best smartphone for 150 dollars

It may seem like your choices are slim to none if you’re looking for a reliable phone for $150 or less. But there are a few budget smartphone options available that we wholeheartedly recommend. Let’s check out the Best Smartphone For 150 Dollars and best unlocked phones under 150 2020 models below.

best unlocked phones under 150 2020

best smartphone for 150 dollars

1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 (Released: September 2019)


Display: 6.3 inches; 1080 x 2340 pixels (409 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie); MIUI 11
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: Quad-camera: 48 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; 8 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro), 1/5.0″, 1.75µm; 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
CPU: Qualcomm SDM665 Snapdragon 665 (11 nm); Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver)
Battery:  Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery

Price: USD 149.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

Xiaomi is a popular Chinese brand for releasing phones that have better specs at a lower price. An example of this is the Pocophone F1 smartphone that I got in 2018 which packs the same processing power (CPU and RAM) but costs almost four times less than the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 that was released in the same year.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 8, on the other hand, has a mid-range CPU. The display sharpness (409 PPI) is very close to the display sharpness of $800+ smartphones.

For less than $150, you can get a 64GB internal storage. This is twice the storage size of most of the phones on this list. It also has a 4GB RAM which is the largest on the list.

Another amazing feature of this smartphone is the Quad-camera.

It has a wide-angle lens, primary lens, depth lens, and macro lens.

The primary lens is 48MP with an aperture size of f/1.8. That’s a very high resolution and large aperture size compared to the camera of the other phones on the list. The large aperture size allows more light to come in when you take a picture so that the photo quality is better even during nighttime.

The wide-angle lens allows you to capture wider images which is perfect for capturing photos of sceneries while traveling. The depth lens or sensor gives a shallow depth of field effect so that your captured images will not be just plain 2D photos. The macro lens will let you capture photos of small objects with great detail.

The battery capacity is also big. It can run up to 14 hours of video playback. It also supports 18W fast charging using a Type-C USB port.

The package comes with the unit, Power adapter (10W), USB Type-C cable, Soft Case, User Guide, and Warranty Card.

Although this phone is unlocked, you must know the list of network bands supported by this phone. The following is the list of network bands:

  • HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
  • LTE B1 (2100) B2 (1900 PCS) B3 (1800 +) B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1) B5 (850) B7 (2600) B8 (900) B20 (800 DD) B28 (700 APT) B38 (TD 2600) B40 (TD 2300)

You must check with your preferred carrier first if they support these bands before getting this phone.

The best cheap smartphones of 2020 - reviewed | Stuff

2. Xiaomi Redmi 7 (Released: 2019)


Display: 6.26 inches; 720 x 1520 pixels (269 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 Pie, upgradable to Android 10.0; MIUI 11
RAM: 3 GB
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 12 MP, f/2.2, 1/2.9″, 1.25µm, PDAF + 2 MP, 1/5.0″, 1.75µm, depth sensor
CPU: Qualcomm SDM632 Snapdragon 632 (14 nm); Octa-core (4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Silver)
Battery:  Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery

Price: USD 149.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

At less than $150, the Xiaomi Redmi 7 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6X series CPU which is the mid-range range series of Qualcomm Snapdragon. That’s very fast enough and the fastest you can get in this price range unless you want to spend more money on high-end phones. The next faster CPU to this is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8X series which is usually found in over $800 phones.

It has a dual-camera and a huge battery capacity.

What you will also like about this phone is that you can read over 1,300 comments on Amazon from its two product pages to verify that this phone really performs well and that it’s above other phones in terms of specs in the “under $150” budget range.

If you have two SIM cards as I do, you can utilize the Dual SIM slots of this phone. You can also expand the storage using a MicroSD up to 512 GB. The Micro SD has a dedicated slot so that means you have 2 slots for SIM cards and the third slot for MicroSD. Please take note of the network bands of this phone before purchasing it.

Inside the box, you can find the unit, one micro USB cable, one charger, one transparent back cover, and a user manual. The transparent back cover is glossy and gives a nice look to the phone. It definitely looks very nice with the back cover on. You will also have a good grip if you use it because the phone’s back is made of hard plastic and too smooth like most phones. There is no headphone that comes with the box which I think is okay given the affordable price.

The following is the list of network bands supported by this phone. You have to check with your preferred carrier if they support it before getting this one.

