September 11

Top 6 Budget Smartphones

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Table Of Contents

In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to find a decent smartphone for under $500. Even if you don’t pay attention to smartphones, you’ll likely notice that they have drastically increased in price over the last few years. Sometimes, I’ll walk into a store just to check out the latest and greatest phone and I’m slapped in the face by an $800+ price tag.

The increase in price makes sense since smartphones have become more powerful than ever, but should a modern smartphone really have to break the bank?

Today, we are going to be covering the top 6 best budget smartphones to buy in 2020—phones that won’t put a hole in your pocket. Now, by ‘budget’, we don’t mean a mobile that’s going to last you 5 minutes. Rather, our list contains some value-for-money phones that will actually last. So, without further delay, here are the best budget smartphones on the market.


Top 6 Budget Smartphones

We understand that everyone’s budget is slightly different and therefore our list contains some smartphones in the $130 to $400 price range. Let’s start off with our best choice budget smartphone for 2020, shall we?

Best Choice: Samsung Galaxy A20

Pros & Cons

  • Large AMOLED display
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Great software
  • Average camera performance

Specifications:

  • OS: Android
  • CPU: Octa-core (2×1.6 GHz Cortex-A73 & 6×1.35 GHz Cortex-A53)
  • GPU: Mali-G71 MP2
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Screen Size: 6.4 inches
  • Resolution: 720 x 1560 pixels
  • Dimensions: 6.24 x 2.94 x 0.31 inches
  • Rear Camera: 13 MP, f/1.9, 28mm (wide) + AF 5 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide)
  • Rear Camera Video: 1080p@30fps
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0
  • Weight: 0.75 lbs
  • Battery: Li-Po 4,000mAh

Samsung Galaxy A20 Review

If you’re a fan of outstanding Samsung smartphones, you’re gonna love our number one budget option.

The Samsung Galaxy A20 is one of, if not the, best cheap smartphone you can purchase right now. For starters, this certainly doesn’t look like a budget-friendly phone thanks to the premium looking 3D curved glasstic on the rear panel of the phone.

The fingerprint sensor may be too high for some people, but as a Pixel 2 user, this really didn’t bother me at all. To the left of the sensor is a sleek 13MP rear camera with an f/1.9 aperture complemented by a secondary 5MP ultrawide shooter.

When it comes to storage, the Samsung Galaxy A20 packs 32GB of inbuilt storage that can easily be expanded up to 512GB via a microSD card. On the topic of connectivity options, I was delighted to find out that this thing features a USB Type-C port.

Flip the phone around and you’ll be faced with a stunning AMOLED screen, though there is a silver lining—the resolution is only HD+. With that said, you can’t go wrong for the price, so we’ll let that one slide (for now).

In terms of the size, this budget-friendly smartphone comes armed with a 6.40-inch touchscreen display—a screen that covers most of the phone. Although the Samsung Galaxy A20 is only $159.89, it’s powered by a 1.6GHz octa-core Exynos processor as well as 3GB of RAM.

Since this smartphone is powered by a 4,000mAh battery with fast-charging support, you won’t have to worry about it dying on you, either. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A20 is a superb smartphone that has the aesthetic of a premium mobile.

Premium Pick: Google Pixel 3A

Pros & Cons

  • Premium look and feel
  • Excellent display
  • The headphone jack is back
  • No water-resistance

Specifications:

  • OS: Android
  • CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 670 (2.0 GHz + 1.7 GHz, 64-bit Octa-Core)
  • GPU: Adreno 615
  • RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4x
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • Screen Size: 5.6 inches
  • Resolution: 2220 x 1080 pixels
  • Dimensions: 5.96 x 2.76 x 0.32 inches
  • Rear Camera: 12.2 MP dual-pixel, f/1.8, 1.4 μm pixel width + 76° field of view
  • Rear Camera Video: 1080p @ 30fps, 60fps, 120fps + 720p @ 30fps, 60fps, 240fps + 4K @ 30fps
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 1.12 μm pixel width + 84° field of view
  • Weight: 0.99 lb
  • Battery: 3000 mAh

Google Pixel 3A Review

Google’s Pixel 3a is a mid-range smartphone that may just fit into your budget. It’s essentially everything that made the Pixel 3 great, but at a budget-friendly $399. That includes the handy Active Edge squeeze function and a cutting-edge camera.

