Best cheap Android phones 2024

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If you’re on the hunt for the best cheap Android phone, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll find all of the best devices for $500 or less, ranging from flagship-quality smartphones to decent budget models. You can even score a Samsung Galaxy for five Benjamins or less.

We’ve thoroughly researched all of the picks in our guides, so you can rest easy knowing there won’t be any surprises later on. Needless to say, with phones this cheap, you can’t expect outstanding performance all across the board. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. Still, you might be pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of these phones. Our top pick, the Google Pixel 7a, for example, boasts incredible camera software and uses the same chipset found in the Google Pixel 7 Pro, which used to be our favorite Android phone when it launched.

At a glance

Best overall

Best cheap Android phones 2024

Best overall

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch AMOLED, 2400×1080, 90Hz refresh rate

Processor: Google Tensor G2

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 128GB

Cameras: 64MP primary, 13MP ultra-wide, 13MP front

Charging: 18W wired

Battery: 4,385mAh

Water Resistance: IP67

Dimensions: 152 x 72.9 x 9.0mm

Weight: 193.5g

Reasons to buy

+

Incredible cameras

+

Tensor G2 chipset

+

Pixel-exclusive features

+

Wireless charging support

+

Best haptics in its class

Reasons to avoid

90Hz refresh rate

Battery life isn’t amazing

Considering how much we loved its predecessor, the Pixel 6a, Google had some seriously big shoes to fill with the Google Pixel 7a. Thankfully, not only did they deliver, but actually exceeded our expectations. We even went so far as to call the phone the “best Pixel Google has ever built” in our Google Pixel 7a review.

How is this possible? With this cheap Android phone, it all comes down to balance. With a starting price of just $499, the Pixel 7a offers some truly outstanding bang for the buck, thanks to specs like the Google Tensor G2 chipset (the same processor found in the more-expensive Pixel 7 Pro), glorious haptics, and camera tech that rivals some of the best Android phones that money can buy. In fact, pound for pound, we found that the Pixel 7a performed just as well as the base model Pixel 7 ($599) in most of our initial tests.

You also get Android 13 with all of the usual Pixel-exclusive features straight out of the box, plus five years of Pixel updates guaranteed. It’s the first A-series Pixel to come with wireless charging (limited to 5W). Sure, you only get a 90Hz refresh rate, and the battery life may not be the best in the business, but you’re getting a truly unrivaled experience for less than $500.

Best value flagship

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Best value flagship

Specifications

Display : 6.78-inch, 120Hz, LTPO AMOLED

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

RAM: 12GB/16GB LPDDR5X

Storage: 128GB/256GB

Charging: 100W wired

Battery: 5,500mAh

Water Resistance: IP65

Dimensions: 163.3 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm

Weight: 207g

Reasons to buy

+

Flagship OnePlus design 

+

Superb AMOLED display 

+

Excellent all-round performance 

+

Stand-out 50MP main camera

+

Multi-day battery life, 100W charging

Reasons to avoid

Lacks wireless charging 

Average secondary cameras 

The OnePlus 12R is one of the best unlocked phones you can buy in the US, but those looking for a deal through their carrier will be out of luck. If you can plonk down the cash though, you’re in for a real treat. At a starting price of just under $500, the 12R gets you a flagship processor, premium design and build quality, a brilliant AMOLED display, and the quickest charging ever in this segment.

OnePlus’ R series of phones is essentially a homage to its roots of making “flagship killer” smartphones, and the 12R is the first of its kind to finally get a US launch. We’re talking Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 120Hz LTPO AMOLED display, and 100W wired charging. If that’s not enough to get you excited, the 12R follows the same design as the flagship 12, which means you could easily fool someone with the right case.

In our review, we simply loved how the 12R felt every bit as powerful as the OnePlus 12. Whether it was multitasking or gaming, the phone handled everything without breaking a sweat. Benchmark numbers are a bit lower than 2024’s flagships, but that isn’t something most people would care about.

The main camera really stands out, delivering flagship-grade performance in daylight and low light. The ultrawide is a bit inferior in comparison, but is still good enough for this price segment. The software is slick and fluid, and the 12R is slated to get three Android OS upgrades. Overall, there’s very little to be disappointed about, especially when you consider how much you’re paying.

