The search for the best cheap Android phones can often be daunting. There are just so many manufacturers to choose from. The cheapest phones aren't made alike, though. The budget options you choose should offer respectable specs, decent performance and good software support.
This can often be lacking in devices from other manufacturers. However, Samsung is a company that excels at making the best budget phones. These happen to be some of its best-selling devices across the globe. So if you're looking for cheap Android phones in the US that cost under $500, Samsung is your best bet.
How To Pick The Best Budget Android Phone For You
You want something that's going to last you a few years. There's no point in buying a budget smartphone that can't go the distance, because you'll end up having to spend more money if you need to replace the phone after a few months.
Fortunately, the cheap Android phones from Samsung are very well made, even the very affordable ones. Samsung doesn't skimp on the quality so you're bound to get a product that's going to last you a couple of years at the very least.
Next, ask yourself, what are the main things you want the phone to provide you? Do you want a larger display? A process that can handle some light mobile gaming? Perhaps you want expandable storage?
As long as you're clear on the basics, you can find a great budget phone. For example, if you're looking to spend around $500, you can get the Galaxy A54 5G. If you're only after a basic device that can handle emails, some apps, and support light browsing, get the Galaxy A04s.
All budget Samsung phones provide industry-leading software support as well, so you won't have to change your device quickly just because it stops getting new updates.
Our Best Budget Android Phones List For September 2023
As premium devices have become more expensive over the years, there has been a conscious push by manufacturers to provide more capable cheap phones. A lot of the tech that was previously limited to mid-range devices has since trickled down to the cheapest phones. Features such as 5G connectivity, ultra wide cameras, four years of security updates and more are now offered with entry-level devices.
Many of the best budget phones cost less than $500. As the leading global Android smartphone vendor, Samsung provides the best selection. The company wants to offer the best value for money with its budget devices. Customers can rest assured that they will get the most bang for their buck.
Best Budget Phones – Samsung's Latest: Galaxy A54 5G
Customers who want a cheap Android phone love the Galaxy A5x series. The entire lineup excels at providing competitive specs at a great price. The Galaxy A54 5G is the 2023 addition to the series and it carries the legacy of its predecessors very well.
For its $449 price tag, the Galaxy A54 5G provides you with a 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, an elevated design with a sleek look. Samsung's latest Exynos 1380 chipset is under the hood alongside up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The device is 5G-enabled, and the chipset is also great for mobile gaming.
You also get a 50MP primary camera sensor at the back with a 12MP ultra-wide and 5MP macro sensor. A 32-megapixel selfie camera is present on the front as well. Its 5,000mAh battery has 25W fast charging support. Samsung promises four years of Android OS upgrades for this device.
Reasons to buy: Elevated design, improved display, excellent performance and four years of Android OS upgrades.
Who should buy: Customers who need a capable device without breaking the bank.
Best Budget Phones – The Underdog: Galaxy A42 5G
The Galaxy A42 5G may have been overshadowed by the more popular devices in Samsung's budget lineup, but that doesn't take anything away from its viability. This device has the same Snapdragon 750G chipset as the Galaxy A52. So there's plenty of power under the hood to handle routine tasks and even a bit of gaming. The device comes with up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
It also has a rather unique design with the back panel being divided into four sections with a color gradient. There's a 6.6-inch Infinity-U HD resolution Super AMOLED display on the front. The rear camera setup includes a 48MP primary sensor with an 8MP ultra wide, 5MP macro and 5MP depth sensor. The Galaxy A42 5G came with Android 10 out of the box but it is eligible for the Android 12 update.
Samsung continues to sell this device in the United States. At $399, it's a great option for customers who want a bit more performance compared to the other devices further down this list.
Reasons to buy: Unique design, Snapdragon 750G chipset and decent display.
Who should buy: Those who prefer devices that provide great value for money.
