At this point in time, you just don’t need a flagship to get a good everyday Android experience. With initiatives like Android One, Android Go, and Google’s own step into the affordable market, Google has made mid-range and even low-range devices even more usable and enticing than ever. With so many options littering the market nowadays, it’s hard to tell which devices are even worth your time — and money. Let’s dig through and get to know some of the best affordable Android phones you can buy, as of February 2021.
BEST AFFORDABLE ANDROID PHONES – FEBRUARY 2021
New for February:
- Poco X3 NFC
- Poco M3
- Moto G9 Power
Google Pixel 4a
Arguably the best Pixel to date thanks to the “right” compromises
After an extended wait, the Google Pixel 4a has finally arrived with little to no fanfare. The defacto affordable Android has still been the previous generation for anyone looking to get the best of the Pixel series without breaking the bank.
We all know just how good the Pixel 3a and 3a XL were for their respective asking prices when dropping at I/O 2019. Well, this time around you’ve only got one device size and colorway to choose from as there is no XL variant for 2020. However, it’s a much-improved experience thanks to several key hardware improvements.
As for the specifications, the Google Pixel 4a measures in at 5.8-inches and has an FHD+ OLED display at 1080 by 2340 pixels in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. There is a punch hole notch in the upper left, and this has the highest screen-to-body ratio of any Pixel to date.
Inside, you’ll get a Snapdragon 730G processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 3,140mAh battery. It features the same 12.2-megapixel main sensor found on its siblings, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, too. Like last year, audiophiles will be happy at the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the plastic unibody.
The design is only partially based upon the Pixel 4 series, with a square-ish camera notch but a soft-touch plastic back rather than frosted glass. There no room for Face Unlocks though, as the Pixel 4a relies on a rear fingerprint reader — ideal in a post-COVID world where masks are steadily becoming mandatory.
Why it’s probably the best affordable Android phone you can buy today:
It’s tough to quantify what makes an “experience” but the Pixel 4a offers an experience that belies its price-tag. While it comes pre-loaded with Android 10, you’ll be able to update to Android 11 in a matter of weeks when it officially launches.
Just as we saw last year, the Google Pixel 4a solo camera setup is lightyears ahead of the competition at the same price-point. If you value simple point-and-shoot photography, this is arguably the best bang for your buck device out there right now.
Where to buy the Google Pixel 4a:
This time around, Google has actually dipped the start price of the Pixel 3a to $349, making it an absolute no-brainer. The most obvious place to get the Pixel 4a is directly from Google, however, Amazon has one of the best pre-order offers for the Pixel 4a. You can get the Pixel 4a with an official case for just $389 otherwise you can pick it up for $349 shipped.
Best Buy is also stocking the Google Pixel 4a unlocked, while Google Fi has the Pixel 4a from $14.54 per month. Other carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T have yet to confirm if the device will be made available on plans.
Poco X3 NFC
Everything you need and more for under $250
The Poco X3 NFC might not officially be available in the United States, but wow, this an impressive device for it’s proposed $250 price point. While the Pixel 4a is a sensible smartphone for around $100 more, the Poco X3 NFC pushes Google close with some notable extras and even some improvements.
Spec-for-spec the Poco X3 NFC keeps pace with the Pixel 4a but manages to edge it thanks to a slightly upgraded Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G chipset, 6GB of RAM, a 5,160mAh battery with 33W fast charging, and FHD+ 120Hz LCD display. There’s a quad-camera setup relies on a 64-megapixel main sensor, with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 2-megapixel depth sensor and 2-megapixel macro camera.
It still ships with Android 10, and MIUI 12 is heavy as a UI skin compared to many other affordable Android phones, but with a little tweaking it can be tamed pretty easily. You have a large display to play with, while the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate elevates certain games and general performance above similarly specced devices.
For wired audio enthuisiasts you can count on a headphone jack, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, while there is even an IR blaster included. This is the kind of hardware package that many top-tier flagship devices simply can’t compete with — at least on paper.