  • 2G GSM B2/3/5/8
  • 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
  • 4G LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 28(700), 38(2600), 40(2300)

3. Motorola Moto G7 Play (Released: 2019)


Display: 5.7 inches; 720 x 1512 pixels, 19:9 ratio (294 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, 1/3.1″, 1.12µm, PDAF
CPU: Qualcomm SDM632 Snapdragon 632 (14 nm); Octa-core (4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Silver)
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery

Price: USD 149.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

Motorola Moto G7 Play is one of my favorites on the list. The specs and price point of this smartphone feels like getting more than what you paid for. At less than $150, it has the same mid-range processor as the Xiaomi Redmi 7.

Imagine the size of the iPhone 8 Plus, that’s almost the same size as the display of this smartphone. The battery capacity is big enough to last very long. When trying to compare the battery capacity of phones, you should also check the display size.

If you find this phone having less battery capacity than Xiaomi Redmi 7, it’s because it has a smaller display. The larger the display, the more it needs the energy to light up those additional pixels.

On Amazon, you can read up to 300 reviews of this phone to confirm if it will really work well to meet your needs. The box comes with one Type-C USB cable, a 5W charger, and the unit. There is no headphone and protective case but the price justifies that.

This phone is not compatible with CDMA carriers like Verizon but it’s compatible with all GSM carriers.

4. Huawei Honor 8A (Released: 2019)


Display: 6.09 inches; 1560p x 720p (283 PPI); IPS
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 8 MP
CPU: MediaTek Helio P35 MT6765; Octa-Core (4×2.3 GHz + 4×1.8 GHz)
Battery: Non-removable 3,020mAh

Price: USD 125

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

Huawei is a very trusted brand given that it has been competing with Apple for second place in terms of global market share in 2019. In the 3rd quarter of 2019, Huawei even surpassed Apple’s global market share.

In terms of CPU speed of this phone, it can closely compete with other mid-range processors like the Snapdragon 6XX series under the $150 budget range. A mid-range processor in a phone with a brand that has a big market share at less than $150 is amazing.

You can also insert two SIM cards and one MicroSD up to 512 GB in a third slot. Huawei boasts about its very narrow borders for a huge screen-to-body ratio. I agree. It looks amazing just like most of the latest phones today.

The box comes with a micro USB cable, a power adapter, and the unit. No headphones and back case included which is fine.

The following are the network bands of this phone.

  • 3G: B1/B2/B4/B5/B8
  • 2G: B2/B3/B5/B8
  • 4G: LTE B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B28/B38/B41

You must check with your preferred carrier first if they support these bands before getting this phone.

5. BLU Vivo X5 – (Released: September 2019)


Display: 5.7 inches; 720 x 1440 pixels (282 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 3 GB
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: 13 MP
CPU: Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55
Battery: Removable Li-Po 2800 mAh

Price: USD 99.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

BLU (Bold Like Us) is also one of my favorite brands. The brand is American and they have really really cheap smartphones that have specs that can be found in more expensive brands.

The Blu Vivo X5 is one of their most recently released smartphones. Despite the very low price, it has a very decent low-range processor and a larger RAM and internal storage compared to the other phones on the list. You can also insert a microSD card up to 64 GB to expand the storage.

The phone is also Dual-SIM so it has two SIM card slots.

The box comes with the phone unit, a power adapter, micro USB cable, earphones, 2800 mAh battery, clear silicon case, a plastic screen protector, a glass screen protector. That’s a lot of accessories compared to the other phones on the list.

You can remove the back cover and insert the battery that comes with the box.

Smartphone battery life becomes shorter after years of using the phone. What is awesome about the BLU Vivo X5 is that you can just buy a battery replacement anytime on Amazon.

You will also like the leatherback design which is unusual to find in smartphones, but it’s amazing because of the nicer looks and texture. The leather also has stitches which makes it even more attractive.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G LTE (2/4/5/12/17)
  • 3G (850/1700/1900)
  • US compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro PCS, and others. Not compatible with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint and Boost Mobile

6. Alcatel 1S (Released: 2019)


Display: 5.5 inches; 720 x 1440 pixels (293 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 3 GB
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, 1/3.1″, 1.12µm + 2 MP, 1/5.0″, 1.75µm, depth sensor
CPU: Unisoc SC9863A; Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3060 mAh

Price: USD 125

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

This French brand smartphone is also very popular on Amazon. The Alcatel 1s is one of the great choices under the $150 budget. It has the same CPU and RAM as the BLU Vivo X5.

