You don’t need a flagship to get a good Android experience, not anymore. With initiatives like Android One, Android Go, and Google’s own step into the affordable market, Google has made mid-range and even low-range devices usable again. With so many options on the market now, it’s hard to tell which ones are even worth your time. Let’s dig through and get to know the best affordable Android phones you can buy, as of July 2020.
BEST AFFORDABLE ANDROID PHONES – JULY 2020
New for JULY:
- OnePlus Nord
- Moto E / G Fast
Google Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL
The full Google Pixel experience, but affordable
For the last three years, Google’s Pixel phones have been the pinnacle of the Android phone experience. Pixel phones offer consistent, monthly updates, exceptional camera quality, and a pleasantly near-stock Android OS. Thus far, this experience has come at a flagship price (barring purchasing an older, discounted model).
That all changed with the launch of the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL at Google I/O over a year ago. While not spec sheet stuffers like some other devices, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL have the most important spec secured: an identical rear-facing camera to the one found on last years flagship Pixel 3.
If you really do care about the specs, there are some important differences you should be aware of. For example, the Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch, 2220×1080 display, while the Pixel 3a XL, the larger phone, has a 6-inch display with a smaller resolution of 2160×1080. Thankfully, both models still feature OLED panels. Additionally, the Pixel 3a XL has a 3700mAh battery to the smaller Pixel 3a’s 3000mAh one.
Beyond these core differences, the devices are identical, with a Snapdragon 670 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The design basis for the 3a is the Pixel 3’s “glass sandwich” design, which has been replaced with a plastic back. Honestly, that can be seen as both a positive or negative, depending on whether you prefer design or durability.
Audiophiles will also be happy to know that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL still feature a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the chassis.
Why it’s arguably still the best affordable Android phone you can buy:
The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL feel, outside of the obvious hardware differences, almost identical to the more expensive Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. It will be shunted aside when the Pixel 4a comes to market in the next few weeks but the combination of the software and hardware experience with a $399 starting price still makes for an extremely compelling offer. The duo also runs Android 10 and can even have the Android 11 Beta installed, which no other sub-$500 smartphones can even match.
Where to buy Google Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL:
Unlike Pixels past, the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are not carrier exclusive to Verizon in the US, but can both be purchased from Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Mobile. For a brief time, all the main carriers offered $100 off both phones, but it seems Sprint is the last carrier with this offer, making the Pixel 3a essentially $299.
As always, though, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL can be purchased unlocked from a variety of retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Walmart for $369 and $479 respectively. At the time of writing, Best Buy has the best deal, offering a $50 discount off the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL if you choose to activate the phone immediately.
However, we would suggest holding out just a little bit longer (yes, the release has just kept on slipping!) as the Pixel 4a is due to be released any time within the next few weeks. If you can get the Pixel 3a on discount, then it’s a worthy purchase. For everyone else, hold out a little longer and see just what the Pixel 4a brings to the table.
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
5G without the associated price tag
Despite the fact that 5G is still an in-development wireless tech, it hasn’t stopped the superfast data connection method from bumping up smartphone prices across the board. If you want a solid future-proof affordable Android smartphone, then the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G might be an ideal solution.
Brand new for June 2020, the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G, for those who missed previous announcements, is the top-tier of the Galaxy A-series. It offers a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a hole-punch camera cutout, a 32MP selfie camera, 64MP + 12MP ultrawide + 5MP macro + 5MP depth camera array on the rear, 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM, a 4,500 mAh battery, and Android 10, too.
It’s worth noting that the Galaxy A71 5G is the first smartphone to come to the United States with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor packed inside. This CPU has been designed to be an alternative to the company’s flagship Snapdragon 865 chip, but it hasn’t been released in too many phones so far.
Why it’s probably one of the best affordable Android phones you can buy:
You get all of the best portions of the Galaxy S20 series but at a lower price-point. Plus the A71 has the exact same chip that will come in the Google Pixel 5 later this year — which means that you’ll have comparable overall performance. It’s also available in three distinct colors, which means more design choices than the Galaxy A51.