Why it’s probably one of the best affordable Android phones you can buy:
At under $300 the quality drop-off on smartphones is insane. You’re going to have to compromise in a few areas to get a smartphone that will be considered “solid”. That has changed in recent years and the Poco X3 NFC is testament to that. The haptics are almost as good as a flagship, the build quality is excellent, and the overall experience is far better than the “bargain basement” pricing suggests.
Where to buy Poco X3 NFC:
As we’ve noted the Poco X3 NFC is not that widely available in the US although it is available directly on Amazon US priced in or around the $230 range.
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
5G without the associated price tag
Despite the fact that 5G is still an in-development wireless tech, it hasn’t stopped the superfast data connection method from bumping up smartphone prices across the board. If you want a solid future-proof affordable Android smartphone, then the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G might be an ideal solution.
Brand new for June 2020, the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G, for those who missed previous announcements, is the top-tier of the Galaxy A-series. It offers a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a hole-punch camera cutout, a 32MP selfie camera, 64MP + 12MP ultrawide + 5MP macro + 5MP depth camera array on the rear, 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM, a 4,500 mAh battery, and Android 10, too.
It’s worth noting that the Galaxy A71 5G is the first smartphone to come to the United States with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor packed inside. This CPU has been designed to be an alternative to the company’s flagship Snapdragon 865 chip, but it hasn’t been released in too many phones so far.
Why it’s probably one of the best affordable Android phones you can buy:
You get all of the best portions of the Galaxy S20 series but at a lower price-point. Plus, the A71 has the exact same chip that will come in the Google Pixel 5 later this year, which means that you’ll have comparable overall performance. It’s also available in three distinct colors, which means more design choices than the Galaxy A51.
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy A71 5G:
The Galaxy A71 5G will be available from June 19 from both T-Mobile and Sprint. Later this summer, Samsung says the device will go on sale at Verizon (presumably with a special model) and AT&T, as well as being sold unlocked through retail channels such as Samsung.com. Pricing lands at $599.
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Hints of the Pixel 5 but at a slightly lower price
We’re actually yet to get our hands on the Pixel 4a 5G, but with essentially the same DNA as the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 but with some notable tweaks, it’s going to be hard to ignore. At $499 it’s going to be a tough Android phone to beat thanks to the affordable pricing.
It will likely have the best sub-$600 smartphone camera you can buy at this price. Plus you get all of the benefits of the “Pixel Experience” without the associated price-tag. The Pixel 3a and 4a have proven that Google can lower costs and still pump out a smartphone that provides an exceptional experience — we’d imagine the 4a 5G will be no different.
On top of these benefits, should you want a large Pixel device, this is the largest of the late-2020 lineup at 6.2-inches. It comes with a 60Hz FHD+ OLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G-enabled chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 3,800mAh battery, but is only available in one color option: Just Black.
Why it’s probably the best overall affordable Google Pixel phone you can buy:
Very few Android phones can provide the same cohesive experience and update promptness of the Google Pixel series. The camera quality on offer will undoubtedly be second-to-none within the sub-$500 price bracket too without needing to stack in unnecessary additions such as macro lenses and zoom options.
Google’s approach to their flagship lineup in 2020 means that the Pixel 4a 5G is really a hybrid that will provide the accessibility of the Pixel 4a but with much of what will undoubtedly ensure the Pixel 5 is a fantastic device — plus you get a headphone port.
Where to buy the Pixel 4a 5G:
The Pixel 4a 5G isn’t available right now but it is up for pre-order and will ship on October 29th. At $499, there are some solid pre-order deals with a ton of retailers such as Amazon, B&HPhoto, Best Buy, and Verizon has an exclusive model in white called the Google Pixel 4a 5G UW — to highlight the ultra-wideband 5G network it will be utilizing. It is, however, $100 more.
