Best Cheap Smartphones 2021
Best Cheap iPhone
iPhone SERetails for $399.99Flagship iPhone experience
Best Cheap Android
Samsung Galaxy A50Retails for $399.99Impressive camera for the price
Best Cheap Google Pixel
Google Pixel 3aComes with other Microsoft Office programsAmazing display
Best Battery Power
Moto G8 PowerRetails for $299.99Up to 3-day battery life
The beauty of waiting to get a new phone is that older models just keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Or in the case of the iPhone, Apple just comes out with a brand new phone that is priced as if it was years old already.
For now, the new 2020 iPhone SE offers the most bang for your buck as far as devices go, but you can still get amazing deals on slightly older Galaxy, Pixel, and Moto devices.
iPhone SE 2020: Best cheap iPhone
The best cheap smartphone phone on the market today
- Low-priced iPhone (finally)
- A13 Bionic chipset
- Weaker battery life
What we like
Well guys, Apple has finally released a new iPhone that is actually affordable. The iPhone SE came out a few months ago and retails for $399.99. To put that number in context, the basic iPhone 11 retails for $699.99, a whopping $300 more than what you would pay for an iPhone SE. You would assume that the iPhone SE would feel $300 less valuable than the iPhone 11, but the two phones are more comparable than you’d think.
Both the iPhone SE and iPhone 11 have the same A13 Bionic chipset, which is future-talk for “the phone runs well and the camera looks good.” Basically, even though the iPhone SE looks like an older iPhone model with its smaller screen and home screen button (which I missed), it will run similarly to an iPhone 11, making it one of the best cheap smartphones on the market today.
Check out our in-depth iPhone SE review if you want more details on this awesomely cheap smartphone.
What we don’t like
The catch-22 with the A13 Bionic chipset is that all its power drains your battery, and the iPhone SE doesn’t have the best battery in the world. Don’t expect the iPhone SE battery to last you through the day, especially if you like streaming YouTube videos and checking Instagram on the go. You’ll probably want to keep a charger handy if you’ll be out and about for an extended amount of time.
What cell phone plans can I get with an iPhone SE?
The iPhone SE is compatible with any carrier you can think of, which is another point it has over the Galaxy A50. Here are some of our favorite cell phone plans that are compatible with iPhone SE.
Samsung Galaxy A50: Best cheap Samsung Galaxy
Talk or chat for hours in a friendly social environment
- Affordable Galaxy phone
- Impressive camera
What we like
The Galaxy A50 is Samsung’s response to the iPhone SE (they’re both priced the same), and it generally rises to the challenge. The Galaxy A50 improved over the iPhone SE in a few ways, including a better camera, longer-lasting battery, a larger screen, and a good old-fashioned headphone jack.
The most impressive feature on the Galaxy A50 has to be its camera. Here are the camera specs for the Galaxy A50:
- Triple-camera setup
- Primary: 25 MP sensor with 26mm-equivalent f/1.7 lens
- Ultra-wide: 8 MP sensor with 13mm-equivalent f/2.2 lens
- 5 MP depth-sensing sensor with f/2.2 lens
- PDAF autofocus
- LED flash
- 1080p/30fps video
Comparatively, the iPhone SE only has a single-camera setup and a 12-megapixel sensor. Meanwhile, Samsung Galaxy A50 is over here offering a triple-camera setup and 25-megapixel sensor for the same price.
What we don’t like
Even though the Samsung Galaxy A50 checks a lot of boxes the iPhone SE does not, the huge difference is in the user experience. The Samsung Galaxy A50 feels much more buggy than the iPhone SE and was more prone to app crashes. It’s almost like there’s too much firepower on a device with only 6 GB of RAM.
It also doesn’t have the sleak iOS interface that many of us have come to love. Yes, that is me admitting my bias as an iPhone user. It’s hard to beat the user experience that Apple offers on its devices.
But if you prefer the Android interface and don’t mind some occasional lag on your phone, the Galaxy A50 is easily one of the best cheap smartphones available.
What cell phone plans can I get with the Samsung Galaxy A50?
The Samsung Galaxy A50 is compatible with most carriers, except for AT&T for some reason. If you want to start up an AT&T plan with a Samsung Galaxy A50, you’re fresh out of luck. But here are our favorite cell phone plans compatible with the Samsung Galaxy A50.
Google Pixel 3a: Best budget Google phone
The best looking display for a budget phone
- Affordable Google phone
- Amazing screen resolution
- Caps at 64 GB of storage
What we like
The Google Pixel 3a started the latest trend of midrange cheap smartphones when it came out in 2019, and it still competes with the newer iPhone SE and Galaxy A50. Currently, the Google Pixel 3a’s retail price hovers around $399.99, but you can find it cheaper if you buy it with the right provider at the right time.
