What are the best cheapest phones? We’ve compared different budget phones and selected the best devices in different price ranges. Our top picks are a great place to start if you’re on the market for a new phone and don’t want to overspend. Keep reading to get the best cheap phones with good specs, and cheap android phones with good specs.
A new smartphone can cost several hundred dollars. If you just use your phone to accomplish basic tasks and can’t justify buying a brand new flagship phone, there are some budget options to consider. An entry-level smartphone might not take stunning pics, but there are no differences when it comes to calls and texts.
cheap phones with good specs
The best $500 phone
Best overall: Asus Zenfone 6
Why you should buy this: The Asus Zenfone 6 has a large screen, it has plenty of processing power and stamina, and it boasts a clever flip dual-lens camera.
Asus Zenfone 6
The Asus Zenfone 6 offers flagship specs and innovation at half the price of an iPhone or Galaxy.$500 FROM ASUS
Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a flagship smartphone with a near-stock Android experience, at a lower price than the Google Pixel 3.
Why we picked the Asus Zenfone 6:
Coming in at $500, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more powerful option than the Asus Zenfone 6 at a comparable price. This phone combines solid hardware with an innovative design and slick software, and it manages to avoid slavishly following trends set by Apple and Samsung.
Curved glass front and back slide into a metal chassis. There’s a fingerprint sensor in the middle of the back with a clever dual-lens camera module above it. The combination of a 48-megapixel lens and a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens gives you lots of photography possibilities, but what’s really clever about the camera is the fact that it’s motorized so it can flip up to face forward. This means you get the same great camera for taking selfies. You can expect plenty of detail and a strong portrait mode that blurs the background.
The Asus Zenfone 6 has Qualcomm’s 2019 flagship processor, the Snapdragon 855. It’s the same chip that powers the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, Sony Xperia 1, and the LG V50 ThinQ— phones that cost more than $800 a pop. That’s backed by an ample 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and there’s still room for a MicroSD card slot.
The 6.4-inch LCD screen has a 2340 x 1080-pixel resolution. It doesn’t match OLED screens and the brightness doesn’t go as high as we’d like, but it’s big and sharp. There are stereo speakers and a headphone jack. But the real standout on the spec sheet is the whopping 5,000mAh battery that’s capable of seeing you through even the busiest of days; it managed 12 hours 37 minutes in our battery test which puts it near the top. It supports fast wired charging at 18W.
One of the biggest draws of the Asus Zenfone 6 is its smooth and accessible user experience. Asus has stripped back ZenUI which sits atop Android 9 Pie, and the user interface doesn’t stray far from the stock Android experience you’ll find on a Google Pixel phone. It’s quick and fluid with only a few Asus additions including an AI Boost feature.
The Asus Zenfone 6 is available at Asus, Amazon, B&H, and Mobile Advance. It should work on AT&T and T-Mobile, but check the model version and supported bands before you buy. Downsides include the phone’s lack of an IP rating for water resistance and the lack of support for wireless charging. But for $500, you’re getting equal if not better performance, than far more expensive phones. It’s a real bargain, and a phone you won’t regret buying regardless of your budget.
Runner up: ZTE Axon 10 Pro
If you can find another $50, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro could be worth looking at. It boasts a sharp, 6.47-inch AMOLED screen, stereo speakers that support DTS:X Ultra for surround sound, and Bluetooth with AptX HD for high-quality music streaming. It matches the Snapdragon 855 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage and ups the ante with a triple-lens camera. The battery is a little smaller at 4,000mAh, but there is support for wireless charging.
The best $400 Android phone
Best cheap Android phone: Google Pixel 3a
Why you should buy this: The Google Pixel 3a offers many of the same features as Google’s flagship for much less.
Google Pixel 3a
A taste of Google’s slick software and the best camera near this price.$399 FROM GOOGLE$399 FROM B&H PHOTO VIDEO$340 FROM WOOT!
Who it’s for: Anyone with a budget of $400 who simply wants the best phone they can buy at that price.
Why we picked the Google Pixel 3a:
The Google Pixel 3a costs $400 and it’s an impressive package for the money. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor inside with an ample 4GB of RAM. It won’t quite match high-end chips, but it’s fast enough to run challenging games at high graphical quality. You also get an excellent 5.6-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2220 x 1080 pixels. It’s sharp, with amazing contrast, and you won’t find anything better at this price.