Best design

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Nothing)

3. Nothing Phone 2a

Best design

Specifications

Display : 6.7-inch Flexible AMOLED with Gorilla Glass 5

Processor : Mediatek Dimensity 7200 Pro

RAM: 12GB

Storage: 256GB

Cameras : 50MP Samsung GN9 main; 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide; 32MP selfie

Charging : 45W

Battery: 5,000mAh

Water Resistance : IP54

Dimensions : 161.74 x 76.32 x 8.55 mm

Weight : 190g

Reasons to buy

+

Head-turning design

+

Great specs for the segment

+

Cameras are surprisingly good 

+

Lean Android interface 

Reasons to avoid

Not easily available in the US 

The Phone 2a is Nothing’s first-ever budget smartphone, and it carries the same quirky DNA as its pricier siblings. The transparent back panel, meticulous attention to detail, and the Glyph lights are some of the unique features that make it the best-looking phone in this segment.

With our brief time on the phone, we’re already mighty impressed at what the company has pulled off here. The polycarbonate build doesn’t feel as premium as the exposed aluminium rails of its bigger sibling, but it’s still light and durable. You get fewer LEDs around the camera module for the Glyph lights, but the functionality is still solid. The 6.7-inch AMOLED display is pretty to look at, and colors and brightness levels are satisfactory. The phone is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro SoC, which is more than adequate for casual use.

The Phone 2a has a large 5,000mAh battery with relatively quick charging. The camera specs on paper are also quite good, and from what we’ve tested so far, they perform very well compared to the other phones of its class.

The only catch with the Nothing Phone 2a is that you can’t buy it outright in the US. The company doesn’t have any plans at the moment to put it on open sale. However,  you can try your luck getting it via Nothing’s developer program from its website for $349.

Best for Galaxy fans

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Best for Galaxy fans

Specifications

Display: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2340, 120Hz refresh rate

Processor: Exynos 1380 octa-core

RAM: 6GB

Storage: 128GB

Cameras: 50MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, 32MP selfie

Charging: 25W wired

Battery: 5,000mAh

Water Resistance: IP67

Dimensions: 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2mm

Weight: 202g

Reasons to buy

+

Good-looking hardware

+

Vibrant AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate

+

Flagship-level camera features

+

Large 5,000 battery

Reasons to avoid

No 3.5mm headphone jack

Camera still doesn’t beat a Pixel

The Galaxy A Series continues to be one of Samsung’s greatest achievements, with solid specs and nice designs on mid-range and low-end phones. We were massive fans of the Galaxy A53, and its follow-up does not disappoint, delivering flagship-level specs at half the normal flagship price.

The Samsung Galaxy A54 boasts a typically vibrant 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate alongside the ultra-efficient octa-core Exynos 1380 processor, a large 5,000mAh battery, and 6GB of RAM with 128GB storage capacity. The camera software is excellent here as well, with a 50MP primary lens and a 32MP selfie shooter. Plus, you get a lot of the camera features found in Samsung’s latest flagship series, such as Nightography capabilities and Object Eraser.

As with all of the best Samsung phones, device longevity is the focus of the Galaxy A54. The phone is set to receive four OS upgrades and up to five years of security updates, so you can plan to use the A54 for years to come. The phone typically retails for around $450, but look around for Samsung Galaxy A54 deals to see if you can save some extra cash.

Best under $300

Best cheap Android phones 2024

Best under $300

Specifications

Display: 6.72-inch 120Hz LCD display

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G

RAM: 8GB LPDDR4x

Storage: 128GB UFS 2.2

Cameras: 108MP rear, 2MP macro, 2MP depth, 16MP front

Charging: 50W SUPERVOOC

Battery: 5,000mAh

Water Resistance: IP54

Dimensions: 165.5 x 76 x 8.33mm

Weight: 195g

Reasons to buy

+

120Hz display

+

3.5mm jack and microSD card slot

+

5G connectivity and NFC

+

Great-looking and feeling build

+

Lots of software features

Reasons to avoid

USB port compatibility issues

Only one OS update

As we found in our Nord N30 5G review, this affordable phone from OnePlus consistently performs like a phone twice its price, thanks to specs like a Snapdragon 695 5G processor, 8GB of RAM, and even 64GB of expandable storage out of the box. On top of that, it’s got an AMOLED display on the front, which is unusual for phones in this price range.

