Nokia 2.2Source: Nokia

Best Android Phones Under $100 Android Central 2020

Not everybody needs to spend upwards of $1,000 on their phone, especially those on prepaid carriers looking to cut down on spending wherever possible. Luckily, phones at all price ranges have gotten great lately, and that holds especially true in the budget category. It was previously a wasteland of near-unusable devices, but now you can get a shockingly reliable phone for under a Benjamin. We think the Nokia 2.2 is the best phone in this price range, but if that doesn't strike your fancy, there are plenty of other options out there.

Best Overall: Nokia 2.2

Nokia 2.2Source: Nokia

For the past few years, Nokia's been flooding the low and mid-range Android market with heaps of quality handsets that are reasonably priced. The Nokia 2.2 is one of the cheapest options it's released, and if you have a budget of just one Benjamin, it's the phone to get.

The front of the Nokia 2.2 is home to a 5.71-inch HD+ display, and for a phone this affordable, it looks pretty darn good. It's sharp enough, the bezels are slim, and there's a very minimal waterdrop notch at the top for the 5MP selfie camera. Around back, you'll find a single 13MP camera.

Powering the Nokia 2.2 is a MediaTek MT6761 processor with 3GB of RAM, and while that's far from the most impressive setup we've ever seen, it's powerful enough for Twitter, YouTube, Gmail, and all of your other apps. You also get 32GB of storage out of the box, along with a microSD card slot through which you can add another 400GB of space. Rounding out the hardware is a 3,000 mAh battery, which charges via Micro-USB. There's even an NFC chip for Google Pay, which is kind of mind-boggling considering the price.

The Nokia 2.2's hardware is impressive enough on its own, but what ties this whole experience together is its software. The phone is part of Google's Android One program, which means it's guaranteed major OS updates through June 2021 and monthly security patches through June 2022. It shipped with Android 9 Pie, but as of March 2020, it's now running Android 10. Nokia is one of the best companies when it comes to pushing out regular software updates, and especially in this price range, that's something you rarely see.

Pros:

  • HD+ display with slim bezels
  • Has an NFC chip for Google Pay
  • Expandable storage
  • Running Android 10
  • Guaranteed software/security updates

Cons:

  • No fingerprint sensor
  • Charges via Micro-USB

Best Overall

Nokia 2.2

The ultra-cheap phone to beat

Shopping for a $100 Android phone? The Nokia 2.2 has the best offering of specs, features, and support you'll find for this price.

Best Alternative: UMIDIGI A3S

UMIDIGI A3SSource: UMIDIGI

When you venture into Android phones in this price bracket, you'll start to come across companies you might not have heard of before. One such company is UMIDIGI, and the UMIDIGI A3S is a prime example of a quality phone for under a hundred bucks.

From a design standpoint, the A3S looks pretty good. There's nothing overly flashy or eye-catching about it, but it doesn't look bad either. 2.5D curved glass covers both the front and back of the phone, and there's a metal frame in between the two. This gives the UMIDIGI A3S a premium in-hand feel you'd normally expect to be limited to much more costly devices.

As for the specs being offered, there are a lot of strong suits. UMIDIGI gives you two cameras on the back, including a 16MP and 5MP sensor. For your selfies, there's a 13MP camera with an "AI beauty" feature. We're also fans of the 3,950 mAh battery, 16GB of expandable storage (up to 256GB), and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Even better, Android 10 is available right out of the box.

There are a couple of downsides to the UMIDIGI A3S, namely, it only has 2GB of RAM and the large bezels surrounding its display. However, when you consider just how little the phone costs, you're getting a surprisingly complete package.

Pros:

  • 2.5D curved glass
  • 16MP + 5MP dual rear cameras
  • Generous 3,950 mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Ships with Android 10

Cons:

  • Only 2GB of RAM
  • Large bezels by 2020 standards

Best Alternative

UMIDIGI A3S

Lots of phone for not much money

The UMIDIGI A3S isn't a perfect phone, but considering its price, you're getting a pretty fantastic package.

