Cheap is a relative term. It means different things to different 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 $400 and going all the way down to as low as $100.
That way, most people will be able to 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.
We recommend unlocked phones in this guide. When a phone is sold as “unlocked,” it means the phone can be used on multiple wireless carriers/networks.
When you buy a phone directly from your wireless carrier, usually on a payment plan, it often comes locked to that network.
Carriers are legally required to unlock a phone upon request so you can switch networks, but it’s a big hassle.
Try to pay full price for your phone, or make sure it specifically says it’s unlocked.
If you feel it’s too expensive to buy outright, that’s a good sign you should find a cheaper model, buy it from the manufacturer directly.
Maybe, rather investigate your carrier’s policies for unlocking phones if they’re bought on a payment plan that requires you to use their network.
Best Cheap or Low Budget Android Phones
1. OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro complete’s the Chinese maker’s ascension to the very top table of smartphone makers, with this handset blowing the competition away with a complete package of top hardware, superb software, and an attractive and premium design.
The Star of the show, though, is the OnePlus 8 Pro’s best-screen-ever-seen-on-a-smartphone 120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+ display, which manages to outpunch even the best panels from Samsung, Sony, and Huawei.
Where other phones have managed to deliver one or two of that holy trinity of screen technologies, here the 8 Pro does them all at once and, remarkably, does so while also delivering a good battery life.
Internally the mixture of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 CPU, Adreno 650 GPU, 12GB RAM, and 256GB of UFS3.0 storage means the OnePlus 8 Pro absolutely smokes any game or application you throw at it, with even the most graphically intensive titles running as if they were on steroids.
2. Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is an affordable sibling of the Galaxy S10 and has fewer features to shave off cost.
What does the S10e miss out on? Mainly, a telephoto lens, a higher-resolution display, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor.
But for most users, a Full HD+ (2280 x 1080) screen will work just fine, and the smaller 5.8-inch display means this phone fits more comfortably in hand.
The side-mounted physical fingerprint sensor-and-lock-button is large and generally more accurate than in-screen ones, anyway.
You may not miss the rear telephoto, either, given how many use cases are covered by the main and ultra-wide cameras.
With wireless charging (and reverse wireless charging), the S10e still has most of the top flagship features anyway.
The S10e had its price dropped to $599, but you can find it for $549 or even cheaper at certain retailers.
If you want a larger affordable Samsung flagship, try the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite with its 6.7-inch display – but it might not be as available or as cheap as the S10e.
3. Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is different from the flagship Galaxy S20 Samsung debuted earlier in 2020, but it’s the better and also low budget phone because it’s $300 cheaper.
You lose extras like 8K video recording and 12 gigabytes of RAM, but those features are overkill anyway.
And while the Fan Edition (FE) doesn’t have the more premium-feeling glass back, a plastic body makes it the more durable phone.
You still get the same great performance, wireless charging, water resistance, a 120-Hz screen, and day-long battery life.
The screen is bigger at 6.5 inches with larger bezels, and it doesn’t get as bright or offer as many colors as the panel on the S20.
It’s still excellent. The cameras aren’t exactly the same either, but the photos coming out of this phone are so similar, you won’t miss much.
OnePlus first made its name by offering very good phone specs at very good prices, so it’s fitting that it’s now back in that groove with the OnePlus Nord.
While OnePlus phones have slowly gotten more expensive over the years, the Nord goes the other way and is a fantastic mid-ranger.
Starting at just £379 in the UK, you get a powerful Snapdragon 765G processor, at least 8GB of RAM, at least 128GB of storage, and 5G thrown in as well.
That’s not to mention the sharp, bright 6.44-inch display which zips along thanks to its 90Hz refresh rate – everything on this screen looks stunning.
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