As you would expect from an AMOLED panel, the colors are gorgeous, the black levels are perfect, and everything just looks great. It’s even got a 120Hz refresh rate.

The cameras are also above and beyond the level of quality of most phones in this price range. It has a 108MP main camera on the back — the 2MP monochrome and 2MP macro cameras are mostly useless on their own — but that main camera produces some seriously great photos with wide dynamic range, impressively smart 

AI-powered multi-frame software that automatically picks the best shot after you take it, and even takes quality 1080p video.

For more options in this price range, check out our guide to the best Android phones under $300.

Best under $200

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Best under $200

Specifications

Display: 6.5-inch AMOLED, 90Hz refresh rate

Processor: Mediatek Dimensity 6100+

RAM: 4GB

Storage: 128GB

Cameras: 50MP main camera, 5MP ultrawide, 2MP macro

Charging: 25W wired

Battery: 5,000mAh

Water Resistance:

Dimensions: 160.1 x 76.8 x 8.4 mm

Weight: 197g

Reasons to buy

+

Less than $200

+

Very good display for the price 

+

Solid battery life

+

Decent cameras 

+

Android 14, four years of updates

+

microSD card support

Reasons to avoid

SoC can be sluggish in some tasks

Below-average build quality 

Fingerprint reader isn’t easy to use

Samsung offers a lot of smartphones for $200 with the new Galaxy A15 5G, making it an amazing budget option for your kids’ first phone. A lot has been improved from the Galaxy A13 5G which used to be on our list, such as a better AMOLED display, the latest version of Android, quicker wired charging, and upgraded cameras.

The visual aspect has also been overhauled as the A15 5G looks more modern, and from the rear, it looks similar to Samsung’s pricier A-series models or even its S series. However, you can’t expect anything more than a plastic build at this price, and the Blue Black colorway tends to look a bit cheap in our experience.

Coming back to the positives, the 6.5-inch AMOLED display has a Full-HD resolution which means icons and text end up looking decently sharp. Colors are also vibrant and punchy, making it great for binge-watching videos. The MediaTek SoC can handle basic apps well enough, but the problem is the stingy 4GB of RAM which tends to make app-launching and multitasking painfully slow. Thankfully, a microSD card slot is supported for expanding the 128GB of storage.

The cameras on the Galaxy A15 5G pleasantly surprised us. The main 50MP snapper can capture more than passable photos, and did the macro camera for a change. The ultrawide was quite underwhelming, but at least it’s there when you absolutely need it. Battery life is one of the main highlights of this phone. The 5,000mAh battery can easily get you through one full day, and maybe more depending on your usage.

For more options in this price range, check out our guide to the best Android phones under $200.

Best stylus phone

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Best stylus phone

Specifications

Display: 6.6-inch FHD+, 2400×1080, 120Hz refresh rate

Processor: Snapdragon 6 Gen 1

RAM: 4GB/6GB

Storage: 128GB/256GB, expandable

Cameras: 50MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide, 8MP depth

Charging: 20W wired

Battery: 5,000 mAh

Water Resistance: Water-repellent coating

Dimensions: 162.83 x 73.77 x 9.19mm

Weight: 202g

Reasons to buy

+

Included stylus for writing/drawing

+

Three rear cameras

+

Good all-around specs

+

Big battery

+

3.5mm headset jack

Reasons to avoid

No water or dust resistance

It can be challenging to keep track of all the value phones Motorola has in its lineup, but one that manages to stand out is the Moto G Stylus 5G (2023). Along with being one of the few Android phones that comes with a built-in stylus, it’s also just a perfect combination of specs, features, and value.

You’re getting a large 6.6-inch display that looks great, and thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, this one will feel a lot more expensive than it is because of the smooth presentation. There’s also ample performance thanks to the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor, along with 128GB of built-in storage and a very large 5,000mAh battery. Given the affordable price of the G Stylus, these are all impressive specifications.

