Whether you are a hardcore gamer, a multi-tasker, love to binge on Netflix, or a photoholic, with such a wide range of variety, there is sure a perfect set that meets all your demands and is worth your hard-earned cash. Here are the latest cheap smartphones for sale which will give you an edge for choosing the best smartphone for yourself.
Best smartphone deal: Samsung Galaxy A50
Second-best: Google Pixel 3 and 3a-XL
Best cheap smartphone: Apple iPhone 8
Also consider: Motorola Moto G7
Upgraded pick: LG G8 ThinQ
How we picked these phones
Best cheap smartphone: Samsung Galaxy A50
Being one of the latest Samsung, Galaxy A50 is killing the market for its highly commendable performance as well as a reasonable price. Thus its extensive qualities have made it possible to stand at our one of the best cheap smartphones under $300 2020 we have found so far.
Display: This unique set has a super AMOLED Infinity-U-display with a resolution of 2340 x 1000 (FHD+) in a 6’4 inch screen which ensures high definition watching experience. With a resolution of this level, watching videos or your favorite web series in this A50 will be indeed a treat to your eyes.
Memory: Talking of its memory power, it has 6GB RAM which handles graphic contents and RAM intensive apps with ease, and 64GB ROM with external memory support of up to 512GB which according to our users is more than enough. Gamers who have used Galaxy A50 have informed that it runs games smoothly with causing little to no hindrance.
Processor: With an octa-core processor, Galaxy smartphones ensure CPU speed of 2.3 GHz, 17 GHz which is far more than other sets in competition. This processor enables Galaxy smartphones to deal with advanced graphic – driving games and other functions efficiently. It also serves to have less landing time for app windows.
Camera quality: Now, coming to the most surfed feature of these days’ smartphones, the camera quality. It has the triple rear camera feature with resolutions of 25MP + 5MP + 8MP along with autofocus and flash technology. The main 25MP camera which has a wide dynamic range is backed up with another second wide-angle lens of 8MP to capture more content in a single frame. Not only that, but it also has an additional 5MP ‘depth’ lens which creates a 3-dimensional effect ensuring visibility of finer details in every picture captured.
Overall, the pictures captured with the triple rear camera of Galaxy A50 are sharper, clearer, and more balanced than other smartphone cameras of this price. On the bokeh effect test in portraits, the triple rear camera performed brilliantly. Though having these fantastic traits, it shoots video of only 1080p, without having the ability to shoot 4K video. Also, users have said that the night light camera was not good as compared to other smartphones. Apart from this, the 25MP front camera is bound to awaken the selfieholic in you. Users have said that the white balance of the pictures taken from the camera is perfect thus depicting the picture to be more natural-looking, realistic yet brighter, and smoother.
Battery life and performance: The dual sim set has a 4000 mAh battery capacity of up to 19 hours video playback and 15W fast charging which surely sets a benchmark for other smartphones of such specifications. In our series of tests, Galaxy A50 has topped our list in terms of battery performance and its longer durability consistently. The Samsung Galaxy A50 is without any doubt enough to please the gaming monster present in your heart. Although, sometimes it may seem “little bit buggy” as described by the users.
What we didn’t like:
Galaxy A50 also has an in-screen fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack. The fingerprint sensor though benefitting the looks of the smartphone is not at par the sensors of iPhones informed by some users. They mentioned that it takes longer to detect the fingerprint than the usual time. Also, users have complained about the speaker quality and the audio being too sharp and pitchy.
The sleek but sturdy design of A50 (though not water repellent) and the lightweight factor enhances the grip while holding. Along with these features, it has a 123° ultra-wide video lens and is available in 3 vibrant yet classy colors. So, the Galaxy A50 is just $299 is a bargain. If you are looking for one of the best budget smartphone 2020 with overall great features, this is transparently an excellent pick.
