Best budget 5G phones in 2021

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Best budget 5G phones 2021
2020 was the year of 5G, and 2021 will be even more so. Mobile carriers around the world are expanding their 5G networks at a rapid pace and 5G devices are now far from the niche products they were just a short time ago, even going down market as low as the Galaxy A32 5G

That’s largely thanks to Qualcomm’s efforts to pair its 5G modem with some mid-tier system chips, giving manufacturers more flexibility in terms of pricing, starting 5G phones from as low as the sub-$300 point. The prices of budget phones can even go lower than this when the best Prime Day deals come around in the summer.

Best cheap 5G phones list:

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

Samsung Galaxy A32

Samsung Galaxy A32

The Good

  • The battery life is top notch
  • The headphone jack is not extinct here
  • There is a Micro SD card slot
  • There is 5G support
  • The main camera records up to 4K 30fps
  • The front camera is decent

The Bad

  • The display is cheap and of older technology, its quality and resolution are bad
  • The glossy plastic back is a scratch and fingerprint magnet
  • Lack of optical image stabilization on the camera
  • Night mode photos come out noisy
  • The display does not get dim enough in low light
This would very well be the 5G technology's weapon of mass proliferation, as it launched at just $282 over at Samsung, the cheapest 5G phone from the most recognizable Android phone brand. While not as well-appointed as the A52 5G midranger, our A32 review found it to sport amazing battery life with surprisingly decent camera performance, making it a steal at the price.

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

View full specs
Until an A72 5G lands on US shores, the Galaxy A71 5G is the best of the budget Samsung 5G phones, and it even has a Verizon UW version. Nominally $600, but found at way less, it’s still $400 below the official retail price of the Galaxy S21+. The difference becomes even larger if you are able to get in on a promo, for a phone with Snapdragon 765G chip, great battery life, and a quad-camera array. 

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52

Samsung Galaxy A52

The Good

  • Beautiful, big, 90 Hz AMOLED screen
  • Good camera, OIS helps a lot
  • Stereo speakers sound good
  • Heyyy, headphone jack

The Bad

  • All around plastic
  • A bit bulky
  • Performance can have a few hiccups
This year, the Galaxy A52 5G will get knocked down from its perch as the entry level Samsung phone in the US that comes with 5G capabilities by the A32 5G, but even then the A52 is a pretty good deal at around $400. For one, the phone doesn't look cheap at all. In fact, this year Samsung made its A-series phones even more similar to its flagships with added cameras and high refresh rate displays.

OnePlus 8 5G

What's an $800 phone doing here, you ask? Well, after the 9-series landed, OnePlus slashed the 8 to $500. Great display with high refresh, excellent battery life. and decent camera round up this great 5G offing. If you want a version that will work on Verizon, you'd have to shell out a bit more for the exclusive mmWave model, though.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The Good

  • Top-notch still photo quality
  • Polished software and user experience
  • Lightweight design
  • Smooth performance
  • Excellent value
  • 5G support

The Bad

  • No waterproofing
  • Plasticky build
Google entered the budget 5G phone scene not long ago, and the cheaper Pixel 4a 5G is an awesome value proposition. It comes with the Snapdragon 765G SoC paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. But you're not buying a Pixel phone for the specs sheet. You're getting it for the software features and the camera. While the camera hardware might be inferior to that of the Galaxy A71, for instance, it more makes up with the software and is one the best camera phones on this list.

Motorola One Ace 5G

Motorola One 5G Ace

Motorola One 5G Ace

The Good

  • Great value for a 5G phone
  • Snappy performance
  • Good camera quality
  • Excellent battery life

The Bad

  • Macro lens doesn’t add much value
  • Build could be sturdier
Motorola also has a $399 entry in the budget 5G segment. Not that surprising, considering Motorola has been making some of the best budget phones for the last few years, and our review of the Motorola One Ace 5G found out it's no exception.

LG Velvet 5G

LG Velvet

5G UW, 128GB, Aurora Gray

$699 99

LG also has a contender in the budget 5G phones fight with, surprise, the LG Velvet. Great design and very good camera meet 5G connectivity courtesy of the frugal Snapdragon 765G that is easy on the battery. It can now be found for $400-$500 in its non-Verizon version, and checks all marks for an affordable daily 5G driver.

TCL 10 5G UW/T-Mobile REVVL 5G

The TCL 10 is another sub-$400 5G phone, this time to fulfil the affordable 5G needs of Verizon or T-Mobile's customers, and is packing pretty decent specs for the price. The Snapdragon 765G is back, paired with 6/128 RAM/Storage combo and 4,500mAh battery. The display is a 6.5-inch IPS LCD with a hole-punch for the selfie camera, just as you'd expect from a phone in 2020. A feature that not many budget phones have but this one does is face unlock. Of course, there's also a fingerprint reader if you want that extra security.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G

OnePlus has been expanding its presence in the States and one of its latest additions is the budget Nord N10. The N10 sells for just $299 in the US and comes with features that are usually reserved for much more expensive phones. We're talking about the 90Hz refresh rate of the display and the 30W Warp Charging. The 6/128GB RAM/Storage combo is also pretty good at that price point and the battery life of the phone is amazing, as we found out during our OnePlus Nord N10 review.

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