The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is more powerful than Samsung’s budget phones, and its 1080p OLED screen is sharper than those of other phones in this price range, which typically have lower-resolution LCDs with worse contrast. The N20 5G even offers an in-display fingerprint sensor, a rare feature on budget phones. It has an available update to Android 12, along with three years’ worth of security updates (through spring 2025). However, it doesn’t function on Verizon’s network.
The Samsung Galaxy A14 5G has a boring, generic design, but it’s more responsive than you might expect for just $200. The screen picks up more fingerprints than more expensive phones, but it’s big and bright, and the A14 5G runs Android 13. Samsung promises several more updates in the future, too, with an astonishing four years’ worth of update support (through early 2027). Most budget phones are lucky to see half that.
Like Google’s past budget-phone options, the Google Pixel 6a has great software—but it adds more powerful hardware. The Pixel 6a beats the budget competition in almost every way, and that makes it a terrific choice, provided you can spend a little more money. For $450, the Pixel 6a offers one of the best cameras on any smartphone, including phones that cost more than twice as much. In addition, the software experience is smoother and more pleasant than what you can find on OnePlus or Samsung phones, and the Pixel 6a has the same powerful Tensor processor as the more expensive Pixel phones do. Google guarantees security updates until summer 2027, as well. However, the Pixel 6a falls short of our other picks in battery life, and it has no headphone jack.
At a mere $160, the Samsung Galaxy A03s is the cheapest phone in Samsung’s current lineup, but it doesn’t perform like a bargain-basement phone. The A03s is fast enough to browse the web, send messages, and play simple games. And despite the phone’s low price, Samsung isn’t skimping on updates: The A03s will receive updates through early 2026, a full four years’ worth of support from launch, unheard of for a phone this cheap. The build quality takes a step down in comparison with the Galaxy A14 5G, the camera isn’t very good, and this model has no 5G support, but the battery life is excellent.