Best budget Android phones 2017

With a $300 phone, you can do 90% of the things you can do with a $600 phone, they say, and the best budget Android phones we've picked for you below certainly prove that urban legend. In the "year of the $1000 phone" when the Galaxy S8 came $100 more expensive than its predecessor, the Note 8 is pegged at $930, the Pixel 2 XL 128 GB is $949, and the iPhone X blasts off at $999, finding the best value-for-money ratio when choosing a phone has become even more important. 

We are here to help, and tell you which ones of the Androids available now, and easily accessible in the US, offer the best bang for your hard-earned buck.

Moto G5 Plus ($230-$300)

  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh

Priced to move at $230 for 2 GB RAM/32 GB storage, and just $300 for the souped-up 4 GB/64 GB version, the Moto G5 Plus is hands down the best phone for the money you can currently get in the US, as it would work on all major carriers, including Verizon and Sprint, and our review didn't find any major reasons not to get it at this tag. Why aren't we listing its newer model the G5S Plus, you ask? Well, its dual camera actually doesn't have Dual Pixel autofocus like the G5 Plus, plus it's a larger device that costs more, and has yet to prove itself in battle.


  • Expansive carrier support
  • Great battery life, fast recharging
  • Fingerprint-scanner gestures work great


  • Camera feels like it can't reach its full potential

Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom ($329)

  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 128GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh(48h 3G talk time)

Now, this one goes for slightly more than $300, but, while we found its huge 5000 mAh battery and dual camera set to work a bit less flashy than the Asus marketing would suggest, the ZenFone 3 Zoom is still one of the best values you can find for the price. It has 2x telephoto zoom lens, pretty amazing battery life housed in a fairly thin body, and can record 4K video with instant, Dual Pixel autofocus. The pictures' quality is decent, night shots are a bit noisy, but, then, what phone in this price range is good in low-light shots. Overall, excellent battery life, good all-around package, and great value - what more can the user on a budget desire, save for carrier compatibility with Verizon and Sprint, of course, which is sadly missing from the kit.


  • Long battery life
  • Good value
  • Flexible camera hardware


  • Camera software needs work, low-light performance unsatisfying
  • Dated design

Sony Xperia X ($239-$299)

  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2620 mAh(14h 3G talk time)

This one's a last-year crop, but with a 5" 1080p display, decent rear and front shooters, light interface and excellent battery life, the Xperia X is worth a second look, especially if you dig the black version that is just $239 now. Unfortunately, it is a GSM device, so it won't work on carriers like Verizon or Sprint.


  • Very good battery life and system performance
  • Attractive, signature Sony design
  • Very bright display


  • Oversaturated display colors
  • Main camera has a few problems
  • No fingerprint scanner in the US

Motorola Moto E4 Plus ($199)

  • Display 5.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 427, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh

You know what else has 5000 mAh battery, but costs even less than the ZenFone 3 Zoom? Going further down the rabbit hole of the best budget phones around the good ol' USA, we find the summer hit that is the Moto E4 Plus, if $300 seems to high of a price for you. For just two Benjamins you can get the souped up version of the E4 Plus with 32 GB storage, and the phone is also often on sale which makes it an incredible value as a weekend getaway phone with the 13 hours and change of screen-on time that the E4 Plus managed on our battery test. First, because it works with all major US carriers out of the box, just like the G5 Plus, and, second, since we found it to be an excellent handset for the price, and then some, when we put it through our review paces.


  • Long battery life
  • Pleasant design, sturdy build
  • Quick and accurate fingerprint scanner


  • Gets slow at times
  • Poor camera

ZTE Max XL ($99)

  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, Octa-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3990 mAh(26.6h talk time)

The largest screen you can get for $99! We kid, but by now, users on second-tier CDMA carriers like Sprint and its subsidiary Boost may feel left out of choices, so we are including the ZTE Max XL to drown their sorrows. This one has the largest, 6" display out of our budget phone lineup, but fret not, as it carries a good 1080p resolution. On board are also fine midrange specs, a huge battery pack, and even a finger scanner situated comfortably on the back. 

Needless to say, the best thing about the Max XL is its price, which is just $99 if you get it from Boost. Believer it or not, ZTE is now the second largest seller of non-contract unlocked phones in the US, and Sprint's budget-conscious subscribers now have a great value-for-money offer to rest their head on, quite literally.



1. Povea

Posts: 53; Member since: Jul 03, 2015

How about your international readers? Most of your recommendations are for the US. You guys should stop this stupid stereotyping, as if United states is the only country on earth.

