While Samsung is best known for its flagship Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines, the reality is that there are tons of handsets available from the manufacturer covering just about every price point. We’ve already taken a look at some of the best Samsung phones currently available. But what if you only have a small amount of cash to spend? Don’t worry, Samsung still has a phone for you.

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Best cheap Android phones (May 2017)

Best cheap Android phones (May 2017)

2 weeks ago

The sheer number of variants makes it impossible to sort through them all, but in this list we will talk about just a few of the best cheap Samsung phones that you can buy right now. Keep in mind the post focuses on phones that can be purchased new, not older models that are offered as used or refurbished. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.


Samsung Galaxy S5

cheap Samsung phones

The Galaxy S5 is now three generations old, that’s like forever ago in smartphone years. Don’t let this fool you though, as the former flagship is still in many ways just as good — if not better — than most of Samsung’s modern low-cost offerings. This is especially true considering you can find it for around $200 new, and if you are interested in going refurbished or used it is possible to get it for nearly half of that.

As a refresher, the key specifications of the Galaxy S5 are the 5.1-inch Full HD display, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor backed by 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB or 32 GB of built-in storage that is further expandable, a 16 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front-facing shooter, a 2,800 mAh battery, and an IP67 rating for protection against dust and water.

In terms of specifications and features, the Galaxy S5 can easily compete with most affordable smartphones available now, but the biggest downside is going to be the software, as it’s a three-year old phone. That means it comes with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, though thankfully it is upgradeable all the way to Marshmallow. While having Android 6.0 is great, remember that security updates and other software improvements are pretty much not going to happen for you if you pick up the very aged flagship. This might not be a big deal to everyone, but it’s certainly something worth thinking about.

It’s also worth pointing out that the “band-aid” style backing isn’t for everyone, and was one of the most criticized elements of the handset when it first debuted.

Specs

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  •  2 GB RAM
  • 16/32 GB built-in storage, further expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 16 MP rear camera, 2 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • upgradeable to Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm, 145 grams

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Samsung Galaxy C7

best cheap Samsung phones

The Galaxy C7 is the way to go if you’re looking for a large display experience on a budget. Key specifications of the device include a 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 32 or 64 GB of internal storage that is further expandable, a 16 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front-facing shooter, and a large 3,300 mAh battery, all wrapped in a beautiful full metal body. The Galaxy C7 is a touch pricier than the other smartphones on this list though, with a price point starting at around $320.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080 x 1920 resolution
  • 2 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32/64 GB internal storage, further expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 16 MP rear camera, 8 MP front-facing camera
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 156.6 x 77.2 x 6.8 mm, 169 grams

Samsung Galaxy J7  / J7 Prime /  J7 V

best cheap Samsung phones

When it comes to affordable Samsung phones, the J7 family is pretty easy to recommend. Each of these models have slightly different designs and specs, though they certainly aren’t worlds apart. The J7 and J7 Prime are both powered by an Exynos 7870 processor, while the J7 V trades in the Exynos chip for a Snapdragon 625. You get 3 GB RAM with the Prime model, and 2 GB for the other two. It’s also worth noting that the Prime and standard J7 have better 13 MP shooters, instead of an 8 MP main camera.

Turning to the display, while all three have 5.5-inch sizes, the technology and resolutions differ.  The Prime has an LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920, while the J7 and J7 V offer 720 x 1280 resolutions, with Super AMOLED and TFT technologies respectively. The majority of the other specs remain the same across the board, including 16 GB storage with microSD expansion and 3,300 mAh batteries. However, the Prime’s battery is the only one that isn’t removable.

Pricing for the J7 is set at $200 (or $160 via Boost Mobile), with the Verizon only J7 V set at $240. If you are interested in the Prime’s higher resolution and higher RAM count, you’ll pay around $50 more than the standard Galaxy J7.

