Flagship phones are great, but there are times when you want to save some money. The best budget smartphones help you to do that while remaining a powerful machine that can still do a lot for you.
Smartphones have come a long way and mobile technology has also gotten better over the years. So, it is no surprise that budget phones often pack impressive features that were impossible at such a price tag years ago.
This post looks at the best budget smartphones in the market. From the most stylish ones to those with long battery lives, efficient chip-sets, top-quality cameras, and other features to help you make the right choice.
Budget Smartphone Buying Tips
Budget smartphones are complex electronic devices. And this means that you need to watch out for a few pointers when making your choice. Here are some tips to help you along the way to making the right choice.
- Asides from price, you should also know what is most important to you on a phone. For example, performance, camera, battery life, or looks. This should help you to narrow things down.
- Buy a case and screen protector if your new phone does not come with them.
- You might get lucky with discounts and promo deals.
- Unless you are very sure that you need 5G, you might not need it for now. And coverage is not everywhere yet.
- If you don’t plan on recording or downloading too many videos, then a 32 GB ROM could be enough.
- And if you do not plan on intensive computing, then 3 GB of RAM is also enough.
- No matter how large your phone’s battery is, video streaming and gaming will drain it fast.
Best Budget Smartphones
|Samsung Galaxy A32 5G||Overall||$280|
|Moto G Power||3-day battery life||$234|
|Nokia 1.4||Low price||$119|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T||Elegance & features||$199|
|Samsung Galaxy A21||Renewed & affordable||$174|
|Google Pixel 4a 5G||Performance, pic quality||$473|
|iPhone SE||Apple users||$291|
|Moto G Play||Gaming||$169|
|Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G||Unique design||$299|
|OnePlus Nord N200 5G||Sleek & modern||$239|
1. Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
The best overall budget smartphone
- Quad camera smartphone
- Octa-core chip
- Large 5000mAh battery
- 5G ready
- Android 11
- 3 OS upgrades
- Plastic frame and back
Weighing just 205 g (7.23 oz) and 5G ready, the Galaxy A32 5G offers an impressive performance with its octa-core chipset, a 6.5-inch display at 90-Hz refresh rate, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of built-in storage that is expandable to 1 TB with microSD.
It also stands out from other phones with its 5-camera design. Samsung includes a 48MP main camera, then a depth camera for crispy clear backgrounds, a 5MP macro camera for up-close photography, and an 8MP ultra-wide lens camera.
Samsung also includes a side fingerprint sensor and a 5000mAh battery. This battery is, however, non-removable, but it delivers enough power for gaming and a smooth 5G experience. Plus, it also includes a 15W fast-charging feature.
Another little issue is that both the frame and the back are plastic. But while you may not get that top-of-the-line look, the Galaxy A32 5G compensates with its many features and lower price.
2. Motorola Moto G Power
3-day long battery life
- Octa-core system
- 6.6-inch screen
- Android 10
- 5000mAh battery
- FM radio
- Not 5G ready
Also featuring an octa-core processor for smoother operations and resilience, the Moto G Power is a budget offering from Motorola with up to 3 days of battery life from its included 5000mAh pack.
It comes with a 48MP triple camera system and an 8MP selfie camera. You can get it in either 3GB RAM and 32GB inbuilt memory or with 4GB of RAM and 64GB memory.
Motorola includes a 6.6-inch screen with 720 x 1600 pixels, which is okay for playing games, video chats, and watching movies. It is also splash and water-repellant, plus Motorola’s My UX lets you customize the Moto G Power exactly the way you want it.
Other features on this smartphone include an FM radio, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, gyro, compass, and so on. It can also do 15W fast charging and comes with the Android 10 operating system.
3. Nokia 1.4
Low price with good features
- Very low priced smartphone
- 6.51-inch screen with 720 x 1600 resolution
- Quad-core CPU
- Fingerprint, GPS, FM
- Limited Android Go
- No 5G
If the lowest price is absolutely what you are looking for, then you cannot go wrong with this Nokia 1.4. Fitted with a 4000mAh battery and a dual 8MP camera, it spots some good basic features as well.
You can get it in a variety of memory configurations and in the Android 10 Go Edition, designed for devices with limited memory. There is 1GB RAM and 16GB internal memory, 2GB RAM and 32GB, or you could go for the 3GB RAM with 64GB memory.
The screen measures 6.51 inches across with a 720 x 1600 resolution, which is just enough for basic videos and games. It is also made of glass, while the rest of the device features plastic. This, however, helps it to weigh just 178 grams (6.3 oz).
Unlike the other phones here though, this Nokia 1.4 comes with a quad-core CPU chipset and is not 5G ready. It is relatively cheap though, costing just under $120.
4. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T
Great styling & features
- Dual sim 5G
- 6.5-inch screen with 1080 x 2340 pixels
- Octa-core CPU
- 5000mAh battery with 18W fast charging
- 4 – 6 GB RAM
- Only available in two colors
Xiaomi makes nice-looking smartphones, and this Redmi 9T is no different from the rest. It sports a simple, yet elegant design that makes it stand out from the competition, while packed full of impressive features.
Xiaomi fits it with a 6.5-inch screen and a 1080 x 2340 pixels resolution. It features a dual-SIM port and a 5,000-mAh battery with 18W fast charging to round things off.
There is also a triple camera system with a 48MP main camera, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP depth camera. For memory, you can either get it in 4GB RAM and 64GB or 4GB and 128GB. There is also a 6GB RAM version.
