Best cheap phones in Australia 2024: Top budget-friendly handsets you can buy

Samsung Galaxy A54 in hand showing cameras
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to picking one of the best cheap phones, you should always look for the features which are most important to you. A cheaper device won't be able to provide all the bells and whistles offered by top flagship models, however, you will find that most affordable options will still deliver a fairly robust smartphone experience.

A good cheap handset will still provide all the essential functions we've come to expect from today's best phones, such as the ability to make calls, send text messages, browse the internet, take photos and even play games. That said, the price difference can usually be measured by how well it does those things.

While it's true that budget smartphones have come a long way in the last few years, some may prioritise certain features over others. That means you should expect some trade-offs — you won’t always find the most powerful processors, 120Hz displays or versatile zoom cameras.

That said, you'll likely be surprised by what today's more affordable phones are capable of. Below you'll find a list of the best cheap phones in Australia for 2024. Whether you're looking for an Android or iOS device, every smartphone on this list is priced under AU$750, which is less than half of what you'd pay for a current flagship phone in 2024. Read on to find out why we've chosen these particular models.

The Quick List

The best cheap phones you can buy today

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Best cheap phone overall

Samsung Galaxy A54 reviewEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheap phone overall

Specifications

Display: 6.4 inches (2340 x 1080)
CPU: Exynos 1380
RAM: 6GB, 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / Yes
Rear camera: 50MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 5MP macro (f/2.4)
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 202g

Reasons to buy

+
Improved 50MP main camera
+
Fun colors
+
Solid battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Only modest performance gains from predecessor
-
Noticeable bezel

As good as last year's Galaxy A53 was, the Galaxy A54 improves upon that midrange device in all the critical areas for smartphone users. The main camera is now the same 50MP shooter that Samsung uses on the more expensive Galaxy S23, and that helps the Galaxy A54 take on the Google Pixel 6a's impressive cameras. In head-to-head shots, the Galaxy A54 holds its own, even surpassing the output of the Pixel 6a in some cases, particularly when it comes to low-light shots.

The 6.4-inch OLED panel is brighter than the Galaxy A53's screen, and it's as colorful as ever. Battery life is better, too, as the Galaxy A54 outperforms the average smartphone on our battery test by half-an-hour. (Battery life improves even further when you turn off the Galaxy A54's adaptive refresh rate.) We also like the colourful look of the Galaxy A54, particularly the Awesome Violet variant.

We wish the Exynos 1380 processor boosted performance more than it does, and as good as the Galaxy A54's display is, those bezels are very noticeable. Still, with the Galaxy A54 price holding at AU$699, this is an impressive phone that delivers plenty of value for bargain hunters.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 review.

Runner Up

Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Premium features for less

Specifications

Display: 6.1 inches (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB / No
Rear camera: 64MP main (f/1.89), 13MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
Front camera: 13MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 193.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent Tensor G2-powered features
+
90Hz display is very bright
+
Wireless charging support

Reasons to avoid

-
Cameras produce dark colors

Despite being AU$50 more than the Galaxy A54, you can see how Google's justifying the price of the Pixel 7a. The budget phone now has a bright display with a 90Hz refresh rate and it supports wireless charging, too. Even with those additions, it's priced the same as its predecessor at AU$749 — that's a great price for a phone that carries the same Tensor G2 chipset that powers the more expensive Pixel 7.

The best change of all involves improved cameras, specifically the 64MP main shooter on the back of the phone. That's a larger sensor than what you get with the Pixel 6a, so the Pixel 7a thrives in low-light settings. It's a neck-and-neck competition with the Galaxy A54 as to which phone takes the better photos, but you won't be disappointed with the Pixel 7a's efforts, particularly with Tensor-powered tools like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur at your disposal.

If you absolutely want to spend the least amount of money for top features, the Galaxy A54 is the best cheap phone to get, but the Pixel 7a offers the most premium features for the money.

Read our full Google Pixel 7a review.

Bigger Savings

Google Pixel 6a review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Still an excellent cheap phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1 inches
Android version: 12
Processor: Tensor
Cameras: 12.2MP main, 12MP ultrawide (Rear); 8MP (Front)
RAM/Storage: 8GB/128GB

Reasons to buy

+
The best cameras on a budget phone
+
Bright display
+
Tensor chip powers new experiences

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor result on our battery test
-
Noticeably cheap materials

If you’re willing to overlook its disappointing battery life, the Google Pixel 6a is hard to beat as the best cheap phone overall. Credit the cameras, which always stand out on Google’s budget devices. Like its predecessors, the Pixel 6a relies on computational photography to deliver some of the best images in this price range — its photos can even challenge those produced by much more expensive phones. And unlike the iPhone SE (its closest competitor on the cheap camera phone front), the Pixel 6a supports a night mode.

You’ll also find a Tensor chipset powering the Pixel 6a — that’s the same silicon inside Google’s Pixel 6 flagships. As a result, the same AI-powered tricks Google’s flagship phone can pull off are available to the Pixel 6a, too, including the photo-editing Magic Eraser tool and on-device translation.

And, now that it's been superseded by the Pixel 7a, the Pixel 6a can found for a lot cheaper, often priced just under AU$600. It’s the phone to get if you place a premium on camera capabilities and special features. The biggest question these days is whether to pony up an additional dollarydoos to get newer Pixel 7a.

But if you really want to save as much money as you can (without sacrificing on functionality), the Pixel 6a is the way to go, especially with Pixel 6a deals dropping the price quite low these days. In fact, it's common to see the Pixel 6a discounted by hundreds of dollars — especially if you're willing to purchase an international model.

Read our full Google Pixel 6a review.

Still worthy

Samsung Galaxy A53 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Holds up fairly well against the newer Galaxy A54

Specifications

Display: 6.5-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Exynos 1280
RAM: 6GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes
Rear cameras: 64MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 5MP macro (f/2.4), 5MP depth (f/2.4)
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.2)

Reasons to buy

+
Good display with 120Hz refresh rate
+
Expandable storage up to 1TB
+
Nice design and build quality
+
Excellent software support

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre performance

If the fact that there's a newer model out there doesn't sway you, then you may want to give Samsung's Galaxy A53 a shot. This great mid-range handset had an RRP of AU$549 for the 128GB model at launch, and can often be found way cheaper than that these days. It also does just about everything well enough. It has a nice 6.5-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, supports 5G speeds and has a large 5,000mAh battery (our Pixel 6a vs. Galaxy A53 face-off goes into greater detail on the differences between these best cheap phone contenders for Android fans.)

Of course, the cameras could be better, especially in light of the Pixel 6a. However, they do just fine if you're okay with Samsung's characteristic oversaturated look. The performance won't wow you like the iPhone SE (2022), but it's good enough for most daily tasks.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review.