Sure, $400 is still a fairly large amount of money, but when you look at what this phone has to offer, it’s certainly worth it. On the outside you could easily mistake it for the Google Pixel 3 owing to the rounded edges and overall sleek body. Thanks to these details, it doesn’t look like a budget phone, nor does it feel cheap. So, what else makes the Google Pixel 3a so good?

As we have mentioned, the star of the show is most definitely the 12.2 MP f/1.8 camera on the rear of the phone. Compared to the Pixel 3, the 3a sadly lacks the Pixel Visual Core chip and so processing time is slightly increased.

Nevertheless, you’ll be able to view the photos you take on the stunning 5.6-inch screen. The display itself is Full HD+ and OLED, the resolution? 2220 x 1080. Thanks to the rather small screen size, the Google Pixel 3a boasts a whopping 441 pixels per inch for sharper and more detailed pictures.

The model we chose for our list comes with a nice 64GB storage and 4GB LPDDR4x RAM. Unfortunately, the Google Pixel 3a doesn’t come with a microSD card slot like the Galaxy A20, so you can’t expand the storage space.

Nonetheless, the Snapdragon 670 processor makes up for it. Considering the Google Pixel 3a is armed with such a processor, the phone is extremely smooth, especially when browsing the web. Furthermore, you can browse the web for hours on end as the Google Pixel 3a doesn’t consume much power.

Best Value: BLU VIVO XL4

Pros & Cons

  • Very affordable
  • Superb 6.2-inch IPS display
  • 32G internal storage
  • 1520 x 720 resolution

Specifications:

  • OS: Android
  • CPU: Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8320
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Screen Size: 6.2 inches
  • Resolution: 720 x 1520 pixels
  • Dimensions: 6.19 x 0.3 x 3 inches
  • Rear Camera: Dual 13+2MP Main w/Flash
  • Rear Camera Video: 1080@30fps
  • Front Camera: 13MP Selfie w/Flash
  • Weight: 0.5 lb
  • Battery: 4000mAh

BLU VIVO XL4 Review

If your budget is extremely tight and you want a decent smartphone that won’t break the bank, the BLU VIVO XL4 is a fantastic option. Designed with metal materials, a modern top-notch and rounded corners, the VIVO XL4 truly looks phenomenal—despite the price point.

Additionally, the bezels are extremely thin giving the VIVO XL4 an 80% screen-to-body ratio, so you won’t be put off by thick bezels, either. Generally speaking, the 6.19 x 0.03 x 3-inch dimensions should fit in most users hands very nicely, and since it only weighs 0.5 lbs, you won’t get tired after hours of use.

Much like most modern smartphones, the BLU VIVO XL4 offers a fingerprint scanner, a micro USB connector as well as a headphone jack that is somewhat less common nowadays. As this value-for-money smartphone comes packed with a 4,000mAh battery, you’ll also be able to play some of the best Android games for hours on end.

If you’re somewhat of a photographer, the 13MP and 2MP rear dual-cameras may appeal to you. Furthermore, if you love to keep your Instagram page up-to-date, the 13MP front camera with flash will make you stand out from the crowd. But what about the display?

The 6.2-inch HD+ display on the VIVO XL4 is surprisingly bright, despite the fact that the resolution of this phone is 720 x 1520 pixels. Another convenient thing about this phone is that it comes with a handy Tempered Glass Protector and a clear and printed silicone case for protection right out of the box.

