Just about everyone needs a smartphone in this day and age. Luckily, smartphone brands have become so skilled at making phones that they’re comfortably able to churn out some good budget phones. That’s right, there are some really good budget phones out there that don’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, there are more than a few budget options out there which is why we decided to shortlist some of the best Android phones under $300 for you. These handsets may not be a part of our best smartphone collection, but they’re still capable enough to handle most people’s daily needs.
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Best budget phone overall: Samsung Galaxy A23 5G
Samsung’s Galaxy A series offers a ton of budget-friendly phones for the masses. From entry-level affordable phones to heavy-hitting mid-rangers, the Galaxy A series has them all. The Galaxy A23 5G is one of the newest offerings in the series that’s perfect for this collection. It offers a decent set of internals with reliable software support for $300. It’ll also be available to purchase from various carriers in the US, making it more accessible.
The Galaxy A23 5G debuted as an LTE-only phone. The 5G version of the device didn’t go on sale until recently, so it’s still fresh off the line. Samsung is using a 6.6-inch FHD+ infinity-V LCD for this one with a resolution of 1080 x 2408 pixels. One of the best things about this particular display is that it supports up to 120Hz refresh rate. That makes it the only phone in this collection to have a 120Hz display. Just to put things into perspective, even the flagship Samsung devices like the Galaxy S22 come with a 120Hz display, so this is the highlight feature of this phone.
The Galaxy A23 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 695 SoC and can be purchased with up to 6GB of RAM. The base variant of the device only comes with 64GB of storage, though. That’s not particularly impressive but thankfully it supports expandable storage via a microSD card. You can add up to 1TB of storage to this phone, which is great.
Samsung has also packed a 5,000mAh battery inside this particular phone which means it should be able to last you for a long time between charges. And unlike the Moto G Power (2022), the Galaxy A23 5G supports 25W charging speeds to quickly top up the battery. It’s not as fast as the Nord N20 5G’s 33W charging, but 25W is still faster than what most phones offer in this price segment. Notably, you also get a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on this one which is considered to be more reliable.
As for the optics, Samsung is offering a quad-camera system on the Galaxy A23 5G. The setup includes a 50MP f/1.8 sensor, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and two 2MP sensors for depth and macro shots. Selfies are handled by an 8MP sensor, which is on par with what you get on most budget devices. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the Galaxy A23 5G also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is still very important for phones in this price range.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G looks like a solid budget phone. You get a lot of impressive features that are usually not offered by the phones in this segment. We’re talking about things like a 120Hz display, a massive 5,000mAh battery with 25W charging speeds, great software support, and more. And this phone, as we mentioned earlier, will also be available through all the major carriers in the US, making it more accessible to a lot of users. So if you’re in the US and you only have $300 to spend on a smartphone then we think you should spend it on this one.
The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G is the latest budget device from Samsung, offering 5G and a well rounded experience at a price that doesn’t hurt your wallet.
Best budget phone for endurance: Moto G Power (2022)
The Moto G Power line-up, as you probably already know, is among the best in the business when it comes to battery life. Fortunately, they’re also quite affordable, making them perfect for this particular collection of phones. We decided to add the Moto G Power (2022) to this list because it costs less than $300 in the US, promises exceptional battery life, and it’s the newest phone in the lineup.
The Moto G Power (2022) comes with a 5,000mAh battery, which is bigger than what you get inside most Android phones out there. Pair a massive battery with less power-hungry parts like an HD+ display and a MediaTek Helio G37, you get a phone that can last for up to three days on a single charge with light usage. Of course, your mileage is bound to vary based on your usage pattern but it’s remarkably good.
The Moto G Power (2022) is also plenty capable for all practical purposes. The MediaTek Helio G37 may not be as powerful as the Snapdragon 662 SoC in the 2021 Moto G Power model, but it still performs well while consuming less power. It sports a 6.5-inch panel on the front with support for up to 90Hz refresh rate. You will, however, have to make peace with the fact that it peaks at 720p resolution.
One of the best things about the Moto G Power (2022) is that it comes with a microSD card slot that lets you expand the storage up to 1TB. You don’t get expandable storage on many smartphones these days, so this is definitely a welcomed addition.
