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The best budget phones you can currently buy

Why break the bank? You can get a great phone on the cheap.
By
December 7, 2021
the google pixel 5a display with app icons on the pixel launcher home screen
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Pixel 5a

In a world where high-end Android smartphones can cost $1,000 or more, many prefer something that won’t break the bank. Luckily, there are tons of cheap Android phones to choose from. These are more suitable for average users.

“Cheap” is a relative term, though. It means something different to people, depending on their income and spending habits. For that reason, we have rounded up the best cheap Android phones currently on the market at various price points, starting at around $450 and going all the way down to as low as $100. That way, most people will find something that fits their budget.

Keep in mind that this list only includes phones that were officially released in the US and are backed by a warranty, but we did add a few international models at the end to give you more options.

The best cheap Android phones:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best cheap phones regularly as new devices launch.


Google Pixel 5a

the google pixel 5a camera module and fingerprint sensor
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Pixel 5a is among the most expensive phones on this list, but it’s also one of the best mid-rangers you can get. The handset has enough power under the hood to keep the average user happy, supports 5G networks, and offers a bloat-free software experience. It also has one of the best cameras you can get on a smartphone, thanks to Google’s software smarts.

The battery comes in at 4,680mAh and is the biggest one ever in a Pixel device. Charging is capped at 18W, which is far from market-leading, but we have to keep in mind that this is a cheap phone. You also get a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner with the Pixel 5a, a headphone jack, and an IP67 rating.

Read next: The best Google products you can buy

Google had to cut corners somewhere, so the phone doesn’t have wireless charging. It also doesn’t have a premium metal or glass design, with Google opting for plastic instead. Despite its shortcomings, the Pixel 5a is still one of the best, if not the best, phones in its price range.

Those looking for an even cheaper Pixel should look at last year’s Pixel 4a. It offers less than its successor, but it still packs enough punch for the average user.


Google Pixel 5a specs:

  • Display: 6.34-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,680mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy A42

Samsung Galaxy A42 front panel
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Galaxy A42 is one of the best mid-ranger you can get from Samsung. It features a solid build quality, has a headphone jack, and offers three rear cameras.

The handset comes equipped with a 6.6-inch HD+ display, 128GB of storage, and a microSD card slot. The battery has a capacity of 5,000mAh and should see you through the day and beyond. Other specs and features worth mentioning include a punch-hole display, 4GB of RAM, and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Samsung’s Galaxy A52 is the better phone overall, but it costs more at $500. However, the phone is often on sale, with pricing going as low as $400.


Samsung Galaxy A42 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 750 5G
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 13MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Moto G Stylus 5G

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5Gdisplay on white
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Moto G Stylus is another great choice for those looking for a cheap phone. As you might have guessed from its name, it sports a stylus and is a great alternative if you don’t want to splurge on the Galaxy Note series.

In terms of specs, the Moto G Stylus is a mixed bag. It comes with a huge 6.8-inch Full HD+ display, but it runs on the weaker Snapdragon 480 5G processor. You do get a large, 5,000mAh battery to keep you cruising through the day, but Motorola chose to omit NFC support. Overall, Eric called the play both a blessing and a curse in his review.

The cameras are a decent upgrade over previous Moto G Stylus devices. Motorola tapped a 48MP main shooter to lead the charge and an 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, and a 2MP depth sensor. The peripheral lenses aren’t the most powerful, but the main camera is plenty capable. Don’t forget that Motorola is free to corner the affordable stylus market with LG leaving the phone game.


Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480 5G
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy A32

Samsung’s Galaxy A32 follows closely in the Galaxy A42’s footprints, yet it almost looks like an LG Velvet sibling instead. You’ll find four rear cameras and a small Infinity-U notch in the front.

The battery life is remarkable thanks to a huge 5,000mAh cell, and the base model skips 5G connectivity, so you should get more than a day of juice. You won’t find wireless charging, but that’s not uncommon in a cheap Android phone. The Galaxy A32 sports a Gorilla Glass 5 display, and the back and sides are both made of plastic.

Also: These are the best cheap Samsung phones

Samsung certainly didn’t skimp on the camera setup, placing a 64MP primary shooter above all others. You can tap into an 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, and 5MP depth sensor for some extra flexibility. There are no creature comforts like an IP rating, but the under-display fingerprint reader is a nice touch.