Still the best not-quite-a-flagship phone you can buy
The OnePlus 7T is arguably not that affordable, but it manages to strike an excellent balance. The important flagship specs to make the phone as fast as you could ever need are matched by sensible compromises to keep the Android device affordable.
In raw specifications, the OnePlus 7T outpaces or at least matches flagship contenders like the Pixel 4 and most late 2019 flagships, packing a Snapdragon 855+, 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. This is arguably better than most 2020 mid-rangers, and is actually the best 4G-only configuration you can still buy.
With a retail price now in or around $500 USD, this is most definitely a premium device but at a price lower than you are used to. The entire package even manages to exceed some handsets that cost twice the entry price of the OnePlus 7T. Expect that price-tag to drop even further as the OnePlus 8T is set to hit the market in the coming days too!
The OnePlus 7T also uses an impressive 6.55-inch, 2400×1080 resolution display with a super smooth 90Hz refresh rate. As we noted in our review the 20:9 aspect ratio really ensures that movies and TV shows look great. While the viewing angles are superb, with HDR10+ certification also being a massive boon.
Having an ultra-clean experience with OxygenOS is yet another benefit — and worth the slightly bumped costs alone. The triple camera setup might not win any awards, but it definitely goes toe-to-toe with almost any smartphone under $500.
Why it’s probably the best overall affordable Android phone you can buy:
Even one year after release, the OnePlus 7T is outright one of the best smartphones on the market because it straddles the high-end and affordable sections without the associated “5G tax” so effortlessly. While it is — in some cases — double the entry price of many other budget devices on this list, it includes some serious hardware that will only increase longevity and ensure everyday performance remains fluid and consistent.
You get superb software support, a gorgeous design, beautiful screen, super-fast charging, and it doesn’t break the bank. OnePlus smartphones are the go-to for many around the globe, and it’s easy to see why with such a fantastic piece of hardware.
Where to buy OnePlus 7T:
Where you can buy the OnePlus 7T and how much it will cost varies from country to country. You can pick up from some carriers in the United States, Amazon, or even from OnePlus 7T direct for just $499.
OTHER EXCELLENT AFFORDABLE ANDROID SMARTPHONES
It would be foolish not to add the recently released OnePlus Nord to any list of excellent affordable Android phones even with some regional restrictions. At £379 in the UK or €399 in EU markets, you get an impressive device for a low price.
The OnePlus Nord feels more like a direct successor to the OnePlus 7T or OnePlus 7T Lite in many ways but is directly below the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro in terms of design and features. You get a reasonable quad-camera setup at the rear, dual-selfie camera, big battery, gorgeous design, and an impressive 90Hz display.
Looking purely at the specifications, it’s a solid smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, 8 or 12GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of internal storage, a 4,115mAh battery with 30W charge speeds, plus that aforementioned camera. All of that for under £400 or €400 is impressive.
For that entry price, you’ll get two full OS upgrades plus a further year of security patches — although OnePlus has been known to support devices for longer in some cases. The biggest draw here is the clean OxygenOS experience, which makes it harder to ignore, even if the camera could be a little better.
US fans will have to import if they want to get the OnePlus Nord though, as it isn’t officially available in North America beyond a “limited beta” in the coming weeks.
Since rising from the ashes as the “new” Nokia, we’ve seen a flurry of high-quality affordable Android phones from the brand that was once known for Windows Phone.
In some ways, the Nokia 5.3 is actually a better purchase than the Nokia 7.2 thanks to a snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and overall similar experience. The Nokia 5.3 has easily overtaken the Nokia 4.2 as probably the best affordable phone made by HMD Global. A quad camera, excellent battery, and overall great experience can be had for just $199.
At $199.99, it’s hard to truly fault the Nokia 5.3 You’ll get at least two full OS upgrades, a decent camera, reasonably good performance, and a build that is impressive at this price point. It’s just a really sensibly priced smartphone that gives you a heck of a lot without too much corner-cutting. For an elderly relative, a backup smartphone, or someone’s ever smartphone, then the Nokia 5.3 is a really exceptional choice.
