It wasn't long ago that buying a budget smartphone meant you were probably in for a bad time: crummy performance, paltry update support, and maybe even Micro-USB charging (the horror!). These days, not so much. Some of the best cheap Android phones start under 200 bucks, and they're not that different from the absolute best Android flagship phone we recommend.
If you're looking for a smartphone that isn't going to break the bank, we've assembled some of our favorite low-cost devices below.
The best budget Android phones you can buy today
Google Pixel 6a
A fantastic phone for a fantastic price
The Google Pixel 6a wowed us when it hit store shelves last summer, and since then, it's only gotten better. These days, you can get Google's most recent midrange phone for as low as $250, with sales constantly taking place. Throw in a great camera, good performance, and excellent software support, and this device can't really be beat.
- Strong performance
- Great cameras
- Solid construction
- Pixel software
- Wireless signal weaker than some others
- No headphone jack
- No wireless charging
- Sluggish fingerprint sensor
Google's Pixel 6a ticks a lot of boxes at its usual $450 price tag, and some early sales have made it an even better bargain. With six gigs of RAM and the same Tensor chipset that powers the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it's certainly the fastest phone on this list. While it doesn't share the Pixel 6's big 50-megapixel primary camera sensor — the 6a uses the same sensor that was in the Pixel 5 and 5a — it still takes outstanding photos. Google's got a lot of experience with this camera hardware, and it shows. It has Google's custom flavor of Android, too, and it's set to get five years of security updates.
The Pixel 6a is not all sunny — if you live in an area without a strong wireless signal, the 6a's weaker-than-average reception should give you pause. There's also no wireless charging and no headphone jack (a first for the a-series). Unlike some other mid-range options, the 6a sticks with a 60Hz OLED, and the fingerprint sensor under that screen isn't especially quick. But if you value speed, camera performance, and build quality, there's a lot to like here.
It's not just the best budget Android phone right now; it's close to the best Android phone, period. Combined with recurring deals that see the Pixel 6a routinely drop as low as $300, it's truly unbeatable — and, at least until the Pixel 7a arrives, it's likely to stay that way.
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
A great Pixel alternative with some excellent additions
Samsung's Galaxy A54 is an update to one of our favorite budget phones of 2022, delivering improved performance and a sleeker design that looks more in line with the flagship S23 series. With a 120Hz AMOLED display and a capable 50MP shooter on the back, it's a solid all-around offering for only $450.
- Excellent, fast display
- Premium design and feel
- Expandable storage
- No wireless charging
- 25W charging limit feels slow
- Phone can get toasty in regular use
If Google's A-series isn't doing it for you, maybe Samsung's will. The Galaxy A54 is Samsung's mainline mid-range offering for 2023, and despite some minor year-over-year improvements compared to its predecessor, it really left us impressed. It's upgraded Exynos processor makes the phone feel faster than the A53, and it's design has been updated to better match the flagship Galaxy S23. The result is using a phone that feels and looks a lot more premium than it truly is.
All that said, the Galaxy A54 is far from a perfect device. It does get warm during regular use — not just gaming, but browsing as well — and its 25W charging speeds can feel a little slow if you're coming from a OnePlus device. Likewise, the 50MP camera just doesn't hold a candle to what Google manages with its Pixel lineup, although it's certainly capable of collecting a good shot. But that 120Hz AMOLED panel puts the Pixel 6a to shame, and with expandable storage, it's also reminiscent of the Android days of yore.
Even at full price, the A54 is totally worth it, but if you're lucky, you likely won't have to pay full price. Samsung's phones usually don't drop in price as quickly or as steeply as Google's, but we've already seen some early Galaxy A54 sales following its launch. With the device already having dipped as low as $375, it's worth keeping your eye out for sales throughout 2023.
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G
Affordable alternative without too many sacrifices
Samsung's Galaxy A14 5G is the latest budget phone from the company, keeping the same adequate performance from its previous generation but with a better display and a cheaper price.
- A fast, high-res display for just $200
- Improved design over its predecessors
- Headphone jack!
- No IP rating (so don't get it wet)
- Mono speaker quality is poor
- Cheap-feeling build quality
While Samsung's Galaxy A14 5G might not crack through to the top of this list, this is the one to beat if you only have $200 to spend on a smartphone. The A14 is a bit of an odd duck, at least in comparison to its predecessor. Rather than delivering an across-the-board boost to its specs sheet, Samsung retained nearly identical internals to the A13 — the same MediaTek Dimensity 700, the same combination of 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, and the same camera array on the back. On paper, it's difficult to notice a huge difference between the two generations.
So what is new? For starters, the design is more in line with the rest of Samsung's phones, using the same "camera island" style we've seen on the Galaxy S23 series. The entire phone feels a bit sturdier in hand, and the engrained pattern on the back is pretty eye-catching in this price range. Even better, the display received a huge upgrade to 1080p while keeping its 90Hz refresh rate. It's still an LCD panel — you'll need to grab the A54 for AMOLED — but for $200, it's hard to argue with the screen quality here.