Perhaps the biggest attraction is the camera. The Pixel 3a is packing a single lens 12.2-megapixel camera with all the same A.I. features you’ll find in the Pixel 3. Google’s flagship is our camera phone champion right now as it’s capable of capturing great shots in a wide variety of settings. The Pixel 3a might not have the same raw processing power and it lacks the Pixel Visual Core, so image processing is a bit slower than it is on the Pixel 3, but this is still easily the best camera you’ll find anywhere near this price. The front-facing camera is rated at 8 megapixels.
Naturally, Google’s Pixel 3a comes with the very latest flavor of Android and it’s guaranteed to get swift version updates and a steady supply of security patches. You’ll also enjoy super smart features like Now Playing, which recognizes music playing in your vicinity, and Call Screen, which filters out incoming spam calls for you. Active Edge allows you to squeeze your Pixel 3a to launch Google Assistant.
The Pixel 3a packs 64GB of storage and comes with free unlimited high-quality photo storage in the cloud with Google Photos. It has an audio jack, Bluetooth 5.0 support, and comes with a fast charger that can restore 7 hours worth of battery in just 15 minutes. There’s also NFC support for Google Pay, dual front-facing stereo speakers, and a fingerprint sensor on the back.
This phone really raises the bar for what you can expect to get for $400. If you prefer a bigger screen and your budget will stretch, then consider the Pixel 3a XL for $480.
Runner up: Nokia 7.2
The Nokia 7.2 is close to being the perfect budget phone and it’s $50 cheaper than the Pixel 3a. The build quality is superb, the 6.3-inch screen may be LCD, but it supports HDR10. Perhaps the best part of the Nokia 7.2 is software because it runs Android One. It will get fast version updates for two years, and security updates for three years, which is rare for budget phones. Performance is solid, with the Snapdragon 660 processor and 4GB of RAM. The camera is quite capable too, combining a 48-megapixel lens with an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor.
The best $400 iPhone
Apple iPhone SE 2020
Why you should buy this: It’s affordable for an iPhone, with the same A13 Bionic processor as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
Apple iPhone 8
A reimagined iPhone 8 with modern power, and an improved camera.$259 FROM AMAZON
Who it’s for: Anyone who wants an iPhone, but has limited cash.
Why we picked the iPhone SE (2020):
This is the best choice for bargain-seeking Apple fans who have their hearts set on an iPhone. The new iPhone SE takes the timeless design of the iPhone 6, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8, then puts the latest Apple A13 Bionic processor inside. Yes, that’s the same one as in the iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro. It’s the compact iPhone many have been waiting for.
The 4.7-inch screen is sharp and clear, the latest iOS 13 software is easy to use, and you get access to an excellent library of slick apps and games, plus features like Apple Pay. The battery is only small, but it generally lasts for a day with moderate use, and there’s support for wireless charging.
There is a great 12-megapixel main camera that takes sharp, crisp, natural-looking photos, and has support for Live Photos. There’s a solid 7-megapixel front-facing camera. There’s a portrait mode on the front and rear cameras too, plus support for Apple’s most recent camera improvements including Smart HDR and improved stabilization for video.
There’s 64GB of base storage inside, which is sufficient for most people. The iPhone SE is also IP68-rated, which means you don’t need to worry if it goes for a dunk. It’s small by modern smartphone standards, and the battery life isn’t the best, but otherwise it still gives you that superb Apple iPhone experience for very little money.
Runner up: iPhone XR
Unless you want to delve into the secondhand or refurbished market, your best bet for a cheaper iPhone is to go for the iPhone XR. Released in 2018 it’s still available brand new from Apple, and shares the same bezel-less design as the iPhone X, and iPhone 11. We really liked the iPhone XR when it launched, calling it the new iPhone to buy at the time. Since then, the price has dropped to $600, which does fall outside our sub-$500 list here; but still represents strong value given the design.
What do you get with the colorful iPhone XR? It’s a valid question. It has the powerful A12 Bionic processor, with Face ID for Portrait Mode selfies. There’s also Smart HDR and an artificial intelligence-powered Portrait Mode on the rear camera that works well in low-light. We recommend going for one of the brighter colors, as they really make the phone stand out.