Samsung Galaxy A51
Like any Samsung Galaxy device, the A51 offers a little bit of the recent top-tier S series devices but at a reduced price. The Galaxy A51 is more than just a taster though, with an experience mimicking the latest high-end Samsung smartphones.
While most affordable Android phones tend to go with cheaper LCD displays, the 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display is typically impressive and includes a punch-hole notch — dropping Samsung’s “Infinity-U” design found on the older A50. That notch houses a 32MP selfie camera, and lower down on that display there’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor hidden underneath.
The Samsung Galaxy A51 also packs in an Exynos 9611 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards up to 512GB. There’s also a 4,000mAh battery, NFC, fast charging, and a headphone jack. Android 10 is also available out of the box with One UI 2.0 on top — which is the best version of the third-party skin to date.
There’s also a quad-camera array on the back of the Galaxy A50. That consists of a primary 48MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens for even wider shots, a 5MP macro lens, and a 5MP sensor used for capturing depth. All that for just under $399? Sign us up.
Google Pixel 3a / Pixel 3a XL
For the last three years, Google’s Pixel phones have been the pinnacle of the Android phone experience. Pixel phones offer consistent, monthly updates, exceptional camera quality, and a pleasantly near-stock Android OS. Thus far, this experience has come at a flagship price (barring purchasing an older, discounted model). While the 3a may have been superseded by the Pixel 4a, it’s still a great purchase for a number of reasons.
If you really do care about the specs, there are some important differences you should be aware of. For example, the Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch, 2220×1080 display, while the Pixel 3a XL, the larger phone, has a 6-inch display with a smaller resolution of 2160×1080. Thankfully, both models still feature OLED panels. Additionally, the Pixel 3a XL has a 3700mAh battery to the smaller Pixel 3a’s 3000mAh one.
Beyond these core differences, the devices are identical, with a Snapdragon 670 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The design basis for the 3a is the Pixel 3’s “glass sandwich” design, which has been replaced with a plastic back. Honestly, that can be seen as both a positive or negative, depending on whether you prefer design or durability.
Audiophiles will also be happy to know that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL still feature a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the chassis. The duo also runs Android 10 and can even have the Android 11 Beta installed, which no other sub-$500 smartphones can even match.
Think of the Poco M3 as the “Poco X3 NFC Lite”. Much of what makes that device such a good package is retained, but with some obvious omissions to help really cut the price in half. The Poco M3 isn’t in the same league as, say, the Poco F2 Pro, but it fills a nice little slot toward the bottom portion of the Xiaomi sub-brand lineup. An entry-level device that does see a few features disappear, but not so many that you lose out in any major way.
Packing in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 and 4GB of RAM, there is no denying that the Poco M3 isn’t going to “fly” in the daily performance stakes. However, it can do just about everything you may ask of it without much of a complaint. Frankly, the battery life is nothing short of extraordinary on the Poco M3. It’s not rocket science to decipher that a massive 6,000mAh battery is going to withstand even the most brutal of daily usage patterns.
It’s hard to fathom phones that cost just $150 can come with a triple-camera setup nowadays. Alas, there are not too many situations you’ll be fully covered with the Poco M3’s triple-camera array though. It sports a 48-megapixel main sensor, which has been very good in our testing. However, the 2-megapixel macro sensor and 2-megapixel depth sensors really don’t add a great deal to the package on offer.
Unfortunately, the Poco M3 is one of those annoying affordable Android devices that simply isn’t widely available across the globe. It is limited to specific regions but can be purchased from Amazon priced at around $190 in three colors: blue, yellow, and black.
Motorola Moto G9 Plus
It wouldn’t be a roundup of some of the best affordable Android devices without a few entries from Motorola. The Moto G9 Plus comes with a 6.8-inch FHD+ display in a 2,400 by 1,080-pixel resolution, which does include an upper-left punch hole. Inside, it relies on the same chipset as the Google Pixel 4a, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G. Plus, it also includes 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There is also a large 5,000mAh battery powering this direct Pixel 4a rival, with support for 30W fast charging also included.
