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The best budget Android phones for 2022

the-best-budget-android-phones-for-2022

Not too long ago, buying a budget smartphone meant you were probably in for a bad time: crummy performance, paltry update support, and maybe even Micro-USB charging. These days, not so much: the best budget Android phones start under 200 bucks, and they're not that different from higher-end models. Here, we've assembled a list of six of our favorite low-cost options.

Editors choice

1. Google Pixel 5a

9.00 / 10

We've been big fans of every Pixel a-series phone since 2019's Pixel 3a, and the Pixel 5a is a wonderful showcase of what makes Google's mid-rangers special. It's got the same chipset and great cameras as the Pixel 5, but while that phone cost an aspirational $700, the 5a clocks in a much more reasonable $450. It's also the first Pixel a phone with an official IP water-resistance rating, and its 4,680 mAh battery goes and goes: in our review, Ryne saw up to 10 hours of screen time spread across a handful of days.

It's not all rosy, though: Google's only promised three years of security updates for the phone, which isn't great by today's standards — it'll reach the end of that lifespan in August 2024. It doesn't have a high refresh rate display or wireless charging, either. If you've got a little more to spend, consider the $600 Pixel 6 for its camera, performance, and quality-of-life improvements, plus its five-year update timeline. Otherwise, the Pixel 5a is an excellent and affordable way to try Google's increasingly colorful flavor of Android (until the Pixel 6a comes around later this year, anyway).

  • Storage: 128GB
  • CPU: Snapdragon 765G
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Operating System: Android 12
  • Battery: 4,680 mAh
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.34″ 1080p OLED, 60Hz
  • Camera (Front): 8MP f/2 fixed-focus (83° FoV)
  • Cameras (Rear): 12.2MP f/1.7 wide-angle (77° FoV) 16MP F/2.2 ultra-wide (177° FoV)
  • Price: $449
  • Dimensions: 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm
  • The best camera you can get this side of a Pixel 6
  • Excellent battery life
  • First a-series Pixel with rated water resistance (IP67)
  • Three years of security patches is weak for Google
  • Considerably larger than previous Pixel a-series phones, though you may prefer that
  • Display is only 60Hz
Google Pixel 5a
Premium pick

2. Samsung Galaxy A53

8.00 / 10

The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is, in many ways, a pitch-perfect sequel to the Galaxy A52 5G, which we liked quite a bit. It uses an Exynos processor rather than the mid-range Snapdragon 750G from last year's phone, and it unfortunately loses the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack — but everything else is the same. That includes the 120Hz OLED display with an under-display fingerprint sensor and a decent camera array featuring a 64-megapixel primary camera and 12-megapixel ultrawide (plus a couple of crappy depth and macro cameras).

If all of that sounds a little boring for our Premium Pick, you're not off base; the A53 is practically the same phone as last year's A52 5G, which it's replacing on this list. The interesting part is that while the A52 5G cost $500, the A53 is 50 bucks cheaper at $450. It's also slated to get four years of OS updates and five years of security patches, which means it'll stay up to date and secure into 2027. That's positively wild for a mid-range Android phone, and significantly better than Google's update commitment for the similarly priced Pixel 5a.

  • Storage: 128GB, expandable by MicroSD (up to 1TB)
  • CPU: Exynos 1280
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Operating System: Android 12 with One UI 4.1
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.5″ 1080p OLED, 120Hz
  • Camera (Front): 32MP f/2.2
  • Cameras (Rear): 64MP f/1.8 primary, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 5MP f/2.4 macro, 5MP 5/2.4 depth
  • Price: $450
  • Dimensions: 6.28 x 2.94 x 0.32″
  • Display: 6.5″ 1080p OLED, 120Hz
  • Weight: 6.67 oz
  • Charging: Up to 25W wired
  • IP rating: IP67
  • 120Hz OLED display
  • Five years of security patches
  • $50 cheaper than the A52 5G
  • Loses the A52 5G's headphone jack
  • No fun colors in the US
Samsung Galaxy A53
Best value

3. Samsung Galaxy A03s

7.50 / 10

Samsung's gotten its budget phones down to a science, and as such, the Galaxy A03s isn't a whole lot different from the Galaxy A02s that came before it. It's still got a 720p LCD display at 60Hz, it's still got the same set of not-very-good cameras, and it's still running Android 11.

But there are a few notable differences. Chiefly, while the Galaxy A02s had no fingerprint sensor, the A03s has one built into its power button — which means getting into the phone is less of a hassle. It's also got three gigabytes of RAM. That's still not much, but it's a big bump from the two gigs in the A02s. Samsung also made the switch from a low-end Snapdragon chipset to a low-end MediaTek one. That probably won't matter much for performance, though, and Samsung's still promising four years of quarterly security updates from the phone's US launch — which means it should stay secure into 2026.

If you already have an A02s, the A03s probably isn't worth upgrading to. It goes for $160, which is $30 more than the A02s cost — and the biggest difference is the addition of a fingerprint sensor. But if you're on an older phone, that one difference will likely be worth buying the A03s over its predecessor.