Editor’s note: The Galaxy J7 Prime is also sold as the Galaxy On NXT in India and other select markets. This variant offers the same looks and core specs, but with double the internal storage for roughly the same price.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 720 x 1280 resolution (Galaxy J7)
  • 5.5-inch LCD display with 1080 x 1920 resolution (Galaxy J7 Prime)
  • 5.5-inch TFT display with 720 x 1280 resolution (Galaxy J7 V)
  • Samsung Exynos 7870 or Snapdragon 625, depending on market
  • 2 GB of RAM for J7 and J7 V, 3GB for Prime
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 13MP main camera for J7 and J7 Prime, 8MP main cam for J7 V
  • 5MP selfie cam for J7 and J7 V, 8MP selfie cam for J7 Prime
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat for J7 V, Android 6.0 Marshmallow for J7 and J7 Prime

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Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)

best cheap Samsung phones

If you are looking for a smaller handset, the Galaxy A3 could be perfect, thanks to its compact 4.7-inch display. The rest of the specs are on par with the J7 family as well, though it does offer a smaller 2,350 mAh battery. This affordable phone does also borrow some key features from Samsung’s more premium offerings, like the IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, a USB Type-C port, and a high-end metal and glass unibody construction.

Keep in mind that this phone isn’t officially available in the US, though you can find the international version pretty easily at places like Amazon — just make sure the bands support your particular carrier.

Specs

  • 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a 720 x 1280 resolution
  • 1.6 Ghz octa-core Exynos 7870 processor
  • Mali-T830 GPU
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage, further expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,350 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 135.4 x 66.2 x 7.9 mm, 138 grams

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Samsung Galaxy C5

best cheap Samsung phones

While the difference between the C7 and the C7 Pro are minor, the gap is quite a bit larger when it comes to the C5 and the C5 Pro. That said, the Galaxy C5 still a good phone if you’re on a tight budget. Core specs include a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full HD, a Snapdragon 617, 4 GB RAM, and 32 GB or 64 GB storage. On the camera front you get a 16 MP main cam and 8 MP front shooter. The phone offers a non-removable 2,600 mAh battery and runs on Android 6.0-based software.

Specs

  • 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080 x 1920 resolution
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • Adreno 405 GPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32/64 GB internal storage, further expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 16 MP rear camera, 8 MP front-facing camera
  • 2,600 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 145.9 x 72 x 6.7 mm, 143 grams

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Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) and its variants

best cheap Samsung phones

While the Galaxy J7 and the honorable mentions listed above are the best ‘cheap’ Samsung phones, what if you are looking for the bare minimum? You simply want a phone that can do the basics relatively well. Whether you are looking for a secondary phone, a phone for a student, or just have a really thin budget — Samsung still has an option for you.

Okay, so the Galaxy J3 isn’t going to blow your socks off. Don’t let that fool you, it’s still a pretty great handset, especially considering it costs around $150. Unfortunately, Samsung’s budget-friendly headsets can be a massively confusing, especially since it seems that Samsung and its carrier partners have renamed the same phone like a hundred times. Even worse AT&T GoPhone has the Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 for $130, while AT&T (postpaid) has the J3 (2017) for $180 — and yet they are, as far as we can tell from specs and design, the EXACT same device.

The confusion continues as the AT&T J3 (2017) and Prime 2 are powered by an Exynos 7570, while the J3 V, J3 Emerge, and other 2017 J3 variants are typically powered by either a Snapdragon 410 or 425. Aside from the processor, all the models are roughly the same, and all have just 1.5 GB RAM. If you are planning on getting this phone, don’t pay more than $150 for it. Sprint’s Emerge, for example, is $235 — which means it’s only like a few dollars cheaper than the more powerful Samsung Galaxy J7 V.

The low amount of RAM is easily the biggest weakness for this phone, though for users with modest needs, it should still get the job done well enough. Other specs include a 5-inch 1280 x 720 display, 16 GB storage with microSD for expansion, a 5 MP rear cam, 2 MP front cam, a 2,600 mAh battery, and Android 7.0 Nougat powered software for the AT&T variant. It is worth noting, that if you are picking up another variant other than the AT&T version, there’s a good chance your phone might still have Marshmallow-based software.

Again, while the hardware specs are nowhere near those of the Galaxy S8 series, Galaxy A family, or even the J7, the price tag might be right for someone looking for an entry-level handset that comes from one of the world’s most popular handset makers.

Specs

  • 5-inch 720 x 1280, 294ppi (TFT for most variants)
  • Exynos 7570 (AT&T version)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 8917 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 8916 (most other variants)
  • 1.5 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion
  • 5 MP rear camera, 2 MP front camera
  • Removable 2,600 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow or 7.0 Nougat
  • Roughly 139.7 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, dimensions and weight may vary slightly based on model

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And that’s it. Any other great cheap Samsung phones we left out? Let us know about it in the comments below.

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.