It’s also a great option if you want a dual-camera. The back of the phone has a metallic brush finish so it looks awesome.

You can expand the storage up to 128 GB. It has two SIM card slots. The microSD goes into the SIM2 slot so you cannot use the SIM2 slot for another SIM card if you will be using a microSD.

The box comes with the phone unit, screen protector, transparent back case, power adapter, micro USB cable, and a headphone. With these accessories, you already saved a lot of bucks.

This phone works on most GSM networks worldwide.

7. CUBOT X19 (Released: 2019)


Display: 5.93 inches; 2160 x 1080 (408 PPI)
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: 16 MP + 2.0 MP Dual Camera
CPU: MediaTek Helio P23 MT6763T; Octa-core 2.5 GHz Cortex-A53
Battery: 4000 mAh

Price: USD 120

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

The CUBOT brand is not something you hear every day. The brand is from China where the phones are manufactured. They have released a lot of phone models since 2013.

Being an unpopular brand, their selling point is the amazing specs.

The CUBOT X19 has a mid-range CPU and one of the highest RAM and internal storage in the list. The camera is dual-lens and the battery capacity is also big.

The pixel density is very high that it can compete with high-end phones in terms of display sharpness.

This smartphone which is only under $150 is very highly rated on Amazon and you can read a lot of positive comments about it.

The box comes with the phone unit, a USB Type C cable, a power adapter, and a transparent back case.

You have two options for phone colors. One is black and the other one is Gradient. The Gradient looks great by the way.

It has two SIM slots and you can use the SIM 2 slot for the microSD.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G FDD B2/4/5/7/12/17/28A+B
  • 3G (850/1700/1900)
  • US compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro PCS, and others. Not compatible with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint and Boost Mobile.

8. Blu Studio Mini (Released: September 2019)


Display: 5.5 inches; 720 x 1440 pixels (293 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 13 MP
CPU: Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55
Battery: Removable Li-Po 3000 mAh

Price: USD 69.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

This is another BLU phone that was only recently released. If you are trying to save a lot of bucks and you are a modest user, this is the BEST choice on the list.

The price is very very cheap, but it can very well compete with more expensive phones because that is what the BLU brand offers. With over 300 ratings on Amazon, you can check that this phone very worth the price.

It has a low-range CPU with Cortex-A55. ARM’s Cortex-A55 is the successor to the popular Cortex-A53 and is said to be 20 percent faster.

Like the previous BLU smartphone above, you can remove the battery and easily buy another one on Amazon.

The package comes with the phone unit with a screen protector already installed, a micro USB cable, a power adapter, a 3,000 mAh battery, a clear silicone back case, and a glass screen protector. There are no headphones as expected considering the very very low price.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G LTE (2/4/5/12/17)
  • 3G (850/1700/1900)
  • US compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro PCS, and others. Not compatible with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint and Boost Mobile.

9. OUKITEL Y1000 Rugged (Released: November 2019)


Display: 6.1 inches; 1560 x 720 Full HD
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 2 GB
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 8 MP + 2 MP Dual camera
CPU: Quad-core 4x Cortex-A7
Battery: 3600mAh non-removable

Price: USD 119.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

Oukitel is another Chinese smartphone brand that is manufacturing phones since 2007. I included the Oukitel Y1000 on the “under $150” top list because it has features that the other phones on the list are not offering.

The unique feature of this phone is that it is waterproof IP68 certified, dustproof (IEC 60529), drop-proof and shockproof.

You can use it underwater down to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. It is also certified and can handle up to 1.2-meter drops. If you are into outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, surfing, or simply as clumsy as me, this phone is a good fit. It comes with a huge battery capacity so it will definitely last long while you are outdoors.

OUKITEL Y1000 has a low-range CPU and has 2G and 3G-support only. This phone is not for you if you are always using your phone for high graphics and high data demanding games. If you are a heavy internet user, you can connect to Wi-Fi instead of using data.

You can still use modest functionalities smoothly such as using social media, capturing photos and videos, and calling and sending SMS.

Before using the underwater functionality, you must put three (3) waterproof plugs.

