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Last Update
Jun 2017
This month we removed the Huawei Mate 9 to make room for the HTC U11.

Pixel 3a - unlocked Android phone

Now that more smartphone manufacturers sell phones at cheaper price points, it’s much easier to afford an off-contract device than ever before, making it an appealing option for those that don’t like the idea of buying phones on contracts. 

What are the best options out there if you want to forgo a standard contract and buy unlocked? We’ve got a list of the best unlocked Android phones under $250, under $500 and over $500. As always, if you have anything you’d like to suggest, speak up in the comment section at the bottom of the post.

Editor’s note: We’ll update this best unlocked Android phones list regularly as new devices launch.


Best unlocked Android phones under $250:

1. Moto G7 Power

Best unlocked Android phones

With the Moto G7 Power, Motorola continues its focus on affordability without making too many sacrifices that would compromise the experience. This phone is aimed at the budget-conscious consumer. The Moto G7 will give you the best the G7 lineup has to offer, but it does cost $300, which leaves it out of this section. The Moto G7 Power goes for just $249.99.

If you’re looking for some serious battery life, the Moto G7 Power has you covered with its massive 5,000mAh cell, but it has lower specifications overall. You’re getting a modern design, fast software, and excellent battery life. Camera quality could be better, but you can’t complain too much about this given the phone’s sub-$250 price point.

If you want extra bells and whistles such as IP certification, a better camera, NFC, or wireless charging, this phone isn’t for you. You’ll have to seek more expensive alternatives like the Galaxy S10 for those kinds of features.


Moto G7 Power specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 632
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Rear camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


2. Samsung Galaxy M30

The Galaxy M30 is a mid-range device featuring a triple-camera setup at the back and packing a massive 5,000mAh battery. Its Super AMOLED Infinity U display comes in at 6.4 inches and features a small waterdrop notch.

The handset is powered by Samsung’s in-house Exynos 7904 chipset, which is paired with up to 6GB of RAM. It supports dual-SIM, has a headphone jack, and sports a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. You’ll also find a microSD card slot on board.

The phone wasn’t officially released in the U.S., but you can get the international model on Amazon for a little less than $250. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t come with a warranty and only works on GSM networks.


Samsung Galaxy M30 specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Exynos 7904
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 13, 5, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo


3. Nokia 4.2

Nokia 4.2 -- Best unlocked Android phones

The Nokia 4.2 has a lot going for it. Not only is it inexpensive, but it also has a beautiful design and is part of the Android One family. That means it offers a clean, bloat-free software experience and is guaranteed to get two years of OS and three years of security updates.

The phone’s specs won’t blow your socks off, but they are good enough for the average user. You get a 5.71-inch display, the Snapdragon 439 chipset, and 3GB of RAM in the U.S. The handset also sports dual rear cameras, dual-SIM support, and a microSD card slot. There’s even a dedicated Google Assistant button on board.

The Nokia 4.2 is available in two colors — black and pink — and will set you back $190. Its specs, design, and price are what make it one of the best unlocked Android phones you can get.


Nokia 4.2 specs:

  • Display: 5.71-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 439
  • RAM: 2/3GB
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • Cameras: 13 and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Best unlocked Android phones under $500:

1. Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

Pixel 3a back on table

The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are Google’s contribution to the mid-range market, which they haven’t really been a part of since the Nexus series was retired. The design language stays largely the same as Google’s flagship Pixel range. The shift from matte to glossy on the back doesn’t look any different from the glass of the Pixel 3. The multi-colored power buttons are uniquely Pixel, and even the large bezels up front are an unfortunate signature. 

It’s not just about a similar design, though. What is also the biggest selling point of the Pixel 3a series is the fact that it provides the same camera experience and quality that you get with its flagship sibling, at almost half the price. That’s almost reason enough to consider buying the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Some compromises have been made to get to this price of course. The Pixel 3a smartphones pack less power under the hood, don’t have wireless charging, and don’t have an IP rating, among other things.