At the rear of the Moto G9 Plus, you’ll find a quad-camera setup that relies on a 64-megapixel main sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel macro sensor, and 2-megapixel depth sensor for bokeh effects. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers setup at this stage of 2020 but it should be solid nonetheless. The selfie camera comes rated at 16-megapixels.
As a sequel to the incredibly popular Moto G8, the G9 Plus is an ideal candidate for your hard-earned cash. You can grab the Moto G9 Plus in Rose Gold and Indigo Blue, with pricing around the $300 in the US it’s not a bad deal for the package on offer.
Realme 7 Pro
Likely not a name that many outside of Asia will have heard too much of, Realme has steadily started to branch out into Europe and the Realme 7 Pro is the latest such device to reach European shores. The firm is part of BBK family, which also includes Oppo, OnePlus, and Vivo. Sharing some of the DNA of such well-known brands is definitely a good thing.
The Realme 7 Pro comes with a 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display with an upper-left punch-hole notch, Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 8GB of RAM, 4,500mAh battery with 65W charging, and 128GB of microSD expandable storage.
There’s even an in-display fingerprint scanner for biometric unlocks. There is also plenty of photographic options out-of-the-box with a quad-camera setup that consists of a 64-megapixel main sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel macro sensor, and 2-megapixel black and white portrait sensor.
You can pick up the Realme 7 Pro for under £300 in the UK, which is a really good deal considering the package on offer. It’s unlikely to come to the US but would play nicely with GSMA networks if imported — which is still something we don’t suggest doing.
Not that well known outside of the TV business in the United States, TCL announced a move into the Android smartphone market back at CES 2020 with the TCL 10 series. The best value of these is undoubtedly the TCL 10L. It’s an affordable Android phone with an overall impressive spec sheet for just $239.
This device offers a 6.53-inch LCD display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a quad-camera setup with a primary 48MP shooter, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth sensor. There’s also a rear-facing capacitive fingerprint sensor, a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, and a 4,000mAh battery, too.
It’s impressive that you get all of that for under $400, let alone $250. With an all-screen design and durable plastic build, it’s likely going to be a great option for those on a tight budget but wanting a little bit of everything on their smartphone. Availability isn’t wide at the moment, but the TCL 10L is expected to head to more retailers soon.
LG Stylo 6
Part of the popular LG Stylo line, the Stylo 6 gives you a heck of a lot for just $179. LG smartphones often fly well under the radar for a number of reasons. For one, LG doesn’t tend to publicize their mid-range and affordable Android devices all too well.
A popular choice for those shopping for a new smartphone on a budget, there is a lot to love about the LG Stylo 6. It comes with a MediaTek Helio P35 2.3GHz octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage (with microSD support). The device also includes a 6.8-inch FHD+ display, 4,000 mAh battery with USB-C and fast charging, Android 10 out-of-the-box, and a 13MP selfie camera.
There’s also a triple-camera array on the back with a 13MP primary backed by 5MP ultrawide and depth cameras. A headphone jack and a “spring-loaded stylus pen” also help round off the entire package. The LG Stylo 6 usually retails for $219, but Boost Mobile has a launch promotion ongoing that brings the price down to $179.
Motorola Moto One Action
Not many Android phones have adopted the 21:9 aspect ratio, but the Motorola Moto One Action joins the recent Sony Xperia devices in bringing the cinematic aspect ratio to mobile. It’s an impressive affordable Android phone for under $300.
The new Motorola One Action packs a triple-camera array and mid-range specs. Under the hood, there’s a Samsung Exynos 9609 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of UFS storage, a 3,500 mAh battery, and a headphone jack too.