Internally, this budget smartphone comes with 32GB storage that can easily be upgraded to 128GB with a MicroSD. There’s also a MediaTek Helio P22 processor packed alongside 3GB RAM—a sufficient amount for most users on a budget. We’d have liked to see a little more RAM, though, for a bit over $100, we couldn’t complain too much about the BLU VIVO XL4.

Best Battery: Moto G7 Power

Pros & Cons

  • Large battery and brilliant battery life
  • Lots of storage
  • Splash resistant design
  • 720p display

Specifications:

  • OS: Android
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Silver)
  • GPU: Adreno 506
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Screen Size: 6.2 inches
  • Resolution: 720 x 1570 pixels
  • Dimensions: 6.28 x 2.99 x 0.37 inches
  • Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/2.0, 1.25µm, PDAF
  • Rear Camera Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm
  • Weight: 0.42 lbs
  • Battery: 5000mAh

Moto G7 Power Review

Back onto another sub-$250 phone, the Moto G7 Power is without a doubt a very powerful budget-friendly smartphone. The best part about it? The 5000mAh power pack that allegedly gives you around 60 hours of active use, and let me tell you now, it certainly comes close to that.

To some, it may seem awkwardly large since it’s 6.28 x 2.99 x 0.37 inches thick, though, for those of you (like me) who have larger hands, the Moto G7 Power will feel extremely comfortable.

If you flip the G7 Power over, you’ll also notice that the back isn’t glass, rather it’s made from polycarbonate, AKA, a fingerprint magnet. So if you hate fingerprints, grab yourself a decent smartphone case.

Below the 12 MP f/2.0 camera, you’ll instantly notice a convenient fingerprint scanner that stands out thanks to the Motorola logo. When it comes to storage space, the one we have selected for our list comes with 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM—though there is a version of the Moto G7 Power with 64GB of internal storage.

Onto power, the Moto G7 Power is packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor and an Adreno 506 GPU that allows for smooth performance. Considering the quality of Moto G7’s CPU, you won’t have to learn how to speed up your phone any time soon.

Even though the phone may be too large for some, the screen size is a nice size at 6.2-inches with a resolution of 720 x 1570 pixels. Furthermore, the screen-to-body ratio on the G7 Power is 78.65%, a decent enough size for watching your favorite Hulu shows.

Since this smartphone has a fairly wide notch on the top of the screen, you can only see a couple of notifications at a time, something that may frustrate some users. Though, if you don’t care to look at notifications on the top bar, this shouldn’t be seen as an issue. What’s more, the phone is only $250, so any small issue can easily be overlooked.

Best For Selfies: Huawei Honor 8X

Pros & Cons

  • Value-for-money smartphone
  • Incredible battery life
  • Sleek design
  • MicroUSB charging

Taking selfies is nothing to be ashamed of. We all do it – ALL of the time. Pair Huawei Honor 8X’s picture quality with some of the best Android camera apps and you got yourself a powerful selfie-taking combo.

Specifications:

  • OS: EMUI 8.2 (Based on AndroidOS)
  • CPU: Kirin 710, Octa-Core (4 x Cortex-A73 2.2 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53 1.7 GHz)
  • GPU: Kirin 710 with GPU turbo
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen Size: 6.5 inches
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Dimensions: 160.4×76.6×7.8 mm
  • Rear Camera: 20MP (F/1.8 aperture) + 2MP Dual Rear Camera With LED Flash
  • Rear Camera Video: 1080p full HD
  • Front Camera: 16MP (F/2.0 aperture)
  • Weight: 7.05 lbs
  • Battery: 3750 MAh

Huawei Honor 8X Review

Even though the Huawei Honor 8X is a very modern-looking phone, it comes with a very attractive price tag. Power this thing on and you’ll notice how similar it is to a flagship phone. Since it’s so cheap, there are, however, some compromises to the hardware.

