The best budget Android phones for 2022
The best budget Android phones for 2022

It wasn't long ago that buying a budget smartphone meant you were probably in for a bad time: crummy performance, paltry update support, and maybe even Micro-USB charging (the horror!). These days, not so much. Some of the best budget Android phones start under 200 bucks, and they're not that different from the best Android flagship phones. Here, we've assembled a list of six of our favorite low-cost options.

Google's new Pixel 6a ticks a lot of boxes at $450. With the same Tensor chipset that powers the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro and six gigs of RAM, it's certainly the fastest phone on this list. While it doesn't share the Pixel 6's big 50-megapixel primary camera sensor — the 6a is using the same sensor that was in the Pixel 5 and 5a — it still takes outstanding photos. Google's got a lot of experience with this camera hardware, and it shows. It's got Google's custom flavor of Android, too, and it's set to get five years of security updates.

It's not all sunny; if you live in an area that doesn't get strong wireless signal, the 6a's weaker-than-average reception should give you pause. There's also no wireless charging, and in a first for Pixel a phones, no headphone jack. Unlike some mid-range options, the 6a sticks with a 60Hz OLED, and the fingerprint sensor under that screen isn't especially quick. But if you value speed, camera performance, and build quality, there's really a lot to like here.

Despite being the newest addition to the Pixel lineup, it's been priced as low as $370 in its first month alone. With early sales already piling up, expect to see great discounts on this phone around the holidays.

  • CPU: Google Tensor
  • Display: 6.1” 2400x1080 (20:9) 60Hz OLED
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Battery: 4,400mAh
  • Ports: 1x USB Type-C
  • Operating System: Android, five years of security updates
  • Front camera: 8MP f/2.0 IMX355 84°FOV
  • Rear cameras: 12MP f/1.73 IMX 363 w/OIS 77° FoV; Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2 IMX386 114° FoV
  • Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
  • Others: eSIM, M3/T4 Hearing Aid Compatibility
  • Dimensions: 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9mm, 178g
  • Colors: Sage (green), Chalk (white), Charcoal (black)
  • Charging: 18W USB PD
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Price: Starting at $450
  • Strong performance
  • Great cameras
  • Solid construction
  • Pixel software
  • Wireless signal weaker than some others
  • No headphone jack
  • No wireless charging
  • Sluggish fingerprint sensor
Buy This Product

The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is, in many ways, a pitch-perfect sequel to the Galaxy A52 5G, which we liked quite a bit. It uses an Exynos processor rather than the mid-range Snapdragon 750G from last year's phone, and it, unfortunately, loses the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack — but everything else is the same. That includes the 120Hz OLED display with an under-display fingerprint sensor and a decent camera array featuring a 64-megapixel primary camera and 12-megapixel ultrawide (plus a couple of crappy depth and macro cameras).

If all of that sounds a little boring for our Premium Pick, you're not off base; the A53 is practically the same phone as last year's A52 5G, which it's replacing on this list. The interesting part is that while the A52 5G cost $500, the A53 is 50 bucks cheaper at $450. It's also slated to get four years of OS updates and five years of security patches, which means it'll stay up to date and secure into 2027. That's positively wild for a mid-range Android phone, and significantly better than Google's update commitment for the similarly priced Pixel 5a.

  • CPU: Exynos 1280
  • Display: 6.5" 1080p OLED, 120Hz
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB, expandable by MicroSD (up to 1TB)
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Operating System: Android 12 with One UI 4.1
  • Front camera: 32MP f/2.2
  • Rear cameras: 64MP f/1.8 primary, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 5MP f/2.4 macro, 5MP 5/2.4 depth
  • Dimensions: 6.28 x 2.94 x 0.32"
  • Display type: 6.5" 1080p OLED, 120Hz
  • Weight: 6.67 oz
  • Charging: Up to 25W wired
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Price: $450
  • 120Hz OLED display
  • Five years of security patches
  • $50 cheaper than the A52 5G
  • Loses the A52 5G's headphone jack
  • No fun colors in the US
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Samsung's gotten its budget phones down to a science; as such, the Galaxy A03s isn't a whole lot different from the Galaxy A02s that came before it. It's still got a 720p LCD display at 60Hz, it's still got the same set of not-very-good cameras, and it's still running Android 11. But there are a few notable differences.

Chiefly, while the Galaxy A02s had no fingerprint sensor, the A03s has one built into its power button — which means getting into the phone is less of a hassle. It's also got three gigabytes of RAM. That's still not much, but it's a big bump from the two gigs in the A02s. Samsung also made the switch from a low-end Snapdragon chipset to a low-end MediaTek one. That probably won't matter much for performance, though, and Samsung's still promising four years of quarterly security updates from the phone's US launch — which means it should stay secure into 2026.

If you already have an A02s, the A03s probably isn't worth upgrading to. It goes for $160, which is $30 more than the A02s cost — and the most significant difference is the addition of a fingerprint sensor. But if you're on an older phone, that one difference will likely be worth buying the A03s over its predecessor.

