Best cheap phones in the US for 2017
Trying to find the best cheap phone, especially in the US, is a herculean task in 2017, as carriers want to lock everyone into contracts even at budget prices. You want to spend less money not more, right?
That’s why we’ve deployed our knowledge of the best phones under $300 and tested hundreds of cheap phones to rank the best devices. Unlocked, contract free and SIM-free phones are included in the top ten.
The mobile devices on this list certainly won t be the very best phones in the US, so you won’t find the high-end iPhone 8 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus here.
But every cheap phone here should be just fine for casual use by anyone looking to save some cash on a discounted iOS 11 or Android Oreo device.
1. Moto G5 Plus
Our favorite cheap phone with a premium new look
The Moto G5 Plus is the best cheap phone you can buy right now mostly because it doesn’t look or feel like a budget phone. It has a metal build, a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, a fingerprint sensor, quick charging and 64GB of internal storage with a microSD card reader for expansion.
Supported by all major US carriers, including Verizon, AT T, T-Mobile and Sprint, the G5 Moto Plus also runs on Android 8.0 Oreo and includes Google Assistant, which we’ve found to be comparable to Siri. It has a Snapdragon 625 CPU, and while it’s not going to be blowing away the benchmarks, it’s powerful enough to play games and multitask. The only features that the more expensive Moto Z2 has that you ll really be missing are a better camera, VR capabilities and MotoMods. Most people will do just fine with this phone, and it is less than a third of the cost of Motorola’s flagship.
Amazon is offering the Moto G5 at an even deeper discount to Prime members. It’s just $239 with Amazon’s lockscreen ads, or the normal $269 without those ads for everyone else.
2. Asus ZenFone V
The best value for Verizon customers
The Asus ZenFone V is a budget beast that deserves to fly but is chained down by Verizon exclusivity. Even so, this phone would still feel like a reasonable deal at $400, but it s only $240.
There s some much going right for this phone, making it easy to forget about some of the nitpicky detractors. The screen, the camera, the powerful internals and the simple but classy design pull this phone together in a great way, and tacking a $240 price tag on the box makes it a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, tacking Verizon on the box limits who can buy this phone, but for Verizon customers or those looking for a great budget phone worth switching carriers for, the Asus ZenFone V is worthy.
3. iPhone SE
iOS on an incredible budget
Apple’s return to the four-inch form factor is faithful to the iPhone 5S, but packs a serious punch in the performance department, bringing specs that put in on par with the iPhone 6S.
The fact that you can get this smartphone for under $300 makes it an absolute steal if you’re a loyal iOS user. Sure, it doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles of a brand new iPhone 8 or iPhone X, but complete with iOS 11, it still holds up with the latest.
4. ZTE Blade V8 Pro
One of ZTE’s best is also one of its most affordable
At its core, the Blade V8 Pro offers a lot for the money. It doesn t wow when compared to flagship but if all you want is a phone to do the basics, you ll be happy with the Blade. ZTE did a great job balancing price, performance and features.
After using the ZTE Blade V8 Pro for a month, we were impressed at just how little we missed from a flagship phone. Sure, you don t get the multitasking performance of more powerful smartphones but for a majority of tasks, the Blade V8 Pro is perfectly adequate.
The ZTE Blade V8 Pro is an excellent smartphone for the price. Its bargain bin price gets you good battery life, decent dual-rear cameras and a near-stock Android experience. If you re okay with having an older version of Android, the Blade V8 Pro is among the smartest choices if you’re in need of a budget smartphone.
5. Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom
A lot of phone for the money
Weight: 170g | Dimensions: 154.3 x 77 x 7.9mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: two cameras, each 12MP | Front camera: 13MP
I m surprised by the Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom. While I was fairly impressed with its specs and the much-improved design over the original Asus Zenfone Zoom, its direct predecessor, I wasn t completely sold. That s mostly because I didn t know how much it would cost.
Not only is it cheaper and far better than the Zenfone Zoom, it s one of the best mid-tier options available. Asus ZenUI has improved to the point where it s no longer a red flag for most users and the value here in terms of spec and design is tough to beat.
While not perfect in its execution, it s full of crowd-pleasing features and rocks a pleasing design that defies its price point, coming together as a smart buy for just about anyone.
6. Moto E4
Who knew the low-end could be so good?
If you’re looking for a truly affordable device that doesn’t sacrifice too much to meet an attractive price tag, the Moto E4 is still a good option you could take a look at. We particularly liked the slick design, Android Nougat software, fingerprint sensor and the general value of the phone.
There’s still the issue of it only having 16GB of storage and the performance isn’t fantastic, but if you can get over those issues the Moto E4 will be a great phone for you.
7. Honor 6X
A whole lot of features for not a lot of cash
Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Kirin 655 octa-core | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 64GB with microSD storage | Battery: 3,340mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Honor 6X builds upon the many successes of the 5X: it’s an affordable phone that’s packed full of features that make it one of the best values on the market.
While decidedly lacking that flagship feeling in the hand, in that it’s not hefty or made up of premium materials, the 6X pleases if you can look past it.
It has a bright, clear display that you can unlock with the rear fingerprint reader. The dual rear-facing cameras provide better results than most phones in its price range.
Honor has cemented itself as one of the world’s best budget phone makers with the Honor 6X.
8. Nokia 6
Premium doesn’t have to come at a high cost