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 or less. 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 2GB RAM. Additionally, we trimmed our list to devices with batteries of 3,000mAh or higher capacity.
This means the two most current versions of software, a decent amount of memory for basic tasks, and battery that lasts through a day or more.
Alcatel 1S (2020)
This Alcatel handset has a number of features that we most consumers appreciate, including a large (6.22-inch) display, a triple-camera system, and long-lasting battery.
Running a stock version of Android 10, the device is powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor with 3GB RAM. Storage is pegged at 32GB; however, a microSD expansion card slot allows for up to 128GB of external media.
Other features worth pointing out include an FM radio, 3.5mm headphone jack, fingerprint sensor, and face unlocking.
Prettier than most phones at this price point, the Blu G90 is an all-around solid device for casual users. It runs a semi-current version of Android (10), and has a big display at 6.5-inches.
Under the hood we locate an octa-core processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, both of which are a smidge higher than others in this price range. Rounding things out are a triple-camera system and a 4,000mAh battery which is good for upwards of two days per charge.
A great place to start for people buying their first smartphone, the Nokia 3.4 runs Android 10 and offers up a respectable amount of hardware for the money. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor with 3GB RAM and 64GB storage; a microSD card slot allows for another 512GB of external media.
Key features include a 6.39-inch HD+ display, a dual-camera (13-megapixel and 5-megapixel) system bolstered by a 2-megapixel depth sensor, a front-facing 8-megapixel camera, and 4,000mAh battery. Also awesome is Nokia’s commitment to three years of monthly security updates and two years of software upgrades.
Motorola Moto E (2020)
We absolutely love what Motorola does with its Android phones. They run a bare bones software experience that leaves things the way Google intended, and feature affordably priced alternatives to flagships.
Here, you get a big (6.2-inch) screen, a very modern build of Android (10), and respectable smattering of mid-range hardware. Key details include an octa-core processor, 32GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot for external media.
Other things we appreciate? A water resistant coating, USB Type-C charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.