The package comes with the unit, silicon clear back case, power adaptor, and a micro USB cable.

Even as a rugged phone, it is designed not to look like one. Most rugged phones are very thick and heavy, but not this one. It is only 11.2 mm thick. It’s only 0.8 mm thicker than the BLU Studio Mini above.

You can check on Amazon to see more comments and photos of this unique smartphone. It can also work with GSM networks such as AT&T, T-mobile, Metro PCS, etc. but it’s not compatible with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint and Boost Mobile.

10. UMIDIGI Power (Released: 2019)


Display: 6.3 inches; 2340 x 1080 (409 PPI); In-cell LTPS Display
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: 16 MP + 5 MP Dual Camera
CPU: Helio P35 AI; Octa-Core 4x 2.1 GHz ARM Cortex-A73, 4x 1.95 GHz ARM Cortex-A53
Battery: 5150 mAh

Price: USD 139.99

Check out the lowest price: Amazon.com

UMIDIGI is another Chinese brand of phones and they have released a lot of phone models since 2012. In terms of specs, the UMIDIGI Power is one of the highest in the list. It excels in almost all essential features.

The RAM is one of the largest on the list and it uses a mid-range processor.

The battery capacity is crazy huge as well. I’m thinking this is where the “Power” from its name came from. It promises 471 hours of standby time, 30 hours of calling, 16 hours of video playback, or 9 hours of continuous gaming. It’s hard to tell if these numbers are true, so I suggest reading reviews on Amazon from the people who already bought the phone.

As you may already know, cheaper phones with big battery capacity are usually slow to charge. But the UMIDIGI Power is capable of fast-charging so you will be far from the power outlet soon enough after plugging.

It is also super thin at only 8.8 mm. That’s also very unusual and awesome at the same time for phones with big battery capacity.

The display is big, but despite that, it has a very very high pixel density.

The package contents include the phone unit, pre-installed screen protector, phone case, Type-C USB cable, and a power adapter. There are no headphones included, but it’s fine because of the low price.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G LTE band 1 (2100), 3 (1800), 5 (850), 7 (2600), 8 (900), 34 (2000), 38 (2600), 39 (1900), 40 (2300), 41 (2500)
  • 3G HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100
  • 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900

It works with most GSM network carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T. You have to call your other preferred carries before getting this phone if they support the network bands. 

Phone Brands Compared

No phone brand is perfect, and each comes with a set of pros and cons. Samsung phones have great hardware, but sometimes have issues when it comes to Android and its own UI. Apple, by contrast, has fantastic integration between hardware and its own operating system, but its phones are notoriously expensive.

Let’s take an in-depth look at each phone brand:

Samsung Phones

The Korean brand manages to produce brilliant phones across a range of prices – something few other companies can achieve. Whether you want to splurge on a wallet-busting Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy S20, or scrimp on a Galaxy A10, there’s something for everyone.

Samsung Galaxy S20

While there are three S20 models on sale, we think the S20 is probably the best choice. It has the same 120Hz refresh rate screen tech as the other phones in the series, as well as a lot of the same camera tech. However, at $999, it is significantly cheaper than the other S20 models — the S20 Ultra, for example, costs a whopping $1,399.

Plus, it has 5G as standard. The S20 is undoubtedly one of the best phones on sale at the moment (just don’t tell Samsung it’s better than the more expensive versions).

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

The S10 Plus is arguably the best phone on sale at the moment, and certainly our favorite. Its screen is brilliant, the cameras are top-drawer, and its performance is staggering. It is expensive at $999, but it’s way better value for money that some similarly-priced phones (we’re looking at you, Apple). Read our full S10 Plus review for more.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

The Note 10 Plus is huge but brilliant phone. It has a dazzling 6.8-inch display with a small hole punch front camera. As ever with Note-series phones, it comes with a built-in stylus, but also packs four rear cameras and serious performance with a Snapdragon 855 processor and 12GB of RAM on tap. If you need a phone that could feasibly replace your laptop, this is the one to go for. Read our full Note 10 Plus review for more.

