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The Insider Pick:
Budget phones have never been this good or this affordable. After lots of testing and research, we found the Moto G6 to be the best cheap phone you can get on Amazon.
Amazon Prime Day 2018 will begin at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, July 16 and will run through Tuesday, July 17. Many of our picks may be on sale. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime here to access the deals.
Although most people in the US tend to buy their smartphones directly from cell service providers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, bargain hunters and tech geeks are starting to buy their phones unlocked online.
Amazon offers a large selection of unlocked phones from brands big and small. Some of these phones are very cheap, and Amazon is making a small selection of great budget devices even cheaper with Amazon Prime Exclusive phones, which are subsidized with advertisements.
We’ve rounded up the very best unlocked phones you can get on Amazon for as little as $120 or as much as $380. Affordable unlocked phones are much more powerful than they used to be, and any of our top picks would make an excellent first smartphone for a kid or young student who just needs a reliable cheap phone.
We’ve personally tested some of these phones, and the ones we haven’t yet tested are in this guide based on current reviews of the phones, their price, and their spec sheet.
Here’s what you need to know about buying unlocked phones from Amazon:
Buying a phone unlocked from Amazon can be intimidating the first time — especially if you’ve always bought your phone from a carrier like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint.
When you buy an unlocked phone, you’ll pay the full price all at once. When you buy from your carrier, the company often offers to let you buy the device on a payment plan so you can pay a little bit each month. Good news, though — all of the phones in this guide cost between $59.99-$377.
Some unlocked phones may not work on Verizon or Sprint. Sprint and Verizon use a special kind of network called CDMA, but most unlocked phones use the more standard GSM network that both T-Mobile and AT&T use. Don’t worry, though — we’ve noted the carriers whose services work on each phone. Amazon also typically says which networks work on the device, too.
Amazon offers discounts on some phones for its Prime subscribers. These Prime Exclusive phones are subsidized by Amazon so you pay a lower price, but the phones have ads and lockscreen offers. We’ve also included links to the unsubsidized phones if you don’t want the ads and can afford to ditch them. You can view all the Prime Exclusive Phones at a discount here.
These are our top picks for the best cheap phones on Amazon:
Best cheap phone overall: Moto G6
Best cheap phone for $233: Nokia 6.1
Best cheap phone for $380: LG G6
Best cheap phone for $200: Honor 7X
Best cheap phone for $120: Moto E4
Best smartphones you can buy
Updated on 07/12/2017 by Malarie Gokey: Added the Moto G6, Honor 7X, and Nokia 6.1. Removed out of date phones and updated prices.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.The overall best cheap phone on Amazon
Why you’ll love it: The Moto G6 is the best budget phone for most people with its low price, solid camera, and clean Android software.
Motorola’s Moto G series has produced the uncontested best budget phone year after year since it first launched. The competition may be fiercer and the Moto brand may have been bought by Lenovo, but the Moto G series is still king. The new Moto G6 is an impressive budget phone that ticks all the boxes: glass design (check), solid cameras (check), fast processor (check), great low price (check).
The Moto G6 isn’t a showstopper in the looks department, but it is actually made out of glass and metal, which isn’t something you can say about most budget phones. It looks and feels good in your hands, though some may find it a bit slippery.
Its 5.7-inch Full HD (1080p) screen is sharp and clear, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor is fast when paired with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage is decent as is the option to expand it via a Micro SD card up to 256GB. The phone also has a fingerprint sensor and face unlock for security.
The G6 has an improved 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual-lens camera setup, which is quite good, and selfie-takers will be pleased with the 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The battery should last you a full day, and it charges up quickly with Motorola’s TurboPower charging, which promises to give you six hours of use after 15 minutes of charging.
Android fans will be thrilled to know it’s running very recent software version Android 8.0 Oreo, and Motorola hasn’t changed much of the software’s look and feel. Moto-branded phones also have a decent track record of getting timely security patches and updates, so you know your phone will stay safe from hackers and malicious bugs.