The best $300 phone
Why you should buy this: The Moto G7 is a bargain that looks much more expensive than it is and has few weaknesses.
The Moto G7 is a solid, bargain all-rounder.$300 FROM AMAZON
Who it’s for: Anyone seeking a stylish budget phone with a big screen.
Why we picked the Moto G7:
The Moto G range has been our go-to budget smartphone pick for the past few years, and while Motorola is facing more competition every year, the Moto G7 is still excellent value for the money. It’s a really good-looking phone with a curved glass construction, a metallic body, and a teardrop notch carved out of the screen.
Plenty of screen real estate is a definite draw for this phone and the Moto G7 boasts a 6.2-inch display with a 2270 x 1080-pixel resolution. Take a look under the hood and you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor inside with 4GB of RAM, making this a real step up over last year’s sluggish Moto G6 in terms of performance. Motorola adds a couple of gesture shortcuts and apps like Moto Voice on top of Android 9.0 Pie.
The Moto G7 also has a dual-lens camera, pairing a 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.8 aperture, and a 5-megapixel secondary lens for depth. In good conditions with plenty of light, it can capture some lovely shots and the portrait mode is great for snapping shots of friends and family with blurred backgrounds. The front-facing camera is rated at 8 megapixels.
We had some minor issues with the software and would prefer this was offered as an Android One phone. We’re not sure about the likelihood of software updates for the Moto G7 and think you’re likely to get better software support from HMD Global. Frustratingly, the Moto G7 doesn’t have NFC support in the U.S.
If you have a strict budget of $300, then the Moto G7 will give you the most for your money right now. It offers a big display, strong performance, and a decent camera wrapped in a stylish body.
Runner up: Nokia 6.1
The Nokia 6.1 has a chunky body that’s elevated by eye-catching anodized copper, iron, or gold accent lines. You’ll find a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It’s a little dull, but perfectly legible in most conditions. The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, backed by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Like most budget phones, the camera is a bit of a weak link, but the 16-megapixel lens with an f/2.0 aperture and Zeiss optics is capable of capturing occasionally great shots — if you’re in good lighting. As an Android One phone, there is no manufacturer skin and you can expect speedy, long-term software updates, which is a rarity for budget phones. You will also find NFC, offering support for Google Pay.
The best phone $200 phone
Moto G7 Play
Why you should buy this: The Moto G7 Play boasts great performance and loads of stamina.
Moto G7 Play
Best performance at this price, good screen, and a big battery make this irresistible.$168 FROM VERIZON
Who it’s it for: Anyone with a strict $200 budget seeking the best for their money.
Why we picked the Moto G7 Play:
When top-of-the-range phones reach $1,000, paying $200 for one must mean it’s rubbish, right? Wrong. You can actually pick up some impressive devices in this price range now. Motorola has consistently turned out great budget devices that give you real value for the money.
For your $200, you get a 5.7-inch screen with a 1512 x 720-pixel resolution, a speedy Snapdragon 632 processor with 2GB of RAM, and a 3,000 mAh battery that offers impressive stamina. There’s also a 13-megapixel main camera, which isn’t too bad unless there’s a lack of light, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
The performance is one of the highlights, almost matching the much more expensive Moto G7. There’s also a USB-C port for charging, which means the cable is always the right way up. It comes with Android 9.0 Pie and a few Motorola extras and is due to get an update to Android Q, though we doubt it will get anything beyond that.
Naturally, there are compromises here. There’s just 32GB of storage, though it does have a MicroSD card slot. It also has a plastic back, a big notch, and there’s no support for NFC. Having said all that, it’s a good option if your budget won’t stretch any further.
Runner up: Nokia 3.1 Plus
The affordable Nokia 3.1 Plus boasts great build quality and battery life. There’s a big, 5.99-inch screen with a 1440 x 720 resolution, a dual-lens camera, a 3,500mAh battery, and support for NFC. It also has near-stock Android, though it’s sadly not part of the Android One program. Unfortunately, performance isn’t great, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor and 2GB of RAM. We also felt let down by the camera, and this phone is only available on Cricket Wireless.
