Best Android Phones Under $200 Android Central 2020
Smartphones that cost $1,000 and more have quickly become commonplace in the market, and for anyone on a budget, those steep prices can quickly induce a headache. Thankfully, cheap smartphones are still plentiful, with more great options to choose from than ever before. If you need a new handset but only have $200 to spend, our favorite one is the Moto G Fast. Today, we're talking about it and seven other phones that bring tremendous value to the low-end space.
- Best Overall: Moto G Fast
- Best Alternative: Moto E (2020)
- Best Budget Pick: Nokia 2.3
- Best Software: Nokia 4.2
- Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy A10e
- Best Industrial Design: Nokia 3.1 Plus
- Best Rugged: Blackview BV5900
- Best International Phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
Best Overall: Moto G Fast
The Moto G Fast hits the very top of our $200 budget, and all things considered, it's the best phone you can buy when looking at Android devices this cheap.
In regards to the G Fast's hardware, it's built far better than you'd expect for a phone in this price tier. It feels substantial when held, it doesn't rattle or creak, and all of the physical buttons feel very clicky. The 6.4-inch LCD display is also good, giving you a large canvas with minimal bezels, great colors, and good viewing angles. The HD+ resolution means that things aren't quite as sharp as you may like, but all things considered, it's a fine screen.
You get three cameras on the back, including a 16MP primary camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, and 2MP macro camera. That 16MP sensor takes surprisingly detailed and vibrant shots, and while the quality dips with the other sensors, it's still a lot of fun to have them for expanded shooting possibilities. Battery life is another strong point, with the 4,000 mAh battery allowing for up to two days of use for some folks. Thankfully, it also charges via USB-C.
Making all of this even better is the Moto G Fast's software, which is excellent. The user interface is reminiscent of what you'd find on a Google Pixel, with Motorola making a few thoughtful changes that only elevate the experience. Moto Display continues to be the best Always-On Display on any Android phone, in addition to Moto Actions allowing you to chop the phone to enable the flashlight and twist it to open the camera app. Only being promised one software update is less than ideal, but at the very least, you can look forward to Android 11 at some point down the road.
The cherry on top of the Moto G Fast is the fact that it works with all carriers in the United States, so whether you rely on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you can buy the phone and use it without a hitch.
- Large display with minimal bezels
- Very good build quality
- Rear cameras are a lot of fun
- Excellent battery life
- Compatible with all U.S. carriers
- HD+ display doesn't look amazing
- Small amounts of RAM and storage
The best in this price range
The Moto G Fast has its faults, but if you're shopping with a limited budget, it's the most well-rounded phone out there.
Best Alternative: Moto E (2020)
There's no denying the Moto G Fast's greatness, but if you're looking to spend a bit less money, the Moto E is worth considering as a cheaper alternative. It makes a few spec compromises to reach this price tag, but it's still a perfectly enjoyable piece of tech.
The display is still an HD+ LCD one, but since the Moto E has a slightly smaller 6.2-inch screen size, the resolution actually looks a bit sharper. You also benefit from respectable bezels and a small waterdrop notch, making this a pretty good phone for watching videos or playing light games. You'll find more noticeable downgrades with the 13MP + 2MP dual rear cameras, but they're serviceable for quick uploads to your favorite social media app.
New this year for the Moto E is a fingerprint sensor, which is every bit as fast and reliable as you could ask for. There's also a headphone jack and support for expandable storage, along with a good 3,550 mAh battery and support for all U.S. carriers. Having to charge via the aging Micro-USB is a drag, but c'est la vie.
Perhaps the biggest downside to the Moto E is hat Motorola has confirmed it won't get any software updates at all. That means it'll never see an update beyond the Android 10 interface it ships with. While Motorola's custom take on Android is just as strong here as it is on the Moto G Fast, offering at least one update would have been greatly appreciated.
- Good display for the money
- Fingerprint sensor
- Has a headphone jack and expandable storage
- Motorola's custom software
- Works with every U.S. carrier
- Micro-USB charging
- Only 2GB of RAM
- Won't get any Android updates
- Cameras are just OK
Less money, still great
Like what the Moto G Fast offers but need to spend a bit less? The Moto E is a worthy alternative you should strongly consider.