If you want a larger 5.9-inch screen, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage, the Moto G6 Plus is also a great buy at $339.
Pros: Amazing low price, decent cameras, metal design, fingerprint sensor for security, and quick Android updates
Cons: Glass is fragile and slippery, Prime Exclusive version has Amazon apps and ads
Buy the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 on Amazon for $234.99 (works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon)
Buy the unlocked Moto G6 from Motorola for $249.99 (works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint)
Buy the Moto G6 Plus on Amazon for $339
The best cheap phone for $233
Why you’ll love it: The Nokia 6.1 is as close to Stock Android as you can get without spending $800+ on the Google Pixel 2, and it only costs $233.
If you care about having Stock Android and regular updates on your smartphone, but you don’t want to spend $300 or more, you’re in luck: The Nokia 6.1 is the phone you seek. So long as your cellular network is GSM like T-Mobile and AT&T, you can use this phone.
The Nokia 6.1 has a great 5.5-inch, Full HD, LCD screen that looks great encased in the all-metal, aluminum body of the phone. There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone along with some cool copper metallic detailing that adds flash to the plain black back.
The Nokia 6.1 looks and feels high-end when you hold it, and it’s not likely to break like the expensive glass-backed flagship phones. Inside, it has a decent Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53 processor and 4GB RAM, as well as 64GB of storage, which is expandable up to 128GB with a MicroSD card.
A good-sized 3,000mAh battery keeps the phone running for at least a full day and it charges up with a USB-C cable. Finally, the 16-megapixel camera with its phase detection autofocus, Carl Zeiss optics, and dual-LED dual-tone flash works like a charm, as does the 8-megapixel front camera.
However, the best thing about the Nokia 6.1 isn’t its good spec sheet or even its low price — it’s the promise of regular security patches and Android updates. Because Nokia has gone with near Stock Android and joined Google’s Android One program, you can rest assured that your phone will always be up to date.
Before you buy, just make sure you have T-Mobile, AT&T, or another GSM carrier.
Pros: Pure Android, great screen, strong build, good battery, low price
Cons: Doesn’t work on Verizon, Sprint, or other CDMA networks
Buy the Nokia 6.1 on Amazon for $233
The best cheap phone on Amazon with flagship specs
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
Why you’ll love it: The LG G6 is a true flagship phone from 2017 with tons of power, great cameras, and a beautiful screen — all for under $400.
If you can stomach Prime ads on your phone and you can afford to spend about $400, the LG G6 is an absolute steal. It’s a flagship phone that launched in March 2017 with a big, beautiful 5.7-inch screen that took up nearly the entire front of the phone. The back is shiny glass, and it’s comfortable to hold. It looked like the iPhone X before the iPhone X was a thing.
The LG G6 packs a good amount of power, too, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB of RAM. The cameras are fantastic, too. You get two 12-megapixel cameras on the back, one of which has a wide-angle lens. A 5-megapixel selfie camera sits on the front of the phone to take really nice shots.
With 32GB of storage and a MicroSD card slot, you can store tons of photos and apps on this phone. The 3,300mAh battery will last at least a full day, and you get wireless charging and Quick Charge tech when you need to juice up.
I tested this phone when it first came out and even went to Korea to see how it was made, so I can vouch for how well built and powerful it is. Although there are plenty of other new phones coming out, the LG G6 is still a great buy — especially at this price.
If you want to spend a bit more for a slightly larger screen, a Hi-Fi DAC for audio, and 128GB of storage, you can get the LG G6+ for $499.99. We don’t think it’s worth the extra $100, though.
Networks: Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon
Pros: Big screen, fast processor, lots of storage with MicroSD, strong cameras, great price for a flagship, wireless charging
Cons: Not the cheapest budget phone, Prime ads may annoy some.
Buy the LG G6 with Prime Exclusive ads on Amazon for $377.99
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