The Best Budget Android Phones

It wasn’t long ago that purchasing a low-cost smartphone meant you were in for a horrible time: poor performance, limited update support, and maybe even Micro-USB charging. Not so much these days. Some of the greatest affordable Android phones cost less than $200 and perform similarly to the top Android flagship phones. This article has put together a list of six of the favorite low-cost Android smartphones. 

  1. Google Pixel 6a

At $450, Google’s new Pixel 6a checks many boxes. It’s the quickest phone on this list, with the same Tensor processor as drives the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and six GB of RAM. While it lacks the Pixel 6’s large 50-megapixel primary camera sensor (the 6a uses the same sensor as the Pixel 5 and 5a), it nevertheless produces excellent images. Google has a wealth of experience with camera technology, and it shows. It also has Google’s proprietary version of Android and will receive security upgrades for the next five years.

Despite being the newest member of the Pixel family, it has been priced as cheap as $370 in its first month. With early sales already stacking up, anticipate this phone to be heavily discounted.

  1. Samsung Galaxy A53

In many aspects, the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is a fantastic follow-up to the Galaxy A52 5G. It has an Exynos CPU rather than last year’s mid-range Snapdragon 750G processor, and it does not have the 3.5-millimeter headphone port — but everything else is the same. This has a 120Hz OLED display with an under-display fingerprint sensor and a good camera array that includes a 64-megapixel primary camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. 

The A53 is nearly identical to last year’s A52 5G, which it replaces on this list. The odd thing is that, while the A52 5G costs $500, the A53 costs $50 less at $450. It will also receive four years of OS upgrades and five years of security fixes, ensuring that it remains current and safe until 2027. That’s incredible for a mid-range Android phone and far superior to Google’s update commitment for the similarly cost Pixel 5a.

  1. Samsung Galaxy A03s

As a result, the Galaxy A03s isn’t all that different from the Galaxy A02s that came before it. It still has the same 720p LCD at 60Hz, the same set of not-very-good cameras, and it still runs Android 11. However, there are a few major variances.

Specifically, whereas the Galaxy A02s lacked a fingerprint sensor, the A03s incorporates one inside its power button, making it easier to unlock the phone. It also comes with three gigabytes of RAM. That’s still not much, but it’s a significant increase over the two gigabytes in the A02s. Samsung also shifted from a low-end Snapdragon processor to a low-end MediaTek chipset. That won’t affect performance significantly. Samsung is still offering four years of quarterly security upgrades from the phone’s introduction in the United States, which means it should be secure until 2026.

If you currently own an A02, the A03s are unlikely to be worth upgrading. It costs $160, which is $30 more than the A02s — the main change is the addition of a fingerprint sensor. However, if you’re upgrading from an older phone, that distinction may be enough to justify purchasing the A03s over its predecessor.

  1. OnePlus N20 5G

OnePlus may have recently lost some favor with Android purists, but the firm still delivers a decent, affordable phone. The Nord N20 5G costs $299, but its Snapdragon 695 CPU, and six gigabytes of RAM provide enough performance. The battery life is incredible. It has an IP52 classification, which means it can withstand light rain and charges up to 33 watts with the provided charger. It also boasts an eye-catching look for a low-cost smartphone.

The phone is officially only completely compatible with T-Mobile; it is not approved for 5G on AT&T or any service at all on Verizon. However, the N20 is an excellent choice if you’re on T-Mobile.

  1. Samsung Galaxy A13 5G

For $250, Samsung’s Galaxy A13 5G has a lot to offer. Its performance is excellent for the budget, thanks to its MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, and its primary camera is quite enough (in decent light, anyway). Like many of its phones, Samsung guarantees security upgrades for four years. However, it feels as cheap as it is, and its 90Hz display is highly unappealing. However, given how inexpensive it is, such problems are easily overlooked.

Prospective Galaxy A13 purchasers should look closely at the newly announced Galaxy A23 5G. It costs only $50 more than this model and has a better CPU and a 120Hz FHD display. We won’t be able to give it a complete endorsement until we get our hands on one, but if it lives up to the promise of Samsung’s A-series of phones, it should be a viable rival.

  1. Moto G Stylus 

The Moto G Stylus stands out among inexpensive phones because its stylus tucks inside the smartphone like a Galaxy Note. It also has respectable speed with a MediaTek CPU and six gigabytes of RAM, a smooth, 90Hz display, and excellent battery life – we experienced more than two full days between charges in our evaluation. Unfortunately, the cameras aren’t excellent, particularly the selfie shooter, which has an obnoxious beauty filter on the OS. It also charges excruciatingly slowly at 10 watts, so charge it overnight. However, the Moto G Stylus is worth a look if you want a cheap phone with a solid stylus experience. 

Final Thought

If you’re looking for a low-cost smartphone, you won’t find many that are as good as the Galaxy A03s. It checks all the necessary smartphone boxes at $160. Moreover, you can buy used phones, which also can be found at a reasonable price and help you to save money. 


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