You can get a lot of phone for a modest price these days. Motorola has been a leading name in midrange options for years, and that holds true with its excellent new Moto G7. For an extremely competitive price, you get capable specs with a big display and simple software that anyone can figure out. Plus it has TurboPower fast charging, and finally uses USB-C.
Best Overall: Moto G7
The Moto G7 has just about everything you could ask of a phone at this price. The software is clean yet clever with Moto Actions and Moto Display, and it’s quick to recharge with Motorola’s TurboPower charging. The G7 also has decent specs, including a Snapdragon 632, 64GB of expandable storage, and 4GB of RAM — and it finally charges over USB-C!
The design is sleek and modern with trim display bezels and a rear fingerprint sensor, the camera is impressive for its field, and it’s even splash-resistant (though keep in mind that that’s not the same as full-blown water resistance). Plus, you’ll always be able to enjoy Motorola’s simple and useful software.
- Simple and effective software
- Compatible with all U.S. carriers
- USB-C charging
- Splash resistance
- Just average battery life
- Questionable software update future
$240 at Amazon $150 at Walmart
Everything you need, for a great price
The Moto G has always been a staple of this market, with good reason. The Moto G7 is an outstanding value in every right.
Best Alternative: Samsung Galaxy A50
Samsung is best known for its high-end phones, but the A50 steps into the mid-range extremely well. The 6.4-inch display is bigger and much nicer than you’d expect for something that competes at this price, as is the beautiful hardware. The spec sheet is strong, with a 4000mAh battery and capable processor. You’ll have to face some Samsung-induced bloatware in the software, but the A50 is a great overall phone.
The 25-megapixel main camera is capable in good and mixed lighting, though as expected for this price point comes up short in lower light. But what’s surprising for this money is the addition of both a dedicated wide-angle camera, which takes fun shots with a new perspective, and a dedicated depth camera for portrait shots.
In order to hit the right price point you need to buy an international model, but we think it’s worth it considering how much you save and everything you get for the money.
- Top-tier display
- Strong battery life
- Solid triple camera
- Great specs for the money
- Considerable bloatware
- Portrait mode shots are weak
- No MST Samsung Pay
- U.S. model more expensive than international
Samsung Galaxy A50
$290 at Amazon
Great Samsung quality for a fraction of the price
The A50 brings high-end Samsung DNA, with great specs and a big display. The triple camera is good and has a fun wide-angle lens.
Best Value: Nokia 6.2
Nokia has established itself as one of the market leaders for affordable Android phones, and one of its most compelling handsets is the Nokia 6.2.
Hardware-wise, the 6.2 has plenty to like. The 6.3-inch Full HD+ display not only has a tiny notch and fairly small bezels, but it also supports HDR content for bright and vibrant colors. Even cooler, if you’re watching non-HDR content, the 6.2 will convert it to HDR so everything looks as good as can be. Around back, you’ll find three rear cameras and a fingerprint sensor. There’s even a dedicated Google Assistant button!
Inside of the Nokia 6.2, there’s just as much to get excited about. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 processor paired with 4GB of RAM allows for ample performance, and with 64GB of storage that can be expanded up to 512GB, you’ll never run out of space for all of your games, apps, pictures, etc. Tie all of that together with a clean Android One software experience with guaranteed updates, and you’re getting a lot for your money.
- Simple and clean Android One software
- Guaranteed updates
- HDR display
- Sleek glass design
- Very pretty display
- Cameras are just OK
$249 at Amazon
One of the best software experiences you’ll find
The Nokia 6.2 is an incredible value. It has awesome software, a premium design, and a vibrant display.
Best International: Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Xiaomi isn’t the first phone brand you turn to if you’re shopping for a new handset in the U.S., but if you have a limited budget, buying one of the company’s phones makes a lot of sense.
Take the Redmi Note 8 Pro, for example. Looking at the phone, you wouldn’t think it’s paired with such a low price. It features a stunning glass design that’s available in a myriad of colors, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a large 6.53-inch Full HD+ display with minimal bezels. Internally, you’ll find a large 4,500 mAh battery, expandable storage, and a MediaTek Helio G90T processor. There’s also a 64-megapixel camera, which is capable of taking some really solid photos.
Being an international phone, the Redmi Note 8 Pro doesn’t come with a proper warranty and might have weak LTE performance in certain areas, but overall, it should work out just fine. It’s also worth pointing out that EMUI is littered with a ton of bloatware, but if your top concern is getting the nicest hardware and most impressive specs without going broke, Xiaomi has you covered.
- Gorgeous hardware
- Huge 4,500 mAh battery
- Expandable storage
- 64MP rear camera
- Tons of bloatware
- Lacks a U.S. warranty
- Potentially limited LTE coverage
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
From $218 at Amazon
An incredible value across the board
It may not officially be sold in the U.S., but the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro delivers fantastic specs at a competitive price.
Best Ultra Low-Cost: Moto E6
The Moto E6 packs many of the features that make the Moto G7 great and cuts back where necessary to hit a much lower price. You get capable specs, a pretty big display, fine battery size, and the same simple Moto software with a good set of features. You also get a water-repellent coating and support for all U.S. carriers with a full warranty.
On the downside, the 720p display isn’t going to wow you, nor will the camera. You also to charge over the older Micro-USB. Fortunately, the money was spent where it matters: the phone’s features and capabilities. The Moto E6 walks a good line for such a great price.
