best budget smartphone with good battery life

These are some of the best budget smartphone with good battery life models in 2020, all of which will get you through even the lengthiest long-haul flight without breaking a sweat.

Whether you’re on a budget, need something that can handle bad weather and hard pavements, or are after a premium phone that doesn’t compromise on longevity, we’ve got you covered with our best battery life phone 2020 below.

Best Budget Smartphone With Good Battery Life

Best Overall: Motorola Moto G Power

Best Overall: Motorola Moto G Power

  • Screen: 6.4-inch LED
  • Storage: 64GB + micro-SD slot
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Battery: 5000mAh
  • Dual SIM?: No (USA) / Yes (International)
  • Runs On: Android

$249.99Buy on Amazon Last updated: 2020-08-04 at 05:18

Best from a Big Brand: Samsung Galaxy A51

Best from a Big Brand: Samsung Galaxy A51

  • Screen: 6.5-inch AMOLED
  • Storage: 128GB + micro-SD slot
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Battery: 4000mAh
  • Dual SIM?: No (USA) / Yes (International)
  • Runs On: Android

$507.99Buy on Amazon Last updated: 2020-08-03 at 22:48Sale

Best From a Flagship Phone: Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Best From a Flagship Phone: Huawei Mate 10 Pro

  • Screen: 6-inch OLED
  • Storage: 128GB + micro-SD slot
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Battery: 4000mAh
  • Dual SIM?: No
  • Runs On: Android

$799.99 $444.00Buy on Amazon Last updated: 2020-08-03 at 22:48

Best for Value: UMIDIGI Power 3

Best for Value: UMIDIGI Power 3

  • Screen: 6.5-inch LED
  • Storage: 64GB + micro-SD slot
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Battery: 6150mAh
  • Dual SIM?: Yes
  • Runs On: Android

Buy on Amazon Last updated: 2020-08-04 at 03:19Sale

Best for Handling Whatever You Throw at It: Cat S41

Best for Handling Whatever You Throw at It: Cat S41

  • Screen: 5-inch LED
  • Storage: 32GB + micro-SD slot
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Battery: 5000mAh
  • Dual SIM?: No
  • Runs On: Android

$449.99 $379.99Buy on Amazon 

best battery life phone 2020

Best Overall: Motorola Moto G Power

Moto G Power | 3-Day Battery1 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 4/64GB | 16MP Camera | 2020 | Black

The Motorola Moto G7 is our top budget smartphone pick overall, but when it comes to battery life, it’s the even-cheaper Moto G Power that takes the crown.

Known as the G8 Power outside the United States, its 5000mAh battery is as large as you’ll find in any mainstream smartphone in 20202. You should get at least two full days of use out of this device, sometimes more. That’s better than anything else worth owning at this price.

The phone’s Snapdragon 665 chipset is a solid mid-range performer. Paired with the phone’s 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, you’ve got an impressive, inexpensive device that’s well-suited to the demands of travel.

There’s a headphone jack, and a micro-SD slot that lets you add up to 512GB of additional storage. Reasonably-fast USB-C charging is also available via the included 10W charger, and there’s a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone.

There’s no official water resistance rating, though, although a special coating does at least provide some protection against rain and splashes. The phone is also a bit on the heavy and chunky side, although the design is noticeably improved from previous models.

The camera is also a big improvement over earlier versions of the Power, producing shots you’ll be happy with most of the time in good lighting conditions. Low-light photos aren’t great, though, not helped by the lack of a dedicated night mode.

Overall, this is a surprisingly good phone for the money, even if you weren’t getting 2+ days use out of each charge. Add that to the mix, and you’ve got our top overall phone with long battery life in 2020.Pros

  • Low price
  • Good mid-range performance
  • Headphone jack
  • Fast charging
  • Good photos in daylight

Cons

  • Camera struggles in low light
  • No official water resistance
  • A bit heavy

Buy on Amazon

Best From a Big Brand: Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung Galaxy A51 with Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds, Black - US Version with Warranty

Looking for the comfort of buying from a major global brand, but still want a phone with great battery life? Take a look at the Samsung Galaxy A51. The Galaxy A series brings some of the best bits of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S range to lower-cost devices, and the A51 is the perfect example.

You’ll get a mid-range Exynos 9611 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. If you manage to fill that up, there’s a microSD slot for adding more. The 6.5″ display is big and bright, but even so, the 4000mAh battery should easily last into a second day unless you’re pushing it very hard.

When it comes time to charge back up, the 15W fast charger that comes in the box speeds things up significantly. Samsung has resisted the temptation to eliminate the headphone jack, but don’t expect water resistance or wireless charging.

