Now that more smartphone manufacturers sell phones at cheaper price points, it’s much easier for consumers to afford an off-contract device, rather than purchasing one with a two-year contract. At least in the United States, prices for the best unlocked Android phones have changed dramatically, and that’s a good thing.

So, 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 smartphones for 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 be updating this best unlocked Android phones list regularly as new devices launch. It’s also worth noting that this article is written for a U.S.-centric point of view, though (since they are unlocked) pretty much all of these devices are available outside of the U.S., at least in some capacity.


Best unlocked Android phones under $250

Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play

motorola moto g6 and moto g6 play review software display

If you want an affordable, unlocked smartphone for under $250, look no further. Lenovo’s Moto G6 and G6 Play are two of the best unlocked Android phones on the market, and for good reason.

Both phones have a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display covered in Gorilla Glass 3. The Moto G6 has a higher Full HD+ resolution (2,160 x 1,080), while the G6 Play has an HD+ screen (1,440 x 720). The Moto G6 Play has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 chip, while the Moto G6 has a faster Snapdragon 450. It also has two rear cameras, with a 12MP main sensor and a 5MP secondary camera. The Moto G6 Play has a single rear 13MP camera. Both phones have 8MP front cameras. The G6 Play has a 4,000mAh battery, while the G6 has a smaller 3,000mAh battery.

Ultimately, you will be paying for better performance and camera tech in the Moto G6 versus better battery life for the G6 Play, which should last up to two days on a single charge. They are both compatible with the big four carriers in the United States, and the standard G6 is even compatible with Project Fi. You can buy them unlocked from pretty much any major smartphone retailer, including Amazon, which currently sells both devices at a discount if you don’t mind picking up the Amazon Prime Exclusive models. Normally they’d cost $250 and $200, respectively, but the Prime Exclusive models go for $235 and $190.

Specs

Moto G6 Play

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 1,440 x 720 resolution, 282ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 processor
  • 2/3GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Nougat
  • 155.4 x 72.2 x 9.1mm, 180g

Moto G6

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution, 407 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor
  • 3/4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 12 MP and 5MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Nougat
  • 153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm, 167g

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Honor 7x

The Honor 7x is the latest cheap phone from Huawei’s Honor brand, yet it still has enough high-end features to make it attractive to any buyer. It’s a must on any best unlocked Android phones list.

One of its standout features is its 5.93-inch display with very little in terms of bezels, along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 1080p resolution. Inside, it has Huawei’s in-house Kirin 659 octa-core processor, with four cores running at 2.36GHz and four at 1.7GHz and a Mali T830 GPU.

The phone runs Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 interface on top. Depending on the market, you will get either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, along with either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, with a microSD card to expand it up to 256 GB. The rear camera setup has a 16MP primary sensor, along with a secondary 2MP sensor for features like portrait mode. It also has an 8 MP front-facing camera and a 3,340mAh battery, which should last up to a day with regular phone use.

In the U.S., you can buy the Honor 7x right now for just $199.99. 

Specs

  • 5.91-inch display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution
  • Kirin 659 octa-core processor
  • 3/4GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 12 and 2MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,340mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat, EMUI 5.1
  • 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm, 165g

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Motorola Moto E5 Plus

The Motorola Moto E5 Plus is one of the latest budget phones from the company but it still has some solid specs.  It has a 6-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 chip, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Its rear camera is bigger at 12MP and so is the front facing camera at 8MP.

The Moto E5 Play is available on Amazon, unlocked, for $210. It’s also available from a number of U.S. carriers without a contract, and for less money, but those phones are locked into their network for six months at least.

Specs

  • 6-inch IPS LCD display with 1440×720 resolution,
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 5,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Nougat
  • 6.37″ x 2.96″ x .37″ inches

Best unlocked Android phones under $500

Honor View 10

At a price of $499, the unlocked Honor View 10 has features usually found in high-end flagship phones. Inside is Huawei’s octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970, with its Neural Processing Unit (NPU). It allows the phone to automatically optimize its memory based on which apps are used more often. It also has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage, which is expandable by up to 256GB using a microSD card in the hybrid dual-SIM tray.

The Honor View 10 has a large 5.99-inch LCD “FullView” display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 1,080 x 2,160 resolution. It also has a dual sensor camera setup on the back, a 16 MP f/1.8 aperture color camera and a 20MP f/1.8 aperture monochrome sensor. It also has a 13MP front-facing camera, and a big 3,750mAh battery. This is an excellent unlocked Android phone for a still affordable mid-range price tag.

