If you want the best possible experience for a low price, the Nexus 5X from Project Fi is the best deal out there. It's a great phone that has direct support from Google for just $199.

Best overall

Nexus 5X (from Project Fi)

Nexus 5X

See at Project Fi

Though the Nexus 5X typically retails for a higher $349 (or $299 frequently via coupons), the way the phone makes this list is its amazingly low price of $199 when purchased through Project Fi.

At that price, you can look past the sometimes-inconsistent performance and lackluster hardware of the Nexus 5X, and instead focus on getting a great software experience, strong camera, one-touch fingerprint sensor, solid screen and continued support directly from Google. And even if you decide Project Fi isn't for you, you can simply cancel the service without penalty and keep using your Nexus 5X on another carrier.

Bottom line: Even though it's a year old, this is still Google's phone and it's slated for future updates. It offers a lot for just $200.

One more thing: New Google phones are on the way, and will be arriving in about a month. They won't likely have sub-$200 price points, but if you're worried about being left behind, it's best to wait.

Why the Nexus 5X from Project Fi is best

Even a year on, this is Google's own phone.

When the Nexus 5X first came out, it was playing second fiddle to the bigger Nexus 6P. After a few months on the market with some software updates that really improved the experience it turned into a great choice in the budget space. Nearly a year on, discounts have dropped its price to the point where it's now a fantastic value.

At its original price of $349 it was a bit harder to recommend, but when it comes to getting great bang for your buck things change a bit when it's just $199. For that price you're getting solid hardware, a fantastic one-touch fingerprint sensor, a good screen and a very powerful camera. Cheaper phones may offer you a handful of those features, but none of them hit them all at this price.

And what really makes the Nexus experience is the software — not only is it distributed directly by Google, meaning it was one of the first to get the latest Android 7.0 Nougat update, it's also fast and packed with great features. Because of this, we have a Nexus 5X a year on that's actually more powerful and capable than it was when it launched — not all phones can claim that.

If you think that 16GB will be too tight for you, you can buy a 32GB model for just $50 more, and even at that price the Nexus 5X is still a great phone.

Best outside U.S.

Moto G4

Moto G4

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The Moto G line basically created the high-value low-cost phone segment, and years on has kept making great options that start at amazingly low prices. The latest, the Moto G4, builds on the same formula. You get a 5.5-inch phone that gives you a solid screen, 13MP camera, long battery life and most of Moto's great software features.

On the downside, the Snapdragon 617 processor and 2GB of RAM can sometimes come up short if you have expectations set by more expensive phones, and the hardware doesn't exactly feel inspired. But you have to give in somewhere.

Bottom-line: You really can't go wrong with a Moto G4 — it's the inexpensive phone that all other inexpensive phones are measured by.

One more thing: If you want to endure ads on your lock screen, Amazon will sell you a Moto G4 for $50 off.

Best to be unique

Honor 5X

Honor 5X

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The Honor 5X is a perfect example of where the $200 price point smartphone market is headed. For a remarkably good $195, the first Honor phone to officially launch in the U.S. packs a metal body, decent screen and fingerprint sensor. The hardware certainly feels worthy of a higher price point.

The only drawbacks to the Honor 5X come in the software. Huawei's EMUI is still an acquired taste with some questionable features and things that still don't work quite as we might hope. But, there's a lot of good stuff, too, and some really useful features baked in.

Bottom-line: The Honor 5X is still a decent buy, and has gotten a lot better with its Marshmallow update.

One more thing: You might also consider the Honor 5C, which has far less spectacular build quality but a speedier CPU.

Best under $100

Moto E LTE (2015)

Moto E LTE

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Motorola's second-generation Moto E adds LTE to the mix, while retaining more of the premium features from more expensive Moto phones than ever before. You're looking at a basic 4.5-inch qHD (960x540) LCD display, and a Snapdragon 410 processor running the show in the LTE model (which is the one to buy).

Beyond that, the latest Moto E is an unspectacular but solid budget offering, with a decidedly basic 5-megapixel rear shooter and chunky plastic construction. It does have Moto's excellent software experience going for it though, and has been updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. For well under $100, it's a great buy if you're on a strict budget.

Bottom-line: The Moto E LTE gets you basic smartphone functions and doesn't feel as cheap as the price tag would lead you to believe.

One more thing: Don't expect an update to Android 7.0 Nougat on the Moto E.

Best in Europe

Wileyfox Swift

Wileyfox Swift

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The Wileyfox Swift is the British company's first Android phone and has every right to be taken notice of. It cost's a ridiculously cheap £129 and packs Moto G matching hardware while undercutting it on price.

The display is nice, the battery life is pretty good, the overall appearance is on point and the software provided by Cyanogen is slick, speedy and bloat free. It's not available officially outside Europe right now, but it's absolutely one of the best cheap phones money can buy. And with recent offers dropping the price to just £99, it really is a bargain.

Bottom-line: For those in Europe looking something a little nicer than a Moto E, with a fresh software experience, the Swift is a good choice.

One more thing: Don't be tempted by the lower-end Spark or Storm. The Swift is the only one we recommend.

Conclusion

If you don't want to spend over $200 and still want a great Android phone, the Nexus 5X from Project Fi is the way to go. Google supports it directly with software updates, and the hardware and features on offer are fantastic for the price.

Best overall

Nexus 5X (from Project Fi)

Nexus 5X

See at Project Fi

Though the Nexus 5X typically retails for a higher $349 (or $299 frequently via coupons), the way the phone makes this list is its amazingly low price of $199 when purchased through Project Fi. That's right, if you are using Google's own Project Fi service, you can pick up a Nexus 5X for an absolute steal. You can even finance that $199 price over 24 months with no interest.

At that price, you can look past the sometimes-inconsistent performance and lackluster hardware of the Nexus 5X, and instead focus on getting a great software experience, strong camera, one-touch fingerprint sensor, solid screen and continued support directly from Google. And even if you decide Project Fi isn't for you, you can simply cancel the service without penalty and keep using your Nexus 5X on another carrier.

Bottom line: Even though it's a year old, this is still Google's phone and it's slated for future updates. It offers a lot for just $200.

One more thing: New Google phones are on the way, and will be arriving in about a month. They won't likely have sub-$200 price points, but if you're worried about being left behind, it's best to wait.