Home Phones Android Best Phones Under $300: 5G Phones at Starter Prices

Best Phones Under $300: 5G Phones at Starter Prices


The finest telephones underneath $300 supply a style of premium options, however in a tool that also very a lot seems like a funds cellphone. That’s not a foul factor: These telephones could make calls, ship texts and run most apps and video games for a whole bunch of {dollars} lower than the iPhone 14 or Galaxy S23. They additionally present entry to 5G, which is essential if you wish to maintain onto your machine for some time, and a few even include a built-in stylus. But I’m going to stage with you: We have but to make use of a cellphone within the $200 to $300 value vary that seems like a superb worth. The very best picks on this class are typically costlier units which might be continuously discounted to $299 when on sale. For occasion, Google’s $449 Pixel 6A is our present finest cellphone for underneath $500, and it is typically discounted to $299.That’s to not say telephones within the $200 to $300 value vary ought to be prevented. Some embrace first rate cameras, a headphone jack, expandable storage and NFC help for cellular funds. 

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What are the tradeoffs with telephones that price $300 or much less?These cheaper units are likely to cut back considerably in a single space or one other to be able to obtain these low costs. Most generally, these drawbacks embrace restricted software program help, provider help or bloatware (preloaded apps that you just by no means requested for). These tradeoffs typically imply that these units shouldn’t be used after two to a few years, particularly after safety replace help ends.It’s additionally notable that whereas these telephones retail for $200 to $300, lots of them are sometimes obtainable at a deep low cost — and even without cost — as a part of a provider subsidy deal. If you might be planning to stay with the identical wi-fi provider for 2 years, these telephones may simply develop into a part of the price of your service.  Best telephones underneath $300

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

The $299 OnePlus N20 5G is not an thrilling cellphone, however it greater than will get the job achieved for many conditions. Unlike a number of telephones on this checklist, you should purchase it unlocked from OnePlus. It additionally offers high-end options we do not at all times see at this value, like an in-screen fingerprint reader, quicker 33W charging, 6GB of RAM and NFC for cellular funds. Despite being obtainable immediately from OnePlus, the N20 works with AT&T and T-Mobile however doesn’t work with Verizon. The cellphone’s 5G help additionally solely works by way of T-Mobile.In his OnePlus N20 assessment, CNET Senior Editor Eli Blumenthal discovered the cellphone’s 64-megapixel essential digicam, 2-megapixel macro digicam and 2-megapixel monochrome lens to take first rate pictures throughout the daytime. But its cameras wrestle within the night, which is a standard concern on cheaper telephones. The N20 additionally features a 16-megapixel front-facing digicam situated within the high left of the cellphone’s show.The cellphone can also be solely getting one main software program replace from Android 11 to Android 12, however will obtain three years of safety updates. As a outcome, regardless of the cellphone’s first rate specs and barely wider availability, it solely is smart to hold onto this cellphone for 2 to a few years.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Reviewing the $258 TCL Stylus 5G was a journey for me final 12 months. Specs-wise, it has loads that I loved. The cellphone’s TCL NxtVision HDR setting supplied enhanced colours after I performed video games, TCL made minimal adjustments to Android 12 and I particularly loved the magnetic stylus that matches securely into its personal slot on the cellphone.However, the massive motive why my assessment took 4 months is due to repetitive software program bugs that make the cellphone in any other case robust to advocate. I skilled frequent restarts whereas utilizing the cellphone and Bluetooth connectivity points, the latter of which was ultimately fastened by way of a software program replace. This cellphone can also be locked to T-Mobile fully, so it might probably’t be used on different carriers and is stuffed with T-Mobile apps which might be difficult to take away.Yet when you completely will need to have a stylus and your funds is underneath $300, this is among the higher total picks. But be cautious of software program points, and keep in mind the cellphone is simply getting one main software program replace together with two years of safety updates.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The $228 OnePlus Nord N300 5G is my favourite cellphone underneath $300. The solely motive why I can not advocate it above the N20 is as a result of this cellphone is locked to T-Mobile. Despite being round $80 cheaper than the opposite OnePlus cellphone, it nonetheless has 33-watt quick charging, a 90Hz refresh charge show and a 48-megapixel essential digicam that does an honest job with pictures and video. Its matte black look that highlights its two digicam lenses additionally makes it one of many nicer-looking funds telephones I’ve examined. The N300 improves on the N20 with its twin stereo audio system, over the one speaker on the N20, and I personally favor the aspect fingerprint sensor over in-screen choices like on the N20.But other than the supply concern, the N300 additionally suffers from a brief software program help timeline. The N300 will solely get one main software program replace from Android 12 to Android 13 and two years of safety updates. Even although that is considerably regular for the class, I nonetheless contemplate it a serious downside. There’s additionally a dose of T-Mobile bloatware, however at this value it is simpler to swallow.If you might be purchasing particularly for a cellphone that works with T-Mobile or its Metro model, the $228 OnePlus Nord N300 is unquestionably a stable selection. Just acknowledge you can’t take the cellphone to different carriers, and it will not be an important choice after two years of use.

