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The Best Cheap Android Phones of 2015

Last updated: December 4, 2018.

Here is The Best Cheap Android Phones of 2015

It used to be that, in order to have a good smartphone, you either needed to agree to a two-year contract, or pay around $500 – $700.  Luckily, this in no longer the case with several manufacturers who have begun to offer handsets with quality specs but low prices.  In this review we look at some of the best cheap Android phones currently available.

 

Of course, “low-cost” can be a subjective term.  For some, it’s anything under $350.  For others, it’s anything under $200.  With this budget range in mind, we present you here with six devices: three under $200 and three under $350.  We’re also going to list a few extra honorable mentions.

 

How do we rank the phones? We look at several factors, with the price/value ratio ranked the highest.  We would also like to mention that all the devices on the list are fully unlocked and off-contract.

 

Under $200

 

Number 1: The Motorola Moto G (2nd Generation)

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A follow up to the original Moto G, Motorola included a pretty powerful processor in this device, they also increased the display size and improved their camera package.

 

Take a look at the following specs:

  • Display: 5-inch LDC screen for a 1280 x 720 resolution
  • Processor: A 1.2 GHZ Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU that uses 1 GB of Ram
  • Storage: Comes in two variants: 8 GB and 16 GB. Also allows for microSD expansion
  • Camera: Rear camera: 8MP; Front camera: 2MP.
  • Battery: 2070 mAh
  • Dimensions: 141.5 x 70.7 x 11 mm, weight 149g
  • Software: Android 4.4 KitKat but an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop is expected before end of the year

Number 2: The Motorola Moto E (2nd Generation)

A2

Another Motorola follow up, this generation of the Moto E has improved its display and processor and offers great on-board storage and a decent camera.

 

Available in many different regions around the world, you can get the LTE version for $149.99 off contract in the US, with a 3G version available for $119.99. We would recommend the LTE version, despite the $30 increase as the high-speed internet enhances this devices usability.

 

Take a look at the following specs:

  • Display: 4.5 inch qHD IPS LCD for a 540 x 960 resolution.
  • Processor: A 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 CPU with 1 GB of RAM for the 3G model. A 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 CPI for the 4G model.
  • Storage: 8 GB on-boar storage. Allows for MicroSD expansion of up to 32GB.
  • Camera: Rear camera: 5 MP; Front Camera: VGA
  • Battery: 2390 mAh, non-removable
  • Dimensions: 129.9 x 66.8 x 12.3, weight 145g
  • Software: Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • This device features removable colored backs and comes with either a black or a white body.

 

Number 3: The Huawei SnapTo

A3

Huawei just launched this SnapTo handset on Amazon a few days ago.  You can pre-order it for $179.99.

Take a look at the following specs:

  • Display: 5-inch TFT display with 720p
  • Processor: A 2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU with 1 GB of RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB on-board storage. Allows for MicroSD expansion of up to 32GB.
  • Camera: Rear camera: 5MP; Front camera: 2MP
  • Battery: 2200 mAh
  • Dimensions: 144.5 x 72.4 x 8.4 mm, weight: 150g
  • Software: Android 4.4 KitKat. Huwei Emotion UI v2.3
  • The Snap Two comes in black and white and has a faux leather back.

 

Under $350

 

Number 1: The Asus Zenfone 2

A4

Asus launched their newest flagship, the Zenfone 2, a few months ago at CES 2015.  This was originally marketed as the first smartphone to have 4 GB of RAM.  Aside from the RAM, the Zenfone 2 also has big battery and a powerful processor and features a good display and camera.

 

The Zenfone 2 is currently available in China, Taiwan, Europe, the US and a couple of other regions.  There are two models with two different processing packages available and the price depends on which you choose.

Base Model

  • Runs on 2 GB of RAM and has a Z3560 processor
  • Available from Newegg, Amazon and a few other retailers for $199.