Verdict – Quality across the board means that Samsung has something for everyone

samsung galaxy s10 plus screen

Samsung Galaxy S10 PlusArguably the best phone on sale today5In Short

Pros

  • Fantastic screen
  • Great-looking design
  • Strong cameras
  • Speedy processor
  • OneUI is a huge improvement over previous Samsung skins

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Samsung can be slow to issue OS updates
  • Bixby isn’t very helpful

GalleryClick to expand

samsung galaxy s10 plus screen
samsung galaxy s10 plus screen

Buy from Amazon

Apple Phones

The one you love to hate, or indeed, love to love. Apple stands out from the crowd, being the only manufacturer on this list not to use Android. Its phones are unashamedly expensive, although that doesn’t seem to put anyone off buying one.

Not sure which iPhone to get? See our simple guide, Which iPhone Should I Buy?

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The follow-up to the XS, the 11 Pro is (in our mind, at least) the best iPhone to buy. You get a pin-sharp 5.8-inch screen, high quality materials, and typically blistering performance. It might cost $1,000, but the 11 Pro is closer than ever to being able to justify that price. We’re big fans of its new triple rear cameras and improved front snapper, while the screen is better than ever. However, Apple is being a bit stingy offering just 64GB of storage as standard.

Apple iPhone 11

The new cheap iPhone is actually $50 cheaper than the phone it replaced. At $699, you get a 6.1-inch LCD (boo) display and the same rapid performance as the 11 Pro and Pro Max. You also get some upgraded cameras over last year’s XR and a brilliant choice of color options. Most pleasingly, though, you also get a larger, longer lasting battery compared to the XR. All told, it’s a good phone that almost everyone will be smitten with.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

The largest of the new iPhones, the Pro Max is a bit of a beast. It has a 6.5-inch AMOLED display and a very large 3,969 mAh battery. Compared to the 11 Pro, however, there aren’t too many differences beyond the larger screen and battery. As a result, we’d probably opt for the cheaper phone. That’s not to say the 11 Pro Max is bad, just that we’d rather save $100 and have a just-as-capable phone.

Verdict – Apple iPhones may be expensive, but they’re excellent across the board

iphone 11 front

iPhone XSIt’s still great but for $100 more, we’d still choose the iPhone 11 Pro4.5In Short

Pros

  • Great cameras
  • Incredibly powerful
  • Fantastic screen

Cons

  • Still expensive
  • Might be a touch too big for some

GalleryClick to expand

iphone xs max review in hand front

Buy from Verizon

Google Phones

It sounds surprising, but the current crop of Google phones is only the company’s third attempt at making a phone itself. However, the search engine giant excels in software, and it shows in the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with the powerful Google Assistant and excellent cameras making for awesome Android phones.

Google Pixel 4 XL

The Pixel 4 XL is, in our mind, a great phone. However, it’s proven to be one of the most controversial phones of 2019 with large bezels and decent, but not impressive battery life, and stingy storage space. Despite these concerns, it packs the best cameras of any current phone (despite the lack of ultra wide-angle lens) and remains as easy to use as all the previous Google phones.

Google Pixel 3a XL

The Pixel 3a XL is a new cheap version of a Google phone. You still get the same excellent camera quality, but it costs $420 less. The Pixel 3a XL isn’t the fastest phone on sale, and it loses the glass rear case found on the more expensive Pixel phones. But the Pixel 3a XL is still a remarkably good phone for just $479. Read our full Pixel 3a XL review to find out more.

Google Pixel 3a

Like the above, but smaller and even cheaper. Starting at just $399, the Pixel 3a is one of the best value phones on sale. The screen is smaller at 5.6-inches but it’s still a 1080p, OLED unit. Plus, you get the best phone camera on the market for a remarkably low price. Read our full Pixel 3a review here.

Verdict – Camera lovers and Android purists can rejoice, as Google Pixel delivers

google pixel 4 xl screen

Google Pixel 4 XLAn improvement over the Pixel 3 XL, but some problems remain4.5In Short

Pros

  • Stunning camera
  • Impressive screen quality with new 90Hz refresh rate
  • Snappy Face Unlock tech
  • Significantly better battery life than Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 4
  • Stock Android interface is easy to use

Cons

  • Design might not be to everyone’s taste
  • Gesture controls feel a bit gimmicky at the moment
  • No ultra wide-angle camera lens

GalleryClick to expand

google pixel 4 screen

Buy from Verizon

OnePlus Phones

Probably the first surprise entrant on the list, OnePlus has been quietly cranking out good phones for a while. It’s most recent 7 and 7 Pro models are its most expensive ever, but they’re still pretty good value compared to a lot of flagship phones.