There are no major differences between the two Pixel 3a’s either. Apart from the display size, the XL also packs in a larger battery and is also the more expensive of the two. Speaking of price, the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL are priced at $399 and $479 respectively. 


Pixel 3a specs:

  • Display: 5.6-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 670
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Pixel 3a XL specs:

  • Display: 6.0-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 670
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


2. Moto Z4

Motorola Moto Z4 left screen angle

The Moto Z4 is Motorola’s latest modular phone. It’s a mid-ranger featuring the Snapdragon 675 chipset and 4GB of RAM. It can’t compete with the likes of the Galaxy S10, but it’s more than powerful enough for the average user.

The handset sports an in-display fingerprint scanner has a headphone jack that’s missing on its predecessor and comes with a large 6.39-inch display with Full HD+ resolution. There’s no official IP rating, but the phone can handle splashes of water thanks to a water-repellent coating.

The Moto Z4 runs a stock-like version of Android Pie and supports 5G, but the only when paired with the 5G Moto Mod that’s sold separately. The unlocked version of the phone currently goes for $500.


Moto Z4 specs:

  • Display: 6.39-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 675
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Rear camera: 48MP
  • Front camera: 25MP
  • Battery: 3,600mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


3. Razer Phone 2

Originally launched with a $799.99 price tag, the Razer Phone 2 wasn’t exactly cheap, but it now sells for $499.99 on Amazon. The new price easily makes this phone one of the best deals in this category. 

Due to its gaming focus, the Razer Phone 2 comes with great specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. Its 5.72-inch screen has a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, but what makes it stand out is its 120Hz refresh rate, which will make your gaming experience amazingly smooth. 

Aside from the great specs and stunning display, the Razer Phone 2 stays cool thanks to its vapor chamber cooling system. We all know phones can get really hot when gaming! 


Razer Phone 2 specs:

  • Display: 5.72-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0


4. Pocophone F1

What makes the Pocophone F1 special is that it offers high-end specs and a mid-range price tag. The phone packs the Snapdragon 845 chipset, as much as 8GB of RAM, and a dual-camera setup at the back.

Other specs and features worth mentioning include a large 4,000mAh battery, microSD card support, and a 6.18-inch Full HD display. But the phone doesn’t have an IP rating, wireless charging or a headphone jack. It also sports a plastic body that doesn’t look or feel as premium as glass.

The Pocophone F1 was not officially released in the U.S., but you can still get your hands on it. The international model is listed on Amazon for just $300, which is a steal if you ask me.


Pocophone F1 specs:

  • Display: 6.18-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo


Best unlocked Android phones above $500:

1. Samsung Galaxy S10 series

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus unlocked phones

The Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e are all great devices and are suitable for demanding users. The Plus model is the best of the three, offering the largest display, biggest battery, and two front-facing cameras instead of one. Most of the other specs and features are the same as those of the regular Galaxy S10. Both sport three rear cameras, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and curved displays, among other things.

The Galaxy S10e, on the other hand, comes with two rear cameras instead of three, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a 5.8-inch display that isn’t curved on the sides. It’s the smallest phone in the S10 lineup as well as the cheapest, starting at $750.

The Galaxy S10 starts at $900, while the Plus model will set you back at least a $1,000. You can get all three devices on Samsung’s website via the button below.


Galaxy S10e specs:

  • Display: 5.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Rear cameras: 12 and 16MP 
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Galaxy S10 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB
  • Rear cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP 
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,400mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Galaxy S10 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 855 or Exynos 9820
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB and 1TB
  • Rear cameras: 12, 12, and 16MP 
  • Front cameras: 10 and 8MP
  • Battery: 4,100mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


2. OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro back of phone at angle (2)

Starting at $669, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the company’s most expensive device yet. While the OnePlus 7 Pro may not necessarily offer the same camera, battery life, and extra features as the Samsung Galaxy S10, Huawei P30 Pro, and Google Pixel 3 XL, it makes up for it in performance, build quality, and a clean user interface.