The best $100 phone
Moto E5 Play
Why you should buy this: The Moto E5 Play is ultra-affordable, and it still provides a perfectly satisfactory smartphone experience.
Moto E5 Play
At such a low price, you have to expect compromises, but the Moto E5 Play still impresses.$80 FROM AMAZON
Who it’s for: Those who want a phone capable of texting, calling, web browsing, and running social media apps without paying more than $150.
Why we picked the Moto E5 Play:
The Moto E5 Play is the most affordable phone Motorola offers, which means you have to accept a few compromises. For example, this phone won’t get updated to the upcoming version of Android, and the camera isn’t strong.
The Snapdragon 425 (or 427 depending on the carrier) and 2GB RAM do a good job of offering manageable performance — enough to scroll through apps like Instagram and Facebook without too many problems. There’s 16GB of storage onboard, but a MicroSD card slot lets you add more if you need it. There’s also a headphone jack and a fingerprint sensor on the rear (though some carriers have models without fingerprint sensors). The software experience is very close to stock Android without a lot of bloatware, running Android 8.0 Oreo.
There’s a 2,800mAh removable battery inside, and we found that it got through about a full day of use. It can stretch to two days with light usage.
The Moto E5 Play is available through a variety of different carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — though you can’t buy it unlocked yet — for as low as $70 (the price is even lower on other carriers if you sign up for a new service).
Runner up: Nokia 2.2
It’s a bit more expensive at $139, but as an Android One smartphone the Nokia 2.2 will definitely get Android 10, in fact, you can expect a minimum of two years of OS upgrades and two years of monthly security updates. It has a 5.7-inch screen, a MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. There’s also a 3,000mAh battery, a 13-megapixel main camera, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. You can buy it from Best Buy’s website or Amazon.
Best cheap Samsung Galaxy phone
Samsung Galaxy A51
Why you should buy this: Get a taste of Samsung’s style without breaking the bank.
Samsung Galaxy A50
Impressive design and camera at an affordable price.$350 FROM VERIZON
Who it’s for: Anyone fixed on a Samsung Galaxy, but with a limited budget.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy A51:
If you’re a fan of Samsung phones, but your budget simply won’t stretch to a Galaxy S20 Plus, then Samsung’s mid-range A series could be for you. The Galaxy A51 boasts very impressive specs for the price. There’s a Samsung Exynos 9611 processor inside with up to 8GB of RAM. The software is Samsung’s OneUI 2.0 over Android 10, and it’s attractive, easy to use, and logically laid out.
The phone has a plastic back and is available in several colors, with the blue catching the eye the most, plus there’s a fingerprint sensor under the 6.5-inch screen on the front. It’s a beautiful AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, with very thin bezels and a small hole-punch selfie camera in the top corner.
Speaking of cameras, you get a quad-lens shooter here with a 48-megapixel main lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel macro sensor, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. That’s an impressive, versatile camera suite for a midrange phone, and it takes great photos you’ll be happy to share. There’s a big battery here, too, rated at 4,000mAh and it has no problem lasting a day even with heavy use.
Best cheap battery-life phone
Moto G Power
Why you should buy this: It’s an affordable phone with unsurpassed battery life.
Moto G7 Power
Incredible stamina and solid performance at a cheap price.$184 FROM AMAZON$130 FROM BEST BUY$180 FROM MOTOROLA MOBILITY
Who it’s for: Anyone who wants their phone to last longer between charges.
Why we picked the Moto G7 Power:
If stamina is top of your feature list, then there is no better budget phone than the Moto G Power. The 5,000mAh battery in this phone can go two or even three days between charges, maybe even longer depending on how you use it.
Inside there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and on the back is a triple-lens camera. This has a 16-megapixel main lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. On the front, hidden inside a hole-punch cutout, is a 16-megapixel selfie camera.
Trade-offs are inevitable somewhere and with the Moto G Power, you may not appreciate the chunky plastic body which is quite heavy. But that’s the price you have to pay if you want a reasonably priced phone with a massive battery. The phone runs Android 10 with a minimal Motorola user interface over the top.
For just $250, the Moto G Power is strong value, and if long battery life is your goal, this is definitely worth your time.
