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Best Android phones under $300 in 2022

TCL 20S
(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

You can get a lot of phones for a modest price these days, and to prove it, we've rounded up a list of the best Android phones under $300 for your consideration. The best phones overall mostly come down to network compatibility and confidence that your software won't be out of date as soon as you activate it. The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is the top smartphone you can get for $300, with 5G connectivity, a 90Hz screen and a gigantic battery. And it's still got plenty of life in it, with updates promised until 2024.

What are the best Android phones under $300?

Samsung Galaxy A32's shiny back back

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)
The best overall Android phone under $300

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful Mediatek Dimensity CPU
+
5G enabled with mid-band support
+
Large 5,000mAh battery
+
Slick 90Hz display
+
Samsung has committed to three years of updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively plain design
-
Some UI lag
-
Fast charging limited to 15W

With the Galaxy A32 5G, Samsung brings 5G connectivity and a smooth 90Hz refresh rate to the affordable price bracket — both real differentiators in the sub-$300 market. And while the A32's performance isn't as flawless as Samsung's higher-end smartphones, it has plenty to offer in terms of value-added features, like an impressive 64-megapixel rear camera and a support lifespan that puts most other cheap Android phones to shame. The phone launched on Android 11 in 2021, with the promise of three years of platform updates.

The Galaxy A32 features a minimalist design that draws inspiration from the top-tier Galaxy S models, though with polycarbonate construction as opposed to more premium materials. And on the inside it's powered by MediaTek's Dimensity 720 5G processor, meaning you've got a decent amount of power at your disposal for everyday tasks and even light gaming. And even if you are pushing this phone harder, the internal 5,000mAh battery can keep this phone going for more than a day with ease.

Unfortunately you may be waiting a while to recharge, however, as the phone's quick charging capabilities are limited to a fairly slow 15W. That's behind the curve, even among cheaper Android handsets.

Photos from the Galaxy A32 impressed us, however, with Android Central's Asia editor, Harish Jonnalagadda, praising its performance in daylight and low-light scenarios, particularly when using the 64-megapixel main shooter. While Google's A-series Pixel phones take better photos, they're considerably more expensive than the A32.

TCL 20S front

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)
The best affordable unlocked phone

Reasons to buy

+
Very good LCD
+
Enjoyable software
+
Google Pay with NFC
+
Huge 5,000mAh battery

Reasons to avoid

-
No 5G
-
No IP rating
-
Not meant for mobile gaming

You may be familiar with TCL for its low-cost televisions, but did you know the company also makes Android phones? The TCL 20S is part of the company's second-generation of U.S.-bound handsets. It's also one of the most well-rounded devices you can get in this price range.

Speaking of TVs, one of the best parts of the TCL 20S is its display. It features a 6.67-inch LCD panel with Full HD+ resolution, and thanks to TCL's custom NXTVISION technology, you're treated to increased sharpness, more vibrant images, and true-to-life colors. We also appreciate the slim bezels and hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera.

Under the hood, the TCL 20S has a Snapdragon 665 processor and 6GB of RAM, one of the most impressive setups on this list. The 5,000 mAh battery allows for outstanding endurance, you get an NFC chip for Google Pay support, and TCL's software is clean and fun to use. There are also four cameras on the back for you to play with, but none of them are particularly great.

Of course, there are tradeoffs with any phone at this price point. The most notable exemptions on the 20S are the lack of 5G support and any official IP rating for water or dust protection. As our reviewer, Derrek Lee pointed out, it's not the speediest device in the world. If you plan on playing mobile games at all you may want to look elsewhere.

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
The best budget phone at T-Mobile

Reasons to buy

+
Great design and build 
+
Impressive battery life
+
Headphone jack & expandable storage
+
OxygenOS's many smart features

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 60Hz display
-
Not compatible with CDMA networks
-
Shipping on Android 11

OnePlus's aggressive expansion into the budget segment in North America has given us several great Nord handsets in recent years, the latest of which is the Nord N20 5G. With a standard price of just $282, the N20 brings 5G to the masses, making it accessible for all. What's more, it looks the part, with a sharp two-tone design on its back panel. And you get the added peace of mind of IP52 splash resistance too.

The Nord N20 5G has a reasonably sized 6.43-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution, and although it only sports a 60Hz refresh rate — not the smoothest display even in this category — it's a good panel for the price. The lack of a 90Hz panel also allows the phone to save some juice, providing for easy all-day battery life from its 5,000mAh battery; in our testing, we managed a day and a half from a single charge. For quick refills, the bundled 33W SuperVOOC brick will get you past the 50% mark in just a few minutes.

