Best cheap Android phones 2024

If you're on the hunt for the best cheap Android phones, you've come to the right place. Below, you'll find all of the best devices for $500 or less, ranging from flagship-quality smartphones to decent budget models. You can even score a Samsung Galaxy for five Benjamins or less.

We've tested and thoroughly researched all of the picks in our guides, so you can rest easy knowing there won't be any surprises later on. Needless to say, with phones this cheap, you can't expect outstanding performance all across the board. As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for". Still, you might be pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of these phones. Our top pick, the Google Pixel 7a, for example, boasts incredible camera software and the same chipset found in the Google Pixel 7 Pro, which is our favorite Android phone on the market today.

At a glance

Best overall

The Google Pixel 7a's vibrant, bright display showcasing the home screen with the default coral feathers wallpaper

Best overall

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch AMOLED, 2400x1080, 90Hz refresh rate
Processor: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Cameras: 64MP primary, 13MP ultra-wide, 13MP front
Charging: 18W wired
Battery: 4,385mAh
Water Resistance: IP67
Dimensions: 152 x 72.9 x 9.0mm
Weight: 193.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible cameras
+
Tensor G2 chipset
+
Pixel-exclusive features
+
Wireless charging support
+
Best haptics in its class

Reasons to avoid

-
90Hz refresh rate
-
Battery life isn't amazing

Considering how much we loved its predecessor, the Pixel 6a, Google had some seriously big shoes to fill with the Google Pixel 7a. Thankfully, not only did they deliver, but actually exceeded our expectations. We even went so far as to call the phone the "best Pixel Google has ever built" in our Google Pixel 7a review.

How is this possible? With this cheap Android phone, it all comes down to balance. With a starting price of just $499, the Pixel 7a offers some truly outstanding bang for the buck, thanks to specs like the Google Tensor G2 chipset (the same processor found in the more-expensive Pixel 7 Pro), glorious haptics, and camera tech that rivals some of the best Android phones that money can buy. In fact, pound for pound, we found that the Pixel 7a performed just as well as the base model Pixel 7 ($599) in most of our initial tests.

You also get Android 13 with all of the usual Pixel-exclusive features straight out of the box, plus five years of Pixel updates guaranteed. It's the first A-series Pixel to come with wireless charging (limited to 5W). Sure, you only get a 90Hz refresh rate, and the battery life may not be the best in the business, but you're getting a truly unrivaled experience for less than $500.

Best for Galaxy fans

The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G sitting on a stair rail showing its lockscreen

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best for Galaxy fans

Specifications

Display: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED, 1080 x 2340, 120Hz refresh rate
Processor: Exynos 1380 octa-core
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Cameras: 50MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, 32MP selfie
Charging: 25W wired
Battery: 5,000mAh
Water Resistance: IP67
Dimensions: 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2mm
Weight: 202g

Reasons to buy

+
Good-looking hardware
+
Vibrant AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
+
Flagship-level camera features
+
Large 5,000 battery

Reasons to avoid

-
No 3.5mm headphone jack
-
Camera still doesn't beat a Pixel

The Galaxy A Series continues to be one of Samsung’s greatest achievements, with solid specs and nice designs on mid-range and low-end phones. We were massive fans of the Galaxy A53, and its follow-up does not disappoint, delivering flagship-level specs at half the normal flagship price.

The Samsung Galaxy A54 boasts a typically vibrant 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate alongside the ultra-efficient octa-core Exynos 1380 processor, a large 5,000mAh battery, and 6GB of RAM with 128GB storage capacity. The camera software is excellent here as well, with a 50MP primary lens and a 32MP selfie shooter. Plus, you get a lot of the camera features found in Samsung’s latest flagship series, such as Nightography capabilities and Object Eraser.

As with all of the best Samsung phones, device longevity is the focus of the Galaxy A54. The phone is set to receive four OS upgrades and up to five years of security updates, so you can plan to use the A54 for years to come. The phone typically retails for around $450, but look around for Samsung Galaxy A54 deals to see if you can save some extra cash.

Best design

The shiny back of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

Best design

Specifications

Display: 6.72-inch 120Hz LCD display
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4x
Storage: 128GB UFS 2.2
Cameras: 108MP rear, 2MP macro, 2MP depth, 16MP front
Charging: 50W SUPERVOOC
Battery: 5,000mAh
Water Resistance: IP54
Dimensions: 165.5 x 76 x 8.33mm
Weight: 195g

Reasons to buy

+
120Hz display
+
3.5mm jack and microSD card slot
+
5G connectivity and NFC
+
Great-looking and feeling build
+
Lots of software features

Reasons to avoid

-
USB port compatibility issues
-
Only one OS update
-
Won't work with Verizon

As we found in our Nord N30 5G review, this affordable phone from OnePlus consistently performs like a phone twice its price, thanks to specs like a Snapdragon 695 5G processor, 8GB of RAM, and even 64GB of expandable storage out of the box. On top of that, it's got an AMOLED display on the front, which is unusual for phones in this price range. As you would expect from an AMOLED panel, the colors are gorgeous, black levels are perfect, and everything just looks great. It's even got a 120Hz refresh rate.

