Cheap Phones Under $100

This blog post will help you find the best cell phones under $100 today. People can find a lot of mobile phone reviews online that are helpful. But if you aren’t a mobile fan or too busy to read mobile reviews, this blog can be an alternative to save your time and money. 

cell phones under $100

Alcatel 1B

Specs: Display: 5.5 inches (722x 1440 pixel resolution) screen ratio 18:9 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 quad core A53 cortex running at 1.3GHz | RAM: 2GB | Internal Storage: 16GB | Rear cameras: 5P rear | Front cameras: 2MP | Dimensions: 146.1 x 71.6 x 9.9mm | Weight: 168g | IP Rating: None

The Alcatel 1B 5002A phone is an unlocked phone that will work with any GSM carrier. It will not work on any CDMA carrier such as Sprint Nextel, nTelos, Verizon, or Virgin Mobile. The Alcatel 1B is a lightweight phone with a simple interface and a 5.5-inch screen display and a moderately sized bezel around the edge of the screen. It has a 3,000mAh battery and has space for one nano-SIM and a nano SD card up to 128GB. This is not a rugged phone so will not take rough handling.

There is a single 5MP camera at the rear of the phone and a flash and a 2MP camera at the front. Image adjustments are basic, and not aimed at the pro-photographer. This Android 10 Go edition phone is for someone who wants a basic phone with a few basic apps, average performance, and functionality — and it’s for those who do not want an all-singing, all-dancing phone for everyday tasks.


  • Storage extendable up to 128GB
  • 5.5-inch screen


  • Does not work with CDMA carriers

Nokia 2.1

Specs: Display: 5.5 inches IPS LCD (1280 x 720-pixel resolution) 16:9 ratio | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 MSM8917 quad core processor 1.4GHz ARM cortex A53 | RAM: 1GB LPDDR3 | Internal Storage: 8GB | Rear cameras: 8MP rear (autofocus) | Front cameras: 5MP | Dimensions: 153.6 x 77.7 x 9.67 mm | Weight: 174g | IP Rating: None

The Nokia 2.1 Android Pie edition is a useful low-cost workhorse if you want a basic phone. Its 4,000mAh battery delivers good battery life and reasonable performance, and its 5.5-inch screen has a large bezel at the top and bottom of the screen, giving a screen-to-body ratio of 69.82%.

It is a lightweight phone at 174g, but at 9.67mm, feels more solid than other low-cost phones. This phone is not dustproof, water-resistant, or shock-proof, so try not to drop it in case the screen shatters.

The 2.1 has a dual SIM slot and can take a micro SD card up to 128GB, which will let you install a few apps. Its 1GB RAM might be an issue if you use multiple apps simultaneously.


  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Extendable storage up to 128GB


  • 1GB RAM may be an issue when running multiple apps

Motorola Moto e

Specs: Display: 6.2 inches (1520x 720-pixel resolution) IPS LCD with 19:9 aspect ratio | CPU: Qualcomm SDM632 Snapdragon 632 octa core Kyro 250 Gold and Silver running at 1.8GHz | RAM: 2GB | Internal Storage: 32GB | Rear cameras: 13MP f/2.0 + 2MP rear camera with LED flash | Front cameras: 5MP f2.0 camera with LED flash| Dimensions: 159.8 x 76.6 x 8.7 mm | Weight: 185g | IP Rating: 52

If you prefer a phone that is locked into the CDMA network, try the Motorola Moto e smartphone. Pick your plan costing from $20 per month and activate your device.

The Moto e has a 3550mAh battery and dual SIM so you can extend the storage to 256GB using a micro SD card. It runs Android 10. The phone has a large 6.2-inch screen, with fairly large bezels at the top and bottom giving a screen-to-body ratio of 85%. You can run a moderate number of apps at the same time on this Android 10 phone, but with 2GB RAM expect some slowdown if you try to run too many apps.