The cameras are one of the big selling points of the A51, with a four-camera 48MP array on the back, and a 32MP selfie camera on the front. You won’t get shots as good as on the Galaxy S models despite those impressive specifications, but they’re still pretty good in well-lit conditions.

With the A51, you’ll get the latest version of Android (10), in an attractive device that comes in a range of striking colors. Throw in long battery life and for a limited time, a free pair of Galaxy Buds wireless earbuds, and Samsung’s onto a winner here.Pros

  • Plenty of storage
  • Headphone jack
  • Confidence of buying from a major brand
  • Ships with the latest Android version

Cons

  • Camera struggles in low light
  • Processor not the fastest
  • No wireless charging or water resistance

Buy on Amazon

Best From a Flagship Phone: Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Unlocked Phone, 6' 6GB/128GB, AI Processor, Dual Leica Camera, Water Resistant IP67, GSM Only - Titanium Gray (US Warranty)

Want exceptional battery life, but don’t want to compromise to get it? Buy the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. This device has all the hardware you’d expect from a quality smartphone in 2020, including a powerful Kirin 970 chipset, vibrant 6″ display, and one of the best dual-camera setups out there.

It comes in two varieties, with either 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB/128GB. The phone is water and dust-resistant, with a stylish metal and glass design.

That Kirin 970 chipset is quite efficient, and when coupled with the large 4000mAh battery and smart AI features that tweak apps based on your usage, you end up with a device that lasts a long time between charges.

You’ll easily get two days of normal usage out of it, and it’ll get back up to nearly 60% after just half an hour on the included charger. That’s impressive for a powerful, feature-packed flagship phone like this.

This was one of Huawei’s flagship devices, but since it’s now an older model, pricing has dropped to be in line with many mid-range Android phones.

If you’re in the market for an attractive, well-performing smartphone that’ll get you through the day and then some, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro should be right near the top of your list.Pros

  • Fast charging
  • Impressive camera
  • Good performance
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Now an older model
  • Still more expensive than other models on this list despite price drops

Buy on Amazon

Best for Value: UMIDIGI Power 3

UMIDIGI Power 3 6150mAh Monster Battery Unlock Cell Phone, 48MP Ultra Wide Macro Quad Camera, 6.53' FHD+ Android 10 Mobile 4G+64GB Phone 2 + 1 Card Slots, 18W Fast Charging(Support Reverse), Green

If you’ve never heard of Umidigi, you’d be forgiven: this Chinese brand isn’t exactly a household name in the smartphone world. It’s been around for nearly a decade, though, and if you’re looking for a great-value phone with impressive battery life, the company’s latest Power 3 model is a great place to start.

The Power 3 ships with a decent MediaTek P60 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. You’ll get two nano SIM slots, plus a microSD slot for adding extra storage space if you need it. There’s also a headphone jack, and of course, that huge 6150mAh battery.

There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back, and like the Galaxy A51 above, there’s a 48MP quad rear camera array and a 32MP front sensor. Also like the A51, photo quality is fine in good lighting, less so at other times.

The display is a big, vibrant 6.5″ Full HD+ model, which ships with a pre-installed screen protector to help keep the scratches at bay. An 18W fast charger comes in the box, so it won’t take long to charge back up again when you do eventually manage to drain the battery.

Shipping with Android 10 and available in either green or grey, you get plenty for your money with the Umidigi Power 3. With solid specifications, a huge battery, and the latest software, it’s our top value pick for anyone looking for a phone that won’t be dead by the end of a long travel day.Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Ships with latest Android version
  • Fast charging
  • Headphone jack
  • Huge battery

Cons

  • Camera quality isn’t great in low light despite the specifications
  • No wireless charging
  • No official water resistance

Buy on Amazon

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Best for Handling Whatever You Throw at It: Cat S41

CAT PHONES S41 Unlocked Rugged Waterproof Smartphone, Network Certified (GSM), U.S. Optimized (Single Sim) with 2-year Warranty Including 2 Year Screen Replacement

If you want a phone that can deal with all the rigors of travel, and doesn’t need charging every night after doing so, check out the Cat S41.

It’s not slim or lightweight, and it won’t be winning fashion awards any time soon either. Instead, it’s a seriously rugged smartphone that’ll handle anything from drops to drowning, and come back for more.

With 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (plus a micro-SD slot for adding more,) and a bright 5″ display, the basic specs are about what you’d expect. The IP68 rating, though, means it can handle being submerged under six feet of water for an hour, or a drop from head height onto concrete.

