19th September 2020

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The best budget phone of 2020Apple iPhone SE

Angela Lang/CNET

Starting at only $399, the 2020 version of the iPhone SE is the best budget phone you can find right now. With an A13 processor (the same as the iPhone 11) and an amazing camera, the iPhone SE is way more powerful than it has any right to be. Old-school iPhone fans will also appreciate the return of TouchID and the home button. Read our Apple iPhone SE (2020) review.$399 AT APPLE$379 AT BACK MARKETRefurbished$399 AT AMAZONTop-of-the-line AndroidSamsung Galaxy S20

Sarah Tew/CNET

As Samsung’s flagship phone for 2020, the Galaxy S20 features a brilliant 6.2-inch AMOLED display with an ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, reverse wireless charging, a water-resistant design and three rear cameras. It’s a fantastic daily driver for an Android user, and if you have more to spend, there’s also the Galaxy S20 Plus and UltraRead our Samsung Galaxy S20 5G review.$1,000 AT AT&T WIRELESSFlagship with a great valueOnePlus 8 and 8 Pro

Angela Lang/CNET

While OnePlus isn’t as well-known as Apple or Samsung, the 8 Pro offers a premium experience at a relatively more affordable price than its rivals. As the more advanced phone, the OnePlus 8 Pro has a 120Hz display and a telephoto camera. But the OnePlus 8 is more affordable and still has 5G, a fast 90Hz display and the same top-of-the-line processor. Read our OnePlus 8 review.$699 AT ONEPLUSMotorola goes premiumMotorola Edge Plus

CNET

The Motorola Edge Plus has pretty much everything you’d hope for in a premium 5G phone: A Snapdragon 865 chipset, a giant battery, an OLED screen with a high refresh rate and multiple rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. Motorola took features found on other top-of-the-line Android phones, put its own Moto spin on them and built them all into one of our favorite Android phones of the year. Read our Motorola Edge Plus review.$1,000 AT MOTOROLABest midtier iPhoneApple iPhone 11

Sarah Tew/CNETED I T O R S ’ C H O I C ENOV 2019

Starting at $700, the iPhone 11 is the best midtier model Apple has ever made of its flagship phone. Its cameras get an excellent new Night Mode and an ultrawide-angle camera adds extra detail in photos. Video is fantastic, too. Just be aware, though, that there isn’t a headphone jack. Read our Apple iPhone 11 review.$699 AT APPLE$699 AT AMAZON$670 AT BACK MARKETRefurbished

Read more: Best iPhone apps of 2020Solid Samsung at a lower priceSamsung Galaxy A51

Juan Garzon/CNET

In addition to its main Galaxy S flagship phones, Samsung has a more cost-conscious A series line of phones. This year it launched the Galaxy A51, another phone that costs $399 (there is a 5G variant that costs $499). The device has four cameras, an in-screen fingerprint reader and expandable storage. Read our Galaxy A51 review.$389 AT AMAZON$400 AT BEST BUY$400 AT WALMART

Read more: Best Android phone of 2020Cheaper Pixel 3 with same great cameraGoogle Pixel 3A

Angela Lang/CNETED I T O R S ’ C H O I C EOCT 2019

As we wait for Google’s upcoming launch of the Pixel 4A (predicted to happen this summer), the Pixel 3A  meanwhile is still a great phone. Though it’s not water-resistant, doesn’t have wireless charging and it maxes out at 64GB of storage, it adds plenty of other features at a low cost. That includes a headphone jack and the same amazing Night Sight camera that can shoot great photos in the dark. (Daytime photos look amazing, too.) It’s because of its great value that the phone earned a CNET Editors’ Choice. Read our Google Pixel 3A review.$298 AT AMAZON$507 AT EBAYA premium Android experienceSamsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Angela Lang/CNET

Despite being a year “old,” the refined, feature-packed Galaxy Note 10 Plus from 2019 still closes the gap with rival phones. This top-of-the-line phone was made for people who want the best Android. It has a killer 6.8-inch screen, an all-day battery life and excellent camera tools. Note that Samsung also has the less expensive Note 10Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review.$689 AT BACK MARKETRefurbished$1,100 AT AMAZON$1,150 AT BEST BUY

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Discuss: Best phones for 2020

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Best phones under $500: iPhone SE, Pixel 4A, Galaxy A51 and more

If you’re looking for a phone on a budget, check out CNET’s top 8 picks.