  • Large 6.2-inch screen
  • 3,550mAh battery


  • Locked to CDMA network

Samsung Galaxy A01

Specs: Display: 5.7 inches 720 x 1080 pixels, 19:9 aspect ratio, IPS LCD, Infinity-V display | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 octa core A53 cortex running at 1.95GHz | RAM: 2GB | Internal Storage: 16 or 32GB | Rear cameras: 13 MP f/2.2 wide angle + 2 MP f2.4 dual camera, LED flash | Front cameras: 5 MP, f/2.2 | Dimensions: 146.3 x 70.86 x 8.34mm | Weight: 149g | IP Rating: None

The Samsung Galaxy A01 phone runs Android 10 and OEM installed One UI. Its 3000mAh battery is adequate for a day’s use, and its 2GB of RAM means that you can run several apps at the same time without any appreciable slowdown. You can extend its internal storage by up to 128GB using the micro SD slot next to the SIM.

The A01 has a reasonable 12MP camera and a 5MP front camera and uses AI facial recognition to log onto the phone. Its 5.7-inch screen has a reasonable resolution and a small bezel size thanks to its V display notch, which gives a 78.8% screen-to-body ratio. This phone will work with most GSM carriers, but it will not work on any CDMA carrier such as Sprint Nextel, nTelos, Verizon, or Virgin Mobile.


  • Extendable storage up to 128GB
  • 2GB RAM


  • Will not work on CDMA carrier

AGM M6 rugged phone

Specs: Display: 2.4 inches QVGA (2,208 x 1,768-pixel resolution) Dynamic 120Hz AMOLED | CPU: Unisoc T107 RTOS | RAM: 48MB RAM| Internal Storage: 128MB ROM | Rear cameras: 0.3MP rear camera | Front cameras: None |Dimensions: 142 x 61.9 x 19.8mm (24mm to top of rear speaker) | Weight: 195g | IP Rating: 68 and 69K

If you need a low-cost, simple rugged phone, the AGM M6 will fit the bill. It has a 2,500mAh removable battery and is dustproof, waterproof, and can survive being immersed in water up to 2m depth. You can add extra storage up to 128GB by adding a micro SD card into the dual SIM slot.

The retro-looking M6 has a very loud ring tone through its 3.5W speaker – making it easy for the hard of hearing to hear when the phone is ringing. Its small 2.4-inch screen is touch-enabled so you do not need to navigate using the large keys.

If your Amazon budget stretches a little above $100, then you can try the AGM M7 that I reviewed in May 2021. However, the M7 is currently on offer for $99 on AGM’s own site.


  • Loud sound
  • Rugged and waterproof up to 2m depth.
  • Extendable storage to 128GB


  • Small 2.4 inch screen

Ulefone Armor X6

Specs: Display: 5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels, 68.9 cm2 IPS LCD | CPU: Mediatek MT6580 quad-core cortex A7 running at up to 1.3 GHz | RAM: 2GB| Internal Storage: 16GB | Rear cameras: 8 MP, f/2.2, wide angle lens with autofocus, and dual LED flash | Front cameras: 5MP f/2.2 |Dimensions: 150 x 78.9 x 14.4 mm | Weight: 223.8 g | IP Rating: 68/69K

The Ulefone Armor X6 is a largish rugged phone — with a decent 5-inch screen and a reasonable 4,000mAh battery. Running Android 9.0 Pie, this phone has a dual SIM for your micro SD card so you can extend the storage up to 128GB. This phone works with GSM carriers. It will not work on any CDMA carrier such as Sprint Nextel, nTelos, Verizon, or Virgin Mobile. It is water -esistant up to 1.5m immersion for up to 30 minutes and dust and drop resistant. It also has face recognition for unlocking the phone.

Gloves mode means you can operate the phone’s touch screen in winter without freezing your fingers, and the customisable button means you can use PTT (push to talk) to use the phone as a walkie-talkie.