The most standout feature on the Google Pixel 3a has to be its screen resolution. The phone comes with a 5.6-inch OLED display with a 2220×1080 resolution. Oh, what’s the resolution for the iPhone 11 you ask? It’s 1792×828, which just so happens to be worse than the Google Pixel 3a. So, the Google Pixel 3a kills the display game, and has a 12.2-megapixel camera (along with a cool Night Sight feature) to boot. All in all, it’s a pretty awesome package despite not being the newest kid on the block.
What we don’t like
Both the iPhone SE and Galaxy A50 come with optional upgrades to your storage, but I’m afraid you’re stuck with 64 GB of data with the Google Pixel 3a. You’ll need to keep an eye on your apps and how much storage they use up. For example, we wouldn’t recommend downloading big Spotify playlists to your phone, or downloading shows off of Netflix for later viewing.
What cell phone plans can I get with the Google Pixel 3a?
Neither AT&T or Verizon offer cell phone plans that come with the Google Pixel 3a, but a few of our other favorite providers do. In particular, the Visible Wireless $40 Unlimited Plan only requires you to pay $336 upfront for your Google Pixel 3a, as opposed to the usual $399.99.
Moto G Power: Best battery power
Keep your battery going for days
- Retails for $299.99
- Super long battery power
- Weaker camera
What we like
Relatively low battery life is a common issue with both the iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A50, but that’s not the case with the Moto G Power. The Moto G Power comes with a 5,000 mAh battery, the same battery you’ll find in the $1,400 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Except instead of paying $1,400, you’re paying closer to $300 for the same battery power.
In case you’re curious, the longest we’ve seen a Moto G Power battery last was four days. My iPhone X feels like it runs out of battery after four hours. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t care much for bells and whistles and wants a phone that won’t suddenly die on you, the Moto G Power is the best in its class.
What we don’t like
Something had to give for the Moto to be priced so low, and unfortunately the bulk of the blame goes to the camera. Though the specs are good with a 16-megapixel front-facing camera and 4K video capture abilities, the pictures tend to come out muddy because of the limited dynamic range and high contrast. Let’s just say, if you’re an Instagram photographer, this is not the phone for you, friend.
What cell phone plans can I get with the Moto G Power?
The Motorola Moto G Power isn’t as widely available as the iPhone SE or Galaxy A50, but you can still get the phone through some quality cell phone providers. Most notably, you can get the Moto G Power with Verizon, which just so happens to have the best coverage in the country. On top of that, Verizon is only charging $140 upfront for a Moto G Power.
Recap: What are the best cheap smartphones?
It’s exciting to see that Apple, Samsung, Google, and other providers are making new phones that cater to more budget-minded folks. As it stands right now, the iPhone SE offers the most bang for your buck, but the Galaxy A50, Google Pixel 3a, and Moto G Power are not far behind.
What are the best cheap smartphones?
- Best cheap iPhone: The iPhone SE is the newest midtier phone on the market, and it certainly feels like it should be more expensive than it is. The biggest callout is that the iPhone SE has the same chipset as the much pricier iPhone 11, which means it’s much speedier than the average midtier phone.
- Best cheap Android: The Samsung Galaxy A50 has the most impressive camera that we’ve seen amongst the cheap smartphones. It’s triple-camera setup and 25-MP sensor takes photos that rival most premier smartphones. If the Android lifestyle is your preference, this is the best cheap Android available.
- Best cheap Google Pixel: The Google Pixel 3a’s claim to fame is its amazing screen resolution that even beats out the iPhone 11. It’s the crispest resolution that we’ve seen amongst the midtier smartphones.
- Best battery power: The Moto G8 Power has an unbelievably strong battery for its price. You can use your Moto Power for up to four days without charging, assuming you’re not streaming or gaming non-stop. If battery power is your number one concern, the Moto Power is the best in the business.
Do you have any thoughts on these cheap smartphones? Do you have a cheap smartphone that you prefer over the ones we recommend here? Let us know in the comments below. Oh, and make sure to check out the latest cheap smartphone deals here if you’re shopping for a new device.
Your phone is only as good as your internet connection
It’s a huge bummer when you get a new phone with an amazing display and the first YouTube video you pull up still looks like a random CCTV feed. To show off all of its cool features, your new phone will need an internet connection that allows for quick download and upload speeds.
If you’ve been feeling the need to upgrade your internet connection, here’s some of our top picks for internet providers.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Data cap||Learn more|
|Xfinity Internet||$34.99–$94.99*||50–1200 Mbps||1–1.2 TB||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios Home Internet||$39.99–$89.99†||200–940 Mbps||Not Available||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$35–$60‡||300–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Internet||$50–$65^||100–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Viasat Internet||$30–$150°||12–100 Mbps||12–300 GB||View Plans|