Best Budget Phones – Balanced Option: Galaxy A34 5G
This is among the most affordable phones from Samsung that have support for 5G. This mass-market device starts at £349. and features a 6.6-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.. There's a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset under the hood paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The camera setup includes a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 5MP macro sensor. A 13MP selfie camera is onboard. The device comes with a chunky 5,000mAh battery with 25W fast charging support. There's even IP67 dust and water resistance. As many of its recent devices, the Galaxy A34 5G is guaranteed four years of Android OS upgrades from Samsung.
Do keep in mind that the Galaxy A34 5G is only available in limited markets and it's yet to arrive in the United States. It remains to be seen if Samsung does end up bringing it to the country.
Reasons to buy: Refined design, 5,000mAh battery with 25W fast charging, new, improved chipset.
Who should buy: Customers who need an affordable 5G-enabled phones.
Best Budget Phones – Best-Seller: Galaxy A13 5G
The Galaxy A13 5G is one of Samsung's latest budget phones in 2023. This device had big shoes to fill. Its predecessor, the Galaxy A12, was the world's best-selling smartphone last year. Samsung sold more than 50 million units of the Galaxy A12 across the globe, making it the king of cheap Android phones.
So the company decided to make this best-selling device even better. The Galaxy A13 5G gets a complete overhaul and now even comes with 5G connectivity. This $249 device has a 6.5-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate. There's a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset under the hood paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
The triple camera setup at the back includes a 50MP primary sensor with two 2MP macro and depth sensors. Samsung has equipped the device with a chunky 5,000mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging. There's even NFC onboard so features are Samsung Pay are supported.
Samsung wants the Galaxy A13 5G to take over as the best cheap android phone from its predecessor. The upgrades it has made to this device certainly make it an enticing prospect for customers in the US and across the globe.
Reasons to buy: Affordable price tag, decent chipset, 5G connectivity and NFC support.
Who should buy: Customers who want an entry-level 5G device that's light on the pocket.
Best Budget Phones – Most Affordable: Galaxy A03s
Samsung recently brought the Galaxy A03s to the United States to offer customers one of the cheapest phones that it sells. This is one of the company's most entry-level devices. As you'd expect, it doesn't support 5G.
The specs are fairly simple as well. There's a 6.5-inch PLS LCD HD_ display with a MediaTek Helio P35 chipset under the hood. The device is available with up to 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The camera setup consists of a 13MP wide angle sensor with a 2MP depth and 2MP macro sensor.
The device ships with Android 10-based One UI 2.0 Core, it's a lightweight iteration of Samsung's custom skin designed for entry-level devices. At $159, the Galaxy A03s is best cheap Android phone from Samsung without 5G.
Reasons to buy: Very competitive price, optimized UI, compact design.
Who should buy: Customers who want a reliable and robust device at a fair price.
Best Budget Phones – Honorable Mention: Galaxy S21 FE
You might be wondering what this device is doing on the list of best budget phones. It did launch with a price tag of $699. However, it's available at a significant discount from Amazon on most days. It can currently be bought for $549. If you're able to stretch your budget a bit, you can't go wrong with the Galaxy S21 FE.
Launched earlier this year, the Galaxy S21 FE comes with Android 12 out of the box. It's also supported for four Android OS upgrades. This means that Android 16 will be the last major upgrade for this device.
Its design is similar to that of the base Galaxy S21 model, with a metal frame supporting the polycarbonate body. The 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display is great and touts a 120Hz refresh rate.
The device comes with the powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset in most markets. In some locations, it gets the Exynos 2100 instead, with up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. A 4,500mAh battery is present with 25W wired and 15W wireless fast charging support. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S21 FE with a 12MP ultra wide, 12MP wide and 8MP telephoto sensor.
The “FE” models are basically budget flagships. At its discounted price, it's hard to pass up on the Galaxy S21 FE. It may not be one of Samsung's cheapest phones, but it does offer a lot of value for money.
Reasons to buy: Great display, striking design, great specs and four years of Android OS upgrades.
Who should buy: Customers who can stretch their budget a bit more to get a near-flagship experience.