The Best Budget Android Phones

The Best Budget Android Phones

Our pick

Nokia 6.2

Nokia 6.2

Great hardware, fast updates

This model offers a bright, vibrant, 6.3-inch 1080p display, as well as two good cameras, solid build quality, and software updates through late 2021. But it doesn’t work on Verizon or other carriers that use CDMA network technology.

Buying Options

$250 from Amazon

The Nokia 6.2 runs Android with no extraneous software, and because it’s an Android One phone, it will receive prompt software updates for at least two years after its release (so until at least late 2021). It has a sturdy glass and aluminum design, capable cameras, and great performance. Its rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is fast, and the phone includes an NFC sensor for contactless payments. Its 1080p screen is brighter and more vibrant than those of other phones in this price range, and the slim bezels give you more screen real estate in a smaller body than the Pixel 3a.

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Runner-up

Samsung Galaxy A50

Samsung Galaxy A50

Modern design with support for all carriers

The Galaxy A50 works on all major carriers, and we like its vibrant OLED screen. However, Samsung uses a more cluttered version of Android that isn’t guaranteed to stay up to date.

Buying Options

$290* from Amazon
$350 from Samsung

*At the time of publishing, the price was $275.

If the Nokia 6.2 is unavailable or is incompatible with your carrier, the Samsung Galaxy A50 offers the next best hardware and experience. It has a modern design with a large edge-to-edge screen and an in-display fingerprint sensor, and it works on all networks regardless of whether they use CDMA or GSM technology. Its 6.4-inch OLED screen is better than the Nokia 6.2’s LCD, too, with better contrast and deeper blacks. But the Nokia 6.2 feels a bit faster and has better update support than the A50. Samsung’s Android software is also more cluttered and confusing than the Android One version on the Nokia 6.2.

Budget pick

Nokia 2.3

Nokia 2.3

The cheapest acceptable option

The Nokia 2.3 has guaranteed software updates through early 2022, and it’s faster than other phones in its price range. But it lacks a fingerprint sensor and doesn’t support CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint.

Buying Options

$130 from Amazon

The Nokia 2.3 is the least expensive phone you can buy that you won’t regret, thanks to surprisingly good performance, a huge battery, and an uncluttered version of Android. It’s the same Android One edition of the OS that you get on the more expensive Nokia 6.2, so you won’t be annoyed by preloaded junk apps and you’ll get system updates through early 2022. This phone has a light, durable, plastic design, but at roughly half the price of the Nokia 6.2, it lacks a fingerprint sensor, it uses a slow-charging Micro-USB port rather than USB-C, and the camera is barely usable in low light.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Nokia 6.2

Nokia 6.2

Great hardware, fast updates

This model offers a bright, vibrant, 6.3-inch 1080p display, as well as two good cameras, solid build quality, and software updates through late 2021. But it doesn’t work on Verizon or other carriers that use CDMA network technology.

Buying Options

$250 from Amazon

Runner-up

Samsung Galaxy A50

Samsung Galaxy A50

Modern design with support for all carriers

The Galaxy A50 works on all major carriers, and we like its vibrant OLED screen. However, Samsung uses a more cluttered version of Android that isn’t guaranteed to stay up to date.

Buying Options

$290* from Amazon
$350 from Samsung

*At the time of publishing, the price was $275.

Budget pick

Nokia 2.3

Nokia 2.3

The cheapest acceptable option

The Nokia 2.3 has guaranteed software updates through early 2022, and it’s faster than other phones in its price range. But it lacks a fingerprint sensor and doesn’t support CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint.

Buying Options

$130 from Amazon

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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