It might sound like a small batch of changes, but it makes the A14 a pretty undeniable deal, especially at this price. By keeping the specs sheet relatively unchanged, Samsung was able to drop the price by $50. It might not be as exciting as foldables or $1,200 phablets, but if you're looking for a cheap smartphone that gets the basics right, this is the device for you.
OnePlus N20 5G
Surprisingly great alternative to our top brands
The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is a better phone than its price tag might have you believe. With an unbelievable battery, relatively fast charging speeds, and some solid performance, the N20 is tough to beat if you're looking for a Google or Samsung alternative.
- Good screen
- Excellent battery life
- 33W charging is very fast for a budget phone
- Middling camera
- Plastic body
- Only one speaker
OnePlus might have lost some goodwill among Android die-hards in recent years, but the company still makes a mean budget phone. The Nord N20 5G costs all of $299, but it still has decent performance thanks to its Snapdragon 695 chipset and six gigs of RAM. Battery life is out of this world: in our review, Ryne managed to get 10 hours of screen time over three days between charges. It's got an IP52 rating, which means it'll survive some rain, and it charges at up to 33 watts with the included charger. It also has a striking design for a budget device.
It's got typical cheap phone problems: its cameras are mediocre, and with an all-plastic body, build quality isn't stellar. But it's priced right, and it'll get Android 12 eventually — plus three years of bi-monthly security patches. That's more than a lot of phones in this price range offer. Officially, the phone is only fully compatible with T-Mobile — it's not certified for 5G on AT&T or any service at all on Verizon. But if you're on T-Mobile (or AT&T, if you don't care about 5G), the N20 is a fantastic option.
If you're looking for a more recent OnePlus device, check out the OnePlus N300, also available on T-Mobile. It's the successor to the N200, which once held a spot on this very list.
Samsung Galaxy A03s
If you need the absolute cheapest phone around, the Samsung Galaxy A03s is your pick. While you can probably find even more affordable options on Amazon — or through used marketplaces like eBay — the A03s represents the floor of what we consider acceptable performance. While it handles the basics just fine, savvy shoppers may want to consider slightly more expensive options like the Galaxy A14.
- Security updates into 2026
- It has a fingerprint sensor!
- Crummy cameras unchanged from A02s
- 3GB RAM is an upgrade from the A02s, but it's still skimpy
- No 5G
Samsung's gotten its budget phones down to a science; as such, the Galaxy A03s isn't a whole lot different from the Galaxy A02s that came before it. It's still got a 720p LCD display at 60Hz, it's still got the same set of not-very-good cameras, and it's still running an older version of Android. But there are a few notable differences.
Chiefly, while the Galaxy A02s had no fingerprint sensor, the A03s has one built into its power button, which means getting into the phone is less of a hassle. It's also got three gigabytes of RAM. That's still not much, but it's a big bump from the two gigs in the A02s. Samsung also switched from a low-end Snapdragon chipset to a low-end MediaTek one. That probably won't matter much for performance, though, and Samsung's still promising four years of quarterly security updates from the phone's US launch — which means it should stay secure into 2026.
If you already have an A02s, the A03s probably isn't worth upgrading to. It goes for $160, which is $30 more than the A02s cost — and the most significant difference is the addition of a fingerprint sensor. But if you're on an older phone, that one difference will likely be worth buying the A03s over its predecessor. If you're looking to spend as little as possible overall, though, the Galaxy A03s remains one of the best cheap Android phones around. That said, we recommend springing for the newer Galaxy A14 5G. For just $40 more, it delivers a substantially better day-to-day experience.
Great, affordable Galaxy Note-style phone
If you're looking for a stylus-supported smartphone that doesn't cost you $1,200, the Moto G Stylus is a great pick. While performance isn't incredible, the ability to jot down notes with the embedded pen more than makes up for it. Plus, it can be yours for well under its launch price these days. Just keep in mind this model isn't a 5G device.
- 90Hz display
- Great battery life
- Built-in stylus
- Slow charging at 10 watts
- Crummy selfie camera
- Only one speaker
The Moto G Stylus is pretty unique among budget phones thanks to its namesake stylus that tucks up into the device Galaxy Note-style. It also has adequate performance with a MediaTek chipset, six gigs of RAM, and a smooth 90Hz display. In addition, the phone has a superb battery life — in our review, we saw more than two full days between charges.
Unfortunately, the cameras aren't great, especially the selfie shooter with an annoying beauty filter permanently applied in the software. It also charges excruciatingly slowly at 10 watts; you'll want to top it up overnight. But the Moto G Stylus is worth a look if you want an affordable phone that offers a decent experience with a stylus in tow.
