Update, 08/21/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and updated our top picks under $500 and top picks under $300.
What to look for in a budget Android phone in 2022
As technology continues to evolve, features that were once known for flagship phones have since spread to more affordable alternatives. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to the smartphone market.
These days, budget smartphones, especially budget Android phones, can handle the basics of a great smartphone without draining your bank account. Depending on the manufacturer you buy from, you can get a fantastic phone at a great price. You just have to know where to look!
Of course, finding the perfect solution can be a tedious process with so many different Android options on the market. It can also be confusing if you’re not sure which processor, RAM and storage capacity, camera specs and battery sizes to look out for.
Here we come to the point. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the cheapest Android phones you can buy right now, depending on how much you want to spend and what features you care about. This list covers a variety of manufacturers and price points, so you’ll be able to find what you need.
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- ✓ Big screen
- ✓ Good performance for the price
- ✓ Pure software
- ✗ Stunning cameras
- ✗ Slow charging speed
Our pick for the best overall Android phone is the Moto G Play (2021). For under $200, this device offers an all-around experience with a nice mix of features, design, and specs.
Fans of large screens will like the 6.5-inch 720p display, despite the lack of brightness in direct sunlight. It’s an LCD panel, but OLED screens aren’t really possible at this price anyway.
Under the hood, the Motorola Moto G Play packs a Snapdragon 460 and 3GB of RAM. This combination proves to be sufficient when you’re scrolling through apps, editing photos, playing light games and most tasks for a regular phone user. The Moto G Play also comes with 32GB of internal storage, which may not be enough for everyone. Fortunately, there’s a microSD slot, so you can upgrade your storage as needed.
On the back, you’ll find a 13MP camera paired with a 2MP telephoto lens for better zoom photography. The photos taken with the G Play won’t blow your socks off, but when you save that money over regular flagship phone prices, you don’t expect perfect pictures. Regardless, the photos this device produces should look good enough for Instagram and Snapchat.
This phone also has a large 5,000mAh battery, a rear-mounted fingerprint reader, Android 10 operating system, and a water-repellent coating that should help with light splashes and trips in the rain.
At $170, the Moto G Play is a solid phone with some compromises that, while uncomfortable, probably won’t be a bargain for anyone interested in picking it up.
Overall the best budget Android phone
Moto G Play (2021)
Priced around $170, this budget Android phone is packed with more features than you’d expect! For a surprisingly low price, you get a decent camera, good battery life, expandable storage and more.
Best budget Android phone for battery life: Moto G Power
- ✓ Fantastic battery life
- ✓ Good performance
- ✓ Big, sharp screen
- ✗ Cameras perform poorly in low light or when recording video
- ✗ The display is not that bright
When it comes to battery life, Motorola has another solid budget option: the Moto G Power. Priced around $250, the device features a 5,000mAh cell paired with efficient specs that allow the phone to last two to three days on a single charge. When it’s time to recharge, there’s a USB-C port on the bottom of the phone that supports 15W fast charging.
Motorola manages to achieve this with the proven and efficient Snapdragon 662 processor. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 series has always been known for providing an incredible balance between performance and energy efficiency, and the 662 inside the G Power is no different.
The Moto G Power also comes with a sharp 6.6-inch 720p LCD display, up to 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. On the back, you’ll find three cameras with a 48MP main lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. All three combined can help you take decent portrait mode and zoom photos, though things tend to fall apart at night and when recording video that tops out at 1080p.
Overall, the Moto G Power is a solid choice for anyone who wants the most battery life they can get from a phone on a budget while still having the necessary tools they need to carry out their daily tasks.
Best budget Android for battery life
Moto G Power (2021)
With a huge 5,000 mAh battery coupled with a powerful Snapdragon 662 processor, the Moto G Power lasts two to three days on a single charge. It can also fast charge!
- ✓ It shares two cameras with the Pixel 6
- ✓ Same great Google camera software
- ✓ It costs only $450
- ✗ Battery life could be better
- ✗ Waterproof IP67 only
When it comes to the best cameras on phones, Google’s Pixel line always comes out on top. Not only does the Pixel 6a have great cameras, but it also has a great price.
Priced at $450, the Pixel 6a shares two cameras with the more expensive Pixel 6. That means a 12.2MP main camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera. All of this also comes with top-notch Google camera software.
This software includes Google’s great portrait mode, night vision and astrophotography. The nice thing about the Google Camera experience is that it’s not overly complicated. Anyone can basically point and shoot to get a really great photo ready for social media.
Other important specifications include a 6.1-inch display, a Google Tensor chip, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and 5G support. It has IP67 water resistance, which isn’t the best, but it’s better than nothing.
With the Pixel 6a, you’re getting one of the best cameras around, regardless of price. In addition, you get fast software updates, clean software and an easy user experience.