Second-best: Google Pixel 3 and 3a XL
The best android phone, originally launched in October 2018, Google Pixel 3 is one of the best cheap smartphones and is worth all the hype it is creating. Besides, making the phone available for the customers at a more affordable price is the icing on the cake. Pixel comes with the inbuilt Google assistant which helps the user in every corner of life. It also has the hyped call screen feature which filters out spam calls. Furthermore, it answers calls on the person’s behalf (duplex technology they call it). During the call, the software provides a transcript of the call simultaneously based on which you can decide whether to pick it up or not. There are many other perks of getting a phone designed by Google like, Google’s phones will be the first to receive software updates, unlimited cloud storage for photos, and many more. Also one of the best cheap smartphones, Google Pixel 3 and 3a-XL indeed comes with free YouTube music subscriptions for 6 months.
Screen display: Google Pixel 3 has a 5.5 inch OLED screen display with a resolution of 2280×1080 pixels. Quite less than other smartphones of similar range but it is not something to cause disappointment. Our users have not mentioned anything related to display so far, thereby it is legit to assume that the visual experience of Pixel 3 is quite satisfactory. Makers have not experimented with the fingerprint sensors as it is placed as usual at the back working all well and good. The center rear position of the sensor, unlike Samsung’s phone where sensors are present too close to the rear camera, makes it easier to use and unlock the phone. Besides, the Pixel gives you information about your phone usage and turns into greyscale around bedtime to reduce eye strain. This is part of Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative.
Memory power: Pixel 3 comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. With a RAM power like 4GB, it is unquestionable that running graphic content and RAM intensive apps on this Pixel 3 is quite an easy task. 64GB internal storage was enough for our average users but quite a few of them complaint about insufficient storage as Google Pixel 3 does not allow any external storage support. Although it is the only drawback, it is a major in terms of memory support as other smartphones in the competition are very strong in the memory game.
Processor: Google Pixel 3 runs with Snapdragon 845 chipset and has android 9 (pie) as its operating system. According to our testers, it works as smoothly as it is expected to and the performance does not vary from other smartphones having the same processor. Stutters are almost non-existent while day to day handling. Overall it provides a hassle-free experience while using this phone.
Camera quality: The most enthralling feature of Pixel 3 and 3a-XL is its camera quality. Who said that a double/triple rear camera is necessary for having good pictures? Google Pixel 3 breaks this myth with a single blow. To our utmost surprise, this unique set has only a single rear camera of 12.2 megapixels and the pictures which it captures are unbelievable. The photos captured are brilliant, detailed, clear, and intense apiece but never make it look unrealistic.
Having improved software for its detailed zoomed-in-shots, it beats even the smartest of smartphones in camera quality. The latest ‘Night Sight’ mode has made it possible for the low-lighting photos to enter into a completely new dimension. It is capable of brightening up even the darkest of scenes without even having the flash turned on. Besides, it has a ‘top shot’ feature which takes photos in motion and looks for smiling faces and open eyes to capture the best image possible.
It passed our portrait tests too efficiently with having minimal dispute towards the borders of the figure which is surely negligible. Google Pixel 3 has an out of the box second selfie camera which has a wide-angle lens proving to be a boon for all the groupieholics. The pictures taken from the front-facing camera are crisp and bright even though it is 8 megapixels. It also has the autofocus feature along with the customizable blurriness and focal depth for portraits. Besides, it has a Google lens that identifies objects and provides information about them and the all-new AR stickers and animated 3D characters which makes selfies a more fun thing to have. With all these details, we know that Google Pixel 3’s camera for sure seems to be a work of sorcery.
Battery life and performance: Google Pixel 3 has a decent battery performance. It has a battery capacity of 2915 mAh which lasted for about 15 hours on our video playback test on flight mode. Users have informed that Pixel 3 lasts throughout the day even under heavy usage like internet surfing and clicking innumerable photos, without the need of getting recharged. Google reintroduced the wireless charging facility in Pixel 3 & 3a-XL. The phone can get charged up easily on any Qi-compatible charging mat or Google’s Pixel stand without the hassle of plugging in a cord. It is also claimed to be water-resistant and in our dipping test, it succeeded in staying intact for 28 minutes under 1-meter deep water.
What we didn’t like:
Though it does not come with a headphone jack, the company has included USB Type-C earbuds which are comfortable and have an adapter with it. The design of the set is not as luxurious as compared to other flagship smartphones yet it feels good on a hand.