Lynn La headshot

Lynn LaAug. 7, 2020 4:00 a.m. PT

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This year, many big-time phone makers launched affordable phones, like the iPhone SE, the Pixel 4A and the Galaxy A51. Now more than before, phone buyers on a tight budget have more options to choose from. In addition to those new phones, there are plenty of reliable handsets from 2019 as well — and all of them cost about $500 or less. And despite their low prices, budget smartphones are getting more advanced and even pack features akin to a premium phone, like amazing cameras, fast processors and modern-day software features. 

To see our top picks of the best budget smartphone, check out the list below (which we’ll be updating regularly), and read CNET’s reviews. Note that we’ve linked to the unlocked version of each phone, and they should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers, unless specified otherwise.

Watch this: Best cheap phones to try now 2:02Apple iPhone SE (2020)

John Kim/CNET

With a four-year gap between the 2020 iPhone SE and the previous one, Apple packed its latest budget phone with a bunch of upgrades. That includes wireless charging, better camera specs and water resistance. (Unfortunately, for wired headphone users, it doesn’t have a headphone jack.) If you’re looking for a new iPhone but want to save as much money as possible, the $399 (£419, AU$749) iPhone SE is your best bet. Read our Apple iPhone SE (2020) review.$399 AT APPLE$379 AT BACK MARKETRefurbished$399 AT AMAZONGoogle Pixel 4A

Angela Lang/CNET

Shipping out Aug. 20, Google’s Pixel 4A costs $349 (£349, AU$599). The 5.81-inch phone only comes in one color (black) and one size (as in there’s no Pixel 4A XL unlike past years). It features a headphone jack, a slightly larger screen and a bigger battery than the Pixel 4 and 128GB of storage right off the bat. Read our Google Pixel 4A review.$874 AT AMAZON$350 AT BEST BUY$585 AT WALMARTSamsung Galaxy A51

Sarah Tew/CNET

In addition to its main Galaxy S20 phones, Samsung has a more cost-conscious A series line of phones. This year it launched the Galaxy A51, another phone that costs $399, though we’ve seen it go on sale for as low as $230. (There is also a 5G variant that costs $499). The device has four cameras, an in-screen fingerprint reader and expandable memory. Read our Galaxy A51 review.$400 AT BEST BUYMotorola Moto G Stylus

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re looking for a cheaper Note 20 alternative, the $300 Moto G Stylus features a stylus that you can store inside the phone along with a built-in Notes app to help with productivity. The phone also features triple-rear cameras, 128GB of storage and a robust 4,000-mAh battery. Read our Moto G Stylus review.$270 AT AMAZON$270 AT BEST BUY$389 AT WALMARTSamsung Galaxy A50

Angela Lang/CNETED I T O R S ’ C H O I C EAUG 2019

Although the Galaxy A50 came out last year (and is the predecessor to the A51 phone mentioned above), it’s still a great phone that has been heavily discounted as low as $180. This Samsung phone has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, an in-screen fingerprint reader and a headphone jack. Read our Samsung Galaxy A50 review.$348 AT AMAZON$350 AT BEST BUY$350 AT WALMARTMotorola Moto G Power

Sarah Tew/CNET

The new Moto G Power is a tad cheaper than the G Stylus at $250, but it packs a robust 5,000-mAh battery. During our testing, it lasted an impressive four days without a charge. The phone has three rear cameras (one of which is a macro lens), a 6.4-inch display and expandable memory. Read our Moto G Power review.$230 AT BEST BUY$250 AT MOTOROLA$250 AT BEST BUYMotorola Moto Z4

Angela Lang/CNET

The Moto Z4 launched in May 2019 without much fanfare, despite the fact that it was one of the earliest phones that connected to 5G. It works with modular Moto Mod accessories, which attaches to the back of the phone via magnetic pins. Besides the Mod for 5G connectivity, there is one for a 260-degree camera and a photo printer. Read our Motorola Moto Z4 review.$450 AT AMAZON$500 AT WALMARTSamsung Galaxy S9

Josh Miller/CNET

It’s been two years since its launch, but the Galaxy S9 is still a phone worthy of consideration. Discounted at about $400 to $500 from Samsung and other retailers, the phone is water resistant, has wireless charging, expandable storage and a headphone jack. Plus, its curved OLED display screen lends the phone a modern-day look that still endures. Read our Samsung Galaxy S9 review.$220 AT BACK MARKETRefurbished$319 AT WALMART$500 AT AT&T WIRELESS

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First published on May 22, 2019 at 4:00 a.m. PT.43COMMENTSAndroid UpdatePhonesGoogleLenovoMotorolaSamsungAppleMobile CLOSE

Discuss: Best phones under $500: iPhone SE, Pixel 4A, Galaxy A51 and more

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

The best Google Pixel 4A deals

Google’s latest is already a steal at $349. Can you get it for even less?

