1. Best overall
4. Most rugged
5. Best display
6. Best stylus
Nowadays, it's not terribly difficult to find a cheap Android smartphone that doesn't skimp on quality specs. As a matter of fact, we've compiled an entire list of solid smartphones that'll cost you less than $300.
They may lack some of the power and premium features found with the best Android phones, but it's not unusual to find cheap devices that boast the same quality construction, cameras, and battery life as a modern flagship — you just need to know where to look. The OnePlus Nord N20 5G tops the list, thanks to its high-performance hardware that makes it feel more expensive than it is. It works best on T-Mobile's network, but with so many excellent prepaid options using the network, it's easily one of the best cheap phones you'll find.
It's worth noting that many wireless carriers will hook you up with a serious discount if you're willing to add an eligible line or send in an old or broken device. Sometimes these price drops can make even premium devices $300 or less. To see what I'm talking about, check out our list of the best Samsung Galaxy A54 deals to see just how cheap a brand-new phone can get when you pair it with the right deal.
At a glance
Complete with a sleek design, 5,000mAh battery, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 695 processor, the OnePlus Nord N20 feels like it should cost twice as much.
Backed by a legendary brand, the Galaxy A23 features a vibrant 120Hz LCD display and great battery life, plus you’ll get two OS upgrades and four years of security updates.
Best under $200
Best under $200
The TCL 20 SE may not be the most powerful device, but it makes up for its faults with a large 6.8-inch display, great battery life, and good old-fashioned bang for the buck.
The BV4900 from Blackview is so durable that you don’t even need to worry about getting a case, plus you’ll get a large battery with decent specs all around.
Not only does the Nokia G400 come with a 120Hz refresh rate (a rarity in this price range), but you also get a large battery with 20W charging and Android 12 out of the box.
Best with a stylus
Best with a stylus
The Moto G Stylus (2022) comes with a massive 6.8-inch display, perfect for jotting down notes with the built-in stylus, plus 2-day battery life and some decent camera tech.
OnePlus' aggressive expansion into the budget segment in North America has given us several great Nord handsets in recent years, the latest of which is the Nord N20 5G. The Nord N20 5G slides in under the $300 mark and can even be found on sale much of the time. What's more, it looks the part, with a sharp two-tone design on its back panel. And you get the added peace of mind of IP52 splash resistance, too.
The Nord N20 5G has a reasonably sized 6.43-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. Although it only sports a 60Hz refresh rate — not the smoothest display even in this category — it's a good panel for the price. The lack of a 90Hz panel also allows the phone to save some juice, providing for easy all-day battery life from its 5,000mAh battery. In our Oneplus Nord N20 review, we managed a day and a half from a single charge. For quick refills, the bundled 33W SuperVOOC brick will get you past the 50% mark in just a few minutes.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 695 processor runs the show, backed up by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, plus microSD expansion — a fairly balanced spec sheet for a sub-$300 handset. Meanwhile, on the camera side, the N20 features largely forgettable 2MP monochrome and macro lenses, but its 64MP main sensor punches well above its weight. In our review, we were impressed with its capabilities compared to similar handsets at this price. So there's a lot to love here without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.
No matter your price range, Samsung is making one or two phones to fit it and it's no different with the $300 category. The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G comes in at a penny shy of that price but brings with it plenty of features to make it worth the price. The display is a fairly large 6.6-inch LCD panel that runs up to 120Hz and has a high resolution of 1080×2408 pixels. While it won't match the inky blacks of an OLED, this panel should be plenty bright for outdoor usage and sharp enough to easily read text.
The battery is large at 5,000mAh and unlike some cheap phones, it can charge at up to 25W wired. That's pretty quick. You also get 64GB of storage to hold your downloaded music and videos with a microSD card slot for storage expansion. If you've ever done hard work outside, you know that you don't always have the signal to stream and even if you do, playing downloaded music can help save battery if the signal is exceptionally low.
The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 695 which is nothing special but has enough power for most apps and can even do some light gaming if you keep your expectations in check. If you're a photographer though, you should probably go with something else as many users report underwhelming low-light performance.
Finally, unlike many budget phones, Samsung has years of support planned to keep this phone up-to-date and secure. Samsung launched this device with Android 12 and plans to offer two OS updates. Beyond that, the phone will be kept up to date with security patches for four years. Alongside the software, solid mid-band 5G support on most carriers means you'll also get plenty of data speed for years to come.
Best under $200
The TCL 20 SE may not be the world's most premium device, but if your budget is less than $200, bang for the buck is key. Suffice to say, when it comes to simplicity and value, the TCL 20 SE definitely delivers.