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy A71 5G:
The Galaxy A71 5G will be available from June 19th from both T-Mobile and Sprint. Later this summer, Samsung says the device will go on sale at Verizon (presumably with a special model) and AT&T, as well as being sold unlocked through retail channels such as Samsung.com. Pricing lands at $599.
The best Android One device you can get, with Nokia durability
With the Nokia 7.2, the company solidified its strong comeback in the world of Android, having spent enough years chasing after the Windows Phone market. Powered by a Snapdragon 660 processor, the Nokia 7.2 features 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 3500mAh battery, dual SIM card slots, a microSD card slot, a headphone port, and a fingerprint scanner. The phone has a 6.3-inch 1080p notched display with an HDR10 certification.
Running on Android One, the Nokia 7.2 offers the absolute best of stock Android, without any OEM tastes, styles, or opinions getting in the way. This makes for a much snappier experience than you would expect from a phone less than half the price of most flagships. The Nokia 7.2 even recently received an update to Android 10 earlier this year.
For cameras, the Nokia 7.2 showcases a 48MP rear camera supported by a 5MP camera used to sense depth for things like the in-camera bokeh effect, and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens. That is quite the selection for almost every scenario. There’s also an 8-megapixel camera hiding in the display notch, for your selfie needs.
Why it’s one of the best affordable Android phones you can buy:
As we noted in our full review of the Nokia 7.2, the phone is tough, as we’ve all come to expect. In the era of dropping a phone and breaking the phone, Nokia devices were joked to instead break the floor. Some of this ruggedness carries through in the Nokia 7.2, offering sturdy metal edges and a healthy amount of weight in the hands. However, the glass back detracts from its durable form.
Its durability, spec sheet, and inclusion of still-loved features that many flagships have dropped, like the microSD card slot and the headphone jack, make the Nokia 7.2 an easy recommendation, even if you weren’t specifically in the market for an “affordable” Android phone.
Where to buy Nokia 7.2:
The Nokia 7.2 is available on Amazon for $349. You can also pick up the Nokia 7.2 from B&H Photo for $299, while unlocked at Best Buy gives the best price of $199. All retailers have the handset available in the Charcoal and Cyan Green color options. The unlocked version will work with any GSM carriers (like AT&T and T-Mobile) in the US.
Still the best not-quite-a-flagship phone you can buy
The OnePlus 7T is arguably not that affordable but it manages to strike an excellent balance. The important flagship specs to make the phone as fast as you could ever need are matched by sensible compromises to keep the Android device affordable.
In raw specifications, the OnePlus 7T outpaces or at least matches flagship contenders like the Pixel 4 and most late 2019 flagships, packing a Snapdragon 855+, 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage.
With a retail price now in or around $500 USD, this is most definitely a premium device but at a price lower than you are used to. The entire package even manages to exceed some handsets that cost twice the entry price of the OnePlus 7T.
The OnePlus 7T also uses an impressive 6.55-inch, 2400×1080 resolution display with a super smooth 90Hz refresh rate. As we noted in our review the 20:9 aspect ratio really ensures that movies and TV shows look great. While the viewing angles are superb, with HDR10+ certification also being a massive boon.
Having an ultra-clean experience with OxygenOS is yet another benefit — and worth the slightly bumped costs alone. The triple camera setup might not win any awards, but it definitely goes toe-to-toe with almost any smartphone under $500.
Why it’s probably the best overall affordable Android phone you can buy:
The OnePlus 7T is outright one of the best smartphones on the market because it straddles the high-end and affordable sections so effortlessly. While it is — in some cases — double the entry price of many other budget devices on this list, it includes some serious hardware that will only increase longevity and ensure everyday performance remains fluid and consistent.