One of the most frustrating things is the use of a micro USB port rather than USB-C—although we can’t exactly complain about that. This particular budget mobile has a sleek glass back complemented by metal sides, and of course, a popular top-notch processor. What’s more, it’s a 6.5-inch handset with a 1080 x 2340 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio display.

The camera isn’t as sharp as some other Huawei’s on the market, though, for the price point, that’s to be expected. Nevertheless, the 20MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture complemented by a 2MP depth sensor allows for stunning photographs.

Plus, with the 16MP f/2.0 front-facing camera, your selfies will look flawless—especially in portrait mode. Sure, the secondary rear camera is fairly weak, but for some users, that won’t be an issue. So, what else makes this a budget-friendly smartphone in the sub-$200 range?

This particular Huawei handset is powered by a Mali G51 GPU as well as an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset, one that has four 2.2GHz Cortex-A73 and four 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 cores. As well as this, you also get 4GB of RAM, enough to keep everything running smoothly.

Furthermore, there’s 64GB of internal storage with the option to expand using a MicroSD card. Although the Honor 8X comes with a 3750mAh battery, this budget smartphone lasts a very long time and therefore it’s one of the best budget smartphones to buy in 2020. But, if you’re interested in more expensive Huawei option, after all, check out our Huawei P30 Pro review.

Best Camera: Xiaomi Redmi Note 7

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent performance
  • Superb rear camera
  • USB Type-C support
  • No NFC (Near-field communication)

Specifications:

  • OS: Android
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260)
  • GPU: Adreno 512
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen Size: 6.30 inches
  • Resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
  • Dimensions: 3.54 x 6.69 x 1.97 inches
  • Rear Camera: 48 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF
  • 5 MP, f/2.2, depth sensor
  • Rear Camera Video: 1080p@30/60/120fps, (gyro-EIS)
  • Front Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, 1.12µm
  • Weight: 0.95 lbs
  • Battery: 4000mAh

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Review

Last, but certainly not least, is a budget smartphone available for the same price as the Honor 8X, but how do they compare? The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 comes armed with an octa-core Snapdragon 660 chipset backed up with 4GB of RAM for strong performance.

Adding to the quality, this budget device is made from glass for a premium feel, while the sides of the Remi Note 7 are made from plastic. Under the hood is a nice 4,000mAh battery so that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 doesn’t die after a couple of hours.

Sadly, there is no NFC (Near-field communication), so if you prefer to checkout fast with contactless payment, this may be a deal-breaker.

The 6.3-inch, 1080 x 2340 IPS display is certainly fantastic, sporting a Full HD+ resolution with a sleek water-droplet notch. As the bezels are so thin, your mobile gaming and viewing experience will be nothing but immersive.

As this smartphone is so cheap, it lacks AMOLED technology and so it doesn’t look as stunning as some of the other phones on our list. Regardless, it brags a bright screen which is useful for outdoor viewing in the summertime. What’s more, viewing angles are brilliant, so you don’t have to worry about clarity, either.

The camera is where the Redmi Note 7 really shines; it has a 48 MP f/1.8 primary camera paired with a second 5MP f/2.4 depth-sensor on the back. Photographs admittedly aren’t as good as on the Google Pixel 3A, for example.

Albeit, they are good enough for a budget phone. On the other hand, the 13MP f/2.2 selfie camera looks great, yet it admittedly sometimes struggles in certain lighting. Still, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 is a superb budget smartphone that you should certainly consider if your budget is below $200.

 

Budget Smartphones: Buying Guide

Battery Life: Long-Lasting Battery

In 2020, good battery life is necessary and almost a priority when looking to purchase a new smartphone. Personally, I use my phone for everything, so decent battery life is extremely important to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck without Google Maps or a camera in important situations—it’s depressing and terribly frustrating.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Certification

Most phones today offer around 5- to 7-hours of talk time per charge, which is surely enough for most people. What’s more, most modern phones support fast-charging, so you don’t have to wait around for your phone to charge, either.

