Best Unlocked Phones Under 300

Smartphones are popular among people of all ages, they allow you to perform multiple tasks like sending emails, browsing the internet, sexting, gaming, etc. If you’re looking to buy a smartphone and are limited by your budget then you should check this list of best phones for under 300 dollars.

Best Unlocked Phones Under 300

Galaxy A32 5G

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.

TCL 20S Unlocked Android Smartphone

REASONS TO BUY

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

REASONS TO AVOID

-No 5G-No IP rating

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. 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.

OnePlus Nord N200 | 5G Unlocked Android Smartphone U.S Version

Oxygen OS on a budgetTODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

+Smooth 90Hz display+Excellent battery life+Headphone jack & expandable storage+Oxygen OS 11

REASONS TO AVOID

-Underwhelming cameras-No IP rating-Only one major platform update

You wouldn’t expect to get a OnePlus device in the sub-$300 category these days. Thankfully, the uber affordable Nord lineup has made its way to the eager hands of North Americans. The OnePlus Nord N200 5G brings 5G to the masses, making it accessible for all. It may not look very impressive, but it has the right goods underneath that plastic hood.

The Nord N200 5G touts a generously large 6.49-inch Full HD+ LCD display. It has slim bezels all around, and the screen’s 90Hz refresh rate makes everything appear all the better. We love that the demure design has an air of grace about it. It may be cheap, but it doesn’t look or feel the part.

Powering this modest handset is the Snapdragon 480 5G with 4GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of onboard storage, but you can expand it via Micro SD. That and the 3.5mm jack are two things you don’t see in phones anymore. The triple camera setup is alright, with a 13MP primary camera on the back. What really impresses is the superb battery life delivered by the 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging support. There’s a lot to love here, for very little money.

TCL 20 SE 6.82-inch Unlocked Cellphone

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 NXVISION, 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 – Ocean Blue

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

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-Older Android 10 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 720×1440.

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.

Moto G Stylus (2021)

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

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.

Best phones under 200

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.

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

Samsung Galaxy A11

The Galaxy A11 features a 6.4-inch display and three cameras: a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel wide-angle shooter and a 2-megapixel depth camera. It also offers a sizable 4,000-mAh battery for up to 28 hours of battery life and expandable storage. It doesn’t have wireless charging, but it does have an oft-coveted headphone jack

Motorola Moto E

Though it’s not as good as the aforementioned Moto G Fast, the Moto E’s even cheaper price tag makes it affordable. Currently $70, it has a 6.2-inch screen, Snapdragon 632 processor and dual-camera setup in a modern, sleek design

Motorola Moto E6

Lori Grunin/CNET

Launched in July 2019, the Moto E6 smartphone is now available for $110. It features a 13-megapixel camera, a headphone jack and a 5.5-inch display. Oddly enough, it also has a Micro-USB port for charging (rather than the newer USB-C)

best phones under 400

Google Pixel 4a Android Smartphone

The Pixel 3a from 2019 stood out as one of the best Android values for well over a year, only for the Google Pixel 4a to fill its shoes — and then some. However, if you want a small, affordable phone with reasonably high-performing specs, plus a camera that outperforms its specs, the 4a still fits the bill. More so than the Pixel 5a, a larger mid-range device for bigger spenders.

With the Pixel 4a, you get a Snapdragon 730 that doesn’t lag too far behind the 765G found in the Pixel 5, 6GB of RAM, and a guaranteed, immediate update to Android 13 in 2022, plus security updates through 2023. It’s not “powerful” by any means, but it still holds up today — even if Google is discontinuing it.

As with any Pixel phone, the best thing about the Pixel 4a is its camera. The 12.2MP single rear camera certainly isn’t impressive on paper, but it’s outstanding in actual use. Pictures are detailed, colors are great, and low-light photography is a piece of cake. As we said in our Pixel 4a review, this is one of those phones that you can whip out of your pocket, press the shutter button without too much thought, and get a great-looking photo every single time.