What’s not so impressive about the Moto G Power (2022) is that it only supports 10W charging, meaning you may have to wait for up to two hours to fully charge its massive 5,000mAh battery. This is particularly disappointing because the outgoing 2021 model had support for 15W charging. We’re not entirely sure why Motorola decided to slow things down, but it definitely doesn’t look good on paper.
The Moto G Power (2022) sports three cameras at the back but we suggest you keep your expectations in check when it comes to the camera performance. As for the optics, we’re looking at a 50MP primary sensor that’s coupled with two separate 2MP sensors for depth and macro shots. The selfies are handled by an 8MP front-facing camera.
And lastly, it may be worth noting that this phone doesn’t have 5G support either, meaning you’re limited to LTE for connectivity. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, especially for those looking to pick up a budget phone, but there are some other options out there that support 5G in this price range. All things considered, we think the Moto G Power (2022) is a great phone if you’re looking to buy a phone with remarkably good battery life. That’s the one thing it excels at and it might just be enough to win you over.
The Moto G Power (2022) offers exceptional battery life of up to 3 days on a single charge. And the best part is that it’s priced at just $150 right now.
Best bang-for-your-buck phone: OnePlus Nord N20 5G
The OnePlus Nord N10 reportedly sold well in the US, and it’s not hard to see why. It offered a solid smartphone experience for under $300 thanks to some impressive features including a 90Hz 1080p display, 5G support, a solid 64MP camera, and more. Well, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G is a pretty good successor that we think deserves a spot in this collection despite some questionable choices.
The first thing that you’ll notice about this phone is just how attractive it is. XDA’s Managing Editor Rich Woods described it as one of the most beautifully designed OnePlus phones and wished the OnePlus 10 Pro looked as good as this one does. That’s high praise for a phone that costs less than $300, so it should give you an idea of how good it looks. It also keeps the headphone jack which we think is still very much relevant in the budget space.
The OnePlus Nord N20 5G also offers impressive performance compared to a lot of other phones in this space. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 695 chipset, which is paired with 6GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB storage. It’s only a modest improvement over the Snapdragon 690-powered Nord N10, but that’s all you need to compete with other phones in this price range, really. We also like how OnePlus has retained the microSD card slot for expandable storage.
On the battery front, the Nord N20 features a 4,500mAh battery which can be fully charged in just about 70 minutes. The phone supports 33W SuperVOOC charging, which is impressive when you compare it against the likes of the Moto G Power (2022) which only supports a woeful 10W charging. It’s the fastest charging phone in this collection, so this is the one to get if value fast charging over anything else on a smartphone.
It is a budget phone after all, so the Nord N20 5G makes a few compromises to keep the price low. The cameras, for instance, need some work. It comes with a 64MP main sensor with an f/1.9 aperture along with two separate 2MP sensors to handle the depth and macro shots. These cameras aren’t going to impress you with their performance so keep your expectations in check. You might be able to get some decent shots from it for occasional social media posts, but that’s about it.
Overall, we think the OnePlus Nord N20 is a solid budget phone that gets a lot of things right. There’s not a lot to complain about if you learn to live with a 60Hz display and an average set of cameras. That’s not too bad because you can buy it for just $250 right now in the US. It also supports 5G, so we think it’s a solid alternative to a lot of other non-5G budget phones mentioned in this collection. The OnePlus Nord N20 5G checks a lot of the right boxes, and it offers great value for your money.
The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is a good successor to the Nord N10 that looks great both on paper as well as in real life.
Best phone for stylus lovers: TCL Stylus 5G
The Moto G Stylus enjoyed the prime position as one of the best budget phones to come with a stylus. But it has now been by the new TCL Stylus 5G. Motorola’s updated Moto G Stylus offers some impressive features too but it’s almost double the price, which means it longer belongs in this collection of the best Android phones under $300. TCL, on the other hand, offers a decent experience overall and it costs just a little over $250 in the US.
The stylus bundled with the TCL Stylus 5G is a passive one, meaning it doesn’t have a battery of its own, nor does it support Bluetooth. But as we mentioned in our TCL Stylus 5G review, it still works with minimal latency. TCL also bundles a bunch of apps that work well with the stylus. There’s the Nebo app which is essentially a handwriting recognition tool to transcribe your notes into copyable text. You also get the MyScript Calculator 2 app that takes handwritten calculations to give you the results.
