n a world where high-end Android smartphones can cost $1,000 or more, lots of people out there want something that won’t break their wallet. Luckily, there are lots of cheap phones out there that cost less than $500 —some a lot less — that aren’t even two-year-old devices. It’s hard to find affordable phones with solid hardware specs, recent Android operating system updates, and more, but you can do it.
We have selected our picks of the best cheap Android phones currently on the market at various price points, along with a runner-up selection for each price level. We will update this post regularly, as more affordable Android phones release.
Best Android phone under $500 – OnePlus 6
While the more recent OnePlus 6T is also pretty affordable, it is currently priced a bit over $500. If you want a phone with much of the same hardware inside for less, look no further than the OnePlus 6, which launched earlier in 2018 and now goes for $429.
For that price you get a phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, the current king of mobile CPUs. You also get a 6.28-inch AMOLED display, at least 6GB of RAM, and storage options up to 256GB. There’s also a 3,300mAh battery with the fast charging tech from OnePlus formerly known as Dash Charge, which can charge the phone up to 60 percent of its capacity in just 30 minutes. The OnePlus 6 even has a 3.5mm headphone jack, something the OnePlus 6T ditched.
The OnePlus 6 isn’t perfect. Its onboard cameras take just average pictures, and there’s a big notch on top of the display (replaced with a much smaller waterdrop notch on the OnePlus 6T). However, if you want a powerful phone for a lot less money than the current prices of competing flagship phones, the OnePlus 6 is an excellent choice for this price point.
- OnePlus 6 review
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- OnePlus 6 color comparison: midnight black, mirror black, and silk white
- OnePlus 6: What’s great, what’s missing
This phone also has a Snapdragon 845 chip inside, along with a big 6.18-inch display and 6GB of RAM, among other features, and it costs even less than the OnePlus 6. However, this choice is for people who live outside the U.S., as the Pocophone F1 does not support the LTE 4G networks available with U.S. carriers.
Best Android phone under $350 – Motorola Moto G6
Motorola seems to have abandoned trying to launch true flagship-level phones, now favoring more affordable handsets like the Moto G6 earlier this year. Along with its sister phone, the Moto G6 Play, the Moto G6 puts in some impressive hardware for under $300, and the unlocked version works with all U.S. carriers.
For that low price, you might expect Motorola to cut a lot of corners, but the Moto G6 is all glass, with features like a fingerprint sensor and a USB Type-C port. The display is a solid size at 5.7 inches, with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080. You also get the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chip, which should handle most apps very well, either with 3GB or 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. There’s a 3,000mAh battery, which isn’t the biggest you can get, but our tests show you should get at least a day’s worth of work on a single charge.
Some things the Moto G6 does not do as well as you might like. The cameras don’t take the best pictures (although the phone’s actual camera app is great to use) and there’s no NFC chip inside, so you can’t use Google Play. However, if all you want is a good Android phone to run apps well for a lot less money, the Moto G6 can’t be beat.
The Nokia 7.1 has a bigger 5.81-inch screen, NFC support and it’s an Android One phone, which uses a near-stock version of Android. However, only get this phone if you live outside the U.S., since it only works on GSM networks.
Best Android phone under $200 – Motorola Moto E5 Plus
Here’s yet another Motorola budget phone, which manages to put in a lot of performance for the money. You get a large 6-inch display, although its resolution is on the low side at 1,440 x 720. You also get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 12MP rear camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera.
All of that is actually pretty impressive inside a phone available new for under $200. However, the stand out feature of the Moto E5 Plus is its truly massive 5,000mAh battery. It should last over two days on a single charge with regular use. In other words, if you don’t want to worry about charging your phone up before the day is over, you should get the Moto E5 Plus.
It also supports Motorola’s TurboPower Charging speeds, which are similar to what you might find in phones that use Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, so you won’t have to wait too long for the big battery to be fully charged up.
You get all of that in the Moto E5 Plus, including a very reasonable price (although you will have to hunt around the internet to get a model on your favorite carrier that’s priced that low). For the battery life alone, it’s worth picking this phone up.
The 2018 edition of the Nokia 6.1’s Snapdragon 630 processor is faster than that of the Moto E5 Plus. However, it also has a much smaller 5.5-inch display, along with a smaller 3,000mAh battery, so expect to charge this phone up more often.
Best Android phone under $100 – Nokia 2
For just under $100, you can get an Android-based phone with one pretty impressive feature. That phone is the Nokia 2, which still manages to fit a big 4,100mAh battery inside its small frame with a 5-inch display. Combining that small screen with such a large battery means you should get up to two days of use on a single charge.
You also get the Snapdragon 212 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable onboard storage, an 8MP rear, camera and a 5MP rear camera. This is the kind of phone for people who might want a secondary device just in case they lose or break their primary phone, or for people who simply want a phone to talk, text, email and do some web browsing. If that’s the case, the Nokia 2 is perfect for your needs.
The smaller sister phone to the Moto E5 Plus, the Moto E5 Play has a faster processor, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but it has a much smaller 2,800mAh battery compared to the Nokia 2, which means you will be charging this phone much more often.
These are our picks for the best cheap phones rocking Android. Do you agree with our list, or want to see some of them removed and replaced with others, and why? Let us know in the comments!