OnePlus Nord N200 5G – Android Smartphone

As 5G networks continue to grow worldwide, the technology is also starting to make its way into ever more affordable phones. For example, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G is not only one of the cheapest 5G-enabled phones we’ve ever seen, but it’s also one of the best phones you can buy for under $400.

To start with, the N200 5G shares the same design language as the much more expensive OnePlus 9 series and continues OnePlus’s tradition of beautiful blue gradient finishes. It may be made of plastic, but you’d never know it, thanks to the coloring and matte texture on the back.

The screen is a full HD+ LCD with a 90Hz refresh rate, and it even comes with NFC for contactless payments and 18W fast charging (though not OnePlus’s Warp Charging). You also get a fast and responsive side-mounted fingerprint sensor and 3.5mm headphone jack, though you lose out on the alert slider on higher-end OnePlus devices.

By far, the best thing this phone has going for it is its 5G connectivity for such a low price. That, and the build should make this phone last a long time in your hand, although it is limited to one major Android platform update.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G – Smartphone

Samsung’s Galaxy S series gets the most buzz and attention as the go-to lineup of Galaxy phones, but they’re far from the only ones the company makes. If you’re eager to get your hands on a robust mid-range phone with Samsung’s special touch, check out the Galaxy A42 5G.

As we noted in our Galaxy A42 5G review, this phone has decently powerful specs for this price bracket. Its 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display is very easy to read even in direct sunlight. It has the same Snapdragon 750G chipset as the more expensive Galaxy A52 5G. Its battery life rivals the Moto G Power (another pick on this list), lasting our reviewer multiple days with active use. Outside of its merely average cameras, the A42 5G never let us down.

What makes the A42 5G unique in the U.S. is that it’s a Verizon-exclusive phone, giving you access to its Ultra Wideband network with both mmWave and sub-6 5G bands. Plenty of 5G phones just have sub-6, including the OnePlus Nord N200 5G. So if you use Verizon and live in the right area to take advantage, the A42 5G will prove an affordable game-changer.

If you don’t use Verizon, then the A52 5G is an excellent upgrade with a 120Hz screen, more RAM, better cameras, and water resistance at just $399.

Nokia 5.4 – Smartphone

Like the 7.2, the Nokia 5.4 offers a clean version of Android with practically no bloatware and a promise of two years of software updates, including three years of monthly security patches. While certainly not the most powerful or feature-packed phone on this list, it is more than capable of handling most of your daily tasks, from web browsing to social media to video consumption.

The big upgrade from its predecessor, the Nokia 5.3, is in its cameras. The primary sensor made a massive jump from 13MP in the 5.3 to 48MP in the 5.4. In addition, Nokia’s AI and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 allow for a snappy camera app experience, with good colors and cinematic video recording.

The other three cameras didn’t appear to change much from the 5.3, at least on paper. You still get a 2MP depth camera, a 2MP macro camera, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 16MP selfie camera. You can take or leave the 2MP shooters, but our testing found the 5MP ultra-wide very usable. Sometimes the shots could appear a little washed out, but that was nothing that a basic touchup in Google Photos couldn’t fix. All in all, we were very pleased with these cameras — especially for the price!

Moto G Stylus 5G (2021) Android Smartphone

Motorola’s Moto G phones often represent some of the best values the Android landscape has to offer, and that’s no different with the Moto G Stylus 5G. Motorola released an updated model with 5G in 2021 and it still has that built-in stylus that people love.

Getting two days of battery life out of a single charge is a cinch with the Moto G Stylus 5G. The performance of the processor could be a bit better, but it’s hard to argue with the price Moto sells this phone at, and it’s a considerably better experience than other 2021 Motorola phones by a wide margin.

As always, Motorola packs the Moto G Stylus 5G with its My UX features, including those fantastic gestures like double-chop to toggle the flashlight, or double-twist to launch the camera. It’s also got a 3.5mm headphone jack and a solid main camera on the back. There’s no NFC and only one Android OS update (to Android 12), but three years of security updates mean you should be covered from potential digital threats for the lifetime of the phone.

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.

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