- Support for all U.S. carriers
- Water repellent coating
- Simple software with good features
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Plastic build
- Only 720p screen resolution
- Micro-USB charging
Best Ultra Low-Cost
$120 at Amazon
Getting the basics done
The Moto E6 isn’t going to win any design awards, but your small investment gets you solid specs, good software and nice features.
Best Battery Life: Moto G7 Power
Everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to smartphones, but one feature we can all agree on being highly important is battery life. If you’ve been looking for a phone that can last for more than one day per charge, the Moto G7 Power is for you.
With a massive 5,000 mAh battery, Motorola touts that you can expect up to 2.5 days of use on a single charge, making the G7 Power one of the longest-lasting phones on the market. We’re also a fan of its expandable storage (up to 512GB), the clean Android Pie software with Motorola’s add-ons (like Moto Display and Moto Actions), and being able to press the power button twice to summon Alexa at any time.
Perhaps even more enticing, the Moto G7 Power works with all major U.S. carriers — including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. We do wish that there was more than just 32GB of onboard storage and that camera quality was better, but for battery enthusiasts, the G7 Power is the way to go.
- Huge 5,000 mAh battery
- Expandable storage
- Clean software with Motorola goodies
- Alexa push-to-talk
- Works on any U.S. carrier
- Mediocre camera
- Just 32GB of internal storage
Best Battery Life
Moto G7 Power
$200 at Amazon
Over two days of battery on one charge.
Battery life is the name of the game with the Moto G7 Power — offering a 5,000 mAh unit for 2.5 days of use per charge.
Best Compact: Nokia 4.2
Compact phones are hard to come by in 2020, but one that stands out is the Nokia 4.2. A 5.71-inch display may not sound very small, but compared to the other options on this list, it’s quite the difference. Along with the petite form factor, the display also touts an HD+ resolution and a 77% screen-to-body ratio.
What else do you get with the Nokia 4.2? How does dual cameras, a fingerprint sensor, Google Assistant button, and NFC for Google Pay sound? Not to mention there’s also expandable storage, a 3,000 mAh battery, and guaranteed software updates thanks to Android One.
The use of Micro-USB for charging is a drag, but for the price, we can’t complain too much.
- Easy to use with one hand
- NFC for Google Pay
- Google Assistant button
- Guaranteed software updates
- Micro-USB charging
$159 at Amazon $159 at Walmart
Bigger isn’t always better
For buyers that want a small, compact phone they can easily use with one hand, there’s no better choice than the Nokia 4.2.
Best Stylus: LG Stylo 5
The Galaxy Note series is the most popular for making the most of a stylus-touting phone, but if you don’t have the cash for a flagship Note, the LG Stylo 5 is worth a look. Just like the Note, it has an included stylus that you can hide inside the phone when you aren’t using it. Unlike the Note, however, the Stylo 5 is very affordable.
With the Stylo 5’s stylus, you can draw, take notes, and navigate the UI — something that’s quite handy when trying to tap small buttons on the screen. You also get a 6.2-inch Full HD+ display, Android 9 Pie, and 32GB of storage that can be expanded up to 2TB. There’s also Alexa push-to-talk support, meaning you can double-press the power button at any time to check in with the assistant.
The single 13MP camera won’t knock your socks off anytime soon and the plastic design isn’t the nicest we’ve ever seen, but as far as stylus-touting phones go, the Stylo 5 is a strong option.
- Comes with a stylus
- Big display for drawing and note-taking
- Push-to-talk Alexa
- Large battery
- One rear camera
- Cheap plastic build
LG Stylo 5
$300 at Amazon
The budget phone with a stylus
The stylus-touting LG Stylo 5 is a great buy, allowing you to draw and take handwritten notes wherever you go.
Even when your budget is tight, you can get a great phone with the Moto G7. It offers good performance with simple software filled with useful Moto features, and with good hardware it doesn’t look or feel like a “cheap” phone. It’s also a great size with enough screen room to get things done without feeling too large.
Amazingly, the Android market has many other great options for you at affordable prices, but when you’re looking to save money, there are going to be compromises. When shopping for these phones, take a close look at the specs to make sure you’re not missing a feature you’d like to have. Many inexpensive phones will cut out on display size, display resolution, extra cameras or bonuses like stereo speakers. However, when you shop around, you’ll be able to get a great phone for just a few hundred bucks.
Buying a new Android phone can be a pretty daunting task, especially when trying to keep prices low. You want to buy something that’ll be able to do everything you need, but getting a quality handset without breaking the bank is no easy task. If you aren’t sure where to get started, here are a few pointers to keep in mind. First thing’s first, what features are a priority for you? Do you take a lot of pictures? If so, you’ll want a good camera. A high megapixel count translates to a more detailed photo, and some phones have multiple cameras that allow for you to zoom in on subjects or capture more in the frame. The display is another factor to think about. A larger screen will be more difficult to use with one hand, but it’ll also be better-suited for watching movies and playing games. Similarly, a higher screen resolution means everything on the phone will be more crisp and easier on the eyes. Last but certainly not least, keep an eye on the battery capacity of the phone you’re looking at. The larger mAh count it has, the longer it’ll last on a single charge.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman . Got a tip or inquiry? Drop him a line at [email protected]
Joe Maring is Android Central’s News Editor and loves talking about all things Android (just ask the drawers full of phones in his office. He also goes to Starbucks way too often and can often be found with some sort of latte in his hands. Have a hot tip or want to say hey? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email or [email protected]!
Daniel Bader is Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.