Display: Screen Brightness and Resolution

Even though the resolution is a very important thing to look out for, screen brightness is just as important when purchasing a smartphone on a budget. Have you ever been outside on a sunny day, unable to see your screen because of how dull it is?

It’s exasperating and it can very easily be avoided by looking for a smartphone with a decent display. Since the smartphones on our list are budget-friendly options, there are some 720p displays that most people would avoid—though truthfully, they aren’t all that bad. If you’re looking to purchase a cheap smartphone, screen resolution will be around 720 x 1560 pixels to 2220 x 1080 pixels depending on the price tag.

Dimensions and Screen Size: Comfort Is Everything

Regardless of what your smartphone budget is, the most important factor to consider when looking for a mobile phone are the dimensions. Or, more specifically, the screen size. If you can’t fit an XL smartphone in your hands, you’re going to feel uncomfortable and your chances of dropping the phone will drastically increase.

Moto G7 Power back

You also want to find a smartphone with a screen size suitable for you and your personal requirements. If you love to watch your favorite Netflix shows on your smartphone, like me, you’ll require a large screen and so we suggest opting for a screen size larger than 6-inches.

Operating System: iOS vs Android

There’s a huge argument between whether or not iOS or Android is superior, and although we haven’t included any iPhones to our list, we aren’t purposely avoiding iOS. Android is often preferable and therefore it so happens that the best budget smartphones are Android. While there are some budget-friendly iPhones, such as the iPhone 6, we wanted to include some smartphones that would actually last.

What’s more, Android is the most commonly used platform used by many manufacturers since it’s preferable and often easier to use. If you prefer iOS and your budget is higher, we think you’ll enjoy our guide to the top 7 iPhones on the market.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which Budget Smartphone Has the Best Camera?

Even though the phone may be slightly too much for some users, the camera on the budget-friendly Google Pixel 3A is phenomenal. The single 12MP sensor paired with an f/1.0 aperture lens doesn’t sound like much on paper, though Google’s superb software assists in making photos look absolutely stunning.

Google Pixel 3A back

With a bunch of different modes such as Night Sight for long exposure shots, you will be able to shoot photos with confidence using the Google Pixel 3A. The best part of the phone? It’s just under $400, so you don’t have to pay a premium price for a premium smartphone camera.

What Is the Best Cheap Samsung Smartphone?

We placed the fantastic Samsung Galaxy A20 in the first place as our best choice budget smartphone for 2020—and there’s definitely a reason for that. Although there are some cheaper Samsung smartphones on the market, the A20 is one of, if not the, best value-for-money smartphone you can buy today.

It’s fast, sharp, and it won’t die on you after just a couple of hours. If your budget is a little higher, we highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy A70—a smartphone currently available for $374.99.

Is Samsung a Good Phone to Buy?

Absolutely! Samsung smartphones often come armed with a brilliant display, incredible battery life, and great software. Flagship Samsung smartphones will certainly break the bank, but with the Samsung Galaxy A20, you get a mobile phone with an excellent display and superb performance for under $160.

samsung galaxy a20 hands on

What Is the Best Cheapest Android Phone to Buy?

The cheapest Android phone to buy on our list is the BLU VIVO XL4. At $129.99, the phone surprisingly comes with 32GB internal storage and a superb 6.2-inch IPS display. If your budget is slightly higher, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 and the Huawei Honor 8X are both available for a mere $184.


Conclusion

We believe that a modern smartphone shouldn’t have to break the bank, which is why we have created a convenient list of the best budget smartphones to buy in 2020. Phones that will actually last rather than break after a mere 5 seconds of use. The phones on our list certainly aren’t perfect, but let’s be real here, what smartphone is? Saying that there are some smartphones that are close to perfect, so if your budget is a little more flexible, we recommend checking out our guide to the best Android phones to buy right now.


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