in the performance department either. It now uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675AIE. It also includes 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Interestingly, you get a dedicated microSD card slot, so you can expand the storage of this phone further. You can read our full review of the V15 Pro here.
The iPhone XS and XS Max are both really good phones, but they are a bit too expensive for students. Besides, you get the same processing power and overall capabilities from the iPhone XR. There is an added bonus to opting for the XR as well: it lasts an entire day on a single charge thanks to its bigger battery and power-efficient screen.
The iPhone XR may be the cheapest iPhone of its generation, but it is far from cheap per se. The iPhone XR still starts at $749, although the one we recommend is the $799, 128GB model. The extra storage is well worth $50. You also get a selection of colours to choose from if you decide to go with the iPhone XR.
The iPhone XR is suitable for students taking certain courses such as the online lean manufacturing course from Kettering University Online. Apps related to fields like engineering, operations, business management, and others are widely available on iOS, but not all of them are available on Android. Going with the iPhone is also recommended if you are using a MacBook.
Forget about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or the new Galaxy S10 series for a second and take a look at Samsung’s A-series phones. The A-series is the most underrated series of phones in Samsung’s lineup, especially since they are more than capable for everyday tasks.
The Samsung A9, for instance, comes with a 6.3-inch screen big enough for most users. Even when you need to read long course materials, you will find the colour rendition and brightness of the A9’s screen to be pleasing to the eye.
You also get Snapdragon 660, which is a generation older than the Snapdragon 675 found in the Vivo V15 Pro, but you get the same 6GB/128GB RAM and internal storage combination with this phone. You even get a quad-camera and support for dual SIM cards. To make it even better, the Samsung A9 is available for less than $400.
Moto G7 Power
We really can’t talk about affordable smartphones for online students without talking about the Moto G7 series, particularly the G7 Power. This phone comes with its usual recipe for a big battery and good performance. This time, the Moto G7 Power packs a 5,000mAh battery that could power the phone for a couple of days under normal use. Two full days!
You also get Snapdragon 632, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. There is a 12-megapixel camera on the back for everyday use and another 8-megapixel camera for taking selfies.
Keep in mind that the Moto G7 Power is intended for general use, which is why the specifications of this phone aren’t as eye-watering as other phones we discussed in this article. It is a phone that will work – and continue working for days. For around $250, it is also the cheapest option on our list. If you just want a reliable phone, this is the one to get.
There are other budget options that will fit your needs as an online student too. Both the Nokia 5.1 and Nokia 7.1 are interesting options to look into. When we reviewed the Nokia 7.1, we were blown away by how Nokia is able to fit an HDR10 screen to this phone, and how the company still knows a thing or two about pampering its users.
If you don’t mind ordering something from abroad, the Xiaomi MiA2 is another interesting option worth looking into. It is an Android One phone, so you get great hardware and a pure Android experience at an affordable price. In fact, you can get the Xiaomi MiA2 from reputable online retailers for less than $200.