  • Custom button with PTT
  • Extendable storage up to 128GB
  • Water-resistant to 1.5m for 30 minutes


  • Will not work on CDMA carriers

Oukitel C16

Specs: Display: 5.71 inches (720 x 1520-pixel resolution) capacitive screen 19:9 display aspect | CPU: MediaTek MT6580P quad core ARM cortex A7 running at up to 1.3GHz | RAM: 2GB| Internal Storage: 16GB | Rear cameras: 5MP autofocus and 2MP with dual LED flash | Front cameras: 2MP | Dimensions: 146.4 x 70.3 x 9.5 mm | Weight: 150g | IP Rating: None

The Oukitel C16 is a nice-looking slim phone. It works with GSM carriers, but it will not work on any CDMA carrier such as Sprint Nextel, nTelos, Verizon, or Virgin Mobile. Running Android 9.0 Pie the 5.71-inch screen on the Oukitel C16 has a minimal bezel and a screen-to-body ratio of 79.33%. Its dual SIM slot can use a micro SD card to expand its storage up to 128GB. It has a 2,600mAh removable battery. 

The phone has both face and fingerprint unlocking capability. Its camera has a few image manipulation features too, to make sure that you capture the best quality selfie.


  • Large 5.71-inch screen
  • Extendable storage up to 128GB


  • Will not work on CDMA carriers

If you are not too bothered about getting the latest and greatest phone, then you can snap up a bargain by buying a slightly older model when the newer model comes out. You need to decide which type of phone you want. Do you want a slimline phone, or do you prefer a rugged device? Consider the form factor too. Is the phone a little wide for your hands? Is it too heavy to hold for an extended period of time, and is it comfortable to use?

phones under150

1. Motorola Moto G9 Play (Highly recommended)

Display: 6.5 inches; 720 x 1600 pixels, 20:9 ratio (269 PPI); IPS LCD
OS: Android 10
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: Triple-camera: 48 MP, f/1.7, (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro); 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
CPU: Qualcomm SM6115 Snapdragon 662 (11 nm); Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver)
Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable

Price: USD 149.99

Motorola Moto G9 Play is one of my favorites on the list. The specs and price point of this smartphone feels like getting more than what you paid for. At less than $150, it has a Qualcomm mid-range processor.

Imagine the size of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, that’s almost the same size as the display of this smartphone. The battery capacity is big enough to last very long. When trying to compare the battery capacity of phones, you should also check the display size.

On Amazon, you can read up to 5,600 reviews of this phone to confirm if it will really work well to meet your needs. The box contains all the usual user manuals along with the 20W-rated wall charger, USB-A to USB-C cable for charging and data transfer, and a transparent, silicone case.

There is no headphone and protective case but the price justifies that.

The network technology are 3G – HDSPA 850,900,1700(aws),1900,2100 mhz and 4g – lte b1 , b2 , b3 , b4 , b5 , b7 , b8 , b19 , b28 , b6.

2. BLU Vivo XII (Cheaper but Awesome)

Display: 6.3 inches HD
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
Storage: 128 GB
Camera: Triple Camera 48MP + 2MP Depth Sensor + 8MP Wide Angle 120° Camera with flash, and 16MP Selfie camera
Chipset: Mediatek Helio P60 Octa-Core 2.0GHz processor | 64 bit with AI technology
Battery: Removable 4,000 mAh

Price: USD 129.99

BLU (Bold Like Us) is also one of my favorite brands. The brand is American and they have really really cheap smartphones that have specs that can be found in more expensive brands.

The Blu Vivo XII is one of their most recently released smartphones. Despite the very low price, it has a very decent mid-range processor and a larger RAM and internal storage compared to the other phones on the list. You can also insert a microSD card up to 128 GB to expand the storage.

The box comes with the phone unit, a power adapter, micro USB cable, earphones, an expensive-looking plastic case, a plastic screen protector, a glass screen protector. That’s a lot of accessories compared to the other phones on the list.=

You will also like the smooth back design which is amazing because of the nicer looks. The color makes it even more attractive.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G LTE (1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/28)
  • 3G: (850/900/1700/1900/2100)
  • US compatibility with GSM Networks including, T-Mobile, Metro PCS, and others. (Not compatible with new AT&T or Cricket activations or with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint, and Boost Mobile)

3. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 (One of the Best – Check out the Camera)

Display: 6.53 inches; 1080 x 2340 pixels (395 PPI); IPS LCD
OS: Android 10, MIUI 12
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: Quad-camera: 48 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro), AF, 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
CPU: MediaTek Helio G85 (12nm); Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
Battery:  Li-Po 5020 mAh, non-removable

Price: USD 149.99

Xiaomi is a popular Chinese brand for releasing phones that have better specs at a lower price. An example of this is the Pocophone F1 smartphone that I got in 2018 which packs the same processing power (CPU and RAM) but costs almost four times less than the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 that was released in the same year.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, on the other hand, has a mid-range CPU. The display sharpness (395 PPI) is very close to the display sharpness of $800+ smartphones.