It’s also an Android One device with Pie, Google’s Digital Wellbeing tools, and the promise of timely updates and security patches. Some of Motorola’s software tricks are also included with Moto Display, Moto Actions, and the company’s One Button Nav gestures.
Moto G9 Power
With “Power” in its name the Moto G9 Power has to live up to that title. Given that it has a massive 6,000mAh battery, we’d imagine it should have the lifespan to withstand even the toughest of days.
Of course, battery size isn’t everything as the Moto G9 Power comes with some other internals too. It relies on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and that aforementioned massive 6,000mAh internal cell. It ships with Android 10 as standard but an Android 11 update is expected.
The 6.8-inch HD+ IPS LCD display includes an upper-left punch-hole notch, while the lower resolution 720 x 1,640-pixel panel combined with the modest internals should aid all-day longevity. Motorola touts up to 60 hours of continuous usage on a single full charge, but for light users, it may go even longer between charges.
At the rear, there is a stove-top looking triple camera setup that consists of a 64-megapixel main sensor, 2-megapixel macro lens, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. The punch-hole is home to a 16-megapixel selfie camera. By no means is this the most impressive camera collection, but it’s solid on such an affordable device.
You can pick up the Moto G9 Power priced at just $190, which is a pretty good deal given the package on offer.
Moto E / G Fast
Announced at the start of June, the Moto E and G Fast are both sub-$200 smartphones that might be worth a look if you want a solid backup smartphone. Starting with the Moto G Fast, the 6.4-inch smartphones will come with an HD+ LCD display complete with a punch-hole notch. As you’d expect, the internals are modest at best with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 4,000mAh battery.
There is also a capacitive fingerprint reader alongside a triple camera setup that consists of a 16-megapixel main sensor, 2-megapixel macro lens, and 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle. For those wondering about the selfie camera on the Moto G Fast, it is in the 8-megapixel flavor.
As for the Moto E, it will come with even more modest specifications. The 6.2-inch HD display includes a dewdrop notch. You’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 and 2GB of RAM under the hood. 32GB of internal storage is included. It too comes with a rear fingerprint scanner but has a dual-camera setup that consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and 2-megapixel depth sensor. Adding to that duo is a 5-megapixel selfie camera.
Both the Moto E and Moto G Fast come with Android 10 right out of the box. However, we’re not quite sure how the latest operating system will run on such low-end hardware. We can’t imagine it will be the “finest” experience all things considered.
Both devices are already available for pre-order direct from Motorola, Amazon, B&H, and other retailers with an expected June 12 release. At present, you will only be able to pick up the Moto G Fast and Moto E in unlocked form, but carriers are set to offer them in the future. As for pricing, the Moto G Fast will set you back $199.99, while the Moto E will cost just $149.99. You’ll be able to pick up both devices in a range of colors.
EXCELLENT ANDROID ONE SMARTPHONES
If you’re looking for the stock Android experience, look no further than Android One. Android One is Google’s push for consistency, against the well-meaning but sometimes power-hungry OEM themes placed on top of Android. Devices running Android One have an almost Pixel-like stock Android experience.
Also, by being able to skip porting (or updating) their custom theme to the latest version of Android, manufacturers are normally able to bring the latest versions of Android and security updates to Android One devices in a timely manner. As far as affordable Android phones go, it’s hard not to recommend one running Android One.
Nokia has truly cornered the market for great affordable Android One phones. The best model in their lineup to get the best of affordability and great features is the Nokia 4.2. It features a Snapdragon 439 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space. The device comes in black and pink, with the pink being reminiscent of (but much bolder than) the Google Pixel 3’s “Not Pink.”Despite these reduced specs, compared to the 7.2 and 8.3, the Nokia 4.2 is still easy to recommend, thanks to “premium” features like a Google Assistant button and face unlock. Combined with Android One’s consistent updates and a retail price of $189, the Nokia 4.2 strikes the perfect balance for its price range.
