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
- Best Alternative: Nokia 1.3
- Best Prepaid Option: Samsung Galaxy A01
- Best Display: Ulefone Note 7
- Best Design: BLU Studio View
- Best on Verizon: Moto E6
1. Nokia 2.2: Best Overall
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 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.
- HD+ display with slim bezels
- Has an NFC chip for Google Pay
- Expandable storage
- Running Android 10
- Guaranteed software/security updates
- No fingerprint sensor
- Charges via Micro-USB
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 in this segment.
2. Nokia 1.3: Best Alternative
HMD Global has another standout option in the entry-level segment in the Nokia 1.3. This particular phone is powered by Android Go and comes with lightweight versions of Google services out of the box. Android Go is a great choice in this category as it is designed to run on low-end hardware, and the lightweight OS combined with Google Go apps ensure you don't see any slowdowns.
The hardware on offer with the Nokia 1.3 is pretty decent considering it is an Android Go device. You get a 5.71-inch HD+ screen, Qualcomm's 215 platform with four Cortex A53 cores at 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage, an 8MP camera at the back, a 5MP front shooter, and a 3000mAh battery that lasts over a day.
Now, 1GB of RAM may not seem adequate for most devices, but it's more than sufficient for Android Go. So if you're looking for an entry-level Android phone and are interested in trying out Android Go, the Nokia 1.3 is an easy recommendation.
- Android Go with Android 10 out of the box
- 16GB storage with 1GB of RAM
- Great value
- All-day battery life
- No 5GHz Wi-Fi
Great overall value
With a large HD+ screen backed by all-day battery life, the Android Go-powered Nokia 1.3 has plenty to offer.
3. Samsung Galaxy A01: Best Prepaid Option
It isn't the Galaxy A51, but the entry-level Galaxy A01 still has a lot to offer. It has a large 5.7-inch HD+ screen and modern design that's in line with Samsung's costlier devices, and the Snapdragon 439 chipset is one of the most powerful you'll find in this category.
You also get 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, dual 13MP + 2MP cameras at the back, Bluetooth 4.2, FM radio, and a 3000mAh battery that lasts over a day. The device runs One UI 2.0 based on Android 10 out of the box and runs lag-free in day-to-day use.
The Galaxy A01 is available from a variety of carriers, with the Verizon model available for $79. The Simple Mobile option is the most affordable, coming in at just $59 on Amazon. The value here makes the Galaxy A01 a very interesting option in this category.
- Large 5.7-inch HD display
- Snapdragon 439
- MicroSD card up to 512GB
- All-day battery life
- 3.5mm jack
- MicroUSB charging port
Best Prepaid Option
A truly great choice
With decent hardware and excellent value, the Galaxy A01 is an easy recommendation in this category.
4. Ulefone Note 7: Best Display
The Ulefone Note 7 cranks things up a notch in this segment thanks to its vibrant screen with ultra-thin bezels. 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.
- 6.1-inch display with thin bezels
- Three cameras on the back
- Decent 3,500 mAh battery
- Expandable storage
- Support for dual SIMs
- Only 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage
- Android 10 update isn't likely
- Lacks a fingerprint sensor
Good displays actually exist on a budget
For people that spend a lot of time playing games or watching YouTube videos, the Note 7's large and bezel-less display is a joy.
5. BLU Studio View: Best Design
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.
- Eye-catching leather design
- Large 6-inch display
- Expandable storage
- Comes with a case and screen protector
- Future updates are unlikely
- Slow performance
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.
6. Moto E6: Best on Verizon
The Moto E6 has a lot of exciting features, including a 5.5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 435 chipset, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage with a MicroSD slot, 13MP camera, and a 3000mAh battery.
But the biggest advantage is that you get a clean Android interface, making the phone a delight to use. Another interesting feature is the splash-resistant coating, ensuring the Moto E6 can withstand the occasional splash of rain.
The unlocked variant of the Moto E6 costs $99 on Amazon, but the Verizon model is available for just $55, making it a fantastic choice.
- Clean build of Android
- Splash-resistant design
- Expandable storage goes up to 256GB
- All-day battery life
- Easy to use in one hand
- Large bezels
Best on Verizon
On Verizon? Check this out
When it comes to Verizon handsets, the Moto E6 offers all of the Android basics in a compact and splash-resistant package.
These are the best Android phones under $100
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 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.
It has all the basics that you'd want from 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. If you're willing to stretch your budget a little, we've gathered the best Android phones under $200.
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 email@example.com or connect on Twitter @JoeMaring1!
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