For less than $150, you can get a 64GB internal storage. This is twice the storage size of most of the phones on this list. It also has a 3GB RAM.

Another amazing feature of this smartphone is the Quad-camera.

It has a wide-angle lens, primary lens, depth lens, and macro lens.

The primary lens is 48MP with an aperture size of f/1.8. That’s a very high resolution and large aperture size compared to the camera of the other phones on the list. The large aperture size allows more light to come in when you take a picture so that the photo quality is better even during nighttime.

The wide-angle lens allows you to capture wider images which is perfect for capturing photos of sceneries while traveling. The depth lens or sensor gives a shallow depth of field effect so that your captured images will not be just plain 2D photos. The macro lens will let you capture photos of small objects with great detail.

The battery capacity is also big. It can run up to 14 hours of video playback. It also supports 18W fast charging using a Type-C USB port.

The package comes with the unit, Power adapter (10W), USB Type-C cable, Soft Case, User Guide, and Warranty Card.

Although this phone is unlocked, you must know the list of network bands supported by this phone. The following is the list of network bands:

  • HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
  • LTE B1 (2100) B2 (1900 PCS) B3 (1800 +) B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1) B5 (850) B7 (2600) B8 (900) B20 (800 DD) B28 (700 APT) B38 (TD 2600) B40 (TD 2300)

You must check with your preferred carrier first if they support these bands before getting this phone.

4. OUKITEL WP5 Rugged

(IP68 Waterproof, Dustproof, and Drop-proof)

Display: 5.5 inches HD
OS: Android 10
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 13MP+2MP+2MP Triple Rear Cameras & Dual SIM Cards OUKITEL WP5 smartphone is equipped with a 13MP + 2 MP + 2MP rear lens
CPU: Mediatek Helio A22 MT6761 processor
Battery: 8,000 mA

Price: USD 149.99

Oukitel is a smartphone brand that is manufacturing phones since 2007. I included the Oukitel WP5 on the “under $150” top list because it has features that the other phones on the list are not offering.

The unique feature of this phone is that it is waterproof IP68 certified, dustproof (IEC 60529), drop-proof and shockproof.

You can use it underwater down to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. It is also certified and can handle up to 1.2-meter drops. If you are into outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, surfing, or simply as clumsy as me, this phone is a good fit. It comes with a huge battery capacity so it will definitely last long while you are outdoors.

OUKITEL WP5 has a mid-range CPU and has 3G and LTE network technology.

Despite the rugged feature, it is a fast phone that can handle complex tasks smoothly.

The battery of the WP5 rugged cell phone is 8000mAh. This smartphone can even act as a power bank! It can charge most smartphones over 3 times, and it can also charge tablets. Suitable for business trips or other outdoor activities.

OUKITEL WP5 is a global phone wide-use covering all major carriers in Asia, Europe, and America. It can work with GSM carriers such as T-mobile, Metro PCS, etc (does NOT support Sprint and Verizon).

The front camera can accurately identify the facial features when unlocking your phone. In addition, fingerprint recognition is also a quick way to unlock the phone. Featured with 4 LED Flashes and many outdoor tools, such as Compass, Noise Test, Magnifier, Hang Painting, Plumb, extremely convenient for travel, outdoor works, and sports.

5. Xiaomi Redmi 9 (One of the Best, should be Cheaper)

Display: 6.53 inches; 1080 x 2340 pixels (395 PPI); IPS LCD
OS: Android 10, MIUI 11
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: Quad-Camera: 13 MP, f/2.2, 28mm (wide), 1/3.1″, 1.12µm, PDAF; 8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; 5 MP, f/2.4, (macro); 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
CPU: Mediatek Helio G80 (12 nm); Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
Battery:  Li-Po 5020 mAh, non-removable

Price: USD 149.99

Check out the lowest price:

At less than $150, the Xiaomi Redmi 9 has a mid-range range processor. That’s very fast enough and the fastest you can get in this price range unless you want to spend more money on high-end phones. The next faster CPU to are usually found in over $800 phones.

