Smartphones that are prized around $1,000 and more have become commonplace in the marketplace, and for anyone on a budget, those high prices can soon cause headaches. Fortunately, there are still cheap smartphones in abundance, with more great options to choose from than ever before. If you need one of the best smartphones under $200, our favorite is the Nokia 4.2. Today we’re talking about it and several other phones that add tremendous value to the low-end space.
Best Smartphones Under $200 List
If you need the best smartphone under $200 to spend, you should go with Nokia 4.2 as our top recommendation. Nokia has dominated the low-end and mid-range markets in recent years, and the 4.2 represents the best total value you can get in this price range. When you look at the Nokia 4.2, it is quite admirable how many features Nokia has been able to cram into such an affordable device. It has double 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel rear cameras that take pretty good photos, a special button to call up the Google Assistant, and a MicroSD slot to expand the 32 GB of internal storage to 400 GB.
Another big victory for the Nokia 4.2 is the software experience. Android One powers the phone, and this results in a couple of huge advantages. First of all, the overall user interface is amazingly clean and easy to navigate. It’s a somewhat similar experience to what you’d find on Pixel phones and isn’t bogged down in unnecessary gimmicks everywhere you look. As a result, the Nokia 4.2 is guaranteed to receive all of the major software updates until April 2021 and security patches until April 2022.
Samsung Galaxy A10e
The Nokia 4.2 is a popular product within the space for the best smartphones under $200, but if it doesn’t attract your attention, another option worth considering is the Samsung Galaxy A10e. Depending on where your needs lie, this may be a better choice than the 4.2. The Galaxy A10e has a better display. It is larger, goes from edge-to-edge with the left and right frame of the phone, and has a much smaller bezel. If you use a lot of media, the A10e will make your movies and games stand out a bit more.
Another thing we especially like about this phone is the fact that it works on all major American carriers – including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. Compared to Nokia’s 4.2, which only works with GSM networks such as T-Mobile and AT&T, the A10e is the default choice if you rely on Sprint or Verizon. Other highlights of the Galaxy A10e are its expandable storage capacity of up to 512GB, Samsung’s spirited Exynos 7884B processor, and a 3,000 mAh battery.
Moto G7 Play
Motorola’s Moto G series has long been one of the most popular for budget Android phones, and currently, the company’s one of the best smartphones under $200 is the Moto G7 Play. Yes, it has a much bigger notch compared to the 4.2 and A10e, but there is much to offer here that makes the G7 Play exciting. With every phone that Motorola releases, one of the strengths is the software experience. With the G7 Play, it is no different. Along with a clean and sleek interface, you also get Motorola’s suite of software add-ons.
These include Moto Display (an excellent always-on display feature) and Moto Actions – which lets you move the device in a chopping motion to turn the flash on and turn it on to open the camera. In everyday use, these functions are a lot of fun and useful. Motorola has also worked with Amazon to integrate Alexa into G7 Play intensely, allowing you to press and hold power on/off button to open the virtual assistant at any time. If you prefer Alexa over Google Assistant, the G7 Play fits better than something like Nokia 4.2.
We also like that the phone has expandable storage up to 512GB, uses a USB-C port for charging, and works on all major US carriers. Motorola has a notoriously bad history for not immediately pushing software updates to its phones (if at all), so put that in mind before handing over your money.
Xiaomi Mi A3
The Xiaomi Mi A3 is the first global phone on our list, and when buying a global phone, there are several things to keep in mind. You won’t get a guarantee with your purchase because it’s not officially sold in the US, and when used on AT&T or T-Mobile, some missing LTE bands mean you will not have such a good signal in large buildings or rural areas. But apart from these two issues, the Mi A3 is an attractive phone.
One of the major attractions of the Mi A3 is its camera setup. You get a total of three sensors, including a 48-MP primary lens, an 8-MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2-MP depth sensor for portrait mode. Low-light images don’t have as much detail as we’d like, but highlight photos look fantastic. The ultra-wide-angle lens is also great fun to use, and Xiaomi includes AI to make your photos look as good as possible every time. For the price, this is one of the best smartphones under $200.
Nokia 3.1 Plus
Previously offered as an exclusive to Cricket Wireless customers, you can now purchase and use the Nokia 3.1 Plus unlocked on any GSM wireless provider – such as AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. One of the highlights of the 3.1 Plus is its incredible industrial design. The phone is made of soft-touch polycarbonate, giving it a beautiful feel without sacrificing durability. There’s also a nice amount of heft on the phone, which prevents it from feeling like a cheap phone, as the price tag might lead you to believe such.
The 3,500 mAh battery, combined with HD+ (720p) resolution, allows you to get up to two days of battery life on one charge. There is also an NFC chip that allows for Google Pay, a reliable fingerprint sensor, expandable storage (up to 256GB), and guaranteed software updates, thanks to the Android One program. Performance is not the best, and the mono speaker on the back is a disappointment, but overall, the Nokia 3.1 Plus is a solid contender for the best smartphones under 200 dollars.
None of the devices on this list are considered expensive, but if you’re trying to spend as little money as you can, the Nokia 2.2 is for you. You do make some sacrifices to reach such a low price point, but in the end, it’s worth considering. Compared to the other smartphones on our list, the Nokia 2.2 is on the small side with a 5.71-inch display. This makes it pretty easy to use in one hand, and that’s not something you can say about many phones that are released these days. There is also a Google Assistant key and an expandable storage option up to 400GB.
Just like the Nokia 4.2, the 2.2 is powered by Android One OS. This again means a clean software interface and years of guaranteed updates. Software updates will continue to roll through until June 2021, with security patches only stopping in June 2022. The Nokia 2.2 is not equipped with a fingerprint sensor and uses a slower MediaTek processor, which is where the ultra-low price makes itself known. Overall, this is one of the best smartphones under $200.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
To complete this list, we have the Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7. This is another global phone, and that means no warranty and missing LTE tapes. However, these are almost the only real drawbacks of this device. The Redmi Note 7 is a dark-impressive phone. It has a fantastic glass/metal design, with the Neptune blue color that is downright enchanting.
You’ll also get a large 6.35-inch display with sharp Full HD+ (1080p) resolution, the fast rear fingerprint sensor, and the dual rear camera setup. Under the hood, the Note 7 is equipped with the Snapdragon 660 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB expandable storage and a massive 4,000mAh battery. Xiaomi’s custom MIUI software can sometimes crash, but in almost every way, it’s one of the best smartphones under 200 dollars.