Android phones vary wildly in both performance and price. This makes the barrier to entry more accessible for those on a limited budget. That said, with so many manufacturers cranking out numerous models, the Android market is saturated with sub-par handsets. However, this doesn’t mean you need to compromise on your mobile experience when you’re trying to stretch your dollar. You just need to invest in one of these top Android phones made for people on a budget.
Also Helpful: Looking for a small Android phone instead? We’ve got a list of great Android phones that fit into your palm.
1. Best Budget Option Overall: Samsung A14 5G
Budget phones frequently cut corners with screen quality and use a 720p display that lacks the sharpness of pricier phones. The Samsung A14 bucks this trend with a 6.6-inch, 2400 x 1080 screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Although its 500-nit brightness is about half as bright as higher-end models, the resolution and refresh rate still makes it one of the best options in this price range.
Samsung also didn’t skimp on the included cameras. The 13MP front camera and 50MP rear (main) camera offer superb image quality for selfies and regular images. In other words, the cameras punch above their weight for any phone in this price range, provided you’re snapping photos in adequate lighting conditions.
At only $200, the Samsung A14 offers MediaTek Dimensity 700 octa-core CPU and 4GB of RAM, plus 5G connectivity. Don’t expect to be blown away at this price range, but this phone definitely offers respectable performance given the price point.
- 5,000 mAh battery with 15W fast charge support
- 6.6″ FHD screen with 90 Hz refresh rate
- 5G mobile data connectivity
- Supports storage expansion
- 50MP rear camera
- Guaranteed updates to Android 15 and 4 years of security patches
- Dim screen compared to more expensive models
- Bland design
- Only 64GB of built-in storage
Tip: Once you get your new phone, you can install these Android home screen widgets to improve your user experience.
2. Best Design: OnePlus Nord N20
The OnePlus Nord N20 is a “flagship killer” with a design that sets it apart from others in its price range. The Nord N20 has a plastic build, but it doesn’t feel cheap. Instead, its sleek, matte finish and super thin body help this budget device masquerade as a much more expensive handset.
The N20 utilizes a Snapdragon 695 chipset, a mid-range processor to keep costs down. Paired with 6GB of RAM, this makes for a smooth experience. Although these specs are still a far cry from the company’s motto, “Never Settle,” it is in line with other devices in this price range.
However, the real standout feature of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G is the 6.4-inch AMOLED screen. The display offers excellent color production and viewing angles. That said, OnePlus has opted for only a 60Hz refresh rate, which is slightly below some other models on this list.
- Sleek design
- 128GB storage
- AMOLED 1080p display
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- 33W Fast Charging
- 5G compatible
- 64MP rear camera + 16MP front camera
- Only one year of updates and support
- Utilizes a mid-range processor
- Exclusive OxygenOS may not include all Android features
FYI: If your Android phone frequently shuts down because it gets too hot, these Android overheating fixes may help.
3. Best Battery Life: Motorola Moto G 5G
With the, you can forget about lugging around a power bank and charging cable when you head out the door. This is thanks to the touted 3-day battery life. Of course, whether or not you achieve that length of time before plugging in will depend on what you’re doing. That said, the length of time between charges is impressive.
Unfortunately, the design of the phone is rather uninspired. It is a standard bar phone with a punch-hole selfie camera and a chunkier chin bezel. That said, the 48MP main rear camera can capture more-than-decent photos. Also, the Moto G 5G includes a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot, both of which are rare these days.
Performance is snappy thanks to a Snapdragon 480+ 5G processor. The screen is also no slouch, boasting a full 1080p, 6.5-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
- 5000mAh battery with incredible battery life
- Bright display with 120Hz refresh rate
- 48MP rear camera
- Dolby Atmos and stereo speakers
- 5G connectivity
- Design is nothing to call home about
- Front camera is just okay
Also Helpful: If your Android battery isn’t lasting all day, a small power bank may help you recharge your device.
4. Best Stylus: Motorola Moto G Stylus (2022)
The Moto G Stylus from Motorola is an interesting device. Although most phones with a built-in stylus are marketed toward a particular type of consumer, that’s not the case with the Moto G Stylus. It can be yours for under $200, much cheaper than other phones with a stylus.
Stylus aside, there is a lot of phone to like with the Moto G Stylus. The screen is a massive 6.8 inches, giving the stylus more than enough real estate. The 1080p display offers an impressive 90Hz refresh rate. However, things can be a bit dim due to the 550-nit screen brightness. You’ll likely find yourself jacking up the brightness in sunny conditions, but thanks to a 5,000 mAh battery, you don’t need to worry about getting through the day on a single charge.
Under the hood is a capable MediaTek Helio G88 processor with 6GB of RAM. This combo provides a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, the Moto G Stylus doesn’t support 5G, just 3G and 4G. As a result, the Moto G Stylus isn’t the latest or the greatest, but with solid performance and stylus functionality, it’s certainly worth a look.
- Under $200
- 128 GB storage
- Stylus apps are functional and fun
- Large, 6.8-inch screen
- 50MP rear camera
- Impressive battery life
- Camera produces well-balanced images
- Android 10 is outdated
- Not the brightest screen
- No 5G connectivity
Good to Know: Android offers numerous launchers for visually impaired individuals to make using the phone easier.
5. Best Camera: Samsung A03s
In a world where flagship Android devices can easily reach the $1,000 mark, it’s important to understand who theis for. This is not a phone for a power user or someone who needs the latest features. Instead, this device is aimed squarely at people who need to do basic tasks. That being said, the device is an excellent option for those who want a budget Android phone with a good camera.
The Samsung Galaxy A03s gives users a multi-lens camera that works well for capturing all of life’s moments. The rear cameras include a 13MP main camera, a 2MP depth camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The depth camera lets you adjust the depth of field and fine tune the background, while the macro camera focuses on finer details of the subject.
As the most affordable Samsung offering, the A03s opts for budget internals. the MediaTek P35 processor and bare-minimum 3Gb of RAM is just enough for basic tasks. Furthermore, things can get cramped fast with only 32GB of internal storage. Thankfully there’s a microSD card slot that can support up to 1TB of extra storage space. Overall, the Samsung A03s is good value, provided you keep your expectations in check.
- 3-camera set up for rear camera
- Expandable to 1TB of storage space
- Long-term software support
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Durable build quality
- 5000 mAh battery with 15W fast charging
- Sluggish performance
- Only 720p screen
- No 5G connectivity
Good to know: For seniors, there are also a wide range of Android phones for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a 5G phone necessary to make phone calls?
5G is the latest cellular technology, but it isn’t the only connection supported by current cell phone providers. A 4G or 4G LTE phone can still work with most providers. That being said, if you can afford a 5G device, you should consider it.
Does the version of Android a phone has installed matter?
When you are actively using a phone, you want something that has an operating system that’s supported by the developer. Typically, Google supports the current version of Android along with the two previous versions. In other words, if you buy a phone with an outdated version of Android, it will work, but it won’t be fully supported or have updates available. This can impact your phone security and functionality with certain applications.
What is an "unlocked" phone?
An unlocked phone is exactly what it sounds like: a phone without restrictions. Most handsets, whether iPhone or Android, are often locked to a particular carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc). These phones have software installed that prevents them from operating on a different carrier. Therefore, purchasing a locked phone from T-Mobile will only work with a T-Mobile SIM card.
The advantage of a locked phone is that a consumer can enter into a contract with a carrier to get a heavily subsidized phone. However, these plans are often lengthy and can be expensive over time. Therefore buying an unlocked device means using it with any mobile network. This can significantly reduce your monthly bill and affords more flexibility as you can switch carriers anytime.
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