Best Features: NUU Mobile X6

NUU Mobile X6Source: NUU Mobile

Everyone has different tastes, and if you aren't being wowed by the Nokia 2.2 or UMIDIGI A3S for whatever reason, another strong option is the NUU Mobile X6. The design is similar to the A3S, featuring the dual rear cameras in a vertical layout on the back along with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Here, you're getting a 13MP + VGA layout. For the front camera, your selfies will be taken with a 5MP lens.

However, despite the similarities it looks a lot sleekr than the A3S. The bezels are considerably slimmer, and there's a waterdrop cutout for the selfie camera. Not only does it look more modern, but it means the 5.71-inch HD+ display can offer a decently-large viewing area without the phone as a whole being too cumbersome.

When it comes to specs, the NUU Mobile X6 continues to impress with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that you can expand with a microSD card. Plus, if you have a work number and a personal number, you can take advantage of the dual SIM slots in the X6.

Just like every phone on this list, there are some downsides to the NUU Mobile X6. The 2,800 mAh battery is definitely on the smaller end of the spectrum, and it ships with Android 9 Pie. Pie is a solid version of the Android OS, but a future update to the newer Android 10 seems unlikely.

Pros:

  • HD+ display with slim-ish bezels
  • Dual rear cameras
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Expandable storage
  • Fingerprint sensor

Cons:

  • Running Android 9 Pie
  • Small 2,800 mAh battery

Best Features

NUU Mobile X6

Do it all without going broke

Whether you need dual SIM support, a fingerprint sensor, or expandable storage, the NUU Mobile X6 has it all.

Best Display: Ulefone Note 7

Ulefone Note 7Source: Ulefone

Do you know how the NUU Mobile X6 has a better display than the UMIDIGI A3S? The Ulefone Note 7 cranks things up yet another notch. Just one look at the Note 7 confirms this; it has virtually no bezels at all. Save for the waterdrop notch for the selfie camera and small chin at the bottom, it's all screen. In fact, Ulefone touts a 92.9% screen-to-body ratio.

Flipping the Ulefone Note 7 over, you'll find a total of three rear cameras — including an 8MP primary camera and two depth sensors to help you take the best-looking pictures possible. Under the hood, you'll find a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128GB), and a 3,500 mAh battery. The battery size is quite generous, but the limited RAM could result in poor multitasking performance.

The Ulefone Note 7 is another device with dual SIM slots, making it easy to rock two numbers simultaneously. Also, while there is a face unlock feature in place of a fingerprint sensor, it's only good for bypassing your lock screen. If you want to log into banking apps or password managers, you'll need to enter a PIN/password.

Some aspects of the Note 7 aren't quite as strong as other options on this list, but if you value a large display with tiny bezels, it's a solid choice.

Pros:

  • 6.1-inch display with thin bezels
  • Three cameras on the back
  • Decent 3,500 mAh battery
  • Expandable storage
  • Support for dual SIMs

Cons:

  • Only 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage
  • Android 10 update isn't likely
  • Lacks a fingerprint sensor

Best Display

Ulefone Note 7

Good displays on a budget actually exist

For people that spend a lot of time playing games or watching YouTube videos, the Note 7's large and bezel-lite display is a joy.

Best Design: BLU Studio View

BLU Studio ViewSource: BLU

Exquisite design isn't something you really see with Android phones within this budget, and while "exquisite" isn't exactly the word we'd use to describe the BLU Studio View, it certainly stands out from the rest of the phones on this list. The back of the Studio View has a faux leather design that's rather eye-catching, and with the tan color, it looks more like a fashion accessory than a smartphone. It's certainly not for everyone, but we appreciate BLU being willing to stand out and try something different.

Joining that eye-catching design is a 6-inch HD+ display, which is accompanied by slim-ish bezels. There's also an 8MP selfie camera and 8MP rear camera, along with a fingerprint sensor on the back. The quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM results in slower performance than some of your other options, but it gets the job done.

