Premium smartphones may dazzle with cutting-edge technology but also come with a hefty price tag. If you're on a budget or simply prefer not to splurge on a new phone, you'll be glad to hear that there are also some fantastic budget-friendly options out there, and all you need to do is find the right one for you.
However, when searching for an affordable phone, it's essential to be clear about what you value most in a phone, as you may need to sacrifice one feature for another to find the device that meets your needs. While compromises might be inevitable, some models hit nearly all the right notes at the right price. Here are our picks for the best cheap phones you can buy today.
If you're looking for a phone under $500, the Google Pixel 7a, Samsung Galaxy A54 5G, and Apple iPhone SE are the best options available (at least in the US), all three striking a great balance between performance and price.
The Google Pixel 7a is one of the nicest budget-friendly smartphones to hit the market in 2023. With its feature-rich software, timely updates, great camera capabilities, comfortable size, and neat design, it checks all the boxes for what makes an excellent mid-range phone. The Pixel 7a has a smooth 6.1-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 64MP camera, and wireless charging support, all of which makes it a step up from its predecessor, the Pixel 6a. Its driving force is the Tensor G2 chipset, the same powerful processor used in the more expensive Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, making it a high-performing Android option at this price point.
You can get the Google Pixel 7a for $499 in the Google Store, but you can often find it for less at Amazon or Best Buy.
The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G also excels as an all-around performer in the budget segment. Its impressive 120Hz Super AMOLED 6.4-inch display, versatile camera system, excellent battery life, and great performance proves that you don't need to break the bank to enjoy a premium-like smartphone experience. It even strongly resembles Samsung's flagship S23 phones in terms of design, but it's half their price. The A54 5G now features a Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, providing better protection and a more pleasant hand feel than plastic. Furthermore, with Samsung's commitment to regular software updates, you can be sure that your device will stay supported and secure for years to come.
You can get the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G for $449 in the Samsung Store, but you can often find it for around $400 at Amazon.
The iPhone SE is the only phone from Apple you can buy for under $500. It is hands down the most powerful and fastest phone in this price range, thanks to its A15 Bionic chipset, the same one that powers the iPhone 13, iPhone 14, and iPhone 14 Plus. It's also the smallest phone on our list with its 5.4-inch Retina HD display. Although it has a vintage design (with bezels on the top and bottom of the screen), it is a standout choice if you want a compact and budget-friendly iPhone. With its excellent performance, advanced camera system, 5G support, regular software updates, and compatibility with a vast array of apps and accessories, this little device offers a well-rounded experience in the Apple ecosystem.
You can get the iPhone SE for $429 (64GB storage) or $479 (128GB storage) in the Apple Store.
Although it's not easy to find great phones under $300, we've managed to identify two that stand out from the rest and offer the best value for your money: OnePlus Nord N30 5G and Samsung Galaxy A14 5G.
The OnePlus Nord N30 5G is a remarkable addition to the Nord series and shines as one of the finest budget phones currently available under $300. It is powered by the fast Snapdragon 695 5G and features a generous 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It has a beautiful design and a 6.72-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Its 5,000mAh battery ensures it stays powered throughout the day, but one of the best features is its impressive 50W charging speed, meaning you can recharge it quickly (which usually is not the case with phones in this price range). While being a very competent phone, its drawbacks include receiving only one software update and having average camera performance.
The Samsung Galaxy A14 5G is a compelling choice if you're seeking a really affordable yet reliable 5G smartphone. Featuring a 6.6-inch display, a capable Exynos 1330 octa-core processor, two-day battery life, excellent connectivity, solid primary camera, it offers a great user experience in line with its price. Plus, it includes NFC connectivity, making it convenient for contactless payments, a feature not commonly seen in phones under $300. Moreover, Samsung's promise to provide at least two Android OS updates and four years of security updates adds additional value to this device, despite its few drawbacks, such as slow charging and mediocre mono speaker.
You can get the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G for $199 in the Samsung Store, but you can also check with carriers as they frequently offer even better deals for this model.
Please note that the prices mentioned in this blog were as of 7/21/2023 and may change at any time.
Whether you choose a budget phone or opt for a premium model in the end, one thing is sure – protecting it with reliable phone insurance is a smart move. A damaged or stolen phone is no fun, while insurance protection is a small investment that can save you from a big headache in the future. Learn more about our iPhone insurance or cell phone insurance and grab a free quote!