8. Brewski

Posts: 736; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Not stereotyping. This is a United States based website. It was started in the U.S., most of the authors are in the U.S. If you'll notice, anytime there is an article about cell carriers they are always focused on United States providers. You never see BT Mobile, O2, Sky Mobile, etc. Only Verizon, T-Mobile, At&t, Sprint, all U.S. carriers. They have never claimed to be an international site. If you want international news, go to an international site.

15. poptart574

Posts: 223; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

I disagree. This website does warrant the complaint. Especially when they put out their "best smartphone money can buy on the planet lists" and completely omit phones from other parts of the world.

16. Brewski

Posts: 736; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Well, the next time you see an article here that says "Best on the planet" then your arguments are justified. By all means, complain away. However, the second paragraph of this article starts out "We are here to help, and tell you which ones of the Androids available now, and easily accessible in the US, offer the best bang for your hard-earned buck." No where do they claim to review phones in any other part of the world, in fact, they specifically say "accessible in the US". I see Poveas point, US is not the only country on Earth. But there's enough people here to support a very large consumer base to purchase (and develop) these phones, as well as enough people to start a website and write about the phones those people are using. If you are unhappy with the phones covered on a US site, start your own website that only caters to your country.

17. poptart574

Posts: 223; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

In due time. Just reminding people that the world offers much more than the measly list offered here.

18. Brewski

Posts: 736; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Maybe, but that is not the focus of this website. Never has been. I did a little digging and I couldn't find any "best smartphone money can buy on the planet lists". I did however, see a "best phones for Sprint" list, lots of deals for Best Buy, Verizon, T-Mobile (all American companies). Also, whenever an article is about a country other than U.S. it says specifically in the headline so as to differentiate (UK, India, etc.) This means unless another country is mentioned, you should assume it is applicable to the default one. The U.S. Can you show me a link to this "best smartphone money can buy on the planet lists" you speak of?

19. poptart574

Posts: 223; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

I think this link can apply But you are correct as well as most of their articles reflect just the US market.

20. Brewski

Posts: 736; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

Yes, they are showing "brands from across the globe" but since it is a U.S. based website they are only showing the ones that work in the U.S. Samsung (South Korea) HTC (Taiwan) LG (South Korea) Huawei (China) OnePlus (China) Xiaomi (China) Honor (China) Moto, iPhone, Google (U.S.) Sony (Japan) Oppo (China) These are the brands mentioned in that article. They are "from across the globe". As in the company exists in another part of the world. But if you had read the article you would see they state "if you can import this baby that will only work with AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S." and "this baby will work on AT&T and T-Mobile if you want to import it." No mention of global carriers, only U.S. ones. As I said before, this is a U.S. site. Thus, some of the info may pertain to you if you are outside the U.S. but if you get left out, don't get all bent out of shape. Go to GSMArena like samgsam mentioned.

10. samgsam

Posts: 152; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Refer to GSMArena if you want a good list of phones in any price range. They actually care about other countries because it's not US based.

2. Peacetoall unregistered

Mi A1 is a good budget phone too

3. Acdc1a

Posts: 477; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

The e4 Plus is a great device.

4. Boub9999

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

The first picture for the Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom is actually the Moto G5 Plus. Same stock photo as the Moto G5 Plus in this article. Does no one proofread anymore before posting?

5. supracer

Posts: 26; Member since: Jul 21, 2015

Mi a1 or the redmi note 4x kills all these "recommendations"

6. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Redmi note 5 coming soon

12. raky_b

Posts: 440; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Not avaible in US(and most of western markets), plus it comes without warranty

13. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Newegg, gearbest and some other stores give 1 year global warranty, but you'll need to pay shipment (to Hongkong :v) Another problem for US is limited LTE band, but it should work fine in EU.

7. Matrixzonee

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

Including Moto G5 Plus defeats the purpose of this list. This list was supposed to include good phones and not defective phones.. Please study before suggesting buggy phones like Moto G5 Plus.

11. sgodsell

Posts: 7607; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I have one, and it's not buggy at all.

9. Brewski

Posts: 736; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

You can also wait a month or two after a flagship is released and get it much cheaper. That's what I have done with the last few phones I've had. Phone released in Sept: $800 A few days later: offers free accessories One week later: reduced to $750 One month later: price reduced again to $500 (Free accessories still offered) I was able to buy a flagship phone at 60% of the original cost, got $300 worth of accessories and got an extra $50 off because the carrier really wanted my business. Looking/waiting for deals on a flagship>settling for an inferior device

14. KingSam

Posts: 1516; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

As far as Im concerned there are 2 choices here. Xperia x for $240 and then the zte for $99.

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