Best Budget Pick: Nokia 2.3
None of the phones on this list are considered to be expensive, but if you're trying to spend the least amount of money possible, the Nokia 2.3 is for you. You do make some sacrifices for reaching such a low price point, but at the end of the day, it's definitely worth considering.
The Nokia 2.3 is equipped with a 6.2-inch display, making it a bit larger than its 4.2 cousin. You're getting an HD+ resolution of 720 x 1520, a MediaTek processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage (up to 512GB). The Micro-USB charging port is annoying, but you shouldn't have to mess with it too much thanks to the generous 4,000 mAh battery.
Just like the 4.2, the Nokia 2.3 is powered by Android One. This means a clean software interface and years of guaranteed updates. Software updates will keep rolling in through January 2022 with security patches not stopping until January 2023. The phone shipped with Android 9 Pie, but it's since been updated to Android 10.
Not having a fingerprint sensor is lame, as is the lack of NFC for Google Pay. However, you do get a dedicated Google Assistant button for quickly summoning the digital helper whenever you need it.
- Textured back with metal chassis
- Clean software with Android One
- Large 4,000 mAh battery
- Google Assistant button
- Storage is expandable
- Very low price
- No fingerprint sensor
- Weak processor
Best Budget Pick
How low can you go?
Trying to spend as little as possible? Go with the Nokia 2.3. It gets the basics done and comes in at an incredibly low price.
Best Software: Nokia 4.2
If you need a new Android phone and only have around $200 to spend, one of our top recommendations has to go to the Nokia 4.2. Nokia has been dominating the low-end and mid-range markets over the last couple of years, and the 4.2 represents an outstanding value in this price range.
Taking a look at the Nokia 4.2, it's rather admirable how many features Nokia was able to cram into such an affordable device. It has dual 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel rear cameras that take pretty good photos, a dedicated button for bringing up the Google Assistant, and a MicroSD slot for expanding the 32GB of internal storage up to 400GB.
Another big win for the Nokia 4.2 is its software experience. The phone is powered by Android One, and this results in a few huge benefits. For starters, the overall user interface is wonderfully clean and easy to navigate. It's a similar experience to what you'd find on Google's Pixel phones and isn't bogged down with unnecessary gimmicks everywhere you look.
As a result of that, the Nokia 4.2 is guaranteed to receive major software updates through April 2021 and security patches through April 2022. That level of update support isn't seen in some flagships that cost hundreds of dollars more, and if you're someone that plans on keeping your phone for years to come, it is a huge factor to consider.
It is irritating that the Nokia 4.2 still uses the old Micro-USB port for charging, and the plastic back picks up fingerprints like no other, but overall, this is one stellar package.
- Dual rear cameras
- Google Assistant button
- Expandable storage up to 400GB
- Clean Android One software
- Micro-USB charging port
- Plastic back attracts fingerprints
Nokia delivers the goods
The Nokia 4.2 shines as an excellent low-cost Android phone. It has dual rear cameras, a Google Assistant button, and clean software.
Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy A10e
When you think of Samsung phones, your mind probably drifts to devices like the Galaxy S20 and Note 10 — big, flashy, and expensive phones that are sure to break and budget. If you're eager to own a Samsung phone for yourself but need to keep costs low, the Galaxy A10e is a solid device.
Right off the bat, the Galaxy A10e has an impressive display. It's fairly large at 5.83-inches, goes edge-to-edge with the left and right frame of the phone, and has a small bottom bezel. If you do a lot of media consumption, the A10e will make your movies and games stand out wonderfully.
Something else we especially like about this phone is the fact that it works on all major U.S. carriers — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Compared to the Nokia 4.2, which only works with GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile, the A10e is a great choice if you rely on Sprint or Verizon.
Other highlights of the Galaxy A10e include expandable storage up to 512GB, Samsung's snappy Exynos 7884B processor, and a 3,000 mAh battery. It's not perfect, namely with the small 2GB of RAM, single rear camera, and Samsung's inconsistent track record for software updates, but there's a lot to like here given how cheap the phone is.
- Infinity Display
- Expandable storage
- Works with GSM and CDMA networks
- Reliable performance
- Single rear camera
- Just 2GB of RAM
Samsung on the cheap
Another great handset is the Galaxy A10e. It boasts an impressive Infinity Display and works with both GSM and CDMA networks.
