When it comes to purchasing a mobile device, buying an unlocked phone might be one of the smartest routes to take. There are plenty of reasons to consider an unlocked phone, including freedom to select and change carriers.
While it’s tempting to lump your phone’s cost into a monthly cell phone bill, doing this for multiple people can get expensive. A family of four could be looking at hundreds of dollars each month in phone costs alone.
Given that technology outpaces consumer demands, most of us don’t really need a brand new flagship phone. In fact, even the devices that are 1-2 years old are more than sufficient for the typical user. That’s largely where we are here in this list of best unlocked budget phones.
If you’re shopping around for a new phone, and want to work with a fairly open-ended budget, we’ve got good news. There is a lot to choose from as it pertains to unlocked handsets in that price range.
We’ve gathered up a handful of attractive options that fall in the area of $600 or higher. Here, we showcase a variety of phone makers and models with some of the standout features.
How we Decided
We set a few basic guidelines in place to help consolidate the list of candidates. The models that follow all had to adhere to a couple of pre-requisites. Each phone has to run Android 11 or newer and have at least 8GB RAM. Additionally, we trimmed our list to devices with batteries of 4,000mAh or higher capacity.
This means current versions of software, plenty of memory for any task, and battery that easily lasts through a day or more.
Google Pixel 5
Google’s latest smartphone, the Pixel 5, builds on its predecessors in all the right ways, including price. Slightly less expensive than the previous generation, it’s a well-rounded phone that dances between mid-range and high-end hardware.
It runs the newest and most powerful version of Android yet and features another excellent camera experience, especially for the point-and-shoot user types. Standout details include water-resistant coating, wireless charging, and the return of the fingerprint reader.
About as well-rounded of a phone that you’ll find, the OnePlus 8T also does a great job of keeping its price in check. It’s powered by Android 11, offers 5G support, and comes with a whole suite of high-end hardware.
On the front the 6.55-inch screen comes with a 120Hz refresh rate and in-display fingerprint reader while the rear houses four cameras.
Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with no less than 8GB RAM and storage comes in with at least 128GB. Top it all off with a 4,500mAh battery with an incredibly fast Warp Charge 65.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The cream of the crop when it comes to Samsung’s 2021 phone lineup, very few handsets can rival its performance. Not only that, but it’s prettier than ever with the new color options, too.
Come for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and the 12GB RAM, stay for the 5,000mAh battery and quad-core camera. Of course there’s plenty in between as well and it’s all in service of high-end prowess.
Everything runs smoothly but it looks even smoother when you’ve got a 6.8-inch Quad HD+ display that delivers to the tune of 120Hz refresh rate.