It has a quad-camera and a huge battery capacity.

What you will also like about this phone is that you can read over 1,000 comments on Amazon to verify that this phone really performs well and that it’s above other phones in terms of specs in the “under $150” budget range.

If you have two SIM cards as I do, you can utilize the Dual SIM slots of this phone. You can also expand the storage using a MicroSD up to 512 GB. The Micro SD has a dedicated slot so that means you have 2 slots for SIM cards and the third slot for MicroSD. Please take note of the network bands of this phone before purchasing it.

Inside the box, you can find the unit, one micro USB cable, one charger, one transparent back cover, and a user manual. The transparent back cover is glossy and gives a nice look to the phone. It definitely looks very nice with the back cover on. You will also have a good grip if you use it because the phone’s back is made of hard plastic and too smooth like most phones. There is no headphone that comes with the box which I think is okay given the affordable price.

The following is the list of network bands supported by this phone. You have to check with your preferred carrier if they support it before getting this one.

  • 4G LTE Unlocked GSM Carrier Desbloqueados GSM (Phone Does NOT Work on Verizon Sprint Net10 tracfone Boost Mobile or Any CDMA Carrier)
  • Global Version: LTE-FDD: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28

6. CUBOT X19 (Unpopular but Good)

Display: 5.93 inches; 2160 x 1080 (408 PPI)
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
Storage: 64 GB
Camera: 16 MP + 2.0 MP Dual Camera
CPU: MediaTek Helio P23 MT6763T; Octa-core 2.5 GHz Cortex-A53
Battery: 4000 mAh

Price: USD 119.99

Check out the lowest price:

The CUBOT brand is not something you hear every day. The brand is from China where the phones are manufactured. They have released a lot of phone models since 2013.

Being an unpopular brand, their selling point is the amazing specs.

The CUBOT X19 has a mid-range CPU and one of the highest RAM and internal storage in the list. The camera is dual-lens and the battery capacity is also big.

The pixel density is very high that it can compete with high-end phones in terms of display sharpness. This smartphone which is only under $150 is very highly rated on Amazon and you can read a lot of positive comments about it.

The box comes with the phone unit, a USB Type C cable, a power adapter, and a transparent back case.

You have two options for phone colors. One is black and the other one is Gradient. The Gradient looks great by the way. It has two SIM slots and you can use the SIM 2 slot for the microSD.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G FDD B2/4/5/7/12/17/28A+B
  • 3G (850/1700/1900)
  • US compatibility Nationwide on all GSM Networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro PCS, and others. Not compatible with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint and Boost Mobile.

7. BLU G50 2021 (Most Budget-Friendly)

Display: 5.5 inches; 720 x 1440 pixels (293 PPI); IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
OS: Android 9.0 Pie
Storage: 32 GB
Camera: 13 MP
CPU: Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A55
Battery: Removable Li-Po 4000 mAh

Price: USD 69.99

Check out the lowest price:

This is another BLU phone that was only recently released. If you are trying to save a lot of bucks and you are a modest user, this is the BEST choice on the list.

The price is very very cheap, but it can very well compete with more expensive phones because that is what the BLU brand offers. With around 80 ratings on Amazon, you can check that this phone very worth the price.

It has a low-range CPU with Cortex-A55. ARM’s Cortex-A55 is the successor to the popular Cortex-A53 and is said to be 20 percent faster.

You can remove the battery and easily buy another one on Amazon.

The package comes with the phone unit with a screen protector already installed, a micro USB cable, a power adapter, a 4,000 mAh battery, a clear silicone back case, and a glass screen protector. There are no headphones as expected considering the very very low price.

