It is easy to get sucked into the press about how great the latest phones, but for the vast majority of us, $700-800 is simply too much to spend. Even if you get a phone through T-Mobile’s Jump on Demand, AT&T’s Next program, of Verizon’s Edge financing programs, you still end up paying full retail for the phone over two years.

One of my favorite things about technology is how fast it develops. Just five years ago, budget or mid-range phones barely existed, and if they did, they were pretty darn hard to use. The displays were terrible, performance was awful, and build quality was horrible. Today we have phones that are less than $300, with metal builds, 1080p AMOLED displays, octa-core processors, high megapixel cameras, expandable memory, and up to 4GB of RAM.

The argument many people make against budget devices is that manufacturers don’t offer any software updates. That argument is far from the truth, as you can see Blu upgrades its phones. The other counter argument is that even the biggest manufacturers don’t update their phones quickly either. Samsung and LG’s flagships from 2015 are still running last year’s Android OS and sometimes take over a year to get a major upgrade.

Budget and mid-range phones are here to stay. It’s the main reason why companies like Huawei and Xiaomi are growing in market share, while companies like LG, Samsung, and HTC struggle with flagship sales.

Here are some of the best unlocked, contract-free Android smartphones you can get today with accessories listed below.

The phone are listed in no particular order, so don’t confuse placement with what I think is best. They are all great options, and depending on your likes or dislikes, some features may suit you differently. What is universally great is the contract-free price under $300.

11. Honor 5X Metal Body Unlocked Smartphone – $199.99 with free Prime shipping


The Huawei Honor 5X wowed us when it was announced at CES 2016 with its impressive build. At $199.99, it is one of the best deals you can get on a smartphone, and over 400 reviewers on agree with a 4.5/5 star rating. This phone is compatible with GSM networks such as T-Mobile and AT&T. Sprint and Verizon customers are out of luck.

  • Unlocked Dual SIM LTE smartphone
  • Supports nano-sim, micro-SIM, and a microSD card up to 128GB
  • Works with AT&T and T-Mobile networks
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum made with four metal finishing processes
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 16GB memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • Qualcomm 64-bit Octa-Core processor
  • 5.5-Inch, 1080P full HD display
  • 13-megapixel camera


10. Huawei P8 lite (US Version: ALE-L04) – 5″ Unlocked Android 4G LTE Smartphone – $214.99 with free Prime shipping


  • 1.5 GHz, 64-bit Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
  • Dual SIM card supports GSM 4G LTE networks in the United States
  • 5-inch HD touchscreen display with 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 13MP rear-facing BSI camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 7.6mm ultra-slim unibody and 2.75mm narrow bezel

9. Huawei GX8 Unlocked Smartphone (US Version: RIO-L03) – $299.99 with free Prime shipping


The Huawei GX8 is one of the most premium mid-range devices you can get your hands on right now. It has a gorgeous design, with 2.5D glass, and a sturdy all metal body. Huawei’s fingerprint readers are some of the best like found on the highly regarded Huawei Nexus 6P. If $300 is your max budget, and you want to maximize every dollar spent, this is about as good as you can get.

  • Unlocked dual SIM 4G LTE supports GSM carriers
  • Metal body constructed with aviation-level aluminum and polished with ceramics sand blasting
  • 2.5D cambered surface to make the edge of the glass feel smooth
  • 5.5-inch 1920×1080 Full HD screen
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 13-megapixel BSI camera with optical image stabilization and a large aperture
  • 28mm wide-angle sapphire lens
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 64-bit octa-core processor
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 16GB memory
  • 2GB RAM


8. BLU Vivo Air LTE Smartphone – GSM Unlocked – $139.99 at with free Prime shipping


  • The slimmest LTE Smartphone in the world at only 5.1 mm
  • Solid aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass on front and back
  • Super AMOLED 4.8-inch HD Display
  • 8-megapixel camera with Sony IMX 219 Sensor + LED Flash
  • 5-megapixel wide angle front camera
  • 16GB storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 64-Bit 1.2 GHz CPU
  • Android 5.0
  • Unlocked, works on any GSM network in the World

7. BLU Studio XL Android Smartphone – $109.88 at with free Prime shipping


  • Unlocked Dual SIM
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 6.0″ qHD with IPS and OGS technology (540×960)
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • MediaTek Quad Core 1.3GHz Processor
  • 8GB storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • Micro SD up to 64GB
  • 4G HSPA+ (850/1700/1900/2100)
  • GSM Quad Band: US compatibility with all GSM networks

6. NUU Mobile X4 5.0″ HD LTE Unlocked Android Lollipop Smartphone with 2YR Warranty – $169.99 from with free Prime shipping


It isn’t too often you see smartphones with 2-year warranties these days, but Nuu Mobile stands behinds its products with best in class service. The X4 is everything you need in a smartphone without overdoing it, and comes in at a very affordable $169.99.

  • 1280 x 720 HD touchscreen
  • 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with low-light sensor
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual LTE SIM
  • 16 GB storage with microSD card slot
  • Removable battery
  • Metal alloy housing

5. BLU Advance 5.0 – Unlocked Dual Sim Smartphone – $59.99 from with free Prime shipping


  • Unlocked Dual SIM
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Mediatek 6580 Quad Core 1.3 GHz processor
  • 5.0-inch IPS display
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • 2-megapixel front camera with LED flash
  • 4GB internal memory
  • 768MB RAM with Micro SD
  • GSM Quad band 4G HSPA+ (850/1700/1900): US compatibility nationwide on all GSM networks

4. Motorola Moto G (3rd Generation) – $173.98 from with free Prime shipping 


  • Advanced water resistance
  • 13-megapixel camera with dual LED Flash
  • 5-inch HD display
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 2470mAh battery
  • Expandable memory



  • 5.5-inch display
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Dolby audio speakers
  • Quad-Core 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8916 Processor
  • 4G LTE unlocked phone supports AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Cricket & other GSM carriers

2. Motorola Moto E XT1521 (2nd Generation) – $89.99 from with free Prime shipping

  • 2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900,3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • 4G bands LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 7(2600), 28(700), 40(2300)
  • 4.5 inche IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 8GB internal storage with microSD expansion
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5-megapixel camera
  • 2390 mAh battery
  • SIM Dual SIM (Micro-SIM, dual stand-by)