Best budget and affordable phones in 2019: a buyer's guide

Best budget and affordable phones in 2019: a buyer's guide
When it comes to technology, some people just don’t find it reasonable to spend crazy amounts of money on a gadget that gets old in just a couple of years. Yet, those same people still want the full smartphone experience, the camera, the apps, and the speed. Are there any affordable phones that would fit all those criteria?

Good news is that with recent launches the answer is a resounding 'yes'. We now have phones that are cheap without being downright ruined by terrible issues - those affordable devices do not lag terribly, they have decent cameras, and some of them even come with a very likable design.

But which ones are they? We've picked the best affordable phones, where affordable does not mean ‘cheap’ in any embarrassing way. Take a look at these best value-for-the-money devices that you can get right now, and let us know which you think is the best low-cost smartphone.

Best Budget Phones
Under $350:
Samsung Galaxy A50 / A70
Moto G7 / G7 Plus
Pocophone F1

Under $250:
Moto G7 Power
Redmi Note 7

Under $350

Samsung Galaxy A50 / A70


  • Stylish design
  • Gorgeous Super AMOLED screen
  • Extremely solid battery life
  • Likable Samsung One UI
  • Headphone jack present


  • Slightly stuttery performance
  • Disappointing loudspeaker quality 
  • Camera quality just okay
  • No 4K video option
  • Galaxy A50 feels pricey at launch

The new Samsung Galaxy A series are stronger than ever and the A50 and A70 look like the phones that strike the best balance between price and features.

The main difference between the two is in the screen size and battery capacity: both are bigger on the A70 model, but for all else these two share a nearly identical experience, starting with the Samsung One UI interface and going to the camera, and the beautiful AMOLED display on both.

These are reliable phones with amazing battery life that will serve you well in the long run, just don't expect a flagship-grade camera or a perfectly smooth performance.

Moto G7 / G7 Plus


  • Reasonably priced
  • Zippy performance
  • Clean interface with useful gestures and widgets
  • Very fast and reliable fingerprint scanner
  • No bloatware


  • Screen quality is not quite great
  • Decent camera, but not quite great

The Moto G series have been one of our favorite budget models throughout the years and the Moto G7 series are no exception. The Moto G7 in the US and the G7 Plus in Europe are excellent buys that feature a clean and zippy Android experience augmented with a few useful gestures by Motorola.

The camera quality is again decent but not quite amazing (for great you'd need to go into mid-range territory with the Pixel 3a). If you can settle for a very decent camera, you will likey the performance and the reliability of these phones.

Pocophone F1

Prices from $350


  • Incredible value for the money
  • Great battery life
  • Fast performance
  • MIUI is rich in features


  • Plastic back might not please everyone
  • A bit on the thick side
  • LCD screen, not AMOLED

The Pocophone F1 by quickly growing Chinese company Xiaomi is all the rage in late 2018 with a price that is even more affordable than the OnePlus and many other "affordable flagships".

The Pocophone really is a great device for the money: it is incredibly fast, equipped with the flagship Snapdragon 845 system chip on board, and it has a very good looking LCD display and a decent camera (the camera is where it falls short of premium phones).

We also love the great battery life we get out of this phone: it features a massive, 4,000mAh battery and lasts us between a day or even two with scarcer use.

Under $250

Moto G7 Power


  • Incredible, industry-leading battery life
  • Very decent camera performance
  • Clean interface
  • Aggressive price


  • LCD screen, not quite as lush colors as AMOLED
  • Only 32GB of storage

The new Moto G6 series brings new life in one of the most popular affordable phones out there: the new Moto G6 features a sleeker than ever design with a thin, elegant body and a premium glass construction. It now has slimmer bezels too and a larger display for a more immersive experience, and at under $300, this phone is still a great value.

Moto sticks with its clean and fast version of Android and the G6 feels very zippy. With a decent camera and good battery life, the G6 remains one of the best options for those looking for a good budget phone.

Redmi Note 7


  • Great price/performance ratio
  • 48MP camera is among the best in the class
  • Big, 4000mAh battery, USB-C, QuickCharge 4
  • Fast performance for the class


  • Many notifications don't arrive to the lock screen
  • Limited availability outside of China

The Redmi Note 7 is the first phone by Redmi as a separate brand and it is sticks to the essence of the brand: an incredible price/performance ratio.

At under $200, the Redmi Note 7 surprises with a stylish glass design with and an elegant gradient finish on the back, it sports a 6.3" LCD Full HD+ screen with a tiny water-drop notch, it runs on the Snapdragon 660 chip and has a massive, 4,000mAh battery while keeping user favorites like the microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, and an IR blaster. It's also the first Redmi phone with a USB-C port instead of the old microUSB one, and it supports QuickCharge 4.0.

The most impressive feature of the Note 7, however, might be its camera: it comes with a 48-megapixel Samsung sensor. Images are shot at 12-megapixel by default because 4 pixels are blended into one to achieve better quality both during the day and at night. You can also shoot at the full 48-megapixels if you want to zoom in or just get the best detail.


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