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Rick BroidaAug. 3, 2020 9:54 a.m. PT

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Angela Lang/CNET

Google just announced the Pixel 4A, a new budget phone that’s a serious contender against the likes of the iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A51. For starters, those models sell for $399; the Pixel 4A starts at $349. The latter also offers perhaps the best camera in any budget phone, period. That’s according to Lynn La’s hot-off-the-presses Google Pixel 4A review.

As the Cheapskate, I can already give it my seal of approval: $349 is a very reasonable price for a phone like this. Of course, I’m always going to be looking for an even better deal, and here’s the best one right now: At Best Buy you can preorder the unlocked Google Pixel 4A (128GB) for $249.99. The catch? That’s with activation on Sprint and a new line of service. You can also choose AT&T or Verizon and get the phone for $299.99.SEE IT AT BEST BUY

Got a phone to trade in? Your price might end up even lower. If you’re upgrading from, say, a Pixel 3A, Best Buy will give you $70 for it, provided it’s unlocked and in good condition.

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Just pay careful attention to the activation requirements. Although the Pixel 4A is being sold here unlocked, there may be a requirement to keep service with a particular carrier for a particular length of time. And that service could be pricey.

If that’s the case, consider paying full price for the phone and then taking it to a smaller carrier. Mint Mobile, Red Pocket Mobile, Ting and Visible, for example, offer plans ranging from around $15-$40 per month. If you’d otherwise be stuck paying, say, $60 to AT&T, you’d quickly recoup the extra $50-$100 you paid for the phone.

I’ll update this post as more Pixel 4A deals emerge. In the meantime, let me know what you think of the phone and whether you’re planning to upgrade.

Read more: The best phones for 2020

Watch this: Pixel 4A review: Impressive camera and a battery that… 5:09


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.10COMMENTSThe CheapskateAndroid UpdatePhonesMobileGoogleSprint CLOSE

Discuss: The best Google Pixel 4A deals

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

4 best phones you can get for $300 or less: Galaxy A50, Moto G Power and more

If you’re looking for a phone on a budget, check out CNET’s top seven picks for 2020 so far.

Lynn La headshot

Lynn LaAug. 8, 2020 4:00 a.m. PT

If you’re on a tight budget but need a new phone, there are many solid options that cost $300 or less. Most of our favorite devices are from Motorola, which is unsurprising given that the company has made feature-rich budget phones for years now. In addition to its newest phones, which include the Moto G Stylus and G Power, we also recommend Samsung’s Galaxy A50.

A budget phone may be less expensive, but many of these still offer features that enthusiasts crave, including fingerprint readers, solid cameras and the elusive headphone jack. To see our top picks, check out the list below and read CNET’s reviews. We’ll update this list as we review new phones. Note that we’ve linked to the unlocked version of each phone, and they should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers, unless specified otherwise.

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Read moreBest phones under $500: iPhone SE, Pixel 4A, Galaxy A51 and more

Watch this: Best cheap phones to try now 2:02Motorola Moto G Stylus

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re looking for a cell phone that serves as a cheaper Note 20 alternative, the Moto G Stylus device features a stylus that you can store inside the phone along with built-in Notes app to help with productivity. The phone also has a triple-rear camera, 128GB of internal storage and a robust 4,000-mAh battery. Read our Moto G Stylus review.$270 AT AMAZON$270 AT BEST BUY$389 AT WALMARTSamsung Galaxy A50

Angela Lang/CNETED I T O R S ’ C H O I C EAUG 2019

Although the Galaxy A50 came out last year (and is the predecessor to the A51 phone), it’s still a great phone. Plus, you can find it cheaper than when it first launched, with current prices hovering around $230. The phone has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen, an in-screen fingerprint reader and a headphone jack. On the back, the three cameras include a wide angle lens as well as a “depth lens,” which is used to take portrait shots with blurry, dramatic backgrounds. Read our Samsung Galaxy A50 review.$299 AT WALMARTMotorola Moto G Power

