Nokia 1Source: Android Central

Best Android Go Phones Android Central 2019

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. Android Go handsets are great starter or backup phones, and these are the best ones you can buy in 2019 — including the Nokia 1 as our top overall pick.

Best Overall: Nokia 1

Nokia 1Source: Android Central

As an overall package, we think the Nokia 1 stands out as the best pick — especially for our U.S. readers.

The Nokia name is often associated with top-notch hardware, and that legacy holds up surprisingly well with the cheap Nokia 1. The polycarbonate used for the phone's body is sturdy and offers a good in-hand feel, making it feel a lot more trustworthy than the price tag would suggest.

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While large bezels flank the display, the 5-inch display keeps everything nice and compact, there's a microSD card slot for expanding the base 8GB of storage up to 128GB, and you get a 5MP rear camera along with a 2MP selfie camera for capturing memories while on the go. We also love that the Nokia 1 fully supports 4G LTE networks here in the U.S., along with the inclusion of a free FM radio that you can use without eating up your monthly mobile data.

Pros:

  • Sturdy polycarbonate body
  • Expandable storage up to 128GB
  • LTE connectivity
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • FM radio

Cons:

  • Huge bezels

Best Overall

Nokia 1

The best overall Android Go phone

Overall, the Nokia 1 stands out as the best Android Go phone. It's well-built, has LTE connectivity, and an FM radio.

Best for Photography: Alcatel 1

Alcatel 1 in blueSource: Alcatel

Alcatel is also in the Android Go game, and its latest offering is the Alcatel 1. This is another phone with a small 5-inch display, but unlike the Nokia 1, the Alcatel 1 has smaller bezels and a taller 18:9 form factor. You get 8GB of storage out of the box, and while it's great 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.

Pros:

  • Modern 18:9 display
  • Tons of camera features
  • Expandable storage
  • 4G LTE support
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons:

  • No U.S. warranty
  • Max storage of 32GB

Best for Photography

Alcatel 1

The best Android Go phone for photography

The Alcatel 1 is loaded with all sorts of features and settings in its camera app, making it a great pick for shutterbugs.

Best Storage: Samsung Galaxy J2 Core

Samsung Galaxy J2 CoreSource: Samsung

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 a great 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. For comparison's sake, the Nokia 1 and Alcatel 1 have 2,150 mAh and 2,000 mAh batteries, respectively. 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 strong Android Go option.

Pros:

  • Expandable storage up to 256GB
  • Large 2,600 mAh battery
  • Simple design
  • Three colors
  • FM radio

Cons:

  • Doesn't have a warranty
  • Potentially spotty network support

Best Storage

Samsung Galaxy J2 Core

The best storage on an Android Go phone.

Need to save a lot of apps, games, and movies on your phone? The Galaxy J2 Core's expandable storage up to 256GB has you covered.

Best Display: Huawei Y5 Lite

Huawei Y5 LiteSource: Huawei

Huawei's take on Android Go can be seen with the Y5 Lite, an impressive little device that packs a lot of features into a phone with such a small price.

One of the main draws to the Y5 Lite is its display. Compared to other Android Go phones, the Y5 Lite has a noteworthy HD resolution (1440 x 720) with slim bezels surrounding it. This makes it an ideal phone for playing games, watching YouTube videos, you name it.

You also get a sizable 16GB of storage right out of the box, and you can later expand this up to 256GB with a microSD card. Rounding out the phone is an 8MP rear camera, 5MP selfie camera, and a pretty big 3,000 mAh battery. Similar to some other phones on this list, the Y5 Lite is an international device — meaning it doesn't have an official warranty and has weaker LTE coverage in rural areas.

Pros:

  • HD display with small bezels
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 3,020 mAh battery
  • Clean design w/ multiple colors

Cons:

  • Lacks a U.S. warranty

Best Display

Huawei Y5 Lite

The best display on an Android Go phone

Bring your movies and games to life with the Huawei Y5 Lite, offering a crisp HD display at a super low price.

Best Design: ZTE Blade L8

ZTE Blade L8Source: ZTE

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.

Pros:

  • Reflective back looks great
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • Quad-core processor
  • 8MP rear camera

Cons:

  • No U.S. warranty

Best Design

ZTE Blade L8

The best designed Android Go phone

Stand out of the crowd with the ZTE Blade L8, featuring a reflective back that's available in two gorgeous colors.

Best in Europe: Nokia 1 Plus

Nokia 1 Plus in all colorsSource: Nokia

Last but certainly not least, we have the Nokia 1 Plus. This is a sequel to the Nokia 1 mentioned above, and for all intents and purposes, it's better in every way. Unfortunately, there's no way to purchase the Plus model 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.

Pros:

  • Textured plastic back
  • Large 5.45-inch display
  • Relatively slim bezels
  • 8MP rear camera
  • 2,500 mAh battery

Cons:

  • Not sold in the U.S.

Best in Europe

Nokia 1 Plus

The best Android Go phone in Europe

If you happen to live in Europe, you owe it to yourself to check out the Nokia 1 Plus. This thing is an insane value.

Bottom line

We don't think you can go wrong with any of the phones on this list, but overall, the Nokia 1 stands out as the best overall one you can buy. It may not be the newest Android Go device these days, but the Nokia 1 still stands out as a fantastic little device for doing the basics. It's fast enough for basic apps, has a vibrant design thanks to the bright red back, and sully supports LTE networks in the U.S. You won't be streaming 4K video or playing Call of Duty Mobile anytime soon on the Nokia 1. Still, if you just need a simple phone to keep you connected while spending as little money as possible, the Nokia 1 has you covered.

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 joe.maring@mobilenations.com!

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