Google Pixel 3a XL
The Google pixel 3a XL has almost all the features of Pixel 3 with some additions which are provided below.
- It has a 6.6-inch display screen with a resolution of 2960 × 1440 pixels.
- The camera takes sharper photos.
- Load and clear speakers
- Comes with a fast charger and headphone dongle.
Overall, these Google Pixel 3 models are worth your hard-earned money if you are looking for exceptional camera quality on a budget phone.
Best cheap smartphone: Apple iPhone 8
Considered the best cheap smartphone, iOS phones have always occupied a position higher than android phones in terms of safety. Furthermore, Apple has succeeded in integrating a more updated processor, durable battery power, and other amazing features in Apple iPhone 8 which is available at an affordable price in the market.
Screen display: iPhone 8 has an amazing Retina HD display with IPS technology, with a density resolution of 1334 × 720 pixels bound in a 4’7 inch screen. Moreover, it has the old school glass back which renders a classy look to the phone as always.
Memory power: iPhone 8 comes with 64GB internal storage which cannot be expanded with external storage. Besides, it has only 2GB RAM which is quite shocking considering its performance. The fast running performance of the iPhone 8 is indeed due to its smart processor. Inbuilt with Apple’s all-new “A11 Bionic Chip”, iPhone 8 runs with a six-core processor. According to our, Benchmark tests, it is the fastest chip Apple has provided in phones of this range.
Camera quality: The camera quality of the iPhone 8 is better but it is not as good as dual cameras. Our researchers say that the better camera quality was the result of updated and new sensors and a new image signal processor. Though the camera lacks a clever portraits effect or telephoto lens, it succeeds in taking good low light shots. This phone also shoots 60fps, 4k video, and 240 fps, 1080 slow motor videos which are a bonus for sure. Its front facing the camera with a sensor resolution of 7 megapixels is added with features like auto image stabilization, exposure control, face time HD camera, and more.
Battery life and performance: Apple iPhone 8 has a decent battery life with a battery capacity of 1821 mAh. Users have informed that it lasted only up to 8 hours on heavy usage. It supports wireless charging though which is beneficial. It gets easily juiced up on any Qi-compatible charging mat.
Overall Apple iPhone 8 offering super-fast performance, wireless charging, solid camera upgrades, screens, and speakers, in just $409 is the best pick if you want to buy an iPhone under your budget but don’t want to miss out the latest upgrades. (Note: This model is locked with only T-mobile carrier)
Also consider: Motorola Moto G7
While talking of smartphones under $500, Motorola Moto G7 (succeeding the Moto G6 series), is worth the extra $50 than the former.
Screen display: Motorola Moto G7 comes in a crisp design with Gorilla Glass 3 front and back. Though having almost the same size as Moto G6, it manages to provide a 6’2 inch LCD with a dewdrop notch which makes the bezel thinner than iPhone XR. Moto G7 has much more pronounced corners thus creating a contrasting yet absolute display. In this set, the fingerprint reader has been shifted to the back and has been given a position that is easy to use and find. Yet some user finds this fingerprint reader to hamper the sleek design at the back. None the less, its 2270 × 1080p screen resolution balances the small inconvenience.
Memory power: 4GB RAM is certainly great memory power on a $300 phone. Not only it allows heavy graphic intensive apps and games like Alto’s odyssey and PUBG smoothly, but users have informed that the phone was barely warm after playing PUBG for about an hour. Apart from that, it has a 64GB internal storage along with a support of up to 512GB expandable storage which gives a tough competition to other smartphones having a flagship.
Processor: Motorola Moto G7 runs with 1’8 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor and has Android 9 pie as it’s the operating system. The reason Moto G7 is faster than Moto G6 is the Snapdragon processor which prevents any kind of lag or stutters while opening an app window or animations. Along with these features, Moto G7 also supports the call screen feature which helps you to monitor calls from unknown numbers via Google’s service. It’s additional Do Not Disturb mode, One Button Nav, Twist wrist camera opening features makes it simple, direct, and appealing to the users.
