In today’s fast-paced world, having a smartphone has become a necessity. However, not everyone can afford the latest flagship models with their hefty price tags. That’s where cheap phones come in. These budget-friendly devices offer all the essential features of a smartphone without breaking the bank. In this article, we will explore the best cheap phones of 2023 and help you find the most value for your money.
Why Choose a Cheap Phone?
There are several reasons why choosing a cheap phone makes sense. Firstly, they are much more affordable compared to flagship models. With prices starting as low as $160, you can get a fully functional smartphone without emptying your wallet. Secondly, cheap phones offer great value for their price. Manufacturers often make concessions to keep costs low, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on essential features. These phones still offer decent performance, good cameras, and reliable software support.
The Best Cheap Phones of 2023
1. Google Pixel 6A: The Best Overall Value
The Google Pixel 6A takes the top spot as the best cheap phone of 2023. Priced at $349, it offers an excellent combination of features and affordability. The Pixel 6A comes with top-of-the-line cameras, a peppy processor, and years of software support. The 6.1-inch OLED display provides crisp visuals, although it may look dim under direct sunlight. With its eye-catching design and Pixel-specific software features, like Magic Eraser and Live Translate, the Pixel 6A punches above its weight.
2. Samsung Galaxy A03S: Great Features at an Affordable Price
If you’re in need of a cheap phone that can handle essential tasks, the Samsung Galaxy A03S is worth considering. Priced at $160, it offers great features for its price range. The 6.5-inch screen is perfect for reading news, watching videos, and playing games. Despite some performance lag, the phone is good at multitasking. However, the 32GB of storage space may fill up fast, so expanding it with a microSD card is recommended. Samsung also provides at least four years of security updates, which is impressive in this price range.
3. Apple iPhone SE (2022): The Most Affordable iPhone
For Apple enthusiasts on a budget, the iPhone SE (2022) is the perfect choice. Priced at $429, it offers the latest smartphone features, including Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and 5G support. The phone retains the classic 4.7-inch screen, which may appeal to those who prefer a smaller form factor. The iPhone SE (2022) combines an older design with modern features, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious Apple fans.
4. Samsung Galaxy A54 5G: Feature-Packed and Affordable
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is a great option. While it may not be the cheapest phone on the market, it offers excellent value for its price. With a vibrant 6.4-inch display and a 120Hz refresh rate, the A54 5G provides an immersive visual experience. It also includes Samsung’s One UI, which comes with useful apps like Samsung Health. The phone’s microSD card slot allows for expandable storage, a feature not found in the more expensive Galaxy S23 series.
5. Google Pixel 7A: A Budget Phone with High-End Features
The Google Pixel 7A is a budget phone that punches above its weight. Priced at $349, it offers many of the same features as its pricier sibling, the Pixel 7. Powered by Google’s Tensor G2 processor, it provides excellent photo editing and language translation capabilities. The 64-megapixel camera takes stunning photos, rivaling those of the Pixel 7. With its lower price tag, the Pixel 7A is a great deal for most people, unless you specifically need a larger screen or other minor differences offered by the Pixel 7.
How We Test Phones
At CNET, we have a rigorous testing process to ensure that we provide accurate and unbiased reviews of the phones we recommend. Our expert reviews team thoroughly tests each phone, assessing its display quality, design and feel, processor performance, battery life, camera quality, and additional features. We compare our findings against similarly priced models to provide you with a comprehensive evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you find cheap phones on sale?
Yes, many of the cheap phones included in this list are often available at discounted prices during shopping events. For example, the Google Pixel 6A received a temporary $150 discount, bringing its price down from $449 to $299. If you have a specific phone in mind, it may be worth waiting for a shopping event like Black Friday to take advantage of price reductions.
Are cheap phones available unlocked?
Yes, many cheap phones are available unlocked directly from the manufacturer. This allows you to use the phone with almost any wireless carrier by simply inserting your SIM card. If you want the flexibility to switch carriers, make sure to buy an unlocked model.
Are cheap phones suitable for kids?
Cheap phones can be a great option when buying a phone for a child or teenager. However, it’s important to note that these phones may not be specifically customized for a kid-friendly experience. Parents should still set up necessary parental controls, restrictions, or apps on both iPhones and Android devices to ensure the phone is appropriate for their children.
Finding a cheap phone that offers great value for the money is no longer a challenge. The best cheap phones of 2023, such as the Google Pixel 6A, Samsung Galaxy A03S, Apple iPhone SE (2022), Samsung Galaxy A54 5G, and Google Pixel 7A, provide all the essential features of a smartphone without breaking the bank. Whether you prioritize camera quality, performance, or software support, there’s a budget-friendly option that suits your needs. Upgrade your smartphone experience without emptying your wallet with these top picks for cheap phones.