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Moto G Power is currently $50 cheaper than the G Stylus, but it packs a robust 5,000-mAh battery. During our testing, it lasted an impressive four days without a charge. The phone has three rear cameras (on of which is a macro lens), a 6.4-inch display and expandable memory. Read our Moto G Power review.$230 AT BEST BUYMotorola Moto G7 Power

Sarah Tew/CNET

As the phone with the longest-lasting battery that we tested in 2019, the Moto G7 Power can last you the whole day and during lab tests its 5,000-mAh battery lasted 23 hours, 10 minutes. The phone also features a 12-megapixel camera, a 6.2-inch display and a fingerprint reader. Read ZDNet’s review of the Moto G7 Power.$180 AT AMAZON$180 AT BEST BUY$250 AT WALMART

The best phones you can buy

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Discuss: 4 best phones you can get for $300 or less: Galaxy A50, Moto G Power and more

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

7 best phones under $200: Our picks for 2020 budget phones that work great

If you’re looking for a new phone for $200 or less, check out the ones we’ve reviewed and several new ones we’re excited about.

Lynn La headshot

Lynn LaAug. 10, 2020 4:00 a.m. PT

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It may seem like your choices are slim to none if you’re looking for a reliable phone for $200 or less. But there are a few budget phones available that we do recommend — like handsets from Samsung and Motorola’s Moto G series.

To see our picks, check out the list below. A few of them have been fully reviewed by CNET editors, while others are ones we hope to get our hands on soon. (We’ll update this roundup once their reviews are up as well.) Note that we’ve linked to the unlocked version of each phone, and they should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers, unless specified otherwise.

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Subscribe to the Mobile newsletter and see related stories on CNET. Yes, I also want to receive the CNET Insider newsletter, keeping me up to date with all things CNET.SIGN ME UP!

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Important: If the price of the phone shown here or at the vendor is more than $200, it’s because inventory and pricing (often from third-party resellers) has shifted since we originally published this story or the review linked herein.

Read more4 best phones you can get for $300 or less: Galaxy A50, Moto G Power and more

Watch this: Best cheap phones to try now 2:02

Samsung Galaxy A01

Angela Lang/CNET

As the cheapest of Samsung’s A series of phones, the Galaxy A01 surprisingly offers a lot for the price. That includes a fast-charging 3,000-mAh battery, a tear-drop camera design and a 5.7-inch display. Read our Samsung Galaxy A01 review.Motorola Moto G Fast

Patrick Holland/CNET

Despite its low 720p screen resolution, the Moto G Fast is still a good value at $200. It has a 6.4-inch hole-punch display, a triple-rear camera setup and a Snapdragon 665 processor. Read more.$170 AT AMAZON$170 AT BEST BUYSamsung Galaxy A11

Samsung

The Galaxy A11 features a 6.4-inch display and three cameras: a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel wide-angle shooter and a 2-megapixel depth camera. It also offers a sizable 4,000-mAh battery and expandable storage. It doesn’t have wireless charging, but it does have an oft-coveted headphone jack. Read our Galaxy A11 first-take.$150 AT B&HMotorola Moto E

Patrick Holland/CNET

Though it’s not as good as the aforementioned Moto G Fast, the Moto E’s even cheaper price tag makes it affordable. Motorola also packaged its 6.2-inch screen, Snapdragon 632 processor and dual-camera setup in a modern, sleek design. And for more information, read CNET’s Moto G Fast vs. Moto E comparison.$150 AT BEST BUYMotorola Moto E6

Lori Grunin/CNET

Launched in July 2019, the Moto E6 smartphone is now widely available for under $150. It features a 13-megapixel camera, a headphone jack and a 5.5-inch display. Oddly enough, it also has a Micro-USB port for charging (rather than the newer USB-C).  Read our Moto E6 first take.$125 AT AMAZONLG K40

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Available for under $200, the midrange LG K40 Android phone debuted in 2019 and features a 5.7-inch display, a fingerprint sensor and a 13-megapixel camera. The phone is powered by an octa-core processor and a 3,000-mAh battery. Read our LG K40 hands-on.$180 AT BEST BUYMotorola Moto G7 Play

Sarah Tew/CNET

The often discounted Moto G7 Play is a favorite affordable Android smartphone. It has a 5.7-inch display, a water-repellent coating and a single 13-megapixel rear camera. For those who like to take a lot of selfies, on the front of the phone you’ll find a selfie camera flash to brighten up all those memorable moments. Read more about the Moto G7 Play.$130 AT B&H

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