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Best cheap phones in 2020

Best cheap phones
(Image credit: Future)

The best cheap phones don’t look or feel cheap at all. Based on our testing and reviews, you can get a very good smartphone for under $400 with all the features most buyers need.

Those on a budget will find that the best cheap phones offer capable cameras, big-enough displays for watching video and playing games and enough battery life to get you through most of the day.

You do need to make some trade-offs in this price range, as you won’t find the most powerful processors or special features like fast wireless charging, but overall you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what cheap phones deliver.

The best cheap phone right now is the Google Pixel 3a, which is also one of the best phones overall. No other Android phone delivers so much under $400, especially when it comes to camera quality. And you get Google’s Android 10 software. 

If battery life is more important to you, check out the Moto G7 Power. This handset lasted more than 15 hours on our web surfing battery test, which is 3 hours longer than the best flagships.

Apple reportedly has its own cheap iPhone on the way that will cost under $400 in the iPhone SE 2 (aka iPhone 9), which could be unveiled at the end of March. See all the best cheap phones below.

The best cheap phones you can buy today

Google Pixel 3a

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Google Pixel 3a

The best unlocked phone overall

Screen: 5.6-inch LCD (2280x1080) | CPU: Snapdragon 670 | Cameras: 12 MP (Rear);8 MP (Front) | RAM: 4 GB | Storage/Expandable: 64GB/No | Weight: 5.2 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 11:59

Powerful camera
Sub-$400 Price
Long battery life
No wireless charging
Display could be brighter

The best cheap phone overall, the $399 Pixel 3a delivers the same great camera as Google's pricier phones but at a much lower cost. This includes Google's amazing Night Sight feature for low-light shots. The Google Pixel 3a is available directly through Verizon and T-Mobile. You can also buy the Pixel 3a unlocked from Google's online store, and take it to any network you like. 

The Pixel 3a also delivers the best battery life ever from a Google phone, lasting nearly 12 hours on our test. You will make some trade-offs on processor speed and the brightness of the OLED display with the 3a, but if you want the best unlocked phone, this the cheap phone to buy.

Read our full Pixel 3a review.
  

Moto G7 Power

(Image credit: Future)

2. Moto G7 Power

The best cheap phone overall

Display Size (Pixels): 6.2-inch LCD (1512 x 720 pixels) | CPU: Snapdragon 632 | RAM: 3GB | Storage / Expandable: 32GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 12-MP / 8-MP | Weight: 6.9 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 15:35

Incredible battery life 
Solid performance 
Works on all networks
Plain design
Not great for gaming

The best phone you can get for the money, the Moto G7 Power offers the longest battery life we've seen over the last couple of years. This handset lasted a whopping 15 hours and 35 minutes on our battery test. That's three hours longer than the already long-lasting Galaxy S10 Plus (12:35), which costs $750 more.

You also get a big and colorful 6.2-inch display with minimal bezels, a pretty good 12-MP camera (even if it's not at the level of our favorite camera phones) and solid performance form its Snapdragon 632 processor. Plus, unlike most unlocked phones, you can use this one on any GSM or CDMA carrier, so it will work with all of the major providers. Other perks of the G7 Power include a fingerprint sensor on the rear and TurboPower Charging to get the phone juiced up fast via USB-C.

Read our full Moto G7 Power review.

ZTE Blade 10 Prime

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. ZTE Blade 10 Prime

Really good performance for the price

Display Size (Pixels): 6.3 inches (2280 x 1080 pixels) | CPU: MediaTek Helio P60 | RAM: 3GB | Storage / Expandable: 64GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): 16-MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 5-MP (ƒ/2.0) / 16-MP | Weight: 5.76 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 7:02

Good performance
Low price
Decent cameras
Short battery life
Camera can be unresponsive

The ZTE Blade 10 Prime delivers a surprising amount of phone for under $200. You get a dual-lens rear camera, a big 6.3-inch display with slim bezels and a microSD card slot that supports up to 2TB of storage. The MediaTek's Helio P60 processor combined with 3GB of RAM keeps things running smoothly on this Android phone. The biggest strike against the Blade 10 Prime is the short battery life; this handset lasted just over 7 hours on our web surfing battery test. But overall this is one of the best cheap phones you can buy.

Read our full ZTE Blade 10 Prime review.

Galaxy A20

(Image credit: Future)

4. Samsung Galaxy A20

Great battery life for the money

Display Size (Pixels): 6.4-inch AMOLED (1560 x 720 pixels) | CPU: Exynos 7904 | RAM: 3GB | Storage / Expandable: 32GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): Dual: 13-MP (f/1.9); 5-MP wide angle (f/2.2) / 8-MP | Weight: 5.8 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 13:46

Outstanding battery life
Low price
Good cameras for budget phone
Laggy performance
Design isn't that durable

The Samsung Galaxy A20 costs just $250 and gives you pretty good features for the money. This includes a 4,000 mAh battery that lasted a very impressive 13 hours and 46 minutes our battery test, a roomy 6.4-inch AMOLED display and solid dual rear cameras with Live Focus mode. Another plus is 15-watt fast charging; the Galaxy A20 got to 30% in just 30 minutes. However, there are some drawbacks at this price, including a design that can scratch easily and somewhat laggy performance from the Samsung Exynos 7904 CPU. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A20 review.

moto e5 play

(Image credit: Motorola)

5. Moto E5 Play

The best phone under $100 (with some trade-offs)

Display Size (Pixels): 5.2 inches (1280 x 720 pixels) | CPU: Snapdragon 425 | RAM: 2GB | Storage / Expandable: 16GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): Dual: 8 MP (f/2.0) / 5-MP | Weight: 5.3 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 8:51

Fingerprint sensor (select models)
Good performance for budget phone
Removable battery
Uninspiring cameras
Mediocre battery life

Normally, we don't recommend phones under $100, but the Moto E5 Play is an exception, because it provides a decent size 5.2-inch display, adequate performance from its Snapdragon 425 processor and an 8-MP camera that gets the job done. You also get a fingerprint sensor and removable battery. Just be prepared to make some trade-offs in terms of screen resolution and battery life. The best part is that the price is now even cheaper, as you can easily find the E5 Play for under $50.

Read our full Moto E5 play review.

Samsung J7 Prime

(Image credit: Future)

6. Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime

A decent cheap phone with shortish battery life

Display Size (Pixels): 5.5 inches (1920 x 1080 pixels) | CPU: Exynos 7870 | RAM: 2GB/3GB | Storage / Expandable: 16GB/32GB / Yes | Cameras (Back / Front): Dual: 8 MP / 5-MP | Weight: 5.9 ounces | Battery Life (Hrs:Mins): 8:32

Classic Samsung design
Solid rear camera
Accurate colors on display
Aging Android Oreo with no upgrade
microUSB port

A good Samsung phone under $200? The J7 Prime is a pretty solid handset for the price, offering a 5.5-inch full HD screen and a pretty impressive 13 megapixel camera. The shooter works well even in low light. The Galaxy S6-like design looks pretty good, too. The Exynos processor inside the J7 Prime provides decent performance, but the 8.5 hours of battery life is below average.

Read our full Galaxy J7 Prime review.