Best Budget Android Phones 2021

Amazing budget Android phones become even more affordable as high-end devices get more expensive. Here’s a list of all the most affordable Android phones available. Our buyer’s guide will help you find the best phone for your needs. These are our top picks for the cheapest phones currently available.

Which Android smartphones are best for budget?

Android phones were a great budget option last year. We expect even more in 2021. There are features such as multiple cameras, faster processors, and 5G at prices that were unheard-of just a few short years ago. Because of that, there’s a wealth of quality options in the $200–$450 range that won’t make you feel like you’re compromising.

You can’t go wrong either with the Google Pixel 4a, or Google Pixel 5. for our top picks. This 2020 model is the ideal balance between battery life and camera quality. The clean Android OS that you will love, as well as the identical camera to the 5a, makes it a great choice. Go with the new model, and you’ll get a much larger screen, 5G support, waterproofing, and amazing battery life — though it stretches the definition of a “budget” Android phone.

We love the Nokia 5.4 even more. This phone has a slightly lower resolution than the other smartphones on this list, as well as a more plastic-backed display and less storage. It’s still a great package and we highly recommend it, particularly if you want to spend as little as possible for an unlocked Android smartphone with excellent cameras, great battery life, smooth software, and good camera quality.

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is also recommended. This phone surprised us with its beautiful display and tremendous performance, although you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for a phone this size — it’s a big one.

Google Pixel 4a

The bottom line: The Pixel 4a has one of the best cameras on this list, but it’s so much more than that. This is a great overall device, even though it costs a little more than our top choice.

Google hasn’t made any changes to the Pixel 4a since its predecessor, Pixel 3a. The Pixel 4a retained the same design and features as the previous model, including the sleek plastic body and minimalistic layout. It did make some improvements to the device: faster processor, more memory and RAM, as well as a better display and three years’ worth of Android platform updates and security patches that will soothe all users.

However, the Pixel 4a restricts user choices. It only offers 128GB of storage. It’s only available in one dimension, the 5.8-inch model. This makes it easy to use and hold in one hand.

The Pixel 4a shines in basics. The power-sipping capabilities of the upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor ensure that its 3,180mAh battery can last all day. The 5.8 inch OLED screen is an edge-to-edge with just the slightest bit of bezel. There’s also a cutout for the camera at the top. The back has only one camera, however, the 12MP sensor and Google’s top-of-the-line post-processing combine to produce the most stunning photos at this price. It is amazing. It’s so good that you won’t be able to tell the difference in photos taken on the Pixel 4a from those made with the Pixel 4.

What does the Pixel 4a do to cut down on costs? It doesn’t support wireless charging, water-resistance, or a matte body. The plastic body can also feel slightly less luxurious than the metal-and-glass versions. The phone, which is very affordable at $199, can be considered a great deal and should top your wish list.

Google Pixel 5a

The bottom line although some people may consider the Pixel 5a to be expensive, it packs big for its price of $450. This includes a fast Snapdragon processor, 5G connectivity, and stunning cameras.

We already mentioned the Google Pixel 4a above, but it’s also worth discussing its more expensive sibling — the Pixel 5a. This is the same as last year’s Pixel 4a with some important upgrades.

The processor is the first thing to mention. Pixel 5a features the Snapdragon 765G processor which offers better connectivity and performance. Although 5G has many challenges ahead, the Pixel 5a is worth considering if your plan is to use it for years to come and enjoy faster internet speeds.

Because the 5a is larger, it has a better display and battery. This makes the device more useful for playing video games and watching movies. The regular Pixel 4a has a 12.2MP high-quality camera, while the ultra-wide 16MP camera allows you to capture even more. During our 5a review, our colleague was able to not drain the battery after just two days of intensive usage. This is huge for a phone without wireless charging. It is also the first official IP67 water-resistant rating Pixel in the a-series.

This guide will help you compare the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5a.

Moto G Power 

The bottom line: The Moto G Power (2020) sacrifices very little to hit its $250 retail price. The Moto G Power (2020) is the most affordable phone available. It has a powerful processor, great cameras, and excellent battery life.

Motorola is a company that has consistently delivered great Android smartphones at a very affordable price every year. In 2020, the Moto G power was launched. This is a great option for anyone looking to buy a smartphone at a reasonable price.

The Power name is a reference to the phone’s best feature — battery life. You can get up to three days’ of use from a single charge thanks to the 5,000-mAh battery. It’s a rare opportunity to have your phone charged for a couple of days in a world that expects you to do so every night.

Other than the battery life, the rest of G Power’s hardware performs just as well. Easy to read, the 6.4-inch Full HD LCD display and fast performance thanks to 4GB of RAM and Snapdragon 665 processor are a big plus. In mobile games, the graphical performance has been vastly improved over the Moto G7. There are three cameras on the G Power, so you have a lot of options for different shots. With the G Power being so cheap, image quality is excellent.

Motorola’s great software is what ties it all together. Motorola’s excellent software is almost the same as what you would find on a Pixel. This means that it’s pure Android and clean. Motorola also includes a couple of software enhancements that will enhance your experience, like Moto Display or Moto Actions. This is the most powerful always-on display available. You can also move your phone with a simple chopping motion, to activate the flashlight and open the camera.