Camera quality (4K video): Motorola Moto G7 has a decent camera quality and is in no comparison to the camera of midrange or pricy smartphones to be true. But in this case, we should also keep in mind that we are getting it in only 300 bucks. Moto G7 has a double rear camera with a 12MP main camera and 5MP depth camera to draw out finer details in a picture. But it cannot provide a wider dynamic range in photos and videos which happens to be a drawback while taking pictures of landscapes. Considering it can shoot 4k video, portrait mode photos, slow-motion video and time-lapse, the camera quality is ‘wow’ for sure in this price range.
The photos captured in this are undoubtedly brighter and even more improved if shot in HDR mode. Although some photos showed a ripple effect in patterns and textures, it passed out greatly the bokeh effect test for portraits (ignoring the trouble around the edges). The customizable focus point and amount of blur is the cherry on the top. Besides that, the selfie camera of 8 megapixels is ‘fine’ according to the users. Sometimes it appeared to take photos where people’s skin was of less saturation. The auto smiling setting, where the selfie camera works only if everybody in the frame is smiling curbs down the criticism though.
Battery life and performance: One of the most visible changes between the Moto G6 and Moto G7 is the battery performance. Motorola Moto G7 has an improved battery life of about 35% than the previous one. The main complaint the users had about Moto G6 was the battery endurance. On a test, we have found that, while keeping the phone on airplane mode, Moto G6 had a video playback time of only 4 hours and 51 minutes. While Moto G7 lasted the same test for 12 hours and 51 minutes which is a dot 3-hour hike. Though Moto G7 does not have the facility of wireless charging it wins the game with its ‘turbo power’ charger which according to our research takes only 53 minutes to get fully charged.
Motorola Moto G7 also comes with a headphone jack and USB -C connector. Also, the unique feature of this set is its water-repellent coating. It has P2i nano-coating which protects the phone from the water up to some extent. Not that it will remain intact on being submerged underwater but sprinkles of water on it create no problem. Overall the Motorola Moto G7 is perfectly said as “cheap and best” by our users. And this pretty price is available at the jaw-dropping deal price of around $199 in two charismatic colors which adds an extra spark to your personality.
Upgraded pick: LG G8 ThinQ
One of the flagship smartphones of LG which is recently upgraded to a premium version along with Alexa, LG G8 ThinQ cannot be neglected while mentioning budget phones under $500. What’s special in this upgraded version?
Screen display: LG G8 ThinQ comes in a 6’1 inch screen having an OLED display with a mind-blowing resolution of 3120 × 1440 pixels. This feature itself beats the Galaxy S10 E with a bang. Having a pixel density of 564 PPI, LG G8 ThinQ renders an outstanding visual experience. Whereas, unlike Galaxy S10 E, the fingerprint sensor in LG G8 ThinQ is placed at the trite back. Although it has to be mentioned that this does not cause any hindrance while using the phone’s unlocking feature.
Memory power: LG G8 ThinQ has a memory power that can knock dead any of the smartphones which come in front. It has a 6GB RAM which is responsible for the hiccup-free, smooth and fast handling of the phone. RAM intensive apps, graphic driving games are some pieces of cakes for this premium smartphone. Besides, it has a 128GB internal storage which is expandable up to 2 TB. Isn’t it enthralling? Though this feature doesn’t fall into the upgraded specs it’s worth mentioning. If storage comes as the biggest issue for you in the case of smartphones, LG G8 ThinQ is the pick for this range.
Processor: Now, let’s come to the root cause of the super speedy performance of LG G8 ThinQ which is its processor. It runs with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset which is unquestionably one of the “top-of-the-line” processors in the market. According to the users, the performance shown by G8 was “fast, reliable and devoid of stutters”. For its processor, it keeps on the same pace as Galaxy S10 E.
Software features: Another innovative try on the part of LG was the hand ID. Similar to the iPhones face ID feature, LG G8 ThinQ’s front-facing camera has a new IR sensor and transmitter for 3D mapping and motion captures purposes for face unlocking. The face ID feature in G8 certainly performed decently as users informed that it worked properly even in dim lighting. This is an upgrade from the last year’s G7 which has only 2D face recognition thus making the phone more secure.
