Best Android phones for students 2024

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Whether you’re a high schooler’s parent or a student getting ready to head back to college, having a trusty Android phone by your side can make life a lot easier. Problem is, most students don’t have the budget to purchase top-of-the-line phones because of financial constraints. 

Thankfully, affordable Android phones have become feature-rich and highly competitive these days. Here are some of our top recommendations, including the Google Pixel 7a as our best overall pick.

At Android Central, our testing and review methods include making sure each phone lives up to the marketing claims of the company, offers good value for the money, can deliver a quality photo every time, and lasts long enough to make it through the day on a single charge. 

At a glance

Best overall

Best Android phones for students 2024

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Best overall

Reasons to buy

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Incredible camera

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Clean software and guaranteed updates

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IP67 rating and great battery

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Colorful OLED display

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Snappy Tensor processor

Reasons to avoid

No expandable storage

Battery life could be better

For a student, one of the most important aspects of buying a new phone is buying reliable something without being too expensive. Out of all the phones on the market right now, the one that strikes that balance the best is the Google Pixel 7a.

The Pixel 7a is Google’s mid-range successor to the popular Pixel 5a and 4a series. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, it is one of the best mid-range smartphones that money can buy, and two of the biggest reasons for that are the Pixel 7a’s camera and software. Most mid-range phones have fine cameras, but the Pixel 7a captures photos that are just as good, if not better, than some flagships out there. Even with a humble dual camera setup on a phone that costs this little, Google somehow managed to have it kick out genuinely stunning pictures.

Outside of the top-notch camera, the Pixel 7a also delivers a super clean build of Android out of the box. Being a Pixel phone, it is first-in-line for guaranteed software updates for five more years, has a gorgeous OLED display, and a custom Google Tensor processor that’s more than capable for every task you throw at it. Also included here is NFC for contactless payments with Google Pay, IP67 water resistance, and superior haptics.

We wish that the Pixel 7a came with expandable storage and a larger battery, but there’s not much else to dislike outside of those two little complaints. The bold design borrowed from the Pixel 7 series is stunning, but if you don’t like it there’s a host of great Pixel 7a cases to fix that. Google knocked it out of the park with this one.

Best value

Best Android phones for students 2024

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Best value

Reasons to buy

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Crisp 120Hz Super AMOLED display

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Fast enough for most tasks

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Large 5,000mAh battery

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5G support

Reasons to avoid

Not great for gaming

If you like Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones’ designs but not their price, the Galaxy A54 5G bridges the gap between budget phones and premium models. It has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with HDR support for vibrant colors and a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother usage. While the screen has a bit more bezel between the pixels and the edge of the phone, the glass runs out to the edges making the phone look quite premium. Just be sure to grab a Galaxy A54 5G case to keep it from getting damaged if you drop it.

The battery is large at 5,000mAh, and our Galaxy A54 5G review notes that the phone will easily make it to the end of the day on a single charge. If you forget to plug it in at night, 25W fast charging should get your enough power to make it through classes while getting ready to leave. Performance is solid with the Exynos 1380 SoC handling most apps with ease, but struggling with 3D gaming.

Finally, support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 means you can get fast download and upload speeds whether you’re waiting for the bus, or waiting for class to start. Finally, Samsung has promised four years of updates so you can stay up to date with the latest security patches for years to come.

Best battery life

Best Android phones for students 2024

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy A25 5G

Best battery life

Reasons to buy

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Large 5,000mAh battery with 25W fast charging

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Solid 120Hz AMOLED display

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5G enabled

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Low price

Reasons to avoid

The Exynos 1280 CPU can chug

With a large 5,000mAh battery and relatively low power hardware, the Samsung Galaxy A25 is should easily make it to the end of the day on a charge. It also charges quickly at up to 25W. While the phone isn’t terribly powerful, you still get a large 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display running at up to 120Hz. The AMOLED tech in the screen means you get rich colors with good contrast. There’s a small notch at the top of the screen allowing for the selfie camera, which is a bit old school, but looks decently nice.

Speaking of cameras, this phone features a three-camera array on the back with a 50MP main shooter, 8MP ultra wide camera, and 2MP macro camera for closeups. That main camera won’t keep up with the likes of the Pixel 7a, but given a decent amount of light, can still deliver some solid images. If you’re just looking for something good enough for Instagram, it’s a fine choice. Mid-band and low-band 5G is supported on the U.S. model with Wi-Fi 5 picking up the slack.