The best budget Android camera phone
- ✓ Beautiful Super AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz
- ✓ Android updates for four years
- ✓ Long battery life
- ✗ Slow performance at times
- ✗ There is no charger in the box
Samsung’s Galaxy A50 series phones have consistently proven to be excellent performers, and the latest entrant in the lineup – the Galaxy A53 5G – is no exception. It’s a solid mid-range smartphone that costs well under $500.
The smartphone packs the same impressive 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display as its predecessor – the Galaxy A52 5G – and produces vivid colors and inky blacks. The display is also bright enough to provide good visibility in direct sunlight. Plus, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, everything looks smooth.
The A53 5G uses Samsung’s own Exynos 1280 processor with 6GB of RAM, and this pairing results in decent overall performance. Admittedly, it’s not the fastest phone and you might notice hiccups at times. But it’s nothing you can’t live with.
You also get 128GB of internal storage, which should be enough for most people. If you need more, there’s a microSD card slot for storage expansion. Unfortunately, 5G support is limited to low and mid bands on AT&T, T-Mobile and unlocked variants. However, you can get faster mmWave 5G connectivity in the version sold through Verizon, which costs $50 more.
Android 12 handles the software duties with One UI 4.1, and the company promises to offer four years of Android and five years of security updates. This is the best you can get outside of a Google Pixel phone.
The A53 5G has the same camera system as the A52 5G, and that’s not a bad thing. The 64MP primary shooter takes excellent photos in good light, and the low-light performance isn’t too shabby either.
And finally, there is nothing to complain about on the front of the battery. Thanks to the 5,000 mAh battery, the phone can last for a long time on a single charge, and you get support for 25W wired fast charging.
The best Android phone under $500
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is an easy pick if you want to spend less than $500 on a phone. It has a beautiful display, good battery life and decent cameras.
- ✓ Vivid OLED screen
- ✓ Fingerprint sensor on the display
- ✓ The included charger offers 33W fast charging
- ✗ 5G limited to T-Mobile
- ✗ Only one useful camera
The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is an excellent choice for bargain hunters. It includes several interesting features that you will be hard pressed to find in its competitors. For example, the phone has a full-HD+ OLED screen that delivers vibrant and vivid colors.
You also get an in-display fingerprint sensor for hassle-free unlocking. In addition, there is support for 33W fast charging with the included cable charger and NFC for contactless payments.
There’s a lot to like beyond the phone’s marquee features. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chip and a generous 6GB of RAM help the Nord N20 5G perform well. In addition, the battery with a capacity of 4,500 mAh is enough for a whole day on a single charge.
There are three cameras on the back of the OnePlus phone, but only the 64MP primary shooter is good. In good lighting, it takes nice photos with lots of details. However, the results are a little less nice in low-light scenarios.
On the software front, the Nord N20 5G comes with Oxygen OS 11 based on Android 11, and the company promises one major Android update and three annual security updates.
Unfortunately, 5G support is limited to T-Mobile and the phone doesn’t work on Verizon. So if you want a 5G phone under $300 for AT&T or Verizon, the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G is a good choice. It has great battery life and works well, but features a lower resolution LCD display.
The best Android phone under $300
OnePlus Nord N20 5G
From a gorgeous OLED display to 33W fast charging support, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G has a lot going for it.
- ✓ 90Hz screen
- ✓ Decent specs
- ✓ Pure software
- ✗ No water resistance
- ✗ Poor camera
If $200 is all you need to buy a new phone, we’ve got you covered. The phone you should be looking at is the OnePlus Nord N100.
Priced at $180, the N100 is one of OnePlus’ latest offerings in the mid-range Nord range. The company has impressed us with the quality of smartphones it can cook up at such low prices, and the N100 is no exception.
The device has a large 6.52-inch 720p display with a 90Hz refresh rate (commonly found on much more expensive phones), a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a USB-C port. Inside, you’ll find a Snapdragon 460 processor that can handle basic tasks just fine, even if you won’t be able to run resource-intensive apps and games on it. You also get 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
On the back, OnePlus includes a triple camera setup on the N100 that can take photos that don’t wow, but are at least shareable. The company is also including stereo speakers and Android 10 with a promised upgrade to Android 11. Notably, this will be the only major upgrade the N100 will get, so you’d better accept that you’ll never get Android 12. That’s pretty common for budget phones, though.
The phone doesn’t come with 5G connectivity, it lacks any water resistance and the specs aren’t particularly impressive. However, for under $200, the Nord N100 is a solid device that doesn’t miss any essential features. It’s doing its best to offer a basic smartphone experience, and the barrier to entry couldn’t be lower.
The best Android phone under $200
OnePlus Nord N100
If you’re really on a tight budget, you’ll want to go with the OnePlud Nord N100. It’s a solid Android phone that doesn’t do anything spectacular, but provides a decent phone experience for just $180.