You get a lot of screen real estate with the 6.82-inch display powered by NXTVISION, but the resolution is dropped from Full HD+ to just HD+. This means the TCL 20 SE's screen isn't as sharp or pretty to look at, but it'll get the job done. You also have the same 5,000mAh battery and fast charging support. Pop the hood and you'll find a Snapdragon 460 processor paired with 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. There's even a microSD slot for easy expansion if you still need more room.
You get a 3.5mm headphone jack and Android 11 out of the box, along with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor built into the power button. What's cool is that you get reverse charge capabilities via an OTG cable. Somehow, TCL threw a 48MP primary sensor into the triple camera setup and still kept the price below $200.
For the most part, modern smartphones are generic slabs of glass or plastic. There's nothing wrong with that, but it means that buying a case is a must for incredibly clumsy people. But what if there was a phone that was designed to not need a case in the first place? Enter the Blackview BV4900.
The BV4900 comes with fairly modest specs with a Mediatek A22 Helio MT6761 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. This storage can be upgraded with a microSD card, however. A fairly large 5580mAh can keep you running all day or longer with ease. This phone is designed to be tough with IP68 water resistance and Gorilla Glass 3 on the 5.7-inch IPS display with 720×1440 resolution.
Connectivity is quite limited compared to many others on this list, with only LTE support on GSM carriers — that means no Verizon. It's also worth noting that this phone doesn't support all of either carrier's bands either, so you may find yourself with lower or no signal than others on the same carrier. Still, it's hard to find a rugged phone that competes with this one for under $300.
Nokia has been working hard to cement its place in Android history by focusing on cheap phones with balanced specs and nice designs. The Nokia G400 5G comes with a Snapdragon 480+ CPU and 4GB of RAM. This CPU is a faster version of the Snapdragon 480 that we saw in phones like the OnePlus Nord N200 5G, which already had snappy performance for the price. It even runs Android 12 out of the box.
Adding to the snappy performance is the 120Hz IPS LCD panel under the G400's 6.58-inch Gorilla Glass 3 screen. This display is one of the best you can get in a phone under $300, making it a good pick for those that like to stream. A large 5,000mAh battery can keep your phone running all day with ease and even charges quickly with support for PD 3.0 and a 20W charger included.
Finally, carrier compatibility is decent, with support for AT&T and T-Mobile carriers though those on Verizon should pick something else. If you're on T-Mobile, you'll also get the best 5G experience thanks to this phone's support for T-Mobile mid-band Ultra Capacity 5G network.
Best with a stylus
The Galaxy Note series was, at one point, super popular for making the most of a stylus-touting phone before Samsung discontinued it. If you don't have the cash for a flagship Samsung, the Moto G Stylus (2022) is worth a look. It has an included stylus that you can hide inside the phone when you aren't using it. However, unlike Samsung's high-end phones, the Moto G Stylus (2022) is very affordable.
With the Moto G Stylus (2022), you can draw, take notes, and navigate the UI — something that's quite handy when trying to tap small buttons on the screen. You also get a 6.8-inch Full HD+ 90Hz display, Android 10, and 128GB of storage that can be expanded by another 512GB. There's also a 5,000 mAh battery, which should easily last all day and beyond with the MediaTek Helio G88 processor.
There is also now a quadruple-camera system with a 50MP standard shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 2MP macro lens. Unfortunately, you don't get NFC or wireless charging on the downside, nor official IP water or dust resistance.
Plenty of options to choose from
Amazingly, plenty of the other best Android phones are available at affordable prices, but when you're looking to save money, there will be compromises. When shopping for these phones, take a close look at the specs to ensure you're not missing a feature you'd like to have. Many inexpensive phones will reduce display size, resolution, extra cameras, or bonuses like stereo speakers. However, when you shop around, you'll be able to get an excellent phone for just a few hundred bucks.
Customers using the T-Mobile network have the best choices of phones under $300, and that's a great reason to switch to the carrier. The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is a phenomenal pick for just under $300 and comes with a powerful processor, an excellent camera, and a really nice build. It won't get as many updates as Samsung's A32 5G, but it's a better phone so long as you don't need the latest and greatest Android features beyond Android 12.
The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G isn't far behind and for some people, will come out ahead of the OnePlus thanks mostly to Samsung's software. Samsung launched this phone with Android 12 and has two OS updates planned for the device. With so many cheap Androids receiving only one or sometimes no updates, it's great to see Samsung supporting this device. It's also nice that it supports 5G on most networks so you'll get strong network speeds for years to come.
The Nokia G400 5G is one of the newest phones on the list and that also means it has some of the most up-to-date hardware. The fast Snapdragon 480+ paired with a 120Hz 1080p display means you'll get snappy performance and 5G connectivity on T-Mobile. This phone also launches with Android 12 so you're on a recent build of Android from the minute you turn the phone on.