The cameras are also above and beyond the level of quality of most phones in this price range. It has 108MP main camera on the back — the 2MP monochrome and 2MP macro cameras are mostly useless on their own — but that main camera produces some seriously great photos with wide dynamic range, impressively smart AI-powered multi-frame software that automatically picks the best shot after you take it, and even takes quality 1080p video.

Best under $300

Samsung Galaxy A32

(Image credit: Android Central)
Best Android phone under $300

Specifications

Display: 6.4-inch TFT, 720x1600
Processor: MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 720 5G
RAM: 4/6/8GB
Storage: 128GB
Cameras: 48MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, 5MP depth, 13MP selfie
Charging: 15W wired
Battery: 5,000 mAh
Water Resistance: IP67
Dimensions: 164.2 x 76.1 x 9.1mm
Weight: 205g

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive design
+
Great cameras
+
90Hz AMOLED display is excellent
+
Three platform updates
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be a bit laggy with heavy use
-
"Fast" charging is only 15W

Samsung's lineup of mid-tier Android phones has gotten a lot better in recent years, with one of the latest examples being this one as shown in our full Galaxy A32 5G review. This is at the mid-range of Samsung's more affordable Galaxy phones, and it should absolutely be on your shortlist.

The heart of the Galaxy A32 5G is its 48MP primary camera, and photos taken with it look excellent despite what you might expect at this price. There's a lot of detail, good dynamic range, and vibrant colors. To help expand the types of pictures you can take, the A32 5G is also equipped with an 8MP wide-angle camera, a 5MP macro camera, and a 5MP portrait camera.

Outside of the camera department, the Galaxy A32 5G is just as impressive. It delivers a quality 6.4-inch TFT display at 720p, decent performance in day-to-day tasks thanks to its MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity 720 5G, and a beefy 5,000 mAh battery that allows for long endurance. Tie all of that together with USB-C charging and a headphone jack, and you end up with quite the package.

For more options in this price range, check out our guide to the best Android phones under $300.

Best under $200

Holding the Samsung Galaxy A13 and showing off the glossy back

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

5. Samsung Galaxy A13 5G

Best Android phone under $200

Specifications

Display: 6.5-inch HD+ PLS LCD, 720 x 1600, 90Hz refresh rate
Processor: Mediatek Dimensity 700
RAM: 4GB or 6GB
Storage: 64GB or 128GB
Cameras: 50MP primary, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, 5MP selfie
Charging: 15W wired
Battery: 5,000mAh
Water Resistance:
Dimensions: 164.5 x 76.5 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 195 g

Reasons to buy

+
Less than $200
+
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
+
Two-day (or longer) battery life
+
Good camera during the day
+
5G connectivity
+
microSD card support

Reasons to avoid

-
Not good for gaming
-
Dim display
-
Slow charging
-
Macro camera is useless

Samsung offers great phones at just about any price point, and the Galaxy A13 5G is no exception. Many U.S. carriers offer this phone for free or just a few dollars per month, so picking one up when you're on a very tight budget is practically a no-brainer.

As with any phone under $200, you shouldn't expect the world from the Galaxy A13 5G. While the processor is just fine for scrolling through social media, browsing the web, or chatting with friends, it's not going to do much for gaming. Sure, simple 2D games like Angry Birds are just fine, but anything more graphically intense won't run very well (or at all).

The display is also a bit dim, and it charges slowly compared to more expensive phones, but you won't have to worry about charging often thanks to the huge battery inside. That, combined with the low-power processor, means you'll have no trouble getting two days of battery life out of the A13 5G. I've seen the phone last nearly a week on a charge with very light use, so there's potential here for longer than 2-day battery life, depending on usage. 

If you can believe it, that 50MP camera will also get you some pretty impressive pictures during the day, which isn't always expected in this price range. Low-light photos leave a lot to be desired, but at least there's a flash on the back to help make up for that.

For more options in this price range, check out our guide to the best Android phones under $200.