Best design

Best Android phones for students 2024

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Best design

Reasons to buy

+

Glyph Interface is unlike anything in existence

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Three major OS updates and clean software

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Excellent battery life

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33W fast wired and wireless charging

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Nice set of cameras

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IP53 water and dust resistance

Reasons to avoid

No charger in the box

Lights don’t add much beyond aesthetics

Performance lags at times

There’s a newer model available

Carl Pei’s Nothing phone (1) is a unique Android phone with a distinctly recognizable design. While Nothing phone (2) is also available and makes so nice improvements to the hardware, Nothing phone (1) can still be a strong choice thanks to its price and software updates that have brought it up to Android 13 with Nothing OS 2.0. If you don’t mind paying a bit more, the Nothing phone (2) is great choice as well.

The Nothing phone (1) Android phone has a transparent back with a plethora of LED lights incorporated into the rear. These lights make up the Nothing phone (1)’s Glyph Interface and you can customize it to a certain extent. All those flashing lights aside, the Nothing phone (1) has a lot more to offer. Impressively, it sports an IP53 water and dust resistance rating.

The 6.55-inch OLED display is simply gorgeous, with a snappy 120Hz variable refresh rate and an in-screen fingerprint reader. You don’t need to worry about battery life or charging because this Android phone has excellent specs on that front. There’s a 4,500mAh cell inside paired with 33W fast wired, 15W wireless, and 5W reverse wireless charging support.

As for the software, the phone (1) delivers a clean, bloat-free UI with small, meaningful tweaks here and there. It is powered by the Snapdragon 778G+ SoC and 8GB or 12GB of RAM. The performance is decent but inconsistent, with sporadic lags here and there. The Nothing phone (1) also lacks a headphone jack and a microSD slot. You will also need to invest in a USB-C charger for the phone (1) since it doesn’t come with one in the box.

Best cheap phone

Best Android phones for students 2024

Best cheap phone

Reasons to buy

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Large 5,050mAh battery

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Impressive specs for sub-$200 price

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Quad camera setup

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Expandable storage

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NFC for Google Pay

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There’s a headphone jack!

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2 years of major platform updates

Reasons to avoid

Display isn’t very great

No fast charging to go with the big battery

Mediatek Helio G35 delivers slow performance

OnePlus not only manages to make waves with its high-end phones, like the OnePlus Open, but also with its cheaper devices like the OnePlus Nord N30. This phone has a nice look and feel with two large camera lenses on the back, and an expansive 6.72-inch LCD panel on the front. There’s a bit more bezel on the bottom of the phone giving it a bit of a chin, but overall looks modern and sleek.

This phone has been updated to Android 14, so you can download it straight away after setting up your phone. It’s all powered by the competent Snapdragon 695 CPU and Adreno 619 GPU, which our OnePlus Nord N30 review found was plenty for day-to-day tasks with enough horsepower for some gaming with low details. The main 108MP camera does most of the heavy lifting with a depth sensor and 2MP macro camera sharing the bottom lens.

Best for taking notes

Best Android phones for students 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Best for taking notes

Reasons to buy

+

Stylus allows for a lot of functionality

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Excellent battery life

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Supports all U.S. carriers

Reasons to avoid

Only 15W fast charging

Only promised to get one major update

There are two versions of the Moto G Stylus released in 2023 with an LTE and 5G version. The differences go further than just connectivity, however, with several other difference under true hood. For most students, though, the LTE model could be all they need. As we saw in our Moto G Stylus 2023 review, this phone gets a lot right for a budget-oriented phone. It’s powered by a Mediatek Helio G85 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM which is enough for most apps, but games will likely need to be set to their lowest detail setting for smooth performance.

Motorola has included a large 5,000mAh battery that makes it easy to get to the end of the day on a charge, but unlike some of the more expensive phones above, charging is quite slow at just 15W. Camera performances is solid with the main 50MP shooter and a 2MP macro camera. Motorola launched this phone with Android 13, and while it has promised an Android 14 update, it hasn’t arrive yet.

You don’t have to break the bank over the best Android phone for students

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Any of the Android phones on this list will serve a student well for school, but among all of them, we have to give our top recommendation to the Google Pixel 7a.

Google’s attempt at making a mid-range Pixel device turned out to be a smashing success. The Google Pixel 7a might have a smaller battery and slightly worse display compared to its more expensive siblings, but the incredible cameras, super clean software, IP67 rating, and Google’s robust Tensor chipset make this a phone that’s genuinely enjoyable to use day in and day out.

Among all of that, though, another big reason the Pixel 7a stands out is because of its post-purchase support. Since this is a phone made by Google itself, it’s first-in-line ahead of every other Android phone to receive essential security patches and exciting software updates the second they’re released. That means you can hold onto the Google Pixel 7a for quite a few years and still get the best of what Android has to offer.

Via: Androidcentral

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