Thanks to the 5000mAh battery, coupled with that relatively small screen and mid-range processor, the phone lasts nearly 16 hours on rundown tests and two days in the real world. It has fast charging built-in, and you can even use it to power up other devices, with a threshold to ensure it still has enough juice left for itself.

The downside of this phone is its camera. Unless you’ll only be shooting in bright, sunny conditions, you’ll want to take most of your photos with something else. For the money, Cat really should have done better with this.

Still, if you’re not bothered by the poor photos, and know you’ll be heading to places where conditions are rough and charging sockets are few, you could do a lot worse than the Cat S41.Pros

  • Very robust
  • Fast charging
  • Can be used to charge up other devices

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Low specifications for a smartphone in 2020
  • Poor camera

To make this advice as universal as possible, we’ve stopped short of recommending particular phones, but you should be able to use the guidelines below to make an informed choice about whatever handsets are currently on the market.

iOS vs. Android

For some, the software platform their new phone runs on is the be-all and end-all of their phone choice. For others, it barely matters. There may have been significant differences years ago, but today, iOS and Android are more similar than ever. After all, they’ve been borrowing features from each other for years.

Most of your favorite apps, from Facebook to Spotify, will run just fine on both. And they each offer the same fundamental features that let you do everything you would want on a modern-day smartphone.ADVERTISEMENT

That said, Android remains the more customizable mobile operating system. If you want to, you can change small things like the default texting app or browser, or go all-out by revamping every icon and widget to create a truly personalized interface. Apps can also hook into deeper parts of the phone and take more control over it.

One example of this is screen recorder apps, of which there are several for Android. Apart from Apple’s own built-in tool, you won’t find any such apps on iOS—they just don’t have the necessary access to capture what’s on screen. Every app is built on a series of permissions—to see your location, to use your phone’s microphone, and so on—and being able to record what’s on screen while other apps are running is something Apple doesn’t allow iOS apps to request.

iOS phones
Apple’s iOS is more polished but more restrictive than Android.Apple

For better or worse, Apple’s iOS is more limiting in what it lets apps and users do on iPhones. Its fans would say that makes for a smoother experience, while its detractors would say it’s too restrictive. For instance, you can install Outlook and Gmail on an iPhone, but when you tap on a contact to send an email, the app that actually opens will always be Apple Mail.ADVERTISEMENThttps://a9e3640caca8fedc22e8f823d0b65505.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

iPhones are also designed to work primarily with other Apple gear, such as MacBooks and the Apple Watch. But, you can still easily sync your phone with iTunes on Windows or use it without a computer at all. To choose between Android and iPhone, you must also think about the other apps and platforms you use.

Despite some of the debates you might read online, Android and iOS are pretty much neck-and-neck in terms of performance and features. Each has its own feel and way of working, though. So if you’re already on one platform or the other, try grabbing a friend’s phone for 10 minutes to see what the other side looks like.

Decide whether to stay with what you have, or change it up

Unless you’re only just old enough to be getting your first phone, picking between Android and iOS is less about comparing the two and more about considering whether it’s worth the effort to switch. It’s no wonder Apple and Google want to lock users into their apps and services as tightly as possible.ADVERTISEMENThttps://a9e3640caca8fedc22e8f823d0b65505.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

If you’re heavily invested in the Google ecosystem (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, and so on), switching between Android and iOS is pretty straightforward, whichever direction you’re going, because all Google’s apps are available on both platforms. Just install the Google apps on your new phone, and away you go.

If you’ve already spent a long time on Apple’s side of the fence, however, moving over to Android can be a real headache. You’ll need to extract yourself from iMessage, for instance, and none of the movies or shows you’ve bought on iTunes will work on Android—to watch them, you’ll need to use iTunes on a computer, an iPad, or an Apple TV.

Three Google Pixel phones in black, gray, and white
Google develops both flagship and mid-range Pixel phones. They’re not priced by color, though.Google

To be clear, it’s not impossible to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone, but it can be difficult if you aren’t already using a lot of Google services on your Apple device. It largely depends how tightly you are tied into Apple’s various services, such as iCloud and Apple Mail, as you don’t get these apps on Android. The one major Apple app you do get on Google’s platform, however, is Apple Music.ADVERTISEMENT

If you’re upgrading from an existing phone, the easiest decision is often to just stick to what you know. The process will be quicker, and both iOS and Android let you set up a new phone from an old one, which means you can painlessly transfer a lot of your stuff over to your new handset.

That said, we’d also recommend checking out what the other side can offer, in case some new feature or function catches your eye, or you just prefer the interface. It might be worth your while to switch to an iPhone if you’ve just bought a MacBook and an Apple TV, or to move to Android if you notice you’re mostly using Google apps on your iPhone.