The following are the network bands of this phone:

  • 4G LTE (1/2/3/4/5/7/12/17/28)
  • 3G: (850/900/1700/1900/2100)
  • US compatibility with GSM Networks including, T-Mobile, Metro PCS, and others. (Not compatible with new AT&T or Cricket activations or with CDMA Networks like Verizon, Sprint, and Boost Mobile)

If you’re looking for the best unlocked phones under 200, your end goal is clear. Your goal is to get the perfect device that will perform as you expect it to. This way, you’ll be able to get your work done on time and more efficiently. A great unlocked phone under 200 will also be a good investment in the long run. This article has complies the best unlocked phones under 200

best unlocked phones under 200

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.

The phone comes with a lovely textured back available in two colors, with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The Nokia G20 sports an IPX2 rating, making it splash-proof in nature. You also get a quad-camera setup, including a 48MP primary camera that is surprisingly decent. Nokia packed just the right features into this value-rich device, making the G20 our top sub-$200 recommendation.

Moto G Play (2021)

Moto is the king of the sub-$200 category, and the updated Moto G Play (2021) is its most recent affordable phone under the Play banner. Of course, it makes a few spec compromises to reach this price tag, but it’s still a perfectly enjoyable piece of tech.

The display is a 6.5-inch, 720p HD+ LCD, but it does the job. You also benefit from respectable bezels and a small waterdrop notch, making this a pretty good phone for watching videos or playing light games. You’ll find more noticeable downgrades with the 13MP + 2MP dual rear cameras, but they’re serviceable for quick uploads to your favorite social media app.

The Moto G Play (2021) has a fingerprint sensor on the rear in the Moto logo, which is every bit as fast and reliable as you could ask for. There’s also a headphone jack and support for expandable storage, along with an awesome 5,000mAh battery and support for all U.S. carriers. Unlike cheaper phones like the Moto E (2020), this device thankfully has USB-C charging (but no wireless charging).

Perhaps the biggest downside to the Moto G Play (2021) is that Motorola has all but confirmed that it would only see one major platform update — and that is to Android 11! That’s right, this thing ships with an out-of-date version of Android (10). While Motorola’s custom take on Android is just as strong here as it is on the Moto G Fast, offering at least one update would’ve been greatly appreciated.



+Large, beautiful display+5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging+Robust internals+Plenty of onboard storage+Rear-mounted fingerprint reader


-Lacks NFC-No IP rating-No more OS updates

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.

Moto G Stylus (2021)


+Water repellant build+Lots of memory with expandable storage+Stylus is functional and fun+Excellent battery life+Snapdragon 678 is fast


-No fast charging-No more OS updates after Android 11-Comes with Android 10

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.

You get four cameras on the back, including a 48MP primary camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and 2MP macro and depth sensors. That 48MP sensor takes surprisingly detailed and vibrant shots, and while the quality dips with the other sensors, it’s still a lot of fun to have them for expanded shooting possibilities. Battery life is another strong point, with the 4,000mAh battery allowing for up to two days of use for some folks. However, there’s no fast charging support here.

Making all of this even better is the Moto G Stylus (2021)’s software, which is excellent. The user interface is reminiscent of what you’d find on an older Google Pixel, with Motorola making a few thoughtful changes that only elevate the experience. Moto Display continues to be the best Always-On Display on any Android phone, in addition to Moto Actions allowing you to chop the phone to enable the flashlight and twist it to open the camera app.

Whether you are on a really tight budget or just want to save a bit of money, one of these phones should suit.

The Alcatel 1 is the cheapest widely available smartphone we can find, so if you just want to spend as little as possible, that’s the one to go for.

Then onto our list proper, if you’ve got up to £140 to spend then the Samsung Galaxy A12 is a great value choice from a big name, but it’s beaten by the all-round dependable Moto G50. Our top choice in this price range though is the less well known Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro, which punches well above its weight.

If you’re on a tighter budget of £100 or less, then it’s worth considering the Nokia 2.4, which comes with the promise of regular software updates. But we’re more fond of the Moto E7, which has a surprisingly good camera for the money. Our top super-cheap choice though is the Xiaomi Redmi 9AT, which has an impressively large battery alongside generally solid (if basic) specs.

But if on the other hand you can stretch your budget a little beyond £200 then it’s also worth taking a look at the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and the Nokia 7.2.

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