These are the Best Android Phones under $300 in Fall 2021: Motorola, Samsung, OnePlus, and More!
Just about everyone needs a smartphone in this day and age. Luckily, smartphone brands have become so skilled at making phones that consumers no longer have to pay an arm and a leg to get a functional device. Here’s our expert guide on the best phones to get in the US if your budget is $300 or lower. While these handsets won’t be topping any Best Smartphone lists, they’re still capable enough to handle most people’s daily needs.
Navigate this guide:
- Best phone for power users: Moto G Power (2020)
- Best bang-for-your-buck phone: OnePlus Nord N10 5G
- Best phone for those who want their screens big and bright: TCL 10L
- Best for Samsung phones on a budget: Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
- Best phone for stylus lovers: Moto G Stylus (2021)
- Best phone for Nokia enthusiasts: Nokia 5.4
- Best phone for those open to importing: POCO X3 Pro
Best phone for power users: Moto G Power (2020)
Motorola is responsible for some of the best entry-level phones in the US and its Moto G Power is a great option for those who don’t want to spend more than $300. You get a 6.4-inch display, a solid 16MP camera, Snapdragon 665, a near-stock version of Android, plus a 5,000 mAh battery.
You’re missing NFC, the 8MP ultra-wide camera is just okay, and the 4GB of RAM is a bit low, but thankfully the software is lean and clean, so the phone remains super fast. If you’re a heavy user and battery endurance is of high importance, then this is your phone.
Best bang-for-your-buck phone: OnePlus Nord N10 5G
The OnePlus Nord N10 is reportedly selling quite well in the US, and it’s not hard to see why. At just $299, the Nord N10 offers a 90Hz, 1080p display, a solid 64MP camera, the usual clean and responsive OnePlus software, and 5G connectivity courtesy of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690.
You do lose out on some OnePlus trademarks such as the alert slider and OLED display, and the 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera is a bit soft on details, but at this price point it’s hard to complain too much. The 4,300 mAh battery is enough to give this device all-day battery life too.
Best phone for those who love a big and bright screen: TCL 10L
Television brand TCL entered the Android space with this debut handset that packs quite a punch, offering a quad-camera array, hole-punch screen design, and an impressive 6.5-inch, bright LCD screen at a very reasonable price. Like many phones on this list, you get a Snapdragon 665 processor, but the software zips around thanks to strong optimization from TCL.
The quad-camera system on the back houses a 48-megapixel primary shooter that produces good shots, but the other three lenses — an 8-megapixel ultrawide, and a pair of 2-megapixel macro and depth sensors — are just average. The Snapdragon 665 processor and a clean and light UI make for a good combo. This is perhaps not surprising considering its roots in making television, but the TCL 10L is one of the last phones left (other than Xiaomi) to offer an IR blaster which allows it to double as a TV remote control.
Best for Samsung fans on a budget: Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
The Galaxy A32 is an excellent budget 5G phone, especially if you plan to hold on to your next phone for at least a few years. The battery life and 5G support are two of the phone’s highlights. It can last up to two days on moderate use, and the phone packs support for the C-band 5G that is expected to become big over the coming years.
The 6.5 inch HD+ screen is okay, with nothing exciting, but it does the job. The MediaTek Dimensity 720 chip handles most tasks efficiently, but you will experience occasional slowdown during demanding tasks, which is expected from a sub-$300 phone. The primary shooter takes decent photos in good lighting conditions, but low-light performance leaves quite a bit desired. Other rear cameras are serviceable.
Best phone for stylus lovers: Moto G Stylus (2021)
The 2021 model of the Moto G Stylus is the best affordable phone if you are looking to use a stylus. It’s a well-rounded device that comes with a few nifty features to use the bundled capacitive stylus. You won’t get advanced features, like the Galaxy Note series, but enough to justify the stylus. Thanks to the onboard 4,000mAh battery, the phone easily lasts through the day.
The phone also packs a full-HD+ IPS screen that is sufficiently bright. In addition, you get a combination of a Snapdragon 678 SoC and 4GB of RAM, which is enough to provide good performance. But there are slowdowns when you are using a demanding app. Lastly, the primary shooter takes good photos, but other rear cameras are average.
Best phone for Nokia enthusiasts: Nokia 5.4
HMD Global hasn’t changed significantly from the Nokia 5.3 in the 5.4, but that isn’t necessarily bad. The phone still runs on pretty much stock Android, and will get at least two years of Android updates and three years of security updates.
The Snapdragon 662 SoC in the Nokia 5.4 seems like a downgrade from Nokia 5.3’s 665, but you won’t notice much difference in performance in day-to-day usage. The new 48MP primary shooter takes good photos with a decent amount of detail in daylight, and the wide-angle snapper is also not too bad. All in all, if you want a Nokia phone under $300, the 5.3 is the way to go.
Best phone for those open to importing: Poco X3 Pro
If you’re open to importing and the risks that could come with it (such as the difficulty of getting it fixed if it breaks), Xiaomi’s spin-off brand Poco has a really good value device. We’re talking about a 6.7 inch 120Hz FHD+ display, Snapdragon 860, 5,000 mAh battery, and a very good Sony IMX 48MP main camera. There’s even IP53 water and dust resistance, and some great haptics. We’ve confirmed the Poco X3 Pro works fine on AT&T and T-Mobile, but not with Verizon. Also note if you’re importing, you’re for sure paying a marked up price anywhere from $50 to $80 over the official retail price — but the total price still falls under $300.
Conclusion: So which one to get?
If you’re open to importing and potentially using a phone without a warranty, the Poco X3 Pro offers the most bang for your dollar. However, we know most buyers will want some protection or peace of mind with their purchase. So with that in mind, we like the OnePlus Nord N10 the most here, as it’s the most polished of the bunch.