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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Google Pixel 5
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.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G
Last of the Notes
This beautiful slab of perfection was one of the last Note phones released by Samsung. Everything about it screams premium: the matching S Pen, the gigantic Super AMOLED display, the water- and dust-resistant design, and the robust internals.
2021 flagship for less
It's hard to believe that 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.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
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.
OnePlus 8T+ 5G
A stupendous 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.
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Still a stunner
Although the newer Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 series are already out, the Pixel 4a 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 a few more major software updates down the line.
LG Velvet 5G
Best-looking phone to date
The days of LG dominance are long gone, but the LG Velvet 5G lives on as the one of the best-looking phones to date. This stunning beauty has brains too, with pleasing cameras, wireless charging, and a Snapdragon 845 chipset powering the device.
OnePlus 8 5G
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.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
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 tablet around with you wherever you go.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Livin' the stylus life
The Galaxy S22 Ultra's arrival opened the door for the Note 10+ to see even steeper discounts. However, despite being locked with a 60Hz refresh rate, that's not the primary reason for grabbing a Note 10+. The display itself is still gorgeous, Samsung has pushed updates to improve the camera, the all-glass design is timeless, and it's equipped with the ever-useful S Pen.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G
Great for audiophiles
LG's V60 didn't receive much attention when it was released in early 2020, and that's honestly a shame. While it isn't the best Android phone ever created, it's an excellent device in just about every regard. The metal + glass design looks great, the external speakers are insanely loud, and it has one of the highest-quality headphone jacks around with a built-in DAC.
Moto G Power (2021)
Powerful and cheap
With three days of battery life on a single charge, along with a refreshed design and an improved primary camera, the Moto G Power (2021) has a lot to offer. Throw in the fact that you're also getting a near-stock Android software experience, and the G Power makes for a rather enticing option.
Google Pixel 4
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.
Samsung Galaxy S21
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.
Samsung Galaxy A51
'A' for 'Affordable'
Samsung's Galaxy A51 surprised many after it was released, as it turned out to be one of the best phones of the year. 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
Google launched the Pixel 3a in 2019 to much fanfare, as it seemed that Google was changing up its game plan. When the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 arrived, it was clear that Google was looking to take over the budget market instead of competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple and other flagship models. After conquering this segment, Google went back to the top with the launch of the mid and upper-tier Pixel 6 and 6 Pro devices.
The Google Pixel 5 packs an impressive wallop, providing the same amazing 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 very 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 still plans on supporting this device until at least late 2023.
Want something a bit more flashy? Check out the OnePlus 9 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
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 OnePlus or Samsung. With the OnePlus 9, you're getting 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. The bigger benefit comes in the software department, as OxygenOS is one of the best Android skins available. The OPPO merger may have marred the company's track record, but the decision to cancel the unison of Color OS and Oxygen OS gives us courage.
Looking back at 2019, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ was really the phone that stole our hearts. Arguably, the device featured the best design of all Samsung Galaxy phones to date. It may have been a fingerprint magnet, but the color-shifting glass back with the contrasting bright blue S Pen looked absolutely stunning. We praised the Galaxy Note 10+ in our review for its modern flagship design and specs. The refurbished version should grab your attention right away as you no longer have to pay the flagship premium to acquire this jewel of the past.
The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display is a dream to use, and there's then enough power to deliver uncompromising performance. Plus, Samsung upped the ante in the software department, promising up to three years of major Android software updates, along with the monthly security patch releases. Should you choose to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ today, you'll get an Android 12 update right away. So the Note 10+ really is the complete package, no matter how you look at it.
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.
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