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 tight budget, we’ve got good news. There is a lot to choose from as it pertains to unlocked handsets that don’t cost all that much.
We’ve gathered up a handful of attractive options that fall in the price range of $150 to $250. 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 10 or newer and have at least 3GB RAM. Additionally, we trimmed our list to devices with batteries of 3,800mAh or higher capacity.
This means current versions of software, a decent amount of memory for basic tasks, and battery that lasts through a day or more.
Motorola G Stylus
Priced about one-third of Samsung’s counterpart, this phone is no less capable for many users. It’s powered by Android 10, comes with a 6.4-inch screen, and features its own digital stylus.
Motorola leaves Android largely untouched, a feature we’ve come to really appreciate. Pair that with a solid mid-range bundle of hardware, and it’s a great value proposition. The 48-megapixel triple-camera captures ultra-wide and macro images.
OnePlus Nord N100
Stunning in design, this phone packs a punch, too. Among the most powerful models in this price range, you get a massive 6.52-inch display, 4GB RAM, and a triple-megapixel camera.
One of our favorite features is the 5,000mAh battery which pushes most users beyond two days of usage. And when it’s time to charge, you won’t spend much time plugged in. That 18W fast charging is pretty damn quick.
For your money you’ll get a generous screen (6.53-inches), dual rear cameras, and 64GB worth of internal storage. Need more room? Toss in a microSD card and boost up another 128GB. Other standout features include 6GB RAM (yep, six) and a 4,000mAh battery. Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
Powered by Android 10, it’s about as close to stock Android as you’ll get. Compatible with GSM carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile, it’s also certified for use on Verizon’s LTE network.
Nokia sure knows how to make phones look sexy without driving up the price. This mid-ranger features a quad-camera experience that’s led by a 48-megapixel main sensor.
A terrific every man phone, it has a generous 6.39-inch screen and enough battery to get work done and leave something for fun. With 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, it’s all you need for day-to-day usage.
When it comes to software, it’s nothing but peace of mind. Not only does it launch with Android 11, it comes with multiple years of updates and security patches.
Blu G90 Pro
Considerably more eye-catching than most phones at this price point, the Blu G90 Pro is an all-around solid device for casual users and even moderate gamers. It runs a semi-current version of Android (10), has a big display at 6.5-inches, and it comes with a 5,100mAh battery that’s good for a few days at a time.
Under the hood we locate a 2GHz octa-core processor with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, both of which are a smidge higher than others in this price range. Rounding things out are a quad-camera system with AI smarts, wireless charging, and unlocking via face or fingerprint. READ OUR REVIEW