Higher Model

  • Runs on 4GB of RAM and has a 2.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor
  • Will cost $299

 

Take a look at the following additional specs:

  • Display: 5.5-inch full HD display for a 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Storage: 16/32/64 GB variants. Has a microSD expansion an additional 64GB.
  • Camera: Rear camera: 13MP; Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3000 mAh, non-removable
  • Dimensions: 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9mm, weight 170g
  • Software: Android 5.0 Lollipop.
  • Comes in Osium Black, Glacier Gray, Ceramic White, Sheer Gold, Glamor Red.

 

Number 2: The OnePlus One

A5

While the OnePlus can’t really be considered a “new” device, its low price (starts at $300) and recent software updates have merited it’s inclusion in our list.  The hardware of the OnePlus One is pretty good with a powerful processor, good storage options, and a decent camera and battery.   It uses a Cyanogen mod 11S UI which is based on Android 4.4

 

Take a look at the following specs:

  • Display: 5.5-inch LTPS IPS TOL for 1080p
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 with 3 GB of RAM
  • Storage: 16/64 GB of on-board. No expansion.
  • Camera: Rear camera: 13 MP with LED flash and a sony Exmor RS sensor; Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3,100 mAh
  • Dimensions: 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm, weight 162 grams
  • Software: CyanogenMod 11S
  • Comes in Silk White and Sandstone Black.

 

Number 3: Alcatel Onetouch Idol

A6

This is one of the best budge-friendly smartphones currently available.  The design is simple yet elegant and it has a solid camera and offers a great audio experience.

 

You can find this phone on Amazon for just $250, which is a great deal when you consider the features this device has.

 

Take a look at the following specs:

  • Display: A 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen for a 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Processor: A 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53 Snapdragon 615 with 2 GB of RAM.
  • Storage: 16/32GB on-board storage. MicroSD allows for expansion to 128 GB.
  • Camera: 13MP rear cam, 5 MP front cam
  • Battery: 2910 mAh
  • Dimensions: 152.7 x 75.1 x 7.4mm, weighs 141 grams
  • Software: Android 5.0 Lollipop.

 

Honorable Mention

We’ve already presented you with some pretty good budget handsets but the market for budget handsets is a wide one that is continuing to grow.  Here are a few other ones that you might want to consider:

  • Moto G (1st Generation)
    • Still easy to find, often times available at a discount
    • Prepaid versions can be found from carriers like Verizon and Boost for under $100.
    • Unlocked, it usually goes for around $150
    • Similar to the 2nd generation
  • Asus Zenfone 5
    • Solid specs, including a 1.6GHz Intel Z2560 processor and a 720p display.
    • Not officially launched in the US but available from importers on Amazon and others for around $170.
  • Sony Xperia M
    • Premium looking phone that you can have without having to pay premium dollar
    • Price can be as low as $150
    • Good specs including a dual-core 1 GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus processor with 1 GB RAM.
    • Storage of 4 GB with microSD
  • Sony Xperia M2
    • Improves the hardware of the Xperia M
    • Has a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor with 1 GB of RAM
    • 8 GB of storage with microSD
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 2
    • Priced at under $300
    • Has a 6.1-inch 720p display
    • Powered by a Snapdragon 400 with 2 GB of RAM
    • Has 16GB of storage
    • Packs a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera
  • Motorola Moto X (1st generation)
    • Despite its age, still a very capable Android device.
    • Uses a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2 GB of Ram
    • Has a 4.7 inch AMOLED display with 720p resolution
    • Offers storage variations of 16/32/64 GB
    • Has a 10MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera
    • 2,200 mAh battery, non-removable
  • Motorola Moto E (1st generation)
    • Still provides a good Android experience at an affordable price
  • Blu Vivo IV
    • Priced at $199.99
    • Has a 1.7 GHz octa-core processor and a MAali 450 GPU with 2 GB of RAM
    • Provides 16 GB of storage
    • Has a 13 MP LED camera
    • Has a 5-inch display with 1080p

 

There you have it, our list of some of the best cheap smartphone out there.  What do you think? Have you tried any of them? Do you have another suggestion for a good, cheap smartphone?

JR

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