Best Industrial Design: Nokia 3.1 Plus
Previously offered as an exclusive for Cricket Wireless customers, you can now buy the Nokia 3.1 Plus unlocked and use it on any GSM wireless provider — such as AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.
One of the things we love most about the 3.1 Plus is its incredible industrial design. The phone is made out of soft-touch polycarbonate, giving it a pleasant in-hand feel without sacrificing durability. There's also a nice amount of heft to the phone, which keeps it from feeling as cheap as the price tag might lead you to believe.
The 3,500 mAh battery, paired with an HD+ resolution, allows you to get up to two days of battery on one charge. There's also an NFC chip that allows for Google Pay, a trusty fingerprint sensor, expandable storage up to 256GB, and guaranteed software updates thanks to the Android One program. Performance isn't the best, and the mono speaker positioned on the back is a letdown, but overall, the Nokia 3.1 Plus is a strong contender in this price bracket.
- Excellent build quality
- Two-day battery life
- Fast fingerprint sensor
- NFC chip for Google Pay
- Guaranteed software updates
- Sluggish performance
- Rear-facing mono speaker
Best Industrial Design
Nokia's top-notch design shines through
Nokia is incredibly well-known for its top-tier industrial design, and the Nokia 3.1 Plus delivers the goods on that front.
Best Rugged: Blackview BV5900
Putting a case on a phone is an excellent way to ensure it stays safe throughout your daily use, but there are some phones out there that are designed to be rugged and durable right out of the box. One such phone is the Blackview BV5900, and if you're prone to being clumsy or you work in a physically demanding environment, the BV5900 is a great choice.
The design of the BV5900 makes its ruggedness unmistakable, and it has durability ratings to back it up. Not only is there an IP68 dust/water resistance rating, but you also get a MIL-STD-810G certification. This means the BV5900 has been tested to survive drops of up to five feet.
Moving beyond its design, there are plenty of other highlights for the BV5900. It has a massive 5,580 mAh battery, USB-C charging, NFC for contactless Google Pay payments, and a fingerprint sensor on its side. There's also 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage that can be expanded up to 128GB.
Blackview's design of the BV5900 certainly isn't for everyone, but if you're someone that knows you'd benefit from a ruggedized handset like this, it's certainly worth a good, hard look.
- Military-grade durability rating
- IP68 dust/water protection
- Gigantic 5,580 mAh battery
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- NFC for Google Pay
- USB-C charging
- Design might be too much for some people
Designed to withstand anything
Thanks to its military-grade durability rating and IP68 protection, the Blackview BV5900 is perfect for people with butterfingers.
Best International Phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 8
Rounding out this list, we have the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8. This is an international phone, and that means no warranty and some missing LTE bands. However, those are pretty much the only real downsides to this device.
The Redmi Note 8 is a darn impressive phone. It has an incredible glass/metal design, with the Neptune Blue color being downright mesmerizing. You also get a large 6.3-inch display with a crisp Full HD+ resolution, not to mention the fast rear fingerprint sensor and four rear cameras.
Under the hood, the Note 8 comes equipped with the Snapdragon 665 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a huge 4,000 mAh battery. We're also fans of the 18W fast charging via USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, and IR controller on the top frame of the phone.
Xiaomi's custom MIUI software can feel rather bogged down at times, but in just about every regard, this is an astonishingly good phone.
- Beautiful design
- 6.3-inch FHD display with slim bezels
- Four rear cameras
- 64GB of expandable storage
- 4,000 mAh battery
- Fingerprint sensor
- Doesn't come with a warranty
- Lacks support for all U.S. LTE bands
Best International Phone
An enticing international option
If you don't mind venturing into international waters, the Redmi Note 8 is a fantastic purchase. It's gorgeous, powerful, and more.
Just a few years ago, $200 couldn't buy you much in the way of a quality Android phone. In 2020, however, it's quite surprising just how many options you have in such a low price segment. Out of everything currently available, we think the best Android phone under $200 is the Moto G Fast.
For the average person shopping for a new phone, the Moto G Fast is excellent. The display looks good enough, performance is great for most apps and light games, the three rear cameras are a bunch of fun to use, and that 4,000 mAh battery is a life-saver.
The other phones on this list are certainly worth checking out, too, but if you want to keep things simple, go with the Moto G Fast and continue on with your life. We think you'll be really happy with it.
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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