OnePlus 7T Pro

OnePlus is famed for cramming all manner of headline-grabbing features into its phones and it’s managed to outdo itself with the 7T Pro. It has a 6.7-inch super-sharp AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and video playback. It also packs in a Snapdragon 855+ processor and 8GB of RAM. It doesn’t end there though, with triple rear cameras, and a motorized pop-up 16Mp selfie snapper. It was also one of the first phones to use Android 10. Our only sticking point is the lack of waterproofing and the $865 price tag.

OnePlus 7T

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the 7T is an updated version of the 7 which launched back in June. However, OnePlus effectively ripped up the script and started again. You get a larger screen with that all-important 90Hz refresh rate. It gets a new ultra wide-angle lens to give three rear facing in total, plus it gets a larger battery (3,700 mAh vs 3,800 mAh) and even faster fast-charging.

OnePlus 7

The 7 might feel like an ugly duckling in the company of the 7T and 7T Pro. However, it’s still a top quality phone with an AMOLED display, Snapdragon 855, and dual rear cameras including a 48Mp lens. In light of the newer models, the 7 has also had a price cut. It now costs around $410, making it a seriously impressive piece of kit for the price. Read our full OnePlus 7 review for more.

Verdict – Compelling flagship-killer phones at lower prices

oneplus 7 screen

OnePlus 7A seriously impressive phone for the price4In Short

Pros

  • Blisteringly fast
  • Good screen
  • Great cameras
  • Faster updates than bigger manufacturers
  • Cheaper than most similarly-specced rivals

Cons

  • OnePlus phones are becoming more expensive
  • Construction feels a little bit plasticky
  • No waterproof rating

GalleryClick to expand

oneplus 7 home screen
oneplus 7 rear case

Buy from Amazon

Huawei Phones

Huawei’s had some difficult times recently. In fact, its most recent flagship phones — the Mate 30 and P40 series — were banned from being able to use Google-made apps. This means no Play Store for your favorite apps and no integration with wider Google services. As a result, we can’t really recommend these phones. Fortunately, 2018’s Mate 20 series models are still available and still have access to Google services, and they’re cheaper than ever.

Huawei Mate 20

Another fabulous cut-price Android phone. The Mate 20 comes with an unusual square arrangement for its three rear cameras, a tiny notch and a pin-sharp OLED screen. It also comes in a range of delightful colors and packs the super-speedy Kirin 980 processor.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The Mate 20 Pro is a real flagship rival with a Google and Samsung-rivalling price tag. It has a big 6.4-inch OLED display, runs the latest version of Android, and is available with either 6GB or 8GB Ram. You get the same triple-camera set-up at the rear, with one 40Mp, 20Mp and 8Mp lenses. It’s well worth considering if you’re in the market for an Android flagship.

Huawei P30 Pro

The P30 Pro is a true powerhouse. It has a 6.47-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, the speedy Kirin 980 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a huge 4,200 mAh battery. If you need a phone to power through games and multitasking, while also lasting all day — the P30 Pro might be for you (if you can get one).

Verdict – Excellent phones, subjected to unusual geopolitical pressures

huawei mate 20 pro medium

Huawei Mate 20Lacks some top-end features but excells at the core jobs expected of a smartphoneIn Short

Pros 

  • Powerful processor
  • Excellent battery life
  • Huge screen

Cons 

  • LCD display isn’t as sharp as the Pro
  • Might be too large for some
  • Not as water or dust-proof as many phones

GalleryClick to expand

huawei mate 20 small

Buy from Amazon

Motorola Phones

You might think of Motorola as a brand relegated to the smartphone cemetry, but you’d be wrong. The brand that gave us the iconic RAZR is still knocking out some incredible mid-range phones, which are well worth taking a look at.

Moto G8 Plus

Motorola’s G-series phones have long been regarded as the best cheap phones on sale and, with the G7 Plus, the company has created another cut-price classic. It runs Android, a 6.3-inch 1080p display, triple rear cameras, and a tiny notch. It costs just $310 — yes, you read that correctly. Read our full review for more.

Motorola One Zoom

The One Zoom was launched at IFA in Berlin packing four (yes, four) rear cameras while costing just $449. That array of rear-facing lenses include a depth-sensor, a 117-degree ultra-wide angle lens, and a telephoto lens — meaning you should get great photos whatever the conditions. Find out more about the One Zoom here.