You get superb software support, a gorgeous design, beautiful screen, super-fast charging, and it doesn’t break the bank. OnePlus smartphones are the go-to for many around the globe, and it’s easy to see why with such a fantastic piece of hardware.
Where to buy OnePlus 7T:
Where you can buy the OnePlus 7T and how much it will cost varies from country to country. You can pick up from some carriers in the United States, Amazon, or even from OnePlus 7T direct for just $499.
OTHER EXCELLENT AFFORDABLE ANDROID SMARTPHONES
It would be foolish not to add the recently released OnePlus Nord to any list of excellent affordable Android devices even with some regional restrictions. At £379 in the UK or €399 in EU markets, you get an impressive device for a low price.
The OnePlus Nord feels more like a direct successor to the OnePlus 7T or OnePlus 7T Lite in many ways but is directly below the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro in terms of design and features. You get a reasonable quad-camera setup at the rear, dual-selfie camera, big battery, gorgeous design, and an impressive 90Hz display.
Looking purely at the specifications, it’s a solid smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, 8 or 12GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of internal storage, a 4,115mAh battery with 30W charge speeds, plus that aforementioned camera. All of that for under £400 or €400 is impressive.
For that entry price you’ll get two full OS upgrades plus a further year of security patches — although OnePlus has been known to support devices for longer in some cases. The biggest draw here is the clean OxygenOS experience, which makes it harder to ignore, even if the camera could be a little better.
US fans will have to import if they want to get the OnePlus Nord though, as it isn’t officially available in North America beyond a “limited beta” in the coming weeks.
Since rising from the ashes as the “new” Nokia, we’ve seen a flurry of high-quality affordable Android phones from the brand that was once known for Windows Phone.
In some ways, the Nokia 5.3 is actually a better purchase than the Nokia 7.2 thanks to a snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and overall similar experience. The Nokia 5.3 has easily overtaken the Nokia 4.2 as probably the best affordable phone made by HMD Global. A quad camera, excellent battery, and overall great experience can be had for just $199.
At $199.99, it’s hard to truly fault the Nokia 5.3 You’ll get at least two full OS upgrades, a decent camera, reasonably good performance, and a build that is impressive at this price point. It’s just a really sensibly priced smartphone that gives you a heck of a lot without too much corner-cutting. For an elderly relative, a backup smartphone or for someone’s ever smartphone, then the Nokia 5.3 is a really exceptional choice.
Samsung Galaxy A51
Like any Samsung Galaxy device, the A51 offers a little bit of the recent top-tier S series devices but at a reduced price. The Galaxy A51 is more than just a taster though, with an experience mimicking the latest high-end Samsung smartphones.
While most affordable Android phones tend to go with cheaper LCD displays, the 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display is typically impressive and includes a punch-hole notch — dropping Samsung’s “Infinity-U” design found on the older A50. That notch houses a 32MP selfie camera, and lower down on that display there’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor hidden underneath.
The Samsung Galaxy A51 also packs in an Exynos 9611 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards up to 512GB. There’s also a 4,000mAh battery, NFC, fast charging, and a headphone jack. Android 10 is also available out of the box with One UI 2.0 on top — which is the best version of the third-party skin to date.
There’s also a quad-camera array on the back of the Galaxy A50. That consists of a primary 48MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens for even wider shots, a 5MP macro lens, and a 5MP sensor used for capturing depth. All that for just under $399? Sign us up.
Not that well known outside of the TV business in the United States, TCL announced a move into the Android smartphone market back at CES 2020 with the TCL 10 series. The best value of these is undoubtedly the TCL 10L. It’s an affordable Android phone with an overall impressive spec sheet for just $239.
This device offers a 6.53-inch LCD display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a quad-camera setup with a primary 48MP shooter, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth sensor. There’s also a rear-facing capacitive fingerprint sensor, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, and a 4,000mAh battery, too.
