As much as we love playing with and testing the latest and greatest phones here at Android Central, there's something we can universally agree on that we're not fans of: paying full price for the best Android phones. So if you're in the market for a quality Android phone but don't want to spend a thousand dollars, check out the best cheap Android phones, or grab one of the best-refurbished phones that offer a great experience at a fraction of what you'd typically spend. Here are our favorite options.
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The Pixel 5 delivers a wholesome, enriched Google experience. It didn't get as much time in the limelight, but the phone sure deserves a lot of love. You get flagship features like water resistance, phenomenal cameras, wireless charging, and years of updates for less than half the price of the newer Pixel 6 Pro.
Reinventing the Note
This beautiful slab of perfection was the first Galaxy S series phone to come with an S Pen. It's good for years to come, and at this renewed price, it's a steal. Everything about the S21 Ultra screams premium: the matching S Pen, the gigantic 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, the water and dust-resistant design, and the robust internals.
2021 flagship for less
It's hard to believe you can get the OnePlus 9 for so little. Your eyes will never tire of that liquid-smooth 6.55" AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Featuring cameras from Hasselblad, this OnePlus flagship is a powerful phone that doesn't disappoint.
It's tough to ignore the Galaxy S20 FE, regardless of whether you want to get a new phone or pick up a refurbished one. The S20 FE continues to be one of the best Android phones despite the existence of the S21 FE, and on the refurbished market, you can save a few more bucks to get a flagship experience for less.
A spectacular deal
OnePlus regularly makes some of the best-value flagships on the market, but if the OnePlus 9 is a bit too rich for your blood, we recommend looking into a refurbished 8T+ 5G. The OnePlus 8T+ 5G's design is still modern in 2022, thanks to its small hole-punch notch and sleek glass back. It has a Snapdragon 865 5G CPU, 120Hz AMOLED display, an IP68 rating, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.
Still a stunner
Although the Pixel 4 series is several generations old, the Pixel 4a 5G is still a fantastic value buy. The device sports the same primary camera as the Pixel 3a and 3 XL, along with a clean design. Plus, you'll still get Android 13 on the device, as well as some more years of security updates.
Best-looking phone to date
The days of LG dominance are long gone, but the LG Velvet 5G lives on as one of the best-looking phones to date. This stunning beauty has brains, too, with good cameras, wireless charging, and a Snapdragon 845 chipset powering the device. It's one of the rare phones that still supports the LDAC codec, and we're expecting to see Android 13 on it soon.
Ahead of its time
The OnePlus 8 supplanted the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T, bringing the value flagship experience we have come to expect from OnePlus. You'll find a triple camera setup on the back, a solid 4,300mAh battery, and a gorgeous AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. The beautiful Interstellar Glow is unmatched in its beauty even today.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 got a lot of attention thanks to its charming design and fun accessory line-up. This is a compact and lightweight smartphone that flips, and you won't have to worry about carrying a giant full-sized phone around with you wherever you go.
Ignore the battery life
For everything that Google did wrong with the battery on the Pixel 4, it's still a great phone in just about every other facet. The camera system is still one of our favorites, especially with Night Sight, as newer devices just can't stack up. You'll just need to use some of the cash you've saved to pick up a portable charger because the battery life suffers.
Smallest of the S21 series
The Galaxy S21 is last year's flagship device from the Samsung camp, and it doesn't disappoint. It forgoes the larger display in favor of a more pocketable experience while providing all the power you want from a 2021 flagship.
'A' for 'Affordable'
Samsung's Galaxy A52 5G surprised many after it was released, as it turned out to be one of the year's best phones. With the A53 out now, you can save a few bucks and grab this impressive budget phone at an even steeper discount if you opt for a refurbished model.
The Pixel 5 is the best-refurbished phone
The Google Pixel 5 packs an impressive wallop, providing the same fantastic camera as the Pixel 4a and an additional 16MP ultra-wide lens. It has a design that is comfortable to hold and still familiar to just about every Android user. We spoke highly of the Pixel 5 in our review, and that love hasn't gone anywhere. If anything, the additional features, such as an IP68 waterproof rating and 12W wireless charging, make the refurbished Pixel an even sweeter deal.
Sure, the spec sheet isn't flagship-level, and the newer Pixel 5a has a better battery, but the 5 gets the leg up in the refurbished market. Plus, Google plans to support this device until at least late 2023.
If you want to save a few bucks and get a device that will still turn heads, there's no better way to go other than Samsung or OnePlus.
Opting for the renewed Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra provides a fantastic bargain for those looking to score a true-blue flagship Android phone. Everything is as premium as possible, starting from the design to the hardware powering the device. You even get an S Pen in addition to a state-of-the-art camera setup and a phenomenal 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel. All that goodness for almost half the price of the new S22 Ultra is nearly too good to be true.
With the OnePlus 9, you get a sleek design with a stunning AMOLED display equipped with a 120Hz display. The silvery glass back has a striking aesthetic, though it may feel slippery without a case. The camera system is splendid thanks to OnePlus's partnership with Hasselblad and noteworthy software improvements.