Bang for the buck: the best affordable Android phones under $300 unsubsidized

Bang for the buck: the best affordable Android phones under $300 unsubsidized
Android phones needn't be expensive to run their basic tasks, and its entry or lower midrange level handsets out there were the ones that really dug the grave for the feature phone, sporting a decent design, plethora of features, access to the Play Store apps, and... a sub-$300 price tag without subsidy.

Of course, there will be tradeoffs to make at such a price, but in the phones below those are a surprisingly small number for the tag they are sold with at the moment. 

After covering the $300-$500 SIM-free range, check out the sub-$300 handsets handpicked below if you are in the market for a decent affordable Android - we are including both devices announced this year, and some of last year's crop that have fallen in price quite a bit by now.

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40 Comments

40. luckysnap

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

Right now there's also the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. Amazon's got it, unlocked, for $285 right now amzn.to/1ryAb6B

39. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

Xperia T, V, S and SL all retails for US$300 also...........when u include these, Xperia T emerges as the solid winner. 2 weeks back I purchased Xperia SP for USD307.

31. Tsarli

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 22, 2013

So which phone is the cheapest?

36. trustory

Posts: 132; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

lg optimus l9

29. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i got my Razr M temp phone for $180 brand new with the plastic and everything still on it. it runs great on CM10.1. ;) when i get my Moto X or whatever i'll be giving this to my girlfriend.

28. wky1998

Posts: 13; Member since: Jul 22, 2013

Why would be Samsung Galaxy S2 Plus will not in list, is it because of the short battery life ?

27. snowgator

Posts: 3630; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Appreciate this list. As the resident "go to guy" for mobile, I try to keep up with pros &cons with OS systems, but sometimes it is impossible to keep up with all the devices. Especially Android. In my small IL city, we are still lacking good paying jobs, so "cheap" is the name of the game. This list gives me something to work from, as well as the comments.

18. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Other alternatives are galaxy s2/nexus,sensation Xl/xe,wp8s,lumia 520

9. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Why not the Optimus L9? I picked it up for $200 off contract just to see what LG's skin was like and now that it's on Jelly Bean it runs pretty much perfectly.

15. Daniel.P

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

Added, thanks, slipped my mind that it got updated to Jelly Bean and is now a pretty great handset for the money ;)

19. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Just saw this but, the L9 still wasn't up when I posted above in post #16. Daniel, you need to work a little faster; these stories should all be complete and passed final edit (by the time I wake up) .... lol :D

22. Daniel.P

Posts: 127; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

True, it's in there now, smell the coffee ;)

26. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

Thanks, still workin' on that coffee. Great piece Daniel, this lets people know they have good choices if they don't want to splurge (or need to) high-end.

4. aco96

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

These phones are so expensive. I ordered Samsung Ativ S 4 days ago for just 250€. It's much better than these phones in every aspect.

12. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Except it runs WP8

32. aco96

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

You shouldn't compare OS-es, because they are very different. Android has more features, customisation, codec support, connectivity and apps, but WP has better stabilty, dosen't get slow after long usage, it's more simple, better office, less malware. It's all about personal choice :) Here I'm talking about the device itself, and the Ativ S is great phone imo - Awesome diplay, it's fast, elegant, it has good battery, good camera, it's much better piece of hardware than all phones listed here.

38. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Has anyone on this site honestly ever had malware on android phones? I am certain that the media makes the numbers up because I have no ever meet one person who has gotten a virus on their phone.

3. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

most of em run on 1gb ram and are bound to LAAAAAAG!

24. Nokfan1603

Posts: 84; Member since: Mar 13, 2013

I know, Android with 1 gb ram is going to lag. I myself had an Android entry model, never again. I can tell you for sure that this is not the case with windows phones. Try it!

2. wendygarett unregistered

I'm sorry, they might be affordable, but when it comes to something under $300, only lumia 720 and 520 (htc 8s at least) worth to buy... low end android not optimize much from gaming developer as even lumia 520 can play asphalt 6 Luke a champ... Low end showdown? Lumia 520 win by an infinite margins, no contest...

5. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

someone has hacked wendy's account itseems

33. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

lol u got it dude.........wendy wasn't that good though........lol

7. Reverence

Posts: 224; Member since: Jul 16, 2012

dude two things....first the article says android and second though 520 can run games but they are not lag free and the windows store is empty...so windows phone is useless!

11. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

What do you mean? Windows Phone Marketplace has over 145,000 apps, so it's far from empty. Windows Phone never lags no matter what processor it has, how many RAM it has. Even the 512MB RAM Lumia 520 can run Asphalt 7 smoothly.

35. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

correction dude: 165,000 apps in Windows Phone store.

13. wendygarett unregistered

Well, when the articles says iPhone, you fandroid would definitely put android into it as well... if so, whats wrong if I wanna put Windows phone on android articles, since you fandroid don't respect us anyway :)

14. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

which fan are you?

17. wendygarett unregistered

WebOS :)

20. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

If you noticed Wendy's post recently, he has already stopped trolling

21. exor430

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 17, 2012

out of 700k++ of apps in playstore, how many did you download?out of apps you download, how many of them is important? 9 out of 10 of the important is available in windows phone.

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