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 5.3
- Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy A11
- Best Rugged: Blackview BV5900
- Best International Phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 9
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 720x1520, 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 5.3
Another Nokia phone that we're happy to recommend is the Nokia 5.3. This is one of the newest Nokia devices to launch in the U.S., and whether you buy it for its excellent software or any other reason, it's one of the best handsets out there for this price range.
As hinted at above, one of the biggest reasons to buy the Nokia 5.3 is because of the Android interface on hand. The phone ships with a clean build of Android 10 right out of the box, and because it's a part of the Android One program, you're promised major OS updates through June 2022 and monthly security patches through June 2023.
On the hardware front, the Nokia 5.3 packs a pretty big punch. The Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM allows for reliable performance, the 4,000 mAh battery provides up to two days of use per charge, and you get a total of four cameras for endless picture-taking possibilities. Throw in smaller features like NFC, USB-C charging, and a dedicated Google Assistant button, and you end up with a really complete package.
- Fast processor
- Quad-camera system
- Two-day battery life
- Fingerprint sensor
- NFC for Google Pay
- Display is only HD+
Nokia delivers the goods
The Nokia 5.3 shines as an excellent low-cost Android phone. It has four rear cameras, a Google Assistant button, and clean software.
Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy A11
When you think of Samsung phones, your mind probably drifts to devices like the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 — big, flashy, and expensive phones that are sure to break the budget. If you're eager to own a Samsung phone for yourself but need to keep costs low, the Galaxy A11 is a solid device.
First thing's first, the Galaxy A11 has an impressive display. It's fairly large at 6.4-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 A11 will make your movies and games stand out wonderfully.
Around back, the A11 boasts a total of three cameras — consisting of a 13MP primary, 5MP ultra-wide, and 2MP depth sensors. Image quality won't blow you away, but the cameras get the job done for social media and allow for some image-taking (especially with the ultra-wide camera). Other highlights of the Galaxy A11 include expandable storage, a very generous 4,000 mAh battery, USB-C charging, and Samsung's custom One UI software that's loaded with endless features and settings.
- Modern display with small bezels
- Large 4,000 mAh battery
- Charges with USB-C
- Samsung's One UI software
- Expandable storage
- Cheap plastic back
- No NFC
Samsung on the cheap
Another great handset is the Galaxy A11. It boasts an impressive display, features, and software package with One UI.
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 9
Rounding out this list, we have the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9. This is an international phone, so that means no warranty for U.S. users and it's missing some LTE bands. However, those are pretty much the only real downsides.
The Redmi Note 9 is a darn impressive phone. The 6.53-inch Full HD+ display has very slim bezels and an unobtrusive hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. Xiaomi also has a few fun colors to choose from, with Forest Green being our favorite.
Under the hood, the Note 9 comes equipped with the MediaTek Helio G85 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a huge 5,020 mAh battery. We're also fans of the USB-C fast charging, 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
- 6.53-inch FHD+ display with slim bezels
- Four rear cameras
- 128GB of storage
- 5,020 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 9 is a fantastic purchase. It's gorgeous, powerful, and affordable.
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. There are plenty of "cheap" Android phones that are actually pretty great. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on Twitter @JoeMaring1!
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