Two things are not right with the Moto G Power. The first is the lack of NFC. With every passing day, contactless payments like Google Pay become more popular. So buying a smartphone that does not support NFC in 2021 feels silly. There’s also the fact that Motorola only promises one major OS update for the G Power, meaning it likely won’t be updated beyond Android 11 — a potential deal-breaker if you plan on keeping the phone for a long time.

We think that the Moto G Power will please many, even if you don’t mind either of those things.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

The bottom line: Want the Samsung experience without the added cost? Galaxy A52 is an amazing value.

Samsung offers many quality options in 2021. The Galaxy A52 5G is one of their best offerings.

The specs include a beautiful AMOLED display, which has a refresh rate of 120Hz, as well as a 4,500 mAh large battery that provides long-lasting endurance and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 500G processor. While it is a solid chipset, the A52 has some slowdowns.

Four sensors are located on the A52 back. The A52 has a 64MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and 5MP macro cameras. There is also a dedicated portrait camera of 5MP. This setup allows for almost unlimited possibilities in terms of the types of photos that you can capture. The 64MP primary camera, which is an amazing shooter with incredible detail and dynamic range, also makes it possible to take stunning images.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

The bottom line: The Pixel 4a may have the best camera quality, but the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G has the versatility. You’ll be able to get the shot you want with four cameras. The rest of your phone works great too.

Samsung’s mid-tier Android phones have improved in the past few years. The latest example is the Galaxy A32 5G. This phone is in the middle of Samsung’s cheaper Galaxy phones and should definitely be on your shortlist.

This is the best Android phone if you are serious about your camera, as we have already mentioned. Galaxy A32 5G’s primary 48MP camera is what makes photos look amazing. The camera has great detail and bright colors. A 32 5G comes with an 8MP wide-angle camera, 5MP macro camera and 5MP portrait camera to expand your options for taking pictures.

Other than the Galaxy A32 5G camera, it is equally impressive. The Galaxy A32 5G has a 6.4 inch TFT LCD display with 720p resolution, decent performance for day-to-day tasks due to the MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity720 5G, and a 5,000 mAh large-capacity battery which allows for long-lasting endurance. You get a complete package when you add USB-C charging to the mix and also a headphone socket.

Nokia 5.4

The bottom line: Nokia’s known for making great value Android phones, and the excellent Nokia 5.4 is another example. The Nokia 5.4 is a great phone with a beautiful design, good performance, and Android One-based software.

Nokia 5.4, a solid Android phone that doesn’t come cheaply is a continuation of that legacy. The Nokia 5.4 has clean Android One software and high-quality hardware. Its striking design makes it easy to hold and use the phone in just one hand. The 20:9 aspect ratio of this handset is impressive. The Nokia 5.4 will receive platform updates and security patches up to 2023, thanks to Android One.

The Nokia 5.4 is a powerful phone on the hardware side. With the Snapdragon 662 processor, 4/6GB RAM, and 4,000 mAh batteries, you can get up to two days’ use from your battery. You also have four cameras that allow for unlimited photo-taking potential, with an impressive 48MP primary sensor. You get a complete package when you add in small features such as NFC and USB-C charging.

TCL20S

The bottom line:  If you’re looking for features galore, from video-enhancing modes to excellent camera and battery optimizations, the TCL 20S is a fantastic option.

TCL was responsible for phones sold under Alcatel or BlackBerry brand names, but the TCL 20S marks the first time that the company has entered the Android market with its own device. Surprisingly it is one of the most feature-rich, affordable handsets available right now.

Starting with its display, the TCL 20S offers a 6.67-inch FHD+ LCD panel with its NXTVISION screen technology — offering true-to-life colors, great viewing angles, and support for HDR video content. The display can be used to show off games thanks to the Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB RAM.

Four rear cameras are also available, which include a 64MP primary, ultra-wide, macro, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth cameras. The actual quality of the images isn’t great, but having so many sensors allows you to shoot in all sorts of ways. You also get a huge 5,000mAh battery and USB-C charging. NFC for Google Pay is available. Also, it’s available in two amazing colors, North Star Blue, and Miky Way black. You can also use the 20S for charging another device with its OTG reverse charging capabilities.

Moto G Stylus

The bottom line: If you’re burning for a Moto G Power with an included stylus, à la Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, the Moto G Stylus (2021) will be your perfect phone.

Although it can be difficult to track all of the Motorola value phones, the Moto G Steylus (2021) is a standout. It’s not only one of few Android phones with an integrated stylus but it also offers a great combination of features and specs.

The display is 6.8 inches in size and can hold all your media. The Snapdragon 678 processor provides plenty of performance, as well as 128GB built-in storage. There is also a large 4,000mAh battery. The G Stylus is a very affordable device with powerful specifications.

The Moto G Stylus 2021’s main attraction is the built-in stylus. While it isn’t the finest stylus that we’ve used, it does a good job of note-taking and drawing. The stylus can be placed at the bottom of your phone, which makes it a neat touch and ties everything together.