Running the show is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 695 processor, backed up by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, plus microSD expansion — a fairly balanced spec sheet for a sub-$300 handset. Meanwhile, on the camera side, the N20 features largely forgettable 2MP monochrome and macro lenses, but its 64MP main sensor punches well above its weight — in our review, we were impressed with its capabilities compared to similar handsets at this price. So there's a lot to love here without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.

The Nord N20 5G is now available unlocked at Amazon and Best Buy, but its 5G capabilities don't extend beyond T-Mobile's network. If you're an AT&T customer, this is still an amazing buy but you'll only get 4G LTE speeds and coverage with it. Verizon customers need not apply, unfortunately.

TCL 20SE

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)
The best unlocked phone under $200

Reasons to buy

+
Large 6.82-inch display
+
Huge 5,000mAh battery
+
Headphone jack & expandable storage
+
Easy-to-use software

Reasons to avoid

-
Display is only HD+
-
Average cameras
-
Not compatible with CDMA networks

The TCL 20 SE is an interesting device, sitting a step below the better-equipped TCL 20S. Apart from some minor differences, it's actually similar to the TCL 20S in more ways than one, but it makes a few cuts to reach an even lower price.

You get a lot of screen real estate with the 6.82-inch display powered by NXTVISION, but the resolution is dropped from Full HD+ to just HD+. This means the TCL 20 SE's screen isn't as sharp or pretty to look at, but it still gets the job done. You also have the same 5,000mAh battery and fast charging support. Pop the hood, and you will find a Snapdragon 460 processor paired with 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. There's a microSD slot for easy expansion if you still need more room.

You get a 3.5mm headphone jack and Android 11 out of the box, along with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor built into the power button. What's cool is that you get reverse charge capabilities via an OTG cable. Somehow, they've thrown a 48MP primary sensor in the triple camera setup and still kept the price below $200.

Nokia G50

(Image credit: Nokia)

Nokia G50

The best software experience on a budget phone

Reasons to buy

+
Android One software is top-notch
+
Guaranteed updates
+
Large 5,000 mAh battery
+
Has NFC for Google Pay
+
5G enabled

Reasons to avoid

-
Only HD display
-
No IP rating

Nokia has established itself as one of the market leaders for affordable Android phones, and one of its most compelling handsets is the Nokia G50. The Nokia G50 stands out for a few different reasons, but its strongest aspect is its software above all else.

The Nokia G50 ships with Android 11 right out of the box, and like all Nokia phones, it offers a clean and Pixel-esque user interface that's fast and smooth thanks to its Android One implementation. What's even better is that the Nokia G50 is backed by two years of major OS updates and three years of monthly security patches, offering a level of software support that's far too rare in this price range.

As for the hardware side of things, the Nokia G50 gives you a 6.39-inch HD+ display, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 480 5G processor, a generous 5,000 mAh battery, 18W fast charging, and it even has NFC for Google Pay. Plus, it maintains the excellent cameras of the preceding Nokia 5.4, with a 48MP primary shooter, a 5MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP depth sensor.

Blackview Bv4900

(Image credit: Blackview)

Blackview BV4900

The best rugged budget phone

Reasons to buy

+
Rugged design is super durable
+
IP68 dust and water-resistance
+
Large 5580mAh battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively weak carrier and band support
-
The micro USB port is very 2006
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Older software

For the most part, modern smartphones are generic slabs of glass or plastic. There's nothing wrong with that, but it means that buying a case is a must for incredibly clumsy people. But what if there was a phone that was designed to not need a case in the first place? Enter the Blackview BV4900.

The BV4900 comes with fairly modest specs with a Mediatek A22 Helio MT6761 CPU, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. This storage can be upgraded with a microSD card, however. A fairly large 5580mAh can keep you running all day or longer with ease. This phone is designed to be tough with IP68 water resistance and Gorilla Glass 3 on the 5.7-inch IPS display at 720x1440.

Connectivity is quite limited compared to many others on this list with only LTE support on GSM carriers. That means no Verizon. It's also worth noting that this phone doesn't support all of either carrier's bands either, so you may find yourself with lower or no signal than others on the same carrier. Still, it's hard to find a rugged phone that competes with this one for under $300.