You’ll also find it very comfortable to use the stylus on this phone’s 6.81-inch LCD panel. It may not be the brightest display on the market but it’s sharp enough for crisp and clear visuals, and it’ll let you navigate around the phone with the stylus. That’s what the experience is all about when it comes to this phone. You’re not going to notice any significant performance issues while using this particular phone on a day-to-day basis because it’s powered by a decently powerful Dimensity 700 SoC and comes with 4GB of RAM.
The overall performance of the phone is mostly on-par with a lot of other budget phones in this segment, so there’s not much to complain about. The same can be said about the battery life of this phone. It may not be on par with the big players in this space like the Moto G Power (2022) but it’ll get you through a day without any major issues. On the software side, it ships with Android 12 out of the box and it’s promised to get major OS updates until next year.
As for the optics, you get four cameras at the back which include a 50MP primary and a 5MP ultra-wide camera along with two 2MP sensors for depth and macro. That ultra-wide angle camera is a nice addition because most smartphones at this price seem to only have a primary and two sticker sensors for macro and depth. You should be able to get decent photos out of this phone both during the day and at night time.
There’s a lot to like about the TCL Stylus 5G and we think it offers a good set of features for its $258 price tag. It’s not particularly easy to bundle a stylus with a phone that costs less than $300, but TCL has done it. It’s also a pretty good phone overall, so be sure to check it out.
The TCL Stylus 5G is a budget smartphone with a garaged stylus. It also has a nice screen, great software, and a decent camera. It is exactly $258 of smartphone.
Best phones for those open to importing: POCO M4 Pro
It’s no secret that the US market doesn’t get nearly as many budget phones as the Asian or European markets do. If you’re open to the idea of importing a smartphone to the US, then it automatically unlocks a lot of options. The POCO M4 Pro is one such device that we think is worth considering if you don’t mind putting in a little more work to get it in the US.
The POCO M4 Pro that debuted in Europe earlier this year is essentially the global variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S with some minor changes and a fresh design. It’s amongst the best budget phones you can buy in Europe right now, as it offers a good set of features for the price. It features a 6.43-inch FHD+ 90Hz display on the front, meaning it’s better than a lot of budget phones in the US that only have a 60Hz panel.
As for the internals, you get a MediaTek Helio G96 chipset with up to 8GB of RAM. The device comes in two RAM/storage configurations, starting at 6GB RAM and 128GB storage and going up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The Helio G96 is also a capable chip that should be able to keep the phone running for at least a few years before giving up.
One of the best things about this phone is that it comes with both a headphone jack and a microSD card slot for expandable storage. Both of these features, as we mentioned earlier, are still crucial to phones in this price segment, so they’re already better than a lot of budget options in the US. On the battery front, you get a 5,000mAh battery with support for up to 33W fast charging. The battery capacity and the charging speeds on this one are on par with what you get with the Nord N20 5G, which is one of the best phones that offers great value for money in this collection.
The POCO M4 Pro also gets a triple camera setup at the back which includes a 64MP main camera along with an 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro sensor. Some other noteworthy features of the POCO M4 Pro include MIUI 12.5 software, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, an IR blaster, and more. The only downside to buying this phone is the fact that it’s not officially available in the US. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker as long as you are open to importing a phone because there are plenty of importers out there to help you facilitate your purchase.
Even with the markup price to cover shipping and additional taxes, you’ll still be paying less than $300 for this phone. Alternatively, you can also consider buying the POCO X4 Pro which is available to purchase in the US right now for a little over $300. Both of these are great devices for the price and we think they’re worth considering if you don’t mind exploring phones other than the ones that are readily available.
The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G is the latest budget device from Samsung, offering 5G and a well-rounded experience at a price that doesn’t hurt your wallet.
Well, that brings us to the end of this particular collection. There are a lot of budget phones on the market but not all of them are worth spending $300 on. You’re not going to get the fastest or most beautiful-looking phone in this price range, but we’ve managed to highlight some of the best options out there. Samsung’s Galaxy A23 5G is a great phone right now for under $300. But if you want something that looks a little bit better then we think you should consider buying the Nord N20 5G.
We’ve also added some interesting devices to the mix including the TCL Stylus 5G and the Moto G Power (2022), both of which are unique in their own ways. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the market and add more options to this list when they’re available. In the meantime, let us know your favorite budget Android phone by dropping a line in the comments below.