There are affordable Android phones, and then there are Android Go phones. Android Go devices are designed to be as cheap as possible and run a special version of Android that's created specifically with lower-end specs in mind. These are the best Android Go phones, which can be great starter or backup phones, including the Ulefone Note 7 as our top overall pick.
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1. Ulefone Note 7: Best Overall
Ulefone Note 7
This is the one to get
The best Android Go phone is one you probably haven't heard of before, but we think it's the best overall choice, all things considered. It's the Ulefone Note 7, and it's a pretty impressive handset when you factor in the price tag.
Right off the bat, the Ulefone Note 7 stands out thanks to its design. Its 6.1-inch display has incredibly slim bezels and a waterdrop notch on the top for its 5MP selfie camera. Compared to the other phones on this list, it really is something. You'll also find an impressive array of three cameras on the back, allowing for a ton of shooting possibilities.
Specs-wise, the Ulefone Note 7 is offering a 3,500 mAh battery, 16GB of expandable storage (up to 64GB), 1GB of RAM, and dual SIM slots if you want to use two phone numbers at once. We also appreciate the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and face unlock functionality. Even better, you get a free case with the phone!
2. Nokia 1.3: Best for Carriers
The ideal option for MVNOs
HMD Global hosts a lot of options if you're interested in the best cheap Android phone, and the Nokia 1.3 is a continuation of those efforts in the entry-level segment. The phone comes with Android 10 (Go Edition) out of the box, has a large 5.7-inch HD+ screen with a waterdrop cutout and slim bezels, and a generous 3,000mAh battery.
You also get an 8MP camera at the back, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot that accommodates up to 400GB of storage, and the Qualcomm 215 platform delivers reliable performance. HMD says that the device is ready for Android 11, with an update rolling out once the Go edition of Android 11 becomes available.
The design itself follows Nokia's minimal industrial design aesthetic, and you get a 3.5mm headphone jack here. The best part about the Nokia 1.3 is that it is available officially in the U.S., and works with T-Mobile, AT&T, and a wide variety of MVNOs.
3. Alcatel 1: Best for Photography
Take great photos on the cheap
Alcatel is also in the Android Go game, and its latest offering is the Alcatel 1. The 5-inch display is great for one-handed use, but compared to the Ulefone Note 7, the bezels are noticeably larger. You get 8GB of storage out of the box, and while it's excellent that Alcatel allows you to expand it with a microSD card, we wish it went beyond the 32GB maximum.
Although it may sound silly to say this for a phone that costs as little as the Alcatel 1 does, the real draw to this phone is its camera experience. You get a 5MP rear camera and 2MP selfie camera, and while there's nothing special about the sensors themselves, Alcatel's packed a ton of features into the phone's camera app. There's a Photo Booth mode that captures four pictures over three seconds in a photo booth-like setup. Also, there's an Instant Collage function that helps you easily create a collage of your photos and a One-Handed Mode that brings all of the camera's controls down to the bottom section of the display.
The Alcatel 1 is available in a trio of colors (Black, Blue, and Gold) and supports 4G LTE connectivity. Do keep in mind that this is an international device, meaning that it doesn't come with a warranty and might have some connection issues in rural areas or crowded buildings.
4. Samsung Galaxy J2 Core: Best Storage
Samsung Galaxy J2 Core
Plenty of space for all your files
Samsung is one of the most popular phone makers out there, and it hasn't ignored the Android Go market. The Galaxy J2 Core is the Samsung-made Android Go phone we recommend you get, with its biggest perk being a large amount of expandable storage.
Similar to most Android Go devices, the Galaxy J2 Core only has 8GB of onboard storage. However, you can use a microSD card to expand it up to an impressive 256GB. That's more than enough space for all of your favorite movies, music, games, and more, making this an excellent choice for anyone that likes to store all of their files locally.
Outside of the excellent storage, the J2 Core also shines with its clean design, three available colors, and 2,600 mAh battery. As long as you don't mind the missing warranty and weaker LTE coverage in rural parts of the country, the Galaxy J2 Core is a robust Android Go option.
5. ZTE Blade L8: Best Design
ZTE Blade L8
An eye-catching option
ZTE creates a lot of low-cost Android phones, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the company has an Android Go offering. The ZTE Blade L8 made its debut in April 2019, and it packs quite the punch.
The thing that helps the phone stand out the most is its design. While it is made out of plastic-like all of the other phones on this list, the reflective backside allows it to shimmer and shine when light hits it. It's also available in two colors, including a sleek black and gorgeous blue.
Powering the Blade L8 is a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 2,000 mAh battery. You get 16GB of storage right out of the box, and if you need to, you can expand it up to 128GB with a microSD card. There's also an 8MP rear camera along with a 5MP front-facing camera for all of your selfies.
This is another international phone, and as previously mentioned, the biggest downside to this is the fact that the ZTE Blade L8 does not come with an official warranty in the U.S.
6. Nokia 1 Plus: Best in Europe
Nokia 1 Plus
Live in Europe? Get this
Last but certainly not least, we have the Nokia 1 Plus. It's a fantastic entry in the Android Go family, but unfortunately, you can't buy it in the U.S.
Should you happen to live in Europe or another market where the phone is sold, then you're in for a real treat. The Nokia 1 Plus delivers a large 5.45-inch display, an 8MP rear camera, and a "3D Nano-pattern polycarbonate shell" that looks outstanding.
Also offered with the phone is 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB, and a 2,500 mAh battery. You're getting a lot of bang-for-your-buck, so if you're able to purchase the Nokia 1 Plus, it's definitely a phone worth checking out.
We don't think you can go wrong with any of the phones on this list, but if we had to pick just one to recommend, it would be the Ulefone Note 7.
Compared to a lot of other Android Go phones out there, we have to give Ulefone a lot of credit for the Note 7's modern design. This does not look like a phone that costs as little as it does, and that's largely due to the bezel-lite display and three rear cameras on the back. Looks aren't everything, but they sure do help.
The Note 7 isn't packed with the most impressive specs in the world, but there's plenty here to ensure you have a reliable day-to-day experience. The 3,500 mAh battery should allow for excellent endurance, having a microSD card slot for expandable storage is always appreciated, and the fingerprint sensor makes it easy to log into your sensitive apps. For the price Ulefone is asking, the Note 7 is a smash hit.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central's News Editor and loves talking about all things Android (just ask the drawers full of phones in his office. He also goes to Starbucks way too often and can often be found with some sort of latte in his hands. Have a hot tip or want to say hey? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email or email@example.com!
Harish Jonnalagadda is the Regional Editor at Android Central. A reformed hardware modder, he now spends his time writing about India's burgeoning handset market. Previously, he used to ponder the meaning of life at IBM.
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