  • Storage: 32GB, expandable by MicroSD (up to 1TB)
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P35
  • Memory: 3GB
  • Operating System: Android 11 with One UI 3.1
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh
  • Cameras (Rear): 13MP f/2.2 primary; 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth
  • Price: $160
  • Connectivity: LTE only, no 5G
  • Dimensions: 164.2 x 75.9 x 9.1mm
  • Colors: Black
  • Display: 6.5″ 720 LCD, 60Hz
  • Weight: 196g
  • Charging: 7.75W
  • IP rating: n/a
  • Cheap
  • Security updates into 2026
  • It has a fingerprint sensor!
  • Crummy cameras unchanged from A02s
  • 3GB RAM is an upgrade from the A02s, but it's still skimpy
  • No 5G
Samsung Galaxy A03s

Samsung's Galaxy A13 5G has a lot to offer for $250. Running on a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset, its performance is great for the price, and its primary camera is totally fine (in decent light, anyway). Like with many of its phones, Samsung is also guaranteeing security updates for four years. It feels every bit as inexpensive as it is, though, and its 90Hz display is otherwise not very nice to look at. But given how affordable it is, those are easy flaws to overlook.

  • Storage: 64GB
  • CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 700
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Android 11 with OneUI 3.1
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh
  • Camera (Front): 5MP f/2.0
  • Cameras (Rear): 50MP f/1.8 primary, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth
  • Price: $250
  • Dimensions: 164.5 x 76.5 x 8.8mm
  • Display: 6.5″ 720p PLS TFT LCD, 90Hz
  • Weight: 195g
  • Surprisingly robust performance
  • Strong battery life
  • Four years of security updates
  • Feels as cheap as it is
  • Screen is a fingerprint magnet
  • Two of its three cameras are useless
Samsung Galaxy A13 5G

The Galaxy A32 5G shares a lot of its DNA with the Galaxy A13 5G, but your additional $30 will get you a better selfie camera plus an ultra-wide around back. The two phones each have similar MediaTek chipsets, four gigs of RAM, 90Hz LCD screens — they even look the same. But hey, if you're after a slightly nicer A13, the $280 A32 5G is just that.

  • CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 720
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Operating System: Android 11 with OneUI 3.1
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh
  • Camera (Front): 13MP f/2.2
  • Cameras (Rear): 48MP f/1.8 primary, 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth
  • Price: $280
  • Dimensions: 164.2 x 76.1 x 9.1mm
  • Display: 6.5″ LCD 1600×720 90Hz
  • Weight: 205g
  • 90Hz display is smooth (usually)
  • Above average build quality
  • Good battery life
  • Performance is inconsistent
  • Low-res display at 720p
  • Charging feels slow at 15W
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

OnePlus might have lost some goodwill among Android die-hards in recent years, but the company still makes a mean budget phone. The N20 5G costs all of $282, but it still has decent performance thanks to its Snapdragon 695 chipset and six gigs of RAM. Battery life is out of this world: in our review, Ryne managed to get 10 hours of screen time over three days between charges. It's got an IP52 rating, which means it'll survive some rain, and it charges at up to 33 watts with the included charger. It also has a striking design for a budget device.

It's got typical cheap phone problems: its cameras are mediocre, and with an all-plastic body, build quality isn't stellar. But it's priced right, and it'll get Android 12 eventually — plus three years of bi-monthly security patches. That's more than a lot of phones in this price range offer.

Currently, only T-Mobile customers can get their hands on the N20. If that's you, go for it — it's a really good phone for the price. Everyone else will have to wait, but unlocked sales should open up in the near future.

  • Brand: OnePlus
  • Storage: 128GB (UFS 2.2), microSD expandable
  • CPU: Snapdragon 695
  • Memory: 6GB RAM
  • Operating System: Oxygen OS 11 (Android 11)
  • Battery: 4500mAh
  • Ports: 1x USB Type-C, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.43″ 1080×2400 (20:9) OLED 60Hz
  • Camera (Front): 16MP f/2.4
  • Cameras (Rear): 64MP f/1.79 Primary, 2MP f/2.4 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Monochrome
  • Price: $282 or “free” when adding a line at T-Mobile
  • Connectivity: 5G (Sub-6GHz), LTE, Wi-Fi (dual-band, up to ac), Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 73.2 x 7.5 mm, 173g
  • Colors: “Blue Smoke”
  • Charging: 33W SuperVOOC
  • IP rating: IP 52
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good screen
  • 33W charging is very fast for a budget phone
  • Middling camera
  • Plastic body
  • Only one speaker
OnePlus N20 5G

If you're looking for something a bit more premium, give our list of the best Android phones overall a read.

We hope you like the items we recommend and discuss! AndroidPolice has affiliate and sponsored partnerships, so we receive a share of the revenue from some of your purchases. This won’t affect the price you pay and helps us offer the best product recommendations.

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