Other features include a fingerprint scanner, gyro, accelerometer, compass, and FM radio.
5. Samsung Galaxy A21 (Renewed)
Pre-owned at an attractive price
- 6.5-inch display with 720 x 1600 pixels
- Octa-core CPU & 3GB RAM
- 5 camera system
- 4000mAh battery
- Not brand new
Renewed products on Amazon are pre-owned items that have been inspected by a professional and guaranteed to have no cosmetic imperfections when held at arm’s length.
So, if you do not mind a pre-used device, you can get this renewed Samsung Galaxy A21 at a nice discount. Batteries are also guaranteed to exceed 80% of their original capacity, so they are as good as new.
The Galaxy A21 comes with a 6.5-inch display and a 720 x 1600 pixel resolution. It is loaded with Android 10, 3GB of random access memory (RAM), and 32GB ROM.
It also includes an octa-core processor for smooth and fluid operation, a 4000mAh battery, and a 5-camera system including depth and macro lenses.
6. Google Pixel 4a 5G
Quality pictures and great performance
- 6.2-inch OLE with 1080 x 2340 pixels
- 6GB RAM & 128GB ROM
- Octa-core Snapdragon 765G
- Weighs only 168 g
- Not an impressive battery
Google makes great products but they are not cheap. The Google Pixel 4a comes with 5G and at a little below $500, it is about $100 cheaper than the current Google Pixel 6.
The Pixel 4a comes with a dual-camera system with great picture quality. There is a 12.2MP wide lens and a 16MP ultra-wide lens. Then there is an 8MP selfie camera with 1080p at 30 frames per second video resolution.
The system packs a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 765G chipset, Android 11, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of ROM.
Google includes 3 years of automatic updates in this smartphone, call screening, and HD Google duo screen sharing. The display is a 6.2-inch OLED with an impressive 1080 x 2340 pixels resolution.
Where it lags is its 3,885 mAh battery. Which although it comes with an 18W fast-charger is relatively small for its power-hungry chipset and display. There is furthermore a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, a compass, and a barometer.
7. iPhone SE (Renewed)
Budget offer for Apple users
- iOS 13 with A13 Bionic chip
- Weighs only 148 g (5.22 oz)
- 12MP camera
- Not 5G capable
For lovers of iPhone and the iOS platform who want to save some money, this smartphone might be a solution. It is an Apple iPhone SE 2nd edition and it is renewed, not brand new.
Renewed devices are like refurbished, but they are handled by professionals and eligible for a 90-day replacement or refund on Amazon.
The iPhone SE 2020 comes with a 12MP camera, 3GB RAM, and is available in 64, 128, and 256GB ROM models. It features a hexa-core (6 cores) A13 Bionic chip, a fingerprint sensor, and a 4.7-inch Retina display at 750 x 1334 pixels.
8. Moto G Play
Nice features for gaming
- Octa-core Snapdragon 460
- Android 10
- 3GB RAM & 32GB ROM
- 5000mAh battery
- 13MP dual camera
- Only standard 10W charging is available
Its standard display and long battery life make this Motorola Moto G Play a nice phone for playing games, as well as for other stuff.
It comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, plus a microSDXC slot to extend the memory. The processor is an octa-core Snapdragon 460 and the screen is 6.5 inches with a 720 x 1600 resolution.
You also get a fingerprint scanner, a dual camera with 13MP wide and 2MP depth lenses, and a 5MP selfie camera.
One downside with this phone is that it only offers 10W charging, which is the standard 5V/2A. Another smaller issue is that it is not 5G ready.
9. Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G
- Octa-core MediaTek MT6833
- 6.5-inch 1080 x 2400 pixels display
- 5G network ready
- Weighs only 190 g (6.7 oz)
- There are cheaper alternatives
Here is another Xiaomi smartphone with a very unique and eye-catching design. It comes with an octa-core processor and is available with either 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM or with 6GB RAM and 128GB ROM.
The Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G is 5G ready and comes with a 6.5-inch LCD with a 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution. Its front is glass, but the frame and back are plastic.
Xiaomi includes 4 cameras. There is the triple back camera with a 48MP wide lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth lens. While the selfie camera features a 16MP wide lens.
Other features include the 5000mAh battery to last over two days, NFC capability, an 18W fast charging feature, and Bluetooth 5.1.
10. OnePlus Nord N200 5G
Sleek & modern styling
- Octa-core Snapdragon 480
- Android 11
- A 4-camera setup
- 5000mAh battery
Designed with a sleek feel and lots of features, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G looks and feels modern in every way. It is 5G capable and includes a side-button fingerprint sensor.
OnePlus fits it with a crystal-clear 6.49-inch full HD display that runs at 90Hz with 1080 x 2400 pixels. The smartphone weighs just 189 g (6.67 oz) and comes with the Android 11 platform.
The Nord N200 also comes with 4GB of random access memory and 64GB of storage. It additionally has a large 5000mAh battery that includes 18W fast charging.
For pictures, you get a beautifully styled triple camera on the back, with a 4th selfie camera. The triple camera includes a 13MP wide lens, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth lenses.
We have reached the end of this list of the best budget smartphones out there. And as you have seen, there are different offers for different folks.
Depending on your taste or situation therefore, your budget smartphone needs may differ from others. So, it is left for you to choose what works best.