Specs

  • 5.99-inch IPS LCD display with 1,080 x 2,160 resolution,
  • HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • 34/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP and 20MP rear cameras, 13MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,750mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Nougat
  • 157 x 75 x 7 mm, 180g
 

Essential Phone

 
The Essential Phone received a ton of media attention, thanks in large part to Android co-creator Andy Rubin founding the company.  It also helps that the phone itself has some solid hardware inside. The first thing people notice about it is the near bezel-free display, with a small amount on the bottom and just a small notch for its front-facing camera on top. If features a 5.7-inch, QHD display with a 19:10 aspect ratio.
 
Inside, the Essential Phone has the fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage. It also contains dual 13MP rear cameras, an 8 MP front facing camera and a 3,040mAh battery. The phone also has magnetic connectors on the back designed to connect extra accessories, such as an upcoming 360-degree camera and a charging station. Even the chassis of the phone is made of premium materials, with a titanium main body and a ceramic back.
 
While this phone launched just a few months ago for $699.99, you can get the unlocked version of the Essential phone from Amazon right now for just $449.99. It will work with all four major US wireless carriers.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch display with 2,560 x 1,312 resolution, 19:10 ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • Dual 13MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,040mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 2.8 x 0.3 x 5.6 inches, 187g

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Best unlocked Android phones above $500

OnePlus 6

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The OnePlus 5T is still a solid smartphone by today’s standards, but that’s not stopping OnePlus from pushing the smartphone boundaries even further. The OnePlus 6 is all about refinement.

OnePlus introduced an all-new, all-glass design with the OnePlus 6. The back is sleek — almost resembling the Galaxy S9 — and the front houses the 6.28-inch AMOLED display. Yes, there’s a notch, but you can basically turn it off in the settings menu.

This phone also has the latest and greatest specs available: a Snapdragon 845 SoC, 6 or 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The cameras have been improved this time around too. It comes with dual 16 and 20MP sensors around back with f/1.7 apertures, along with 19-percent larger pixels than the 5T. There are also slow-motion video modes allowing for 720p footage at 480fps and 1080p at 240fps. You can also shoot 4K video at 60fps.

Also, this will probably be one of the first devices to will receive Android P. If you aren’t a fan of the Pixel but still want quick updates, the OnePlus 6 may be just for you.

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Huawei P20 and P20 Pro

The Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro may not be coming to the United States, but the rest of the world is in for a treat very soon. These are, without a doubt, Huawei’s best phones yet, and the best unlocked Android phones ever made (so far). The Huawei P20 sports a 5.8-inch LCD display, and the Pro version boosts it up to 6.1 inches and a OLED panel. Yes, both phones have notches, but you can turn them off in the settings menu, to look more like regular phones.

The Huawei P20 has a Leica dual camera setup, with a 12MP RGB and 20MP monochrome sensor combo, while the P20 Pro is the first smartphone with a triple rear camera setup. In addition to the 20MP monochrome sensor, the RGB sensor on the Pro goes up to a whopping 40MP, joined by a third sensor with an 8MP telephoto lens. The Pro also has a five-times hybrid zoom feature.

Both phones have Huawei’s Kirin 970 processor, with its NPU chip that adds AI features, including ones to improve taking pictures with their impressive cameras. These phones are not cheap, however. The Huawei P20 will launch in Europe very soon for 650 euros (around $800), while the more powerful Huawei P20 Pro will cost 900 euros (around $1100). There’s also the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS variant of the P20 Pro, which includes a in-screen fingerprint sensor and a 6-inch screen. You can even get one with a massive 512GB of onboard storage for 2095 euros ($2600). It’s steep, but if you want the best, you’ve gotta pay for it.

Specifications

Huawei P20

  • 5.8-inch Huawei FullView IPS LCD 18.7:9 display 2,244 x 1,080 resolution
  • Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 128GB of on-board storage
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 149.1 mm x 70.8 mm x 7.65 mm, 165g

Huawei P20 Pro

  • 6.1-inch Huawei FullView OLED 18:7:9 display 2,240 x 1,080 resolution
  • Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • Triple 8, 12 and 40MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 155.0 mm x 73.9 mm x 7.8 mm, 180g

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

After a controversial 2016, Samsung’s Galaxy Note line came back in full force. With top-of-the-line specs, a stunning design, a dual-camera setup, and new software features, the Galaxy Note 8 is one of the best unlocked Android phones you can buy right now.

The Note 8’s near-bezel-less 6.3-inch QuadHD+ Infinity Display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio is one of our favorite parts about this phone. DisplayMate agrees with us too. It’s big, maybe too big for some, but at least the company puts the screen to good use. It’s App Pairing feature allows you to open up two favorited apps in multi-window at the same time. A few new S Pen features will satisfy the stylus users out there, too.

What’s more, the new dual-camera setup on the back performs incredibly well. While picture quality isn’t a huge step up from the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the extra 12MP sensor with OIS allows you to take clear photos and impressive bokeh shots in just about any situation.