Motorola One Vision

The One Vision costs the same as the g7 Plus but is a very different phone. Firstly, it’s tall — the screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio, making it three times taller than it is wide. Secondly, it takes incredible photos with dual rear cameras (including a 48Mp lens). Thirdly, it uses Android One, a version of Android that gives you speedy updates and minimal bloatware. It’s an unusual but impressive phone.

Verdict – The cheap G-series are a solid option for those one a budget, while its Android One series keeps getting better

motorola g8 plus rear case

Motorola Moto G8 Plus ReviewOne of the best cheap Android phones gets even better4In Short

Every year, it feels like we say the same thing. The latest phones from Motorola’s G-series are great, and arguably the best value for money phones on the market. And believe it or not, 2019 is no different. The Motorola G8 Plus is a great phone, and it costs just north of $300. When a phone this good is this cheap, why would you buy anything else?GalleryClick to expand

motorola g8 plus screen
image 496
motorola g8 plus rear case
image 497

Nokia Phones

Recently resurrected, Nokia has come back to life with a flurry of activity, launching some seriously impressive mid-range Android phones. They’re certainly not flagship killers – leave that to OnePlus – but they provide a compelling alternative to Samsung’s cheaper options.

Nokia 8.3 5G

The 8.3 is Nokia’s first 5G-enabled phone and starts from around $640 in the US — that’s cheap for a 5G device.

However, the 8.3 is more than just a 5G phone. It has a 6.8-inch display that upscales content into HDR-compatible formats for better clarity and contrast. It has four rear cameras: a 64Mp wide angle lens, a 12Mp ultrawide lens, a 2Mp macro lens for close-up shots, and a 2Mp depth sensor. Plus, it has a large 4,500 mAh battery for extra long battery life.

Nokia 7.2

The 7.2 is a very impressive budget option if you’re looking for strong camera quality. Costing $349, the 7.2 comes with a 48Mp main camera, an 8Mp ultrawide lens, and a 5Mp depth sensor. Plus, these cameras use Zeiss optics for the best clarity and image quality.

The 7.2 is powered by a Snapdragon 660 processor and 4GB of RAM, meaning it should be more than fast enough for most people. The 6.3-inch Full-HD+ display means it should be perfect for streaming TV shows and movies.

Nokia 3.2

The 3.2 is a remarkably cheap phone, costing just $150. It’s not perfect, with slightly sluggish performance and a finnicky face unlock system.

However, it has remarkable battery life — thanks to its efficient processor and large 4,000 mAh battery. It’s also extremely well-built, unseemingly so for a phone at this price.

If you’re looking for the perfect backup phone, the 3.2 might be the perfect fit. Find out more in our full Nokia 3.2 review.

Verdict – Buyers on a budget should definitely take a look at Nokia

Nokia 8.3 5G

Nokia 9 PureViewA left-field alternative with innovative camera set-upIn Short

Pros

  • Great cameras
  • Impressive pOLED screen
  • Stock Android
  • Powerful processor and healthy Ram figure

Cons

  • Battery isn’t the biggest at 3,320 mAh
  • Only IP67 is waterproof-rated, despite not having a headphone jack

GalleryClick to expand

nokia 9 pureview medium

Buy from Amazon

LG Phones

LG’s mobile division has fallen on hard times, and has failed to grab the imagination at the top end of the market. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some phones worthy of consideration, though.

LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen

LG has taken a different approach to folding phones compared to Samsung and Motorola. Instead of one screen which folds up, LG has decided to give its flagship phones two screens — no creases of reliability problems here — via a unique case attachment.

It costs $899 and, although you get the option of two screens, the rest of the spces aren’t that impressive. The primary screen has a 1080×2460 resolution — which is sharp, but not as sharp as other flagship phones. It has a large 5,000 mAh battery and uses a Snapdragon 865 processor. It gets three rear cameras including a 64Mp main lens, a 13Mp wide angle lens and a time-of-flight sensor for depth perception.

LG G8 ThinQ

The G8 ThinQ is LG’s answer to the leading flagship phones on the market. It packs a sharp 1440×3120 6.1-inch P-OLED display, a Snapdragon 855 processor for top-notch performance, and dual rear cameras. Price? At $849, it isn’t the cheapest, but it is certainly capable.

