Pay less for oneor a doesn’t mean trading in access to all the features you need. In many cases, saving money still gets you the latest version of iOS or Android, multiple cameras, processors that can handle multiple tasks simultaneously, and large screens that are great for watching videos.
For this roundup of “cheap phones” we wanted to highlight phones that offer the most value for their price, and as such you can find phones starting at $160 that offer all the essential features, right through to phones that go as high as $600. Dollars but with the features and performance of a $900 phone.
Now if your personal barometer is finding a phone within a certain budget, ours isand Both lists summarize excellent options to consider based on what’s currently available in 2022. However, if you’re looking for a phone that’s outside of its price range, these options from Apple, Samsung, and Google are worth considering.
The $160 (£139, around AU$240) Samsung Galaxy A03S packs a lot of great features and could be a great choice for someone looking for the cheapest possible phone that can get the most important jobs done. The phone’s 6.5-inch screen with a resolution of 720p is great for reading the news, watching videos and playing games. Despite some performance lags noted during our testing, the phone is good at multitasking. However, the phone’s tiny 32GB of storage could fill up quickly. So if you’re considering this phone, it may be worth upgrading the storage with a microSD card.
Samsung also plans to support this phone with security updates for at least four years, which is as good as it gets at this price point. On the software side, it’s less clear how many Android releases are planned, but the phone will ship with Android 11 at launch.
Read our Samsung Galaxy A03S review.
Apple’s new iPhone SE for 2022 is a mix of an older design with the latest smartphone features, including Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip and 5G support, for $429. It’s also one of the few phones on the market that packs a smaller 4.7-inch screen.
However, it’s this throwback design that continues the general shape Apple has been using since 2014, and that might or might not be what you’ll love or dislike most about this phone. If you want a larger iPhone in this price range, you can also consider the $499 iPhone 11 for a larger screen and Face ID. However, this phone, which first launched in 2019, doesn’t offer 5G connectivity.
Read our iPhone SE (2022) review.
New for 2022, the Galaxy A53 brings you a wealth of Samsung features and performance at a fraction of the S Series price. It has a far larger screen and a more versatile camera cluster than the iPhone SE, although Apple’s budget model offers faster performance.
Still, given the affordable price, Samsung fans will appreciate what they’re getting here. The Galaxy A53 5G features an ultrawide lens for taking photos with a wider field of view and also supports night mode photography. Picture quality isn’t as good as a more expensive Samsung phone like the Galaxy S21 FE or Galaxy S22, but it’s certainly clear and colorful enough for basic shots. Other highlights include a long-lasting battery, four guaranteed generations of Android OS updates, and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.
Overall, the Galaxy A53 5G is a suitable choice for those who value a large screen and long battery life for less than $500. Just keep in mind that you might struggle with occasional lag and the camera isn’t as advanced as on pricier phones. Read our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review.
The iPhone 11 launched in 2019 but still offers a lot of value at its new price of $499. It features a dual-lens camera with wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses, a spacious 6.1-inch screen, and night mode for better photos in the dark. It lacks 5G support and runs on an older Apple processor. But if 5G isn’t your thing right now, the iPhone 11 has everything else most people need in a phone.
The combination of price, design, cameras, processor and software make the Google Pixel 6 one of the most affordable phones you can buy. The Pixel 6 exemplifies the best of Google services and Android 12. Google updated the design, added new camera hardware and even created its own processor for the phone, the Tensor chip.
Read our Pixel 6 review.