It’s not perfect, but no phone is. The fingerprint sensor placement is still super annoying, and this phone is expensive. If those things don’t matter to you, the Note 8 is a great option. Check out our full review below!

Specs

  • 6.3-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 521ppi
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 processor (depending on region)
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128/256GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,300mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, 195g

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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

With the success of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, Samsung clearly figured out what users want in a smartphone. The S9 range brings the same solid battery life, high-res screens, impressive camera performance, and more as its predecessor. They are are IP67 rated for water and dust resistance, which means they are among the best waterproof phones you can currently buy.

Both the S9 and S9 Plus have the increasingly common 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which allows for a much more comfortable in-hand feel. Under the hood, these devices come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor in the U.S. (it uses Samsung’s own in-house Exynos 9810 SoC in other parts of the world). The standard 5.8-inch S9 has 4GB of RAM while the 6.2-inch S9 Plus includes 6GB of RAM. Both have 64GB of onboard storage, and run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Recently, Samsung launched unlocked versions of both phones with 128GB and 256GB of internal storage in the U.S.

The biggest difference in the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, compared to both their older models and each other, is in their camera equipment. Both the S9 and S9 Plus have a primary 12MP rear camera with a Dual Aperture feature, which switches between f/1.5 and f/2.4 modes. The S9 Plus also has a second rear 12MP sensor, and both phones have 8MP front cameras. Both can also take super slow-mo movies at 960fps at 720p, and support Samsung’s new AR Emoji for animated avatars created by the cameras.

All in all, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are the two best Samsng phones at the moment, and among the best unlocked Android phones out there.

Samsung Galaxy S9

  • 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 570ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 processor (depending on region)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64/128/256GB of onboard storage, microSD expansion up to 400GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 8MP front
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm, 163g

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

  • 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution, 529ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 processor (depending on region)
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128/256 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 400GB
  • Dual 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm, 189g

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LG G7 ThinQ

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The new LG G7 ThinQ is an amalgamation of last year’s V30 and G6, with a little iPhone X thrown in.

At the top of the phone’s super bright 6.1-inch display, you’ll find the oh-so-2018 notch cutout. If you aren’t a fan, you can “turn off” the notch in the settings menu just like with the P20 and P20 Pro.

LG phones have always provided a solid audio experience, and the G7 ThinQ is no different. The phone actually uses its inner space as a resonance chamber to boost bass and deliver all-around louder audio. It also comes with a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC and DTS:X 3D Surround Sound support.

This phone also comes with some of the best specs you can find, packing a Snapdragon 845 SoC, dual 16MP wide-angle cameras, and IP68 and MIL-STD 810G certifications. As an added bonus, there’s also a dedicated Google Assistant button for talking to the voice assistant like a walkie-talkie. It’s pretty neat.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm, 169g

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Google Pixel 2

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The Pixel 2 is Google’s latest flagship smartphone, and it’s great at just about everything. It doesn’t have as many bells or whistles as the Note 8, but if you’re in the market for a simple Android phone, the Pixel 2 is a great option.

This device has a 5-inch OLED 1080p display with a pixel density of 441ppi. It doesn’t have a fancy 18:9 aspect ratio screen or a bezel-less design, though has front-facing speakers above and below the display. Inside, it comes with a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, along with 4GB of RAM. You can buy the phone with either 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage, but there’s no microSD slot for adding additional storage.

If you like taking photos with your phone, you’ll be very pleased with the Pixel 2’s 12.2MP camera. Not only has it been named the best smartphone camera on the market according to DxOMark, we found the Pixel 2’s main camera to be incredibly impressive in most situations. There’s a portrait mode on the front and back cameras, even though the phone doesn’t have a dual-camera setup.

You might be wondering why we haven’t mentioned the Pixel 2 XL. It’s a great phone, but its display has had its fair share of issues since launch. The LG-made pOLED 6.0-inch display on the Pixel 2 XL has a blue tint when the phone is tilted, it’s not tuned to be as vibrant as other OLED panels, and many early adopters have already noticed burn in. Google says it will continue to combat these issues with software updates, and it’s extended the warranty to two years. We might add it to this list later, once more issues have been resolved.

If you want a Pixel phone with a larger battery and you don’t mind a mediocre display, we’d recommend going for the Pixel 2 XL — you’ll be very happy. If you can live with a smaller battery and a smaller screen (which doesn’t have any issues), we’d recommend the Pixel 2. It’s a must on our current best unlocked Android phones list.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch OLED 16:9 display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441ppi (Pixel 2)
    • 6.0-inch pOLED 18:9 display with 2,880 x 1,440 resolution, 538ppi (Pixel 2 XL)
  • Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 12.2MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,700mAh battery (Pixel 2)
    • Non-removable 3,520mAh battery (Pixel 2 XL)
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8mm, 143g (Pixel 2)
    • 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm, 175g (Pixel 2 XL)

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

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