Verdict – LG is a bit of a leftfield choice, but not necessarily a bad one

LG G8 small

LG G8 ThinQ ReviewUnusual features but a way behind the compeitionIn Short

Pros

  • Interesting features such as HandID and in-display speakers
  • Decent battery life and cameras
  • Decent OLED display
  • MicroSD carad and headphone jack support

Cons

  • Fluctuating price makes it a difficult value proposition
  • Not as powerful as other rivals
  • Sluggish OS updates

GalleryClick to expand

lg g8 thinq

Buy from Verizon

Sony Phones

Sony has been stuck in a rut for a while now. However, with its new lineup of Xperia 10 phones, and the flagship Xperia 1, it’s look to change that. The phones are certainly head-turning, with overly tall displays. But are they actually any good?

Sony Xperia 10

The Xperia 10 seems like a pretty standard low- to mid-range phone. It has a Snapdragon 630 processor, dual rear cameras, and a 6-inch 1080p display. But that screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio and is, basically, just a bit too tall for one-handed use. Still, it’s good for watching films and it’ll set you back $299. Intrigued? Read our full review.

Sony Xperia 10 Plus

Like the above, but even bigger. It has a whopping 6.5-inch and it’s frankly too tall and heavy to be used with a single hand. Still, like its smaller brother, performance isn’t bad and that screen is great for watching TV shows and films, or playing games. There’s a significant price bump for that extra screen, though, as the Xperia 10 Plus costs $429.

Sony Xperia 1 II

The confusingly named Xperia 1 II is Sony’s latest flagship phone. Its main selling point is the 6.5-inch 4K 21:9 OLED display. This makes it perfect for watching movies or TV shows, as you’ll have plenty of screen real estate, as well as pin-sharp pixels.

However, you’ll pay a small fortune for that screen quality — the Xperia 1 II is expected to cost $1,300 when it goes on sale in the US.

Verdict – Sony produces decent phones at a range of prices

sony xperia 10 screen

Sony Xperia 10 ReviewA decent mid-range phone with an unusual screen3.5In Short

Pros

  • Tall screen makes watching some stuff better
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • Plasticky design doesn’t feel brilliant
  • Underwhelming battery life

GalleryClick to expand

sony xperia 10 screen
Sony Xperia 10 screen
Sony xperia 10 plus rear
Sony Xperia 10 side on

Buy from Amazon

Phone Brands by Budget

These are the best phones you can buy, whether you have $300, $500 or over $1,000 to spend!

Best Phones Under $300 (Or $20 per month)

It’s safe to say that if you only have $300 to spend on a phone, you’re not going to be getting an iPhone. However, some brands offer great phones for budget-conscious buyers.

You should consider a phone from Motorola — anything from the G8 series would be perfect — or Nokia. Rather than looking to cut costs on the features and components, these companies produce phones that you could happily use every day. Some of the materials might not match those at the top of the market, but they have to save money somewhere.

motorola g8 plus screen

Best Phones under $500 (Or $30 per month)

While flagship phones now cost twice as much, there are some great phones to be had for under $500.

For this budget, we’d struggle to look past the Google Pixel 3a XL. It has strong performance, guaranteed software updates, and the best camera of any phone, at any price. If you’re not keen on a Google phone, you could look at a Samsung Galaxy A50.

Best Phones under $750 (Or $40 per month)

The $500-750 phone market doesn’t have the choice that you’d perhaps expect nowadays, with the market becoming polarized towards increasingly expensive or cheap phones – but that’s not to say you won’t find some good phones.

Again, in this price range, you’ll struggle to find a better phone than the OnePlus 7. However, if you’ve currently got an iPhone, we’d probably opt for the new 11.

oneplus 7 rear

Best Phones around $1,000 (or $50+ per month)

If you’re lucky enough to be able to drop a grand on a phone, you’ve got plenty of options. Not all of them are as good as others, though.

Of course, we’re now really entering iPhone territory. The 11 Pro is a great phone, though we’re not sold on the 11 Pro Max. If you don’t fancy something from Apple, we’d go Google or Samsung. If you need the best cameras, get the Google Pixel 4 XL. If you need incredible all-round capabilities, get the Samsung S20.

Leave a Comment