Top 9 Mobile Phone Brands in the World
- Samsung – There’s a Samsung for everyone, from the bargain-basement J series and the excellent mid-range A series to the flagship S and Note series
- Apple – The iPhones are almost unmatched when it comes to hardware quality, and the company continues to set the benchmark for design
- Google – Despite being newcomers to the manufacturing market, Google’s recent phones are true flagship devices with market-leading features
- OnePlus – Continues to offer flagship features at mid-range prices, with high-end features and performance and impressive hardware
- Huawei – Security concerns aside, it’s impossible to deny the Chinese company makes some of the most impressive phones on the market
- Motorola – It’s had a hard few years, but still knows how to knock out a top quality mid-range phone
- Nokia – Once consigned to the smartphone graveyard, Nokia is back with a vengeance with a killer low- to mid-range lineup
- LG – Formerly a smartphone giant, LG’s handsets have struggled to find an identity in a crowded marketplace
- Sony – Another brand that’s fallen on hard times, Sony has lost the initiative on design and offers a truly baffling range of phones
The smartphones market has never been more competitive, and all of the phone brands mentioned above have some fantastic (and not so fantastic) devices to choose between.
In the table below, we’ve rounded up our top choices for the best phones you can buy at the moment across a range of top phone brands:5 out of 10
|Price||Screen size||Screen type||Screen resolution||Operating system||Battery size||Processor||Verizon Plans||AT&T Plans|
|Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus||Samsung Galaxy S20||iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone 11||Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus||Google Pixel 4 XL||Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra||Oppo Find X2 Pro||iPhone 11 Pro Max||Microsoft Surface Duo|
|Android 10/ OneUI 2||Android 10/ OneUI 2||iOS 13||iOS 13||Android 10/ OneUI 2||Android 10||Android 10/ OneUI 2||Android 10/ ColorOS 7.1||iOS 13||Android 10|
|Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 865||A13 Bionic||A13 Bionic||Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 855||Snapdragon 865||Snapdragon 865||A13 Bionic||Snapdragon 855|
We also look at the best phone brand by budget. So whether you’re looking to spend less than $300 or three times that, we’ll help you find the perfect phone.
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:
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 PlusArguably the best phone on sale today5In Short
- Fantastic screen
- Great-looking design
- Strong cameras
- Speedy processor
- OneUI is a huge improvement over previous Samsung skins
- Samsung can be slow to issue OS updates
- Bixby isn’t very helpful
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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 XSIt’s still great but for $100 more, we’d still choose the iPhone 11 Pro4.5In Short
- Great cameras
- Incredibly powerful
- Fantastic screen
- Still expensive
- Might be a touch too big for some
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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 XLAn improvement over the Pixel 3 XL, but some problems remain4.5In Short
- 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
- Design might not be to everyone’s taste
- Gesture controls feel a bit gimmicky at the moment
- No ultra wide-angle camera lens
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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.
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.
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 7A seriously impressive phone for the price4In Short
- Blisteringly fast
- Good screen
- Great cameras
- Faster updates than bigger manufacturers
- Cheaper than most similarly-specced rivals
- OnePlus phones are becoming more expensive
- Construction feels a little bit plasticky
- No waterproof rating
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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 20Lacks some top-end features but excells at the core jobs expected of a smartphoneIn Short
- Powerful processor
- Excellent battery life
- Huge screen
- LCD display isn’t as sharp as the Pro
- Might be too large for some
- Not as water or dust-proof as many phones
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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 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
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.
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.
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 9 PureViewA left-field alternative with innovative camera set-upIn Short
- Great cameras
- Impressive pOLED screen
- Stock Android
- Powerful processor and healthy Ram figure
- Battery isn’t the biggest at 3,320 mAh
- Only IP67 is waterproof-rated, despite not having a headphone jack
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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 ThinQ ReviewUnusual features but a way behind the compeitionIn Short
- Interesting features such as HandID and in-display speakers
- Decent battery life and cameras
- Decent OLED display
- MicroSD carad and headphone jack support
- Fluctuating price makes it a difficult value proposition
- Not as powerful as other rivals
- Sluggish OS updates
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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 ReviewA decent mid-range phone with an unusual screen3.5In Short
- Tall screen makes watching some stuff better
- Not too expensive
- Plasticky design doesn’t feel brilliant
- Underwhelming battery life
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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.
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.
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.