It’s impressive that you get all of that for under $400, let alone $250. With an all-screen design and durable plastic build, it’s likely going to be a great option for those on a tight budget but wanting a little bit of everything on their smartphone. Availability isn’t wide at the moment, but the TCL 10L is expected to head to more retailers soon.
LG Stylo 6
Part of the popular LG Stylo line, the Stylo 6 gives you a heck of a lot for just $179. LG smartphones often fly well under the radar for a number of reasons. For one, LG doesn’t tend to publicize their mid-range and affordable Android devices all too well.
A popular choice for those shopping for a new smartphone on a budget, there is a lot to love about the LG Stylo 6. It comes with a MediaTek Helio P35 2.3GHz octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage (with microSD support). The device also includes a 6.8-inch FHD+ display, 4,000 mAh battery with USB-C and fast charging, Android 10 out-of-the-box, and a 13MP selfie camera.
There’s also a triple-camera array on the back with a 13MP primary backed by 5MP ultrawide and depth cameras. A headphone jack and a “spring-loaded stylus pen” also help round off the entire package. The LG Stylo 6 usually retails for $219, but Boost Mobile has a launch promotion ongoing that brings the price down to $179.
Motorola Moto One Action
Not many Android phones have adopted the 21:9 aspect ratio, but the Motorola Moto One Action joins the recent Sony Xperia devices in bringing the cinematic aspect ratio to mobile. It’s an impressive affordable Android phone for under $300.
The new Motorola One Action packs a triple-camera array and mid-range specs. Under the hood, there’s a Samsung Exynos 9609 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of UFS storage, a 3,500 mAh battery, and a headphone jack too.
It’s also an Android One device with Pie, Google’s Digital Wellbeing tools, and the promise of timely updates and security patches. Some of Motorola’s software tricks are also included with Moto Display, Moto Actions, and the company’s One Button Nav gestures.
Motorola Moto G8 / G8+ / G8 Power Lite
The latest in the Moto G series, the Moto G8, G8+, and G8 Power Lite, all continue in the tradition of offering fair specs at a reasonably fair price. All three models feature the same Snapdragon 665 processor, which should ensure mostly consistent performance, give or take the differences in RAM.
The standard Motorola Moto G8 is built on the solid foundation of 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space. Externally, the Moto G8 also features a 6.4-inch, 720×1560 display with a punch-hole notch, triple (16MP / 8MP / 2MP) rear cameras, and a rear fingerprint sensor. Official US pricing isn’t available as yet, but we would expect a roughly $300 price tag when available.
The next model down is the Moto G8 Power Lite, which comes with With a 6.5-inch HD+ display, the Moto G8 Power Lite is powered by a MediaTek Helio P35 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage — that you can increase up to 256GB with a microSD card. As this is a “Power” device, it comes with a massive 5,000mAh cell but relies on a micro-USB port with charging at up to 10W speeds.
At the rear, you’ll find a triple camera setup that consists of a 16-megapixel main sensor, 2-megapixel macro lens, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. The selfie camera comes in an 8-megapixel flavor and is hidden within a display notch. There is also a rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint reader for biometric unlocks.
The biggest downside is that the G8 Power Lite will, unfortunately, ship with Android Pie rather than Android 10 out of the box. It’s also not entirely clear if the device will get updated to the latest versions of the OS. Given Motorola’s track record we would be very surprised if it gets updated soon. This model is currently available from Amazon for $249, Best Buy, and B&H Photo.
For another $100 discount, you can pick up the Moto G8 Play with a meager 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. For the same price though, you’d be better off picking up an Android One phone from elsewhere on this list.
Moto E / G Fast
Announced at the start of June, the Moto E and G Fast are both sub-$200 smartphones that might be worth a look if you want a solid backup smartphone. Starting with the Moto G Fast, the 6.4-inch smartphones will come with an HD+ LCD display complete with a punch-hole notch. As you’d expect, the internals are modest at best with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 4,000mAh battery.
