Best Cheap SmartPhones of 2023

Introduction

For years, acquiring cheap smartphones required shelling out over $500, but fortunately, those times have passed.

Nowadays, you can discover devices that cater to most of your requirements for as little as $160.

Yet, navigating the realm of budget smartphones can be a bit of a challenge. Many options that appear impressive on paper often fall short in real-world usage, and certain phones can end up costing you more due to their limited storage capacity.

This comprehensive guide aims to assist you in uncovering great deals and presents our top selections for the finest affordable phones you can purchase at this moment.

Anything below this range might lead you to consider a basic phone or a high-end calculator instead.

Since these options are designed to be more economical than their flagship and midrange counterparts, entry-level smartphones come with trade-offs; the less expensive the device, the more modest your expectations should be regarding performance and overall user experience.

Therefore, my strongest recommendation is to invest as much as your budget allows. Even a slight increase of $50 or $100 can yield a significantly superior product within this price bracket.

Additionally, identifying your most valued features in a phone is crucial. When purchasing a budget-friendly device, you might need to forgo a sophisticated camera in favor of an enduring battery or exchange a high-resolution screen for a swifter processor.

These are the kinds of compromises that are inherent to this category, but understanding your priorities will simplify the process of finding the perfect phone.

It’s also important to acknowledge that certain features can be rare finds among budget phones.

While devices with all-day battery life are readily available, if you desire a top-notch camera, it’s advisable to consider the recommendations from our midrange smartphone guide, where all options are priced at $600 or less.

Wireless charging, waterproofing, and high-speed processors are also not commonly found in this price range. On a positive note, all our recommendations retain the headphone jack, eliminating the need for wireless headphones.

Considering that Apple’s most budget-friendly offering is the $400 iPhone SE, iOS is not a viable option here.

Android stands as the sole choice

Luckily, as of 2023, there’s hardly anything to criticize about Google’s operating system – you might even find it preferable to iOS.

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that most Android manufacturers typically offer less extensive software support for their budget devices.

In some instances, your new phone might only receive a single major Android update and perhaps a year or two of security patches beyond that.

Here is a list of our top picks in the cheap smartphone category.


Google Pixel 6a

cheap smartphones

The Google Pixel 6a impressed us upon its release last summer, and it has continued to exceed expectations since then.

Presently, you can acquire Google’s latest midrange smartphone for as little as $250, thanks to ongoing sales.

With its exceptional camera, solid performance, and superb software support, this device truly stands unrivaled.

Pros

  • Strong performance
  • Great cameras
  • Pixel software
Cons

  • Wireless signal weaker than some others
  • No wireless charging
  • Sluggish fingerprint sensor

Samsung Galaxy A14 5

The Galaxy A14 5G from Samsung represents their newest addition to the cheap smartphones lineup.

While maintaining satisfactory performance from its previous iteration, this model boasts an improved display and comes at a more affordable price point.

Pros

  • A fast, high-res display for just $200
  • Improved design over its predecessors
  • Headphone jack!
Cons

  • No IP rating (so don’t get it wet)
  • Mono speaker quality is poor
  • Cheap-feeling build quality

OnePlus Nord N30 5G

cheap smartphones

The OnePlus Nord N30 can be seen as a reinterpretation rather than a complete overhaul.

Retaining certain strengths from its forerunner while shedding some features, OnePlus has sustained the essence of affordability, albeit at the expense of its remarkable design.

Pros

  • Same excellent performance
  • Affordable, especially when on sale
  • Fast charging for under $300
Cons

  • No AMOLED display
  • Worse battery life than the N20
  • Plastic design that shows scratches and scuffs

Moto G Stylus

If you’re in search of cheap smartphones with stylus support that won’t break the bank at $1,200, the Moto G Stylus is an excellent choice.

While its performance might not be top-tier, the convenience of scribbling notes with the integrated pen compensates for it.

What’s more, you can now own it for a significantly lower price than its initial launch.

It’s important to note, however, that this model does not offer 5G connectivity.

Pros

  • 90Hz display
  • Great battery life
  • Built-in stylus
Cons

  • Slow charging at 10 watts
  • Crummy selfie camera
  • Only one speaker

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

cheap smartphones

The Galaxy A54 by Samsung represents an upgrade to a budget phone that stood out in 2022.

This version brings enhanced performance and a more refined design that aligns closely with the flagship S23 series.

Sporting a 120Hz AMOLED display and a proficient 50MP rear camera, it presents a well-rounded package for just $450.

Pros

  • Excellent, fast display
  • Premium design and feel
  • Expandable storage
Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • 25W charging limit feels slow
  • Phone can get toasty in regular use

Wrapping It Up

No matter what you are looking for you should always do your own research.

Trying a phone in the store where you buy it will be much different once the phone is yours.

These five phones above are just some of the cheap smartphones out there but we feel are the best to purchase whether you are buying a phone for the first time or just want a second cheaper phone.

 

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