You’ll still miss NFC on your Moto G Stylus, just like 2020’s Moto G Power. And you will have to endure Motorola’s poor software updates. These are not major issues for you. There’s plenty to enjoy here.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G

The bottom: line on plus North N10 5G is the anchor of its affordable entry into the U.S. Market. This is a stunning Pixel 4a rival and one of the lowest-priced flagship phones you could buy.

There have been many Android smartphones released in 2021, including the OnePlus Nord 2. The OnePlus Nord Series is OnePlus’s return to affordable smartphones. It’s a great phone in every respect. Unfortunately, the affordable flagship didn’t make it to North America. OnePlus expanded its Nord line-up by bringing two Nord phones, including the Nord N10 5G, to the U.S.

Despite being a budget smartphone, the OnePlus Nord N105G is a powerful phone on the hardware side. You will enjoy rich colors, smooth animations, and a 90Hz AMOLED screen. The Snapdragon 690 from Qualcomm allows you to enjoy fast 5G speeds, reliable battery life, and OnePlus’s 30W wireless charging is still one of the most popular on the market. It comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The phone also has high-end features such as quad-camera setups and stereo speakers. The new Midnight Ice color is also a favorite of ours.

Software-wise, the OnePlus Nord is shipped with OxygenOS based Android 10, which was recently updated to Android 11/ OxygenOS 11 and won’t update to version 12. OxygenOS still has the highest quality Android interface on the market. We love it because it strikes the right balance, offering many more features but keeping a clear user interface. It’s not a problem to be stuck with the OS.

POCO M3

The bottom line: With a lovely design, striking AMOLED display, and plenty of power and cameras to turn heads, the POCO M3 is a fantastic option.

POCO, Xiaomi’s budget-oriented flagship brand gained popularity a few decades ago. They also won more attention after they outperformed many of the other flagships during MKBHD’s annual blind cameras tests. The phones are known for their dramatic design. The POCO M3, especially in the POCO Yellow color, is a striking example of this.

In addition to bold colors, the camera housing on the back of the M3 is visually distinct — you’ll either love it, or you’ll hate it. The housing takes up almost a quarter of the back panel and contains a triple-camera system that includes a 48MP primary lens and two macro cameras and one portrait camera. A Snapdragon 662 mid-range processor powers the 8MP selfie camera on its front. You can choose between 6GB RAM or 64GB storage.

Although the M3 can charge at 18W, it is not recommended that you use too much. With its small SOC and 1080p display, this battery powerhouse packs a powerful 6,000mAh cell that should last you for at least two whole days.

The phone’s biggest flaws are the lack of NFC and an inability to receive official IP ratings. It also ships with Android 10. You do have an integrated headphone amplifier!

iPhone SE

Let’s get to the bottom of it: Owning an iPhone has gotten much more affordable in recent years, and right now, the best way to get an iPhone while spending as little as possible is the iPhone SE. So long as you don’t mind the outdated design, the iPhone SE gives you amazing performance, a good camera, and all of the iOS features you could ever want — all for just $400.

A list of top Android phones that includes an iPhone Yes, that’s right. We are confident that iPhone SE, which is a budget phone, can run Google Maps and YouTube apps.

The iPhone 12 mini is for those who want to be part of the Apple ecosystem. Even if you have a limited budget, the iPhone SE offers a great value, making it easier than ever for people to finally get onto the Apple wagon.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first — the iPhone SE’s design is pretty dated by 2021 standards. Its big bezels, which look like they were made on another planet, are a problem or an asset. The rest of the iPhone SE experience, provided you are okay with chunky bezels is pretty magical.

The iPhone SE is the best Android phone in terms of performance and price. The Apple A13 Bionic processor is what it all starts. The same processor powers 2019’s iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro. In other words, iPhone SE is a beast of a device. It will eat all apps and games with no problem, regardless of what they are. Nothing comes even close to the iPhone SE’s raw power when it comes to smartphone prices in the $400 range.

While the iPhone SE has a single 12MP camera, this isn’t exactly what you would expect. However, it captures some amazing shots during day-to-day use. Wireless charging is supported, NFC for Apple Pay and IP67 water resistance ratings are also included. Apple’s 5+ year commitment to software updates for smartphones is something that every Android company should emulate. The iPhone SE is the most affordable iPhone, but it gets the same software support as its more costly siblings. It’s exactly the way it should be.

The bottom line

You can find the top Android phones for less than $100, $300, or $700. The above phones represent the best of a set limitation — that of not wanting to overspend on a product that, inevitably, will need to be replaced in a couple of years.

It’s a great device, but it costs a third as much as a Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 Pro. The device is cheaper at 90% and more affordable than the OnePlus 9 Pro. These phones are a budget-friendly option that you can be confident about buying, even though you might miss some advanced features such as waterproofing or wireless charging. The Google Pixel 4a offers the most value out of all the devices.

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 at cost-cutting phones in the first place. It’s better to determine your priorities. The Moto G Power is a great option for those who want to save even more. It offers dependable performance at a very affordable price. Similar to the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, this phone has the best camera. The Nokia 5.4 is a great choice if you want luxurious hardware. Every manufacturer can offer something worth your while.

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