TCL Stylus 5G Nebo app handwriting recognition

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
The best budget phone with a stylus

Reasons to buy

+
Great performance
+
TCL UI 4.0 is beautiful
+
All-day-long battery life
+
Good main camera
+
Included Nebo software works very well

Reasons to avoid

-
No stylus-only mode
-
Some app incompatibilities
-
T-Mobile exclusive (for now)

Motorola has been at the budget phone stylus game for a while, but now TCL has entered the fray and made a far better phone at less than $300 than Motorola ever has. In our TCL Stylus 5G review (opens in new tab), we noted that it's a wonderful phone through-and-through, offering up a bright and vibrant 6.81-inch full HD+ NXTVISION LCD display up front and a handy stylus packed inside the body.

TCL's stylus design is incredibly similar to what Samsung offers on the far more expensive Galaxy Note and Galaxy S22 Ultra phones, including the ability to magnetically click back into the slot when sheathed. The biggest problem is that, like Motorola, this price point doesn't allow TCL to add a special digitizer under the display for stylus-only input.

That means the stylus is a great way to precisely tap things on the screen but isn't quite like writing with a pen on paper. If you're willing to give it a shot though — or just have neater handwriting than I do — the included Nebo app can intelligently translate hand-written notes into typed documents. It's seriously impressive how well it works, and it even had no problem translating my chicken scratch handwriting into perfectly readable English type.

Even with that negative point, though, it's hard to ignore just how good the rest of the phone is. TCL UI 4.0 is a lovely new flavor of Android 12 that launched with the Stylus 5G and features a whole new look and more features than ever. The MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G processor inside handles everything you can throw at it — even 3D mobile games like Diablo Immortal (opens in new tab) — which isn't something common in this price range.

All in all, it's a great phone that's currently only available at T-Mobile in the U.S. but is slated for wider release in the future.

Moto G Stylus 2021

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Moto G Stylus (2021)

The best unlocked phone with a stylus

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with a stylus
+
Big display for drawing and note-taking
+
Quadruple camera system
+
Large battery

Reasons to avoid

-
No IP water or dust resistance
-
No wireless charging or NFC
-
Ships with Android 10
-
No stylus-only mode

The Galaxy Note series is super popular for making the most of a stylus-touting phone, but if you don't have the cash for a flagship Note, the Moto G Stylus (2021) is worth a look. Just like the Note, it has an included stylus that you can hide inside the phone when you aren't using it. However, unlike the Note, the Moto G Stylus (2021) is very affordable.

With the Moto G Stylus (2021), you can draw, take notes, and navigate the UI — something that's quite handy when trying to tap small buttons on the screen. You also get a 6.8-inch Full HD+ LCD, Android 10, and 128GB of storage that can be expanded by another 512GB. There's also a 4,000 mAh battery, which should last you all day and then some on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 SOC.

There is also now a quadruple-camera system with a 48MP standard shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth/time of flight sensor. Unfortunately, you don't get NFC or wireless charging on the downside, nor does the MotoG Stylus (2021) sport official IP water or dust resistance.

It's worth noting that while the standard Moto G Stylus (2021) does not have 5G capabilities, there is a 5G version available, though we did not include it on this list because it costs over $300. Similarly, the Moto G Stylus (2022) (opens in new tab) is priced at $500, making it ineligible for this list.

Plenty of options to choose from

Amazingly, plenty of the other best Android phones are available at affordable prices, but when you're looking to save money, there are going to be compromises. When shopping for these phones, take a close look at the specs to ensure you're not missing a feature you'd like to have. Many inexpensive phones will reduce display size, resolution, extra cameras, or bonuses like stereo speakers. However, when you shop around, you'll be able to get an excellent phone for just a few hundred bucks.

The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G gets most things right with a reasonably large display, huge 5,000mAh battery, and of course, support for 5G. Software is another important consideration, and Samsung has a strong record of providing security updates and even Android version updates to its cheaper devices. Samsung has already committed to the generations of Android platform updates for the phone, so you can be sure your phone will be compatible with all apps and have the newest security features included. 

Otherwise, if you're a T-Mobile customer and want a phone with a powerful processor, excellent camera, and a really nice build, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G is a phenomenal pick for just under $300. It won't get as many updates as Samsung's A32 5G, but it's a better phone so long as you don't need the latest and greatest Android features beyond Android 12.

Namerah Saud Fatmi is a freelance writer for Android Central. She has a passion for all things tech & gaming and has been an honorary Goodreads librarian since 2011. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing stray cats and dogs in the streets of Dhaka or slaying dragons in the land of Skyrim. You can reach her on Twitter @NamerahS.

With contributions from