The Nokia 4.2 will be superseded by the Nokia 5.2 in the coming months but still is a fantastic affordable Android phone. As you may expect, though, the Nokia 4.2 only works on GSM networks in the US for just $110.
Android Go specializes in making Android work for the tightest of budgets of all kinds — financial, mobile data, storage, etc. Android Go includes slimmed-down versions of the Google apps you know and love, that also slim down on data usage where possible. Their availability in the United States is extremely limited, however, which makes selection difficult.
Probably one of the most surprisingly impressive “cheap” smartphones that we’ve tested in a long time. The Nokia 2.2 also happens to be one of the most up-to-date affordable Android phones on the market right now. It was recently updated to Android 10, which means you’ll get all the benefits of the latest OS without having to spend a great deal.
It does have very modest specs but does come with a removable battery, dual SIM support, a headphone jack, and plastic design. Overall though, it’s far ahead of the competition at under $100.
EXCELLENT ANDROID GO SMARTPHONES
If you’re not interested in the Nokia 2.2, then maybe the C2 is more your style. The device isn’t available quite yet but will come with a 5.7-inch display, a quad-core UniSoc chipset, just 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (that can be expanded up to 64GB with a microSD card), and a headphone port.
Like most ultra-budget smartphones, the Nokia C2 relies on the outdated micro USB for charging, but the relatively small 2,800mAh battery is user-removable. Another notable hardware inclusion is that of a dedicated Google Assistant button, which allows you to quickly enter voice search and give the Assistant commands.
It will likely go on sale in the coming months but we’d expect very modest pricing.
THE BEST AFFORDABLE ‘SUSTAINABLE’ ANDROIDS
The original “sustainable” phone, the Fairphone 3+ is a minor bump over its predecessor the Fairphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of microSD expandable storage, a 3,040mAh removable battery, fingerprint reader, and 3.5 headphone port.
It’s a modest phone to say the least, but does include a 48-megapixel rear camera and 16-megapixel front-facing selfie camera too. The 5.65-inch FHD+ isn’t the highest-fidelity but this is not meant to be a “bleeding edge” smartphone. Fairphone is committed to supporting their devices longer though, with the Fairphone 3+ coming with Android 10 pre-installed and at least
As the most well-known smartphone that “cares for people and planet” the Fairphone 3+ is fully repairable and made from 40% recycled plastic. You can swap out the battery, camera module, display, and more. The Fairphone 3 and 3+ have also been awarded a 10/10 rating by iFixit, which is not an honor bestowed on many tech products period.
At the moment, the Fairphone 3+ is only “officially” available in Europe, but it can be ordered in the US but your mileage may vary due to network infrastructure and GSMA band incompatibility.
Like the Fairphone 3+, the Teracube 2E is marketed as a sustainable, affordable Android phone that leverages modest hardware but should — in theory — offer a lower carbon footprint.
The Redmond-based firm behind the Teracube 2E claims that the upcoming device includes a fully biodegradable protective case, includes 25% recycled materials, and has an impressively low $99 introductory price. We say “introductory,” as this is yet another IndieGogo campaign that includes stretch goals.
It packs in the modest MediaTek A25 chipset, includes 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and has a 4,000mAh user-replaceable battery. The 6.1-inch HD+ IPS LCD display has a 720-by-1,560-pixel resolution and includes a dewdrop notch, with some sizeable bezels thrown in for good measure.
Other hardware includes a 3.5mm-headphone port, plus a rear-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner for biometric unlocks. The firm also claims that the Teracube 2E can be fully torn down with a screwdriver. No glue has been used to help reduce the environmental impact of the device.
It does or at least will ship with Android 10, but the Teracube 2E is set to be eligible for 3 — yes, three — years of OS updates and also includes a four-year warranty as part of the “White Glove” VIP service. If you want your own 2E, then you can register for this “early-bird” $99 pricing over on the official IndieGogo launch page. Once this allocation is sold, pricing will jump to $199 with shipping set to begin in early December 2020.
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