Best stylus phone

Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) on rocks

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)
Best stylus phone under $500

Specifications

Display: 6.6-inch FHD+, 2400x1080, 120Hz refresh rate
Processor: Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
RAM: 4GB/6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB, expandable
Cameras: 50MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide, 8MP depth
Charging: 20W wired
Battery: 5,000 mAh
Water Resistance: Water-repellent coating
Dimensions: 162.83 x 73.77 x 9.19mm
Weight: 202g

Reasons to buy

+
Included stylus for writing/drawing
+
Three rear cameras
+
Good all-around specs
+
Big battery
+
3.5mm headset jack

Reasons to avoid

-
No water or dust resistance

It can be challenging to keep track of all the value phones Motorola has in its lineup, but one that manages to stand out is the Moto G Stylus 5G (2023). Along with being one of the few Android phones that comes with a built-in stylus, it's also just a perfect combination of specs, features, and value.

You're getting a large 6.6-inch display that looks great, and thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, this one will feel a lot more expensive than it is because of the smooth presentation. There's also ample performance thanks to the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor, along with 128GB of built-in storage and a very large 5,000mAh battery. Given the affordable price of the G Stylus, these are all impressive specifications.

As the name implies, the main draw to the Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) is its built-in stylus experience. It's certainly not the most premium stylus we've ever used, but it works well enough for drawing, note-taking, etc. It can also be stored seamlessly at the bottom of the phone when you aren't using it, which is a nice touch that ties the whole experience together.

How to choose

What is the best cheap Android phone to buy?

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the Samsung Galaxy A13

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Without a doubt, the Google Pixel 7a is the best phone under $500 — but fortunately, we're living in a day and age that's full of excellent and affordable smartphones.

So, how should you choose a cheap Android phone?

Most people have a budget to stick to, and that’s where deciding the right budget-minded phone comes into play. You want to pick a phone that’s not just in your budget, but one that will last a while, too. That way, you’re not spending even more on yet another phone down the road.

But before you ever think about a phone’s processor, cameras, or storage space, you need to think about connectivity. All modern phones support Bluetooth earbuds and Wi-Fi, but not all phones support all cellular networks. Make sure the phone you’re looking for supports your network of choice, especially if you are choosing an unlocked phone from the list.

The quickest way to end up with a phone that feels sluggish and old is to undersell yourself on the phone’s chipset.

Next, keep a phone's processor in mind before pressing that buy button. The quickest way to end up with a phone that feels sluggish and old is to undersell yourself on the phone’s chipset.

Lots of phones feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, but that doesn’t mean all of them are worthwhile. Unless your budget absolutely doesn’t allow for anything faster, you probably want to avoid any phone powered by a Snapdragon 400-series or lower chipset. Those phones are really only good as communication devices and for browsing the web or social media.

Likewise, MediaTek’s Dimensity series of processors are the only ones you want to consider from the company. Phones like the TCL Stylus 5G — which is only available at T-Mobile — sport the excellent MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chipset, which is speedy enough for just about anything you throw at it.

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Storage isn’t much of a concern these days thanks to excellent cloud storage services like Google Photos.

You’ll also want to make sure your new phone has at least 4GB of RAM if you’re ever planning on doing more than one thing at a time on it. Less RAM means the phone has less operating space for apps, creating a scenario where apps take a long time to load and often have to reload if you switch back and forth between apps.

Storage isn’t much of a concern these days, thanks to excellent cloud storage services like Google Photos, which can offload the photos and videos you’ve taken to a safe and secure cloud drive. That means they not only won’t be taking up precious space on your phone, but they’ll also be backed up in case something happens to your phone.

Services like Google Photos also archive your photos and make it easy to search for even the most minute details, like your old black and white cat or the blue shoes you wore to that wedding several years ago.

With a few exceptions, the cameras on the phones above will all deliver a good experience in most lighting conditions.

Cameras on smartphones have become increasingly important over the years, and, with a few exceptions, the phones above will all deliver a good experience in most lighting conditions. As these are less expensive phones, you’ll need to be aware that most models will only take great pictures in adequate light. Phones like the Google Pixel 7a or Samsung Galaxy A54 5G offer great low-light support, and that function is becoming more common on phones even under $300 these days.

No phone on this list has poor battery life, but some folks might have a unique need for a smartphone to last more than a single day on a full charge. We’ve noted that several options above will offer that but specifically highlight one phone as having the best battery life of them all.

The bottom line on cheaper Android phones

The Motorola Edge (2022) and Pixel 6a

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Most Android phones these days are pretty good, but a few stand above the rest. We've outlined many of our favorites here but if you want a few more options and are on a tighter budget, we've got picks for the best phones under $300 and the best phones under $100 . Each of these categories comes with a few concessions but, if you're looking for a specific niche — like a stylus — you'll find a few more options there.

Just remember, though, that you're paying hundreds less than what it costs to buy a Samsung Galaxy S23 or Pixel 7 Pro. While those phones might offer faster processors, better cameras, or brighter screens, they're extremely expensive to replace if they accidentally get broken. Splurging on the best overall phone that throws in everything and the kitchen sink isn't always the ideal solution — especially when you're looking to cut costs.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
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