We can’t deny OnePlus skimped out on some important elements, though. Its camera is pretty good, but it suffers in low light. The battery life is average at best. You can’t officially use this phone in the shower. There is no headphone jack, nor is there wireless charging. 

Regardless, this is a great-looking phone with a real all-screen experience (no notch!). It has high-end internals to keep the device running smoothly. If you like a nearly stock UI, the OnePlus 7 Pro won’t disappoint in that department either. And while it doesn’t exactly stand out in other departments, it also doesn’t completely fail in them. 


OnePlus 7 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6/8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 16, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


3. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

This is the featured image for S-Pen the ultimate guide!

No list of the best unlocked Android phones would be complete without the Galaxy Note 9. The phone offers everything you need and more. A great design, high-end specs, and the series’ signature S Pen, which has a new trick up its sleeve — it allows you to remotely control the camera.

The Galaxy Note 9 is a big phone. It sports a 6.4-inch display with Quad HD+ resolution and curved edges. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chipset — depending on the region — along with either 6 or 8GB of RAM. It also features a dual-camera setup, an IP68 rating, and a headphone jack.

As for pricing, the entry-level model with 128GB of storage goes for $1,000 at the moment. There’s also a 512GB variant available, which will set you back $1,150.


Samsung Galaxy Note 9 specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 845 or Exynos 9810
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/512GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo


4. Google Pixel 3 series

best unlocked Android phones - Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are great options for those who into photography and want a clean software experience. Both come with the latest version of stock Android and one of the best (if not the best) smartphone cameras on the market. Despite only having a single lens, there’s still an option for adding the bokeh effect to images through software trickery.

Editor's Pick

The two phones are similar in terms of specs. They feature the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64/128GB of storage. Both also support wireless charging and have a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. Unfortunately, they lack a headphone jack.

The main differences between them are in the display and battery departments. The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch Full HD+ display and a 2,915mAh battery, while the XL model comes with a 6.3-inch QHD+ screen and a 3,430mAh battery. The Pixel 3 XL also has a notch.


Google 3 specs:

  • Display: 5.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front cameras: 8 and 8MP
  • Battery: 2,915mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Google 3 XL specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front cameras: 8 and 8MP
  • Battery: 3,430mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


5. LG G8 ThinQ

LG G8 ThinQ Review display

This is a great phone for music lovers. It sports a headphone jack, stereo speakers, and a Hi-Fi Quad DAC for an improved audio experience with the right headphones. It’s IP68 rated for protection against water and dust, supports expandable storage, and has a decent dual-camera setup at the rear.

LG’s flagship is an innovative handset thanks to its front-facing Z camera. It can map out the veins in your palm that can then be used to unlock the device. It also lets you take a screenshot or open an app of choice with hand gestures, all without touching the screen. But as noted in our review, these features don’t work quite as well as we’d like.

As most flagships, the LG G8 isn’t cheap. The unlocked version will set you back around $850 — get it via the button below.


LG G8 ThinQ specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 16MP
  • Front cameras: 8MP + ToF sensor
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


0. Sony Xperia 1

Sony Xperia 1 with an IP68 rating

The last model on our list of the best unlocked Android phones is the Sony Xperia 1. It has a large 6.5-inch display with 4K resolution and an aspect ratio of 21:9, which makes it quite tall. The phone also comes with three rear cameras, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and the latest Snapdragon 855 chipset.

It’s a fantastic phone overall, but it does have a few drawbacks you should keep in mind. There’s no wireless charging or a headphone jack. The battery is also quite small, coming in at just 3,300mAh.

The Xperia 1 hasn’t officially been released yet, but you can already pre-order it on Amazon. It will set you back $950.


Sony Xperia 1 specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP 
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,300mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


There you have it – our picks for the best unlocked Android phones. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

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