Samsung Galaxy A32 specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio G80
  • RAM: 4/6/8GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, 5, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

OnePlus Nord N200

OnePlus Nord N200 5G rear in hand - The best cheap phones
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

There’s a lot to like about the OnePlus Nord N200 as a cheap way to put 5G in your pocket. The handset packs an impressive battery, and the screen is remarkable for just how little you have to fork over.

You also get three rear cameras, a headphone jack, and Dual-SIM standby support. Unlike OnePlus’ flagship phones, the Nord N200 comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

The phone runs Android 11 out of the box and will get updated to Android 12 sometime this year. However, that will be the first and only Android OS update it will receive.


OnePlus Nord N200 specs:

  • Display: 6.49-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 13, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Nokia G20

nokia g20 - The best cheap phones
HMD Global

Nokia continues to churn out solid mid-range and affordable devices. The Nokia G20 is a great phone and offers pretty decent specs for the price. You get a 6.52-inch HD+ display and the MediaTek Helio G35 processor. There’s a quad-camera setup on the back that should get the job done, although don’t expect the world from it. The battery comes in at 5,050mAh and provides at least a full day of use.

More importantly, the Nokia G20 guarantees three years of security updates and two years of software boosts. Considering it runs Android 11, it will get updated to Android 12 and 13. That’s not bad for a phone in this price range, especially considering some only get one major OS upgrade.

There are admittedly better options out there, but if you’re looking for a genuinely cheap option, the Nokia G20 is worth considering.


Nokia G20 specs:

  • Display: 6.52-inch, HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Helio G35
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 5, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,050mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Moto G Power 2021

Moto G Power 2021 camera macro - The best cheap phones
David Imel / Android Authority

Sticking with Motorola’s affordable G-series, the Moto G Power tops its Play sibling in terms of processing. You’ll find a Snapdragon 662 chip leading the way, as well as up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. According to Motorola, it packs a 5,000mAh cell that can last up to three days. The battery should be good for 150 hours of music playback or 27 hours of video binging. Not bad!

Related: These are the best budget camera phones

The G Power is a mid-range smartphone with a solid 48MP main rear camera. It has a modern design with a punch-hole display and two additional rear cameras. It also sports a headphone jack and supports expandable storage. These things combined make the Moto G Power one of the best cheap phones you can currently get.


Moto G Power 2021 specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch HD
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 662
  • RAM: 3/4GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 48, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Moto E

Moto E 2020 hero image - The best cheap phones
Motorola

If you need a smartphone to do smartphone things and don’t want to spend much money, take a strong look at the Moto E.

The phone is aimed at undemanding users and comes with a 6.2-inch HD+ display, a 3,550mAh battery, and just 2GB of RAM. Other specs and features worth mentioning include the Snapdragon 632 chipset, a headphone jack, and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.

There are only 32GB of storage available, but you can expand it with the help of a microSD card. The Moto E runs Android 10 with Motorola’s light skin on top, which almost makes you feel you’re using a stock Android device. It’s one of the best cheap phones you can get, although not for everyone.


Motorola Moto E specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 632
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Camera: 13 and 2MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3,550mAh
  • Software: Android 10

The best international versions of cheap phones

Poco X3 Pro camera - The best cheap phones
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

This list of the best budget phones includes devices readily available in the US and provides a local warranty. However, suppose you’re willing to take a chance on international versions of handsets that haven’t been officially released in the US but can still be purchased on Amazon. In that case, you can often get far more impressive phones at similar prices.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you won’t get any warranty with these phones, and you’ll have to make sure that network compatibility won’t be an issue.

  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite: The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite comes with a large 6.55-inch Full HD+ display, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It packs a 4,250mAh battery with 33W fast charging capabilities. It also has a triple-camera setup on the back with a 64MP primary camera and a 16MP front-facing camera.
  • Poco X3 Pro: As long as compatibility isn’t an issue, the Poco X3 Pro is a phone worth getting. Its display comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, it is powered by the Snapdragon 860 processor, and keeping everything running is a large 5,160mAh battery. Of course, the camera setup is a bit different than the previous X3 NFC due to its 48MP primary camera.
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10: The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 is one of the most popular mid-rangers in India and other markets, with good reason. It’s a solid device featuring the Snapdragon 678 processor, up to 6GB of RAM, up to 128GB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery. The quad-camera setup on the back includes a 48MP main camera and a 13MP selfie shooter up front.