In addition to the phone itself, BLU also gives you all of the accessories you could need right in the box. Included at no extra cost is a screen protector, silicone case, and a BLU sticker for you to place wherever.

Pros:

  • Eye-catching leather design
  • Large 6-inch display
  • Expandable storage
  • Comes with a case and screen protector

Cons:

  • Future updates are unlikely
  • Slow performance

Best Design

BLU Studio View

Lovely (faux) leather

It may not be for everyone, but there's no denying that the design of the BLU Studio View is bold and unique.

Best on Boost Mobile: Samsung Galaxy A10e

Samsung Galaxy A10eSource: Samsung

Next on the list, let's now take a look at what Samsung has to offer for budget-minded shoppers. The Galaxy A10e is that phone, and if you're on Boost Mobile, it's possible to pick it up within the budget of this list.

All-in-all, the core of the Galaxy A10e is strong. There's a 5.83-inch HD display, 3,000 mah battery, 32GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card that allows you to expand it up to 512GB. As for the smaller tidbits, the A10e delivers a USB-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Bluetooth 5.0 for reliable wireless audio.

The biggest letdown of the Galaxy A10e is the lack of a fingerprint sensor, but other than that, this is a rock-solid phone for the money. It looks nice and modern, has good specs, and is selling at a fantastic price. Assuming you're on Boost Mobile or have been thinking about switching, don't overlook this one.

Pros:

  • Large HD display with slim bezels
  • 32GB of built-in storage
  • MicroSD card support up to 512GB
  • USB-C charging
  • Headphone jack and Bluetooth 5.0

Cons:

  • No fingerprint sensor

Best on Boost Mobile

Samsung Galaxy A10e

Boost subscribers are in for something special

The Galaxy A10e is an outstanding budget phone from Samsung, and if you're on Boost, you can get it at an incredible price.

Best on Verizon: Moto E5 Go

Moto E5 PlaySource: Android Central

Switching from Boost to Verizon, it's now time to shine the limelight on the Moto E5 Go. As you can probably tell right off the bat, this isn't a particularly flashy device. It's got large bezels, a fairly typical plastic design, and just one rear camera.

Even with all of that said, the E5 Go does a great job of delivering a clean and reliable Android experience. You won't find any unwanted bloat and the Go Edition of Android here is optimized for less-powerful hardware.

One of the best features is the Moto E5 Go's water-repellant design, which is something we don't typically see in this price range. You also get up to 256GB of expandable storage and Motorola is touting battery life that can get you through a full day of use. And, thanks to the 5.2-inch HD display, using the E5 Go in one hand should be a breeze.

Pros:

  • Clean build of Android
  • Water-repellant design
  • Expandable storage goes up to 256GB
  • All-day battery life
  • Easy to use in one hand

Cons:

  • Stuck on Android Oreo 😕
  • Large display bezels

Best on Verizon

Moto E5 Go

On Verizon? Check this out

When it comes to Verizon handsets, the Moto E5 Go offers all of the Android basics in a compact and water-repellant package.

Bottom line

There are a lot of junk Android phones that you can buy in this $100 price range, but as proven in this article, there are also a lot of great ones. Overall, the Nokia 2.2 stands out as the best phone we've found under that $100 threshold.

Every phone that you buy in this price tier is bound to come with compromises, but as far as we're concerned, the Nokia 2.2 makes the smartest ones so that you still end up with a thoroughly enjoyable Android experience. The display looks good, performance is fast enough for daily use, there's a decently-sized battery, and you have expandable storage.

All of the staples are there for a quality smartphone, but Nokia manages to take things a step further in a way that other companies don't. Having an NFC chip for Google Pay outstanding, as is Nokia's software support. Being able to buy a phone like this and still rely on timely updates is a dream come true, and that's exactly what you get with the Nokia 2.2.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Joe Maring is a Senior Editor for Android Central and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012, and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Send an email to joe.maring@futurenet.com or connect on Twitter @JoeMaring1!

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