The Best Cheap Android Phones

The Best Cheap Android Phones

These days, cheap Android phones are a dime a dozen — literally. You needn’t search far and wide for a speedy, polished, and competitive smartphone that won’t break the bank. Trouble is, not every inexpensive Android phone checks every box. Plenty of low-end devices are marred by underwhelming software experiences and bottom-of-the-barrel build quality.

If you’ve never comparison shopped for a smartphone under $100, $150, or even $200 before, the cheap Android phone market can be overwhelming; it isn’t easy to sort the good from the bad. To cut through the noise, here’s a curated list of the best cheap Android phones on the market. They might be inexpensive, but they don’t cut corners.

The best cheap Android phone: Our criteria

Picking the best smartphones for the money is a lot easier if cash is no object, but most folks don’t have that luxury — nor does it make sense to spend $1,000 or more when you can get a great smartphone for much less.

That’s why we looked for phones that punched above their weight class. Here are our criteria for the best cheap Android phone:

  • They deliver on value. Our picks offer compelling features for their price brackets. Whether that’s an innovative design or a wealth of features, these devices distinguished themselves from the rest.
  • They have a supportive community. Our selections are more than just great products in and of themselves. XDA is about community, and we chose smartphones with large, passionate followings. These phones, regardless of OEM support, are likely to enjoy software updates and mods for years to come thanks to lively development communities.
  • They have great hardware. We chose phones that offer fantastic hardware for the money. They’re not packing run-of-the-mill processors from an off-brand you’ve never heard of; they’ve got the latest and greatest under the hood, translating to fantastic performance whether you’re shooting 4K video or playing the latest games.

The Best Cheap Android Phones

Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1

Xiaomi Mi A1Specifications
Dimensions149.7 x 71.18 x 7.99mm
Weight160g
SoftwareStock Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One) (upgradeable to Android Pie by the end of November)
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octa-core SoC @ 1.8GHz
GPUAdreno 509
RAM and Storage3GB/4GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB of storage; microSD card slot
Battery3,060mAh with QuickCharge
Display5.5-inch Full HD+ (1920×1080) IPS LCD
Wi-Fi802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
PortsUSB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, dual SIM slots
Rear Cameras12 MP 2PD/AF/f1.8/1.28um
5 MP, BW/FF/f2.4/1.12um
Dual-phase autofocu
Front Camera8 MP FF/f2.0
ColorsGloss Midnight Blue and Gloss Steel
PriceStarting at $209

Since Nokia’s reboot after the company licensed its mobile branding out to HMD Global, we’ve seen a number of great smartphones hit the market. From the likes of the flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco, to a rather unique re-imagination of the Nokia 3310, the company is slowly becoming a household name again. HMD Global has been hard at work capturing the attention of all kinds of consumers, enthusiasts, and “regular” users alike. The Nokia 7.1 is a part of the Android One program and sits right in the middle of the pack.

What can’t go unnoticed is the HMD Global’s commitment to the Android One program, as the Nokia 7.1 is far from being their first entry. In fact, the majority of the company’s smartphones are a part of it. Being part of the Android One program not only means that you’ll have a close-to-stock Android experience, but you should (in theory, anyway) have faster updates. To HMD Global’s merit, they have achieved this with an impressive amount of their devices already receiving the Android Pie update and more to come as well.

Having said that, the Nokia 7.1 runs Android Oreo out of the box, though an update to Android Pie is promised to be launched soon. As such, our review unit is actually running Android Oreo. I found a number of mild software-related performance issues (or what I believe to be, anyway) that may not be present once the Android Pie update drops. The Nokia 7.1 is a unique phone in that the devices it compares to are not readily available in the US. Within Europe and Asia, the Nokia 7.1 is easily outclassed by offerings from the likes of Xiaomi, but in the US it’s a different story entirely.

Moto G7 Power

Moto G7 Power

Nokia 6Specifications
Dimensions159.4 x 76.9 x 9.3 mm;
Weight193g
SoftwareAndroid Pie
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 632
GPUAdreno 506
RAM and Storage4GB + 64GB
Battery5,000 mAh
Display6.2-inch HD+ LCD, 19:9 with wide notch
Wi-FiWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n,
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
PortsType-C
Rear Cameras12MP, f/2.0, 1.25μm, LED Flash
Video Recording: 1080p @30fps
Front Camera8MP, f/2.2, 1.12μm
ColorsBlack/Blue/Silver
PriceStarting at $249

Motorola’s G-series redefined what consumers expected out of budget devices back when the original Moto G was launched in 2013. Now, six years later, we are down to the 7th generation of Motorola’s budget lineup as Motorola struggles to retain its market share from the onslaught of budget offerings from Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, Oppo, and others. At an event in Brazil, Motorola has introduced to us the new Moto G7 series, consisting of the Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, Moto G7 Power, and the Moto G7 Plus.

Moto G7

moto g7 google fi

Moto G7

Honor 7XSpecifications
Dimensions157 x 75.3 x 8 mm
Weight172g
SoftwareAndroid Pie
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 632
GPUAdreno 506
RAM and Storage4GB + 64GB
Battery3,000 mAh;
15W charging
Display1080 x 2270 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~405 ppi density)
Wi-FiWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
PortsType-C
Rear Cameras12MP, f/1.8, 1.25μm, EIS, LED Flash;
Depth Sensor: 5MP, f/2.2Video Recording: [email protected],
1080p @30fps,
1080p @60fps
Front Camera8MP, f/2.2, 1.12μm
ColorsBlack/Silver
PriceStarting at $119.00

Motorola’s G-series redefined what consumers expected out of budget devices back when the original Moto G was launched in 2013. Now, six years later, we are down to the 7th generation of Motorola’s budget lineup as Motorola struggles to retain its market share from the onslaught of budget offerings from Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, Oppo, and others. At an event in Brazil, Motorola has introduced to us the new Moto G7 series, consisting of the Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, Moto G7 Power, and the Moto G7 Plus.

Honor 9X

Honor 9X

Honor 7XSpecifications
Dimensions163.5 x 77.3 x 8.8 mm
Weight196.8g
SoftwareAndroid 9.0 EMUI 9.0
CPUHiSilicon Kirin 710F
GPUMali-G51 MP4
RAM and Storage4GB/6GB with 64GB/128GB of storage
Battery4000mAh
Display5.93-inch 18:9 Full HD+ (2160×1080) IPS LCD
Wi-FiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE
PortsUSB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Rear Cameras48 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
8 MP, f/2.4, 13mm (ultrawide)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
Front CameraMotorized pop-up 16 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/3″, 1.0µm
ColorsMidnight Black, Sapphire Blue
PriceStarting at ₹ 13,999

Honor has made it a tradition to shake up the budget smartphone scene every year around the holidays. The Honor 9X is the latest heir to that legacy and it is now available in many countries across the globe at prices trending around $270. Despite the Huawei Google ban, this new X-series phone manages to ship with full Google services including the Play Store on certain models. In this review, we are looking at the STK-LX1 model of the Honor 9X, which is the model that ships across Europe.

The large and uninterrupted display of the 9X is probably the best feature that this phone has to offer: the first time you hold the phone, the screen feels extremely big and engrossing. At 6.59″, it’s not the largest display out there, but without any notch to interrupt your view, the phone offers a much more immersive experience than you’ll find on other devices — especially at this price range.