Best cheap Android phones

Cell Phones & Accessories

When you first get your phone, try to uninstall all the unnecessary preinstalled apps to save space and maximize performance on your phone.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

What is the best cheap Android phone? 

Smartphones have become a necessity in the modern world, but price tags can leave a lot of people aghast. Premium smartphones can cost more than $1,000, which is more than some people want to pay. Budget smartphones generally sit between $50-$500.

There are many great budget options that come with premium features. The Google Pixel 4a is the best budget option on the market with features like its amazing 12- megapixel camera and 3,180 mAh battery. This smartphone masters the basics and competes with more expensive options. 

What to know before you buy an Android phone

Know the brand 

Unlike Apple, which makes all its iPhones and doesn’t allow third parties to make phones with the iOS operating system, Android has partnerships with many different companies. This means that there are a lot of choices on the market, but it also means that there are many phones and brands you will never have heard of before. 

Buying a phone without proper research just because it is cheap can result in frustration. Problems like poor customer service and lack of software updates (among others) might occur. 

Camera 

With the rise of social media, almost everyone wants to snap great photos and share their lives. To make phones cheaper, manufacturers need to cut costs somewhere, and this sometimes affects the camera. If the camera is important to you, make sure you look at the camera specs. Some ways to tell if a camera is good is by looking for a wider aperture, higher megapixels, HDR/RAW features and a wider screen. 

Smartphone uses 

People have different needs. For those who want to just casually browse the internet and message friends, it might not be worth spending a lot of money on extra features. However, if you plan to tap into your phone’s potential, it might be worth spending a little bit more money (even within the budget range). 

What to look for in a quality Android phone 

Battery 

It’s almost the norm to charge your smartphone each night while you sleep, but running out of battery halfway through the day can feel like a crisis. Certain factors are under your control—like whether or not you game or watch videos on your phone. Other factors like fast processors and large, bright displays draining your battery faster might be less obvious. Try to get a phone that has a battery life of at least a full day. 

Size of the display

The most popular screen sizes are 5, 5.5 and 6+ inches. 

  • Screens that are 5 inches are very portable and don’t interfere with the ergonomics of the phone. However, the screen is smaller, might have fewer pixels, and it’s less ideal for creative projects or meetings. 
  • Screens that are 5.5 inches are great for gamers and people who need to work on their phones. However, this will make the phone harder to fit in your pocket, and the larger battery may take longer to charge. 
  • Screens that are 6-plus inches have a higher pixel count and resolution that make them optimal for playing video games, reading books and working on tasks. The downside is that these phones can be cumbersome to use, and they are not portable. 

Processing power 

The processor is responsible for how smoothly your phone runs. When looking for a processor, see how many cores it has—dual-core, quad-core or octa-core. Each core is set to handle different tasks, and generally, the more, the better. Clock speed is also essential, which is measured in gigahertz. Look at the number of cores and the clock speed to get a more accurate idea of how powerful the processor can be. 

Internal storage 

While a lot of smartphones allow you to insert SD cards, it’s better to have higher internal storage. SD cards are cheaper, but when you download software, it cannot be 100% placed on an SD card. Part of the data will still sit on the phone’s internal storage, meaning that you might still run out of space, even with ample space on your SD card. 

Android phone FAQ

How do I update an Android phone? 

A. The updates should automatically download, but there are special circumstances where something may prevent this. If you think you might be missing an update, go into the settings and scroll down to System Update. 

What is the advantage of using Android over iOS? 

A. Android is open-source, meaning anyone can use it and add to it. This means there is more variance in Android devices’ experience, and Android users have more customization power. Most Android phones also still come with headphone jacks and use standard Type-C charging ports. 

What’s the best Android phone to buy?

Top Android phone

Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a

What you need to know: The Google Pixel 4a offers all the essentials while boasting one of the best smartphone cameras on the market and quality performance. 

What you’ll love: There is a 5.81-inch OLED screen that is powered by 6 GB of ram and a 60Hz refresh rate. The exterior build has a polycarbonate shell, and there is a robust 128 GB of internal space. 

What you should consider: This phone only comes in one size, and it lacks water resistance.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Android phone for the money

Moto G Power

Moto G Power

What you need to know: The Moto G Power is a steal for the price, and it has an astounding battery that lasts for days. 

What you’ll love: The back of the phone features three different cameras to ensure getting a great photo. It comes with a quick Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of ram that bring life to its 6.4-inch display. The 5,000 mAh battery will last for days before needing to be charged again. 

What you should consider: Updates don’t appear as frequently as with other phones on this list, and the general quality doesn’t match the Google Pixel 4a. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

What you need to know: The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G offers the premium Samsung experience at a budget price without sacrificing much. 

What you’ll love: It comes with a 6.5-inch AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and 6/8 GB of ram. The back of the phone comes with four high-quality cameras, and it has long-lasting good battery life. 

What you should consider: Despite the specs, there are some occasional lag and performance issues.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Stephen Morin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular