Best Cheap Phone of 2023: Most Value for Money



The Pixel 6A on the left and the iPhone SE on the right

The Pixel 6A (left) and the iPhone SE.

Patrick Holland/CNET

You need not splurge on the iPhone 14 or Galaxy S23 to get the newest model of iOS or Android, or perks like a number of cameras, pictures instruments and entry to your favourite apps and video games. In terms of the fundamentals, the very best low-cost telephones present loads of worth however value noticeably lower than their flagship rivals.

Our prime picks come as low-cost as $160, whereas extra superior fashions will run you $600 — which is considerably cheaper than top-of-the-line fashions from Apple, Samsung and Google. When you’ve got a selected funds in thoughts, you may as well take a look at our finest telephones below $200 and finest telephones below $500 lists for different inexpensive telephone choices.

What’s the finest low-cost telephone?

Even with out reductions, you could find brand-new telephones for lower than $200. However when a telephone’s common value is ready below $400, you will begin to discover concessions an organization makes to supply a extra inexpensive telephone. That is why the $449 Google Pixel 6A is our favourite finest low-cost telephone. Google delivers all the large options that matte, corresponding to a peppy processor, nice cameras and years price of software program help. And to maintain the worth low, Google makes good compromises, most notably a show that appears dim below direct daylight.
The Pixel 6A accomplishes its meant function of offering lots for much less. The digital camera could also be a step down from the Pixel 7, nevertheless it takes crisp and colourful photographs for its value. You additionally get the identical eye-catching design and Pixel-specific software program options like Magic Eraser and Stay Translate.

Greatest low-cost telephones of 2023

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Samsung’s Galaxy A03S at $160 (£139, roughly AU$240) consists of nice options and might be a match for somebody in want of an affordable telephone that may deal with important duties. The telephone’s 6.5-inch display screen, capped at 720p decision, is nice for studying information, watching movies and enjoying video games. Regardless of some efficiency lag throughout our evaluate, the telephone is nice at multitasking. However the tiny 32GB of cupboard space might refill quick, so in the event you’re contemplating this telephone, you would possibly need to broaden the storage with a microSD card.

Samsung additionally plans to help this telephone with at the very least 4 years of safety updates, which on this value vary is nearly as good because it will get. On the software program facet, it is much less clear what number of Android variations are scheduled, however the telephone initially ships with Android 11.

Learn our Samsung Galaxy A03S evaluate.

iPhone SE
Patrick Holland/CNET

Apple’s new iPhone SE for 2022 is a mixture of an older design with the newest smartphone options, together with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and 5G help, for $429. It is also one of many few telephones available on the market that features a smaller, 4.7-inch display screen.

Its throwback design, which continues the overall form that Apple has used since 2014, might be what you’re keen on or hate about it. In order for you a bigger iPhone on this value vary, you may as well take into account the $599 iPhone 12 for an even bigger display screen and Face ID.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2022) evaluate.

The back of Google's Pixel 6A phone
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The $449 Pixel 6A is the most recent system in Google’s extra inexpensive A sequence, changing the Pixel 5A. CNET’s Lisa Eadicicco referred to as it the “finest Android telephone below $500” in her Pixel 6A evaluate, noting the way it retains the identical Tensor chip because the $599 Pixel 6 and lots of of its finest options.

The telephone is barely smaller than the Pixel 6, that includes an 6.1-inch OLED show and a refresh fee of 60Hz. It additionally has an identical digital camera system because the Pixel 5A, which features a 12.2-megapixel major digital camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera. However the Tensor chip brings further advantages you will not get on the Pixel 5A, corresponding to Actual Tone for extra equitable pores and skin tones, Face Unblur, Evening Sight for low-light pictures and the Magic Eraser for eradicating undesirable parts from a photograph.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Galaxy A53 will get you an abundance of Samsung options and energy at a fraction of the S-series value. It boasts a bigger display screen and a extra versatile digital camera cluster than the iPhone SE, although Apple’s funds mannequin delivers snappier efficiency. 

Nonetheless, Samsung followers will admire what they’re getting at an inexpensive value. The Galaxy A53 5G has an ultrawide lens for taking photographs with a broader discipline of view and in addition helps night-mode pictures. Picture high quality is not nearly as good as what you’d get on a costlier Samsung telephone just like the Galaxy S21 FE or Galaxy S22, nevertheless it’s clear and colourful for primary photographs. Different highlights embody a long-lasting battery, 4 assured generations of Android working system updates and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Total, the Galaxy A53 5G is an appropriate alternative for many who prioritize having a big display screen and lengthy battery life for lower than $500. You may need to take care of some occasional lag, and the digital camera is not as superior as these discovered on pricier telephones. Learn our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G evaluate.

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Google's Pixel 7

Google’s Pixel 7 refines the design components launched with final yr’s Pixel 6, whereas additionally throwing within the firm’s new Tensor G2 processor. The telephone retains the $599 value as final yr’s Pixel 6, however new Pixel-exclusive options like Picture Unblur add much more worth. 

Learn our Google Pixel 7 evaluate.

How we take a look at telephones

Each telephone on this listing has been totally examined by CNET’s knowledgeable critiques group. We use the telephone, take a look at the options, play video games and take photographs. We assess any advertising and marketing guarantees that an organization makes about its telephones. And if we discover one thing we do not like, be it battery life or construct high quality, we let you know about it. 

We look at each facet of a telephone throughout testing:

  • Show
  • Design and really feel
  • Processor efficiency
  • Battery life
  • Digicam high quality
  • Options

We take a look at all of the telephone’s cameras (each back and front) in a wide range of situations: from outside below daylight to dimmer indoor locales and nighttime scenes (for any accessible evening modes). We additionally examine our findings towards equally priced fashions. We’ve a sequence of actual world battery assessments to see how lengthy a telephone lasts below on a regular basis use.

We have in mind further telephone options like 5G, fingerprint and face readers, styluses, quick charging, foldable shows and different helpful extras. We weigh all our experiences and testing towards the worth so whether or not a telephone represents good worth or not.

Learn extra: How we take a look at telephones

Greatest low-cost telephones FAQs

Can you discover low-cost telephones on sale?

Sure, most of the low-cost telephones included on this listing can be found at a reduction throughout purchasing occasions. As an example, Google’s Pixel 6A obtained a $150 low cost that briefly introduced its value down from $449 to $299. When you’ve got a telephone in thoughts but additionally have the pliability to carry off for a purchasing occasion like Black Friday, it might be price it to attend for a value discount.

Are low-cost telephones accessible unlocked?

Sure, many low-cost telephones can be found unlocked by the producer. This lets you use the telephone with practically any wi-fi service by inserting your SIM card. If you need the pliability to modify carriers, ensure you purchase an unlocked mannequin. 

Are low-cost telephones good for teenagers?

Shopping for an affordable telephone might be an incredible choice when looking for a child or teenager, however that does not imply the telephone is personalized to have a kid-friendly expertise. Mother and father ought to nonetheless arrange any vital parental controls, restrictions or apps on an iPhone or Android to ensure it is acceptable for teenagers.


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