Need great a phone for $200 or less? Take a look at this list of our favorite affordable picks. The best budget phones are also more attractive in the long-term thanks to cheaper contract prices, though you might prefer to buy these smartphones outright and then pay only for your minutes, texts and data, if you can swing it.
If you crave a reliable phone that’s $200 or cheaper, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few budget phone options available that we recommend.
Android Phones Under 200
1. Samsung Galaxy A01
As the cheapest of Samsung’s A series of phones, the Galaxy A01 surprisingly offers a lot for the cheap phone price. That includes a fast-charging 3,000-mAh battery for up to 25 hours of battery life, a tear-drop camera design and a 5.7-inch display.
- Phenomenal performance
- Big 120Hz display
- Long-lasting battery
- Big and bulky
- No 5G
- Average camera
- From £229 (around $320)
The Poco X3 Pro isn’t perfect. The big battery makes it bulky, the cameras could be better and MIUI 12 leaves much to be desired, but they don’t stop this phone from being an outrageously good budget offering.
In contrast, the phone boasts a myriad of strengths; strong specs leading to exceptional performance, a beautiful display and absolutely fantastic battery life.
The fact that you can get all of that for as little as Xiaomi is asking is almost unbelievable and like the Poco X3 NFC in 2020, we awarded the X3 Pro with the title of ‘Best Budget Phone of the Year 2021’ last year.
3. TCL 20 SE
It may not have the most cutting-edge specs, but don’t you sleep on the TCL 20 SE. Under $200, you won’t find a more captivating display than this phone’s 6.82-inch vivid LCD panel. The waterdrop notch looks a little dated, but it’s the entire package as a whole that bolsters the worth of this phone.
TCL gives you a nice deal along with all that screen real estate. You get lots of memory, with 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage that can be increased up to 256GB. There’s also a fingerprint scanner on the aesthetically pleasing backside of the phone. The TCL 20 SE has a generous 5,00mAh cell that tops up quicker than any phone in this category, owing to its 18W fast charging speed.
You get a nice set of quad cameras featuring a 48MP primary lens. On the software side of things, the TCL 20 SE is powered by Android 11. Under the hood, you will find a Snapdragon 460 chipset to keep the entire phone afloat. What prevents this phone from being our number one pick is the lack of any future platform upgrades or any manner of waterproofing. TCL does promise two years of security updates though.
4. Motorola Moto G Fast
Despite its low 720p screen resolution, the Moto G Fast is still a good value from Motorola. (It’s often discounted to $150.) This cheap smartphone has a 6.4-inch hole-punch display, a triple-rear camera setup and a Snapdragon 665 processor.
5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T
An incredible budget performer, the Redmi Note 9T packs in premium features like 5G and doesn’t skimp out on performance either, considering its low price.
Its design is a little lacklustre and you’re going to have to settle for 60Hz visuals but beyond that, there’s plenty on offer here.
If 5G isn’t on your shortlist of key features, your money does, of course, go further but otherwise the Note 9T is a great enabler to enjoy next-gen data speeds.
6. Moto G Stylus (2021)
The Moto G Stylus (2021) hits the very top of our $200 budget. While not without fault, all things considered, it’s one of the best phones you can buy when looking at Android devices this cheap. The one big caveat is that it runs Android 10 out of the box and you can only update it up to Android 11. However, the 2021 iteration of the G Stylus is almost perfect in all other regards.
The Moto G Stylus (2021)’s hardware is built far better than you’d expect for a phone in this price tier. Of course, it is now available at half the launch price, which explains the high-quality construction. It feels substantial when held and there’s a mighty useful stylus built-in. The 6.8-inch LCD is also good, giving you a large canvas with minimal bezels, great colors, and good viewing angles. The FHD resolution means that things are quite as sharp considering other options in this list. Overall, it’s a fine screen.
7. LG K40
Available for under $200, the midrange LG K40 Android phone debuted in 2019 and features a 5.7-inch display, a fingerprint sensor and a 13-megapixel camera. The phone is powered by an octa-core processor and a 3,000-mAh battery.
8. Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G
The updated Poco M4 Pro 5G offers a little more than its predecessor from the same year, without changing the overall balance struck, all that much.
This like-minded Xiaomi handset has a run-of-the-mill Dimensity 810 5G chipset but also delivers a high 90Hz refresh rate viewing experience.
Beyond that, a large 5000mAh battery with upgraded 33W fast charging delivers superb battery life and some eye-catching finishes make this a compelling fit for those after a touch more fluidity in their user experience.
9. Nokia G20
None of the phones on this list are considered expensive, but if you’re trying to spend your money on something reliable, the Nokia G20 is for you. Sitting towards the upper limit of $200, it’s the best budget phone in this range at the end of the day. You can get a lot of value from every dollar spent on the G20 instead of the cheaper G10.
The Nokia G20 is equipped with a 6.52-inch IPS LCD, making it larger than its cheaper predecessors. While it costs a bit more, you get an HD+ resolution of 720×1600, a MediaTek processor, 4GB of RAM, and an impressive 128GB of expandable storage (up to 512GB). Unfortunately, there’s no fast charging, but you shouldn’t have to mess with it too much, thanks to the generous 5,050 mAh battery.
The Nokia G20 is powered by Android One, which means you’ll get two years of Android upgrades and three years of monthly security patches, which should get you through 2023. The phone ships with Android 11, but it’s slated to get Android 12 and also 13 in the future. The software experience is delightful as there’s no bloatware and Nokia sticks to stock Android.
10. Motorola Moto G7 Play
The often discounted Moto G7 Play is a favorite affordable Android smartphone. It has a 5.7-inch display, a water-repellent coating and a single 13-megapixel rear camera. For those who like to take a lot of selfies, on the front of the phone you’ll find a selfie camera flash to brighten up all those memorable moments.