Both Apple and Google want to encourage you to come to their side of the fence, of course. Apple has a Move to iOS app for Android, while Google hosts a Switch to Android site that shows you how to move a lot of your stuff over with the help of Google Drive. Both cover photos, contacts, and calendar entries.

Check the specs

Smartphone specifications are broadly similar to computer specs: The processor controls how fast the phone can “think,” the RAM (random access memory) determines how much the phone can think about at once, and the storage space is how much room it provides for your apps, music, games, and other files. With the rise of cloud-based streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, though, storage space isn’t as important as it once was.

On top of that, you have the screen size and resolution. These affect the sharpness of images and text on screen, as well as how easy the phone is to hold in one hand. Options for the small-handed are dwindling, as the trend seems to be for bigger and bigger screens, pushing phones closer to tablet territory. Still, there are ways to use these larger phones with one hand if you really need to.

But unless you’re going to the very low-budget end of the market, or the ultra-premium high-end, smartphone specs don’t matter too much—much less than they do on your laptop. Any modern phone can run Facebook and Instagram, and you don’t need to break the bank for the latest hardware unless you want top-end games and intensive apps like video editors to run at top speed.

a person holding a Samsung Galaxy phone
Samsung’s Galaxy phones run the gamut from mid-range to premium pricing.Samsung

Other details to look out for are waterproofing and dust protection, and whether the phone accepts a memory card for expanding its on-board storage (some Android handsets do, but iPhones don’t). Another perk is wireless charging, which a lot of phones now offer for extra convenience.

One of the most important specs for any smartphone buyer is camera quality, which is usually listed in terms of megapixels (the size of the pictures) and aperture size or f-number (how much light the sensor lets in). More megapixels and a lower f-number usually means better pictures, but many factors combine to determine the quality of a smartphone camera.

Most phones now come with multiple camera lenses you can use to create single shots. Look out for the level of optical zoom (for getting closer to subjects), any mention of a wide-angle lens (for fitting more in the frame), and special camera modes for certain situations (like low light). When weighing your camera decision, you should also check out professional reviews, user reviews, and sample photos online.

Finally, battery life is another important consideration. Phone battery size is measured in milliampere hours (mAh), with a higher number meaning more juice. But many other factors, like the screen size and resolution, will affect how quickly that runs out. Again, check out online reviews and take the manufacturer’s quoted battery life with a pinch of salt.

Pick the right price

Perhaps the most important consideration for many of us is price. One quick way of narrowing down your choices for a new phone is to just set your budget and see what’s available in your price range.

Android phones have a lot more price points than iPhones do. In addition to their expensive flagship phones, most of the major Android manufacturers also offer decent mid-range versions for those on a tighter budget or with less demanding needs. That said, Apple has now settled into a routine of launching three iPhones per year, with older ones staying on sale at lower prices.

For the most part, phones that cost a few hundred dollars will serve you just as well as those that approach four figures, but you might have to sacrifice some screen resolution, camera quality, or app loading speed. For the phones on your shortlist, check out a few professional online reviews to gauge whether or not you’re getting the right value for your money.

four OnePlus phones
Chinese firm OnePlus has made a name for itself by offering flagship phones at more affordable prices.OnePlus

Don’t forget the refurbished or second-hand options, either. Sure, you’re getting a handset that might be a little bit worn, but these devices will usually work just as well as brand-new ones, and the savings can be substantial. Make sure you buy from a reputable source and look for extras, like warranties, for your revamped gear.

Older phones are an option here, too—when new handsets arrive, the previous generation drops in price, even though they’re still quite capable. Shop around for flagship phones from the last 12-18 months, and you might be surprised to see what you can pick up on a budget.

If you are going for phones that haven’t just been launched, it’s a good idea to check what version of Android or iOS the handset is capable of running—the newer the better in terms of device stability, compatibility, and security.

Make your move at the right time

Last, but not least, you should consider the time of year when you plan to buy. Otherwise, your shiny new phone could be replaced within a few weeks. Apple usually launches new iPhones in September, and Google’s Pixels follow soon after. Most other manufacturers refresh their phones around February or March, though this can vary.

So if you’ve got your eye on a particular phone, check when it launched. If it’s coming up on its one-year anniversary, you might be better off waiting for the next version. You don’t have to do too much digging on the web to work out which phones are rumored to be launching within the next few months.

Buying around the time a new phone launches is a good strategy—you can spend big to get the latest and greatest, or you can take advantage of the sudden price drops that will inevitably be applied to the phones that just got replaced.

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