As the name implies, the main draw to the Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) is its built-in stylus experience. It’s certainly not the most premium stylus we’ve ever used, but it works well enough for drawing, note-taking, etc. It can also be stored seamlessly at the bottom of the phone when you aren’t using it, which is a nice touch that ties the whole experience together.

How to choose

What is the best cheap Android phone to buy?

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.

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Without a doubt, the Google Pixel 7a is the best phone under $500 — but fortunately, we’re living in a day and age that’s full of excellent and affordable smartphones.

So, how should you choose a cheap Android phone?

Most people have a budget to stick to, and that’s where deciding the right budget-minded phone comes into play. You want to pick a phone that’s not just in your budget, but one that will last a while, too. That way, you’re not spending even more on yet another phone upgrade shortly down the road.

But before you even think about a phone’s processor, cameras, or storage space, you need to think about connectivity. All modern phones support Bluetooth earbuds and Wi-Fi, but not all phones support all cellular networks. Make sure the phone you’re looking for supports your network of choice, especially if you are choosing an unlocked phone from the list.

The quickest way to end up with a phone that feels sluggish and old is to undersell yourself on the phone’s chipset.

Next, keep a phone’s processor in mind before pressing that buy button. The quickest way to end up with a phone that feels sluggish and old is to undersell yourself on the phone’s chipset.

Lots of phones feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, but that doesn’t mean all of them are worthwhile. Unless your budget absolutely doesn’t allow for anything faster, you probably want to avoid any phone powered by a Snapdragon 400-series or lower chipset. Those phones are really only good as communication devices and for browsing the web or social media.

Likewise, MediaTek’s Dimensity series of processors are the only ones you want to consider from the company. Phones like the TCL Stylus 5G — which is only available at T-Mobile — sport the excellent MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chipset, which is speedy enough for just about anything you throw at it.

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Storage isn’t much of a concern these days thanks to excellent cloud storage services like Google Photos.

You’ll also want to make sure your new phone has at least 6GB of RAM if you’re ever planning on doing more than one thing at a time on it. Less RAM means the phone has less memory to store opened apps, creating a scenario where apps take a long time to load and often have to reload if you switch back and forth between apps.

Storage isn’t much of a concern these days, thanks to excellent cloud storage services like Google Photos, which can offload the photos and videos you’ve taken to a safe and secure cloud drive. That means they not only won’t be taking up precious space on your phone, but they’ll also be securely backed up in case something happens to your phone.

Services like Google Photos also archive your photos and make it easy to search for even the most minute details, like your old black and white cat or the blue shoes you wore to that wedding several years ago.

With a few exceptions, the cameras on the phones above will all deliver a good experience in most lighting conditions.

Cameras on smartphones have become increasingly important over the years, and, with a few exceptions, the phones above will all deliver a good experience in most lighting conditions. As these are less expensive phones, you’ll need to be aware that most models will only take great pictures in adequate light. Phones like the Google Pixel 7a or Samsung Galaxy A54 5G offer great low-light support, and that function is becoming more common on phones even under $300 these days.

No phone on this list has poor battery life, but some folks might have a unique need for a smartphone to last more than a single day on a full charge. We’ve noted that several options above will offer that but specifically highlight one phone as having the best battery life of them all.

The bottom line on cheaper Android phones

Best cheap Android phones 2024

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Most Android phones these days are pretty good, but a few stand above the rest. We’ve outlined many of our favorites here but if you want a few more options and are on a tighter budget, we’ve got picks for the best phones under $300 and the best phones under $100 . Each of these categories comes with a few concessions but, if you’re looking for a specific niche — like a stylus — you’ll find a few more options there.

Just remember, though, that you’re paying hundreds less than what it costs to buy a Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus or Pixel 8 Pro. While those phones might offer faster processors, better cameras, or brighter screens, they’re extremely expensive to replace if they accidentally get broken. Splurging on the best overall phone that throws in everything and the kitchen sink isn’t always the ideal solution — especially when you’re looking to cut costs.

Via: Androidcentral

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