  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P35
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB, expandable by MicroSD (up to 1TB)
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh
  • Operating System: Android 11 with One UI 3.1
  • Rear cameras: 13MP f/2.2 primary; 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth
  • Connectivity: LTE only, no 5G
  • Dimensions: 164.2 x 75.9 x 9.1mm
  • Colors: Black
  • Display type: 6.5" 720 LCD, 60Hz
  • Weight: 196g
  • Charging: 7.75W wired
  • IP Rating: n/a
  • Price: $160
  • Cheap
  • Security updates into 2026
  • It has a fingerprint sensor!
  • Crummy cameras unchanged from A02s
  • 3GB RAM is an upgrade from the A02s, but it's still skimpy
  • No 5G
Buy This Product

OnePlus might have lost some goodwill among Android die-hards in recent years, but the company still makes a mean budget phone. The Nord N20 5G costs all of $299, but it still has decent performance thanks to its Snapdragon 695 chipset and six gigs of RAM. Battery life is out of this world: in our review, Ryne managed to get 10 hours of screen time over three days between charges. It's got an IP52 rating, which means it'll survive some rain, and it charges at up to 33 watts with the included charger. It also has a striking design for a budget device.

It's got typical cheap phone problems: its cameras are mediocre, and with an all-plastic body, build quality isn't stellar. But it's priced right, and it'll get Android 12 eventually — plus three years of bi-monthly security patches. That's more than a lot of phones in this price range offer. Officially, the phone is only fully compatible with T-Mobile — it's not certified for 5G on AT&T or any service at all on Verizon. But if you're on T-Mobile (or AT&T, if you don't care about 5G), the N20 is a fantastic option.

  • CPU: Snapdragon 695
  • Display: 6.43" 1080x2400 (20:9) OLED 60Hz
  • RAM: 6GB RAM
  • Storage: 128GB (UFS 2.2), microSD expandable
  • Battery: 4500mAh
  • Ports: 1x USB Type-C, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Operating System: Oxygen OS 11 (Android 11)
  • Front camera: 16MP f/2.4
  • Rear cameras: 64MP f/1.79 Primary, 2MP f/2.4 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Monochrome
  • Connectivity: 5G (Sub-6GHz), LTE, Wi-Fi (dual-band, up to ac), Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 73.2 x 7.5 mm, 173g
  • Colors: "Blue Smoke"
  • Charging: 33W SuperVOOC
  • IP Rating: IP 52
  • Price: $300
  • Brand: OnePlus
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good screen
  • 33W charging is very fast for a budget phone
  • Middling camera
  • Plastic body
  • Only one speaker
Buy This Product

Samsung's Galaxy A13 5G has a lot to offer for $250. Running on a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset, its performance is great for the price, and its primary camera is totally fine (in decent light, anyway). Like with many of its phones, Samsung is also guaranteeing security updates for four years. It feels every bit as inexpensive as it is, though, and its 90Hz display is otherwise not very nice to look at. But given how affordable it is, those are easy flaws to overlook.

All that said, potential Galaxy A13 buyers should take a good look at the recently-announced Galaxy A23 5G. For just $50 more than this model, it features a faster processor and a 120Hz FHD display. We'll have to get our hands on one before we give it a full recommendation, but if it lives up to the promise of Samsung's A-series of phones, it should be a worthy contender.

  • CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 700
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh
  • Operating System: Android 11 with OneUI 3.1
  • Front camera: 5MP f/2.0
  • Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.8 primary, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth
  • Dimensions: 164.5 x 76.5 x 8.8mm
  • Display type: 6.5" 720p PLS TFT LCD, 90Hz
  • Weight: 195g
  • Price: $250
  • Surprisingly robust performance
  • Strong battery life
  • Four years of security updates
  • Feels as cheap as it is
  • Screen is a fingerprint magnet
  • Two of its three cameras are useless
Buy This Product

The Moto G Stylus is pretty unique among budget phones thanks to its namesake stylus that tucks up into the device, Galaxy Note-style. It's also got adequate performance with a MediaTek chipset and six gigs of RAM, a smooth, 90Hz display, and superb battery life — in our review, we saw more than two full days between charges. Unfortunately, the cameras aren't great, especially the selfie shooter, which has an annoying beauty filter permanently applied in the software. It also charges excruciatingly slowly at 10 watts; you'll want to top it up overnight. But if you want an affordable phone that offers a decent experience with stylus in tow, the Moto G Stylus is worth a look.

  • CPU: MediaTek Helio G88
  • Display: 6.8" 1080p IPS LCD, 90Hz
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB, expandable by microSD
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Rear cameras: 50MP Primary, 8MP Wide, 2MP Depth
  • Dimensions: 170.2 x 75.9 x 9.5mm
  • Colors: Twilight Blue, Metallic Rose
  • Weight: 216g
  • Charging: 10W wired
  • IP Rating: IP52
  • Price: $300
  • 90Hz display
  • Great battery life
  • Built-in stylus
  • Slow charging at 10 watts
  • Crummy selfie camera
  • Only one speaker
Buy This Product

The best Android phone for the best price

There's no shortage of inexpensive Android phones, and more of them than ever are actually worth buying. Google's Pixel 6a keeps a lot of the best things about the Pixel 6 — like its high-end CPU, great camera processing, and solid construction — and trims some fat to hit a very appealing $450 price point.

The Samsung Galaxy A53 is an excellent choice in the same price range, if you're more partial to Samsung's One UI software or don't want a Google phone. Also priced at $450, it's got an impressive 120Hz display, while most mid-range and budget devices are still at 60Hz (including the 6a). Its cameras can't keep up with the Pixel 6a's, though.

If you're after a truly budget smartphone, you won't find many cheaper than the Galaxy A03s that offer a passable experience. For all of $160, it ticks the essential smartphone boxes: it calls and texts with the best of 'em. It's even got a fingerprint sensor (last year's A02s didn't) and NFC to make contactless payments.

Looking for something a bit more premium? Give our list of the best Android phones overall a read.

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