While this is no longer the most recent Moto G Stylus, it's still the one we recommend. Motorola's most recent iteration of this device does add 5G support, but the price has ballooned up to $400. For that price, its rivals are so much better, so we simply can't recommend it to most shoppers.
T-Mobile Revvl 6 Pro 5G
Massive, beastly phone for T-Mobile subscribers
While you might be tempted to shy away from carrier-branded smartphones, the T-Mobile Revvl 6 Pro 5G gets you some pretty impressive specs for the money. It's not a perfect phone — that display is pretty low-res — but if you're looking for a big, cheap Android device on the Uncarrier, this is a great option.
- Pixel-like software experience
- Headphone jack still in tact
- Great battery life
- Terrible fingerprint reader
- Poor video quality
- Massive size might not be for everyone
When you're on a limited smartphone budget, your purchase always comes down to compromises. You're not likely to get everything you want for less than $300, so finding a phone that fits your main priorities is key. For plenty of shoppers, the T-Mobile-exclusive REVVL 6 Pro might be just what the doctor ordered. With a massive 6.82-inch display, ultra-long battery life, and a Dimensity 700 SoC, this is a device built to stick with you no matter what life throws at you (albeit without the perks and quality-of-life improvements you'll find in more expensive smartphones).
Performance from Mediatek's chipset is solid enough for typical usage and some light gaming, and that gigantic 5,000mAh battery lasts for more than a full day on a single charge. The display, while only 720p, looks better than you might think; in fact, you might not notice its low resolution unless you're holding it side-by-side with another phone. Even the primary camera lens is perfectly adequate in daylight, and with a 3.5mm headphone jack, the REVVL 6 Pro is perfect for anyone trying to rock out on the go.
There are no better budget smartphones on the market, so T-Mobile customers shouldn't ignore this phone. Although it does cut a few corners to get the price down to $220, it's a great deal for anyone hunting down a gigantic phablet-size device. Just keep your expectations in check while you give the latest REVVL smartphone a look.
OnePlus Nord N300 5G
A newer, cheaper alternative to the OnePlus Nord N20
The OnePlus Nord N300 isn't quite as good as the other major Nord release from 2022 — the N20 — but if you're a T-Mobile subscriber, it's a good deal. Considering most shoppers can score one for free on contract promotions, the 90Hz 720p display, 33W fast charging, and good-looking design aren't too shabby.
- Affordable price, especially with carrier deals
- Good-looking design
- Has a headphone jack!
- Low-res display compared to the competition
- Poor software support
- Middling cameras
Although it doesn't quite live up to the Nord N20, the OnePlus Nord 300 5G is a solid alternative for T-Mobile subscribers. Available for just $230 — and routinely given away for free through contract-based carrier promotions — the company's latest Nord device for the US is best looked at as a Galaxy A14 alternative. There are some real benefits to grabbing this phone over Samsung's, starting with the processor. The Dimensity 810 isn't a powerhouse by any means, but it should deliver better performance than the aging Dimensity 700 found in the A14.
Unfortunately, the rest of the hardware isn't quite up to snuff. The 720p 90Hz LCD panel is reminiscent of the A13's display, but the A14 has it trumped. It launched with Android 12, and nearly six months later, it has yet to see an upgrade to Android 13. Likewise, it's only slated to receive security patches until 2024, something Samsung excels at. It's also more expensive than the Galaxy A14 by $30 — though, again, those carrier deals can make it far more tempting. Ultimately, the Nord N300 isn't a bad phone, but compared to our top picks, it does feel a bit like an also-ran.
The best Android phone for the best price
There's no shortage of inexpensive Android phones, and more of them than ever are actually worth buying, even if you're looking for a great 5G phone. If you're after the best cheap Android phone, Google's Pixel 6a keeps a lot of the best things about the Pixel 6 — like its high-end CPU, excellent camera processing, and solid construction — and trims some fat to hit a very appealing price point. Despite only being on the market for less than a year, we've seen it regularly drop to just $300 on sale, with an all-time low of $250. If you're looking for an affordable, reliable smartphone, you can end your hunt here.
If you're after a truly budget smartphone with a decent experience, you won't find many cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G. Although it's not the cheapest phone on our list — that honor belongs to the Galaxy A03s — it's only $40 more than that particular smartphone and manages to outperform it in nearly every way. With a 1080p 90Hz LCD, solid build quality, and reliable software support — it ticks all the essential smartphone boxes while delivering solid, if not incredible, performance. You won't find anything flashy here, but as a basic entry-level phone, it more than gets the job done.
What about the Google Pixel 7a?
We're expecting to see the debut of the Pixel 7a at Google I/O on May 10th, with a rumored launch set for that very day. Reports point to an impressive successor to our current top budget pick, with a 90Hz display, wireless charging, and Google's Tensor G2 processor for improved performance, all available at a very similar price point. So if you can hold out ahead of the Pixel 7a's launch, we recommend it.