Now coming to the out of the box hand ID feature of G8 ThinQ. It scans the vein in your hand to unlock the phone. Though it sounds interesting, it’s not that convenient to use. What you have to do is drift your hand over the camera to unlock it. According to the company, it drives into another feature called Air Motion. As its name suggests, it lets you navigate the phone without physically touching it. You can pause or play media, swipe left or right, adjusts the volume with some twist, and turn pattern made with your hand. But it does not end here. You have to be accurate with your hand gesture and your hand should be at just the right spot for it to register.
Still, the hand ID does not work as fast as the face unlocks or the fingerprint scanner. Users said that this feature does not have that much significance as they usually get tired of trying to use the hand ID as it is very slow and needs quite a lot of patience. They said that instead of hovering over the phone for the longest time, they will just pick it up and do their job.
Camera quality: Talking about its camera quality, LG G8 ThinQ succeeds in taking bright, sharp, and vibrant pictures. With the 12MP standard and 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, this unique set is capable of breathing life into the most lost pictures. In comparison to Galaxy S10E, the content in the frame of the pictures in G8 is a little less and the pictures are less sharp. Though the colors on the G8 are deeper and warmer and it is not new that the mass prefers brighter pictures than anything. But in terms of the background, Samsung’s phone walks the extra mile as it serves a much smoother and clearer background in its photos.
The LG G8 also comes with a night view feature for low-lighting photographs which does brighten up the display up to some extent but its performance is incomparable with Pixel 3’s Night Sight mode. It has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. As far as the bokeh effect is concerned, LG G8 ThinQ has a lot of space for improvement. The blur looks very unrealistic and does not stand a chance to be compared with an SLR quality. The portrait mode clicks out pictures having a blurry background with patchiness around the border of the figure. Also, it can record 4k video which is a plus point. Overall it is appropriate to say that the camera quality is satisfactory, considering the price range.
Battery life and performance: It is unequivocal that the LG G8 ThinQ has a solid battery. On our benchmark test, it managed to last for 16 hours and 37 minutes while playing video continuously in flight mode. Although it is a little bit less than its competitors which could last 17 hours in the same test, this difference does not matter in day to day usage. With a 3,500 mAh battery and wireless charging facility, LG G8 also has the quick charge 3.0 which helps in fast charging.
Enclosing, we would like to say that if you already have LG G7 and want to upgrade it then it is not that important, but if you are planning to buy LG G7 then you should choose LG G8 ThinQ which is available in $500 in Amazon. Available in elegant colors like Aurora Black, LG G8 ThinQ surely deserves your hand.
How we picked these models
Below are the major factors we looked into before picking up the best phones under $500. We have completed hours of research, testing, and personally used these models to see how they perform in different conditions.
Performance: All the above-listed Smartphones are fast enough to ensure smooth functioning like better-than-average battery life, basic tasks like convenient email sending, high-resolution screens with good camera picture quality, etc. Budget phones are best when it comes to the inexpensive price tag and overall great features.
Software: The inexpensive Smartphone gets lesser software updates compared to flagship phones and hence it becomes slower in no time. We avoided those models whose manufacturers do not have a good history of sending software updates quite often. Your phone will not function properly if it’s loaded with unnecessary app collection that you hardly use and it’s not even updated quite frequently.
Display: Maximum smartphones have 1080p resolution now; however, a minimum that can go along well is 720p. The basis of this, we only recommend those phones which have better than average display quality, are bright and vibrant, reflecting good color clarity.
Camera: Most of our picks are equipped with a minimum of 13 MP cameras and 8 MP selfie cameras which, according to us, is capable of capturing if not great, but good quality images. However, if the camera is the only thing you look for; you must get a high-end phone that has higher pixels. What we picked, is something that most people are satisfied with.
Battery: We also were concerned with the battery life of this high-end Smartphone and they tend to get discharged quickly after just 3 months of usage. The models we recommend are capable of providing improved and better than average battery life. It’s a tedious task to keep charging your phone, sometimes even more than you use it. The mobile phones we picked have been considered keeping this factor in mind.
Design: We hate plastic. And so none of the models we listed above have a plastic back. All are either glass back or sturdy aluminum back with a sleek and modern look. They also come with a good grip to prevent the accidental fall or slip out of hands.