There is also a capacitive fingerprint reader alongside a triple camera setup that consists of a 16-megapixel main sensor, 2-megapixel macro lens, and 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle. For those wondering about the selfie camera on the Moto G Fast, it is in the 8-megapixel flavor.
As for the Moto E, it will come with even more modest specifications. The 6.2-inch HD display includes a dewdrop notch. You’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 and 2GB of RAM under the hood. 32GB of internal storage is included. It too comes with a rear fingerprint scanner but has a dual-camera setup that consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and 2-megapixel depth sensor. Adding to that duo is a 5-megapixel selfie camera.
Both the Moto E and Moto G Fast come with Android 10 right out of the box. However, we’re not quite sure how the latest operating system will run on such low-end hardware. We can’t imagine it will be the “finest” experience all things considered.
Both devices are already available for pre-order direct from Motorola, Amazon, B&H, and other retailers with an expected June 12 release. At present, you will only be able to pick up the Moto G Fast and Moto E in unlocked form, but carriers are set to offer them in the future. As for pricing, the Moto G Fast will set you back $199.99, while the Moto E will cost just $149.99. You’ll be able to pick up both devices in a range of colors.
Moto G Fast
EXCELLENT ANDROID ONE SMARTPHONES
If you’re looking for the stock Android experience, look no further than Android One. Android One is Google’s push for consistency, against the well-meaning but sometimes power-hungry OEM themes placed on top of Android. Devices running Android One have an almost Pixel-like stock Android experience.
Also, by being able to skip porting (or updating) their custom theme to the latest version of Android, manufacturers are normally able to bring the latest versions of Android and security updates to Android One devices in a timely manner. As far as affordable Android phones go, it’s hard not to recommend one running Android One.
Nokia has truly cornered the market for great affordable Android One phones. The best model in their lineup to get the best of affordability and great features is the Nokia 4.2. It features a Snapdragon 439 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space. The device comes in black and pink, with the pink being reminiscent of (but much bolder than) the Google Pixel 3’s “Not Pink.”Despite these reduced specs, compared to the 7.2 and 8.3, the Nokia 4.2 is still easy to recommend, thanks to “premium” features like a Google Assistant button and face unlock. Combined with Android One’s consistent updates and a retail price of $189, the Nokia 4.2 strikes the perfect balance for its price range.
The Nokia 4.2 will be superseded by the Nokia 5.2 in the coming months but still is a fantastic affordable Android phone. As you may expect, though, the Nokia 4.2 only works on GSM networks in the US for just $110.
EXCELLENT ANDROID GO SMARTPHONES
Android Go specializes in making Android work for the tightest of budgets of all kinds — financial, mobile data, storage, etc. Android Go includes slimmed-down versions of the Google apps you know and love, that also slim down on data usage where possible. Their availability in the United States is extremely limited, however, which makes selection difficult.
Probably one of the most surprisingly impressive “cheap” smartphones that we’ve tested in a long time. The Nokia 2.2 also happens to be one of the most up-to-date affordable Android phones on the market right now. It was recently updated to Android 10, which means you’ll get all the benefits of the latest OS without having to spend a great deal.
It does have very modest specs but does come with a removable battery, dual SIM support, a headphone jack, and plastic design. Overall though, it’s far ahead of the competition at under $100.
If you’re not interested in the Nokia 2.2, then maybe the C2 is more your style. The device isn’t available quite yet but will come with a 5.7-inch display, a quad-core UniSoc chipset, just 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (that can be expanded up to 64GB with a microSD card), and a headphone port.
Like most ultra-budget smartphones, the Nokia C2 relies on the outdated micro USB for charging, but the relatively small 2,800mAh battery is user-removable. Another notable hardware inclusion is that of a dedicated Google Assistant button, which allows you to quickly enter voice search and give the Assistant commands.
It will likely go on sale in the coming months but we’d expect very modest pricing.
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