Jessica Fierro/CNET

The Light Phone 2 is a really totally different sort of cellphone. It’s meant for folks looking for freedom from the fixed stream of notifications, however nonetheless need a cellphone that appears good. But regardless of its considerably restricted performance, this cellphone nonetheless prices $299.  The Light Phone 2 helps texts, cellphone calls, music playback, podcasts, cellular hotspot performance and restricted GPS help for instructions on its E Ink display screen. It doesn’t have a digicam, net browser, electronic mail entry or different widespread apps like information or messaging apps. My colleague Jessica Fierro gave life with the Light Phone 2 a attempt, and she or he loved how the cellphone helped her keep extra centered on the world round her. However she discovered the slower texting pace on the E Ink show to be difficult to regulate to, and couldn’t totally make the change as a result of for work she wants some extent of social media entry to be able to keep up on traits. The absence of many fashionable options is the whole level of the Light Phone 2. It’s a tool for individuals who deliberately simply need important communications on a display screen that is extra like a Kindle’s show than the one you’d discover on a Samsung Galaxy machine.The Light Phone 2 is actually not for everyone, however it could possibly be value contemplating for somebody who desires their cellphone to do much less. Fans of typical telephones ought to contemplate the wealth of function telephones and flip telephones that also exist first — which are sometimes free with a provider deal or obtainable for underneath $100.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Admittedly I’m dishonest by getting this cellphone into the checklist, however Google’s Pixel 6A has been discounted to $299 loads recently and is a straightforward suggestion when it has been discounted right into a funds cellphone vary.Regularly $449, the Pixel 6A gained our Editors’ Choice Award final 12 months. In her assessment, CNET Senior Editor Lisa Eadicicco praised the cellphone for its nice digicam, Pixel-exclusive options like Magic Eraser, its colourful design and being among the many first to get new Android updates. While it is doubtless that Google broadcasts a sequel 7A cellphone as quickly as the subsequent Google I/O growth convention, scheduled for May 10, the present Pixel 6A remains to be a superb choose for the worth if you will get it at its $299 value. But when you see the cellphone return to its unique $449 value between now and May 10, and you are not in dire want of a brand new machine, I’d then say watch for the rumored Pixel 7A.

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How we take a look at phonesCNET assessments telephones through the use of them each day and evaluating them with competing telephones to evaluate their worth. We contemplate quite a lot of components, such because the cellphone’s display screen, cameras, battery life, software program, efficiency, options and ease of use.For low-priced telephones, we ensure that these units constantly work nicely when utilized in quite a few conditions. This consists of many day-to-day actions like studying the information, listening to music, watching movies, texting, enjoying video games and multitasking. We take a look at cellphone cameras in a spread of environments, taking take a look at pictures open air within the daytime and nighttime, and indoors in darker settings. We use cameras in energetic environments, like a live performance or a sports activities recreation, and with quite a lot of topics together with folks, objects and pets. We additionally take a look at obtainable digicam settings, particularly these which might be rarer in these value ranges similar to Night mode and Portrait mode.These anecdotal cellphone experiences are additionally mixed with benchmark assessments similar to Geekbench efficiency testing and battery testing. We monitor battery life in two methods: By seeing how a lot energy is usually left after a day of regular utilization and by seeing how a lot battery is depleted throughout a extra intensive hour with the cellphone. For the latter take a look at, we’ll test how the cellphone’s battery holds as much as a collection of video calls, gaming, video streaming and net shopping.Phones underneath $300 FAQs

What about Apple’s iPhone?

Apple doesn’t at present promote any iPhone choices between $200 and $300. The least expensive new iPhone you will get is the iPhone SE at $429. That iPhone is a good worth for its quick processor and nice digicam, however held again by its dated design that harkens again to the iPhone 6, 7 and 8.If you do not thoughts getting a preowned machine and need one thing with a much bigger display screen, as of this writing Verizon sells a 64GB iPhone 11 for $275.You also can get the 2020 model of the iPhone SE as a refurbished mannequin between $200 and $300 on web sites like Amazon and Best Buy, however beware of every retailer’s insurance policies for refurbished units. Especially ensure that the refurbished machine features a guarantee for repairs, since with out one you’ll have to pay Apple or one other retailer a excessive value for a display screen restore or different unintended injury.

Best telephones underneath $300: OnePlus Nord N20 5G vs. TCL Stylus 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N300 5G vs. Google Pixel 6A

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

TCL Stylus 5G

OnePlus Nord N300 5G

Google Pixel 6A*

Display measurement, decision

6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED show

6.81-inch FHD+ show (1080 x2400 pixels)

6.56-inch IPS LCD show; 720p decision; 90Hz refresh charge

6.1-inch OLED; (1080 x 2400); 60Hz

Pixel density




429 ppi

Dimensions (inches)

6.2 x 2.8 x 0.29 in

6.67 x 3.01 x 0.35 in

6.4 x 2.9 x 0.3 in

6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 in

Dimensions (millimeters)

159.9 x 73.2 x 7.5 mm

169.6 x 76.5 x 8.9 mm

163.8 x 75.1 x 7.99 mm

152.2 x 7.18 x 8.9 mm

Weight (ounces, grams)

173g or 6.1 oz

213g or 7.51 oz

190g or 6.7 oz

6.3 oz; 178g

Mobile software program

Android 11

Android 12

Andorid 12

Android 12


64-megapixel (essential), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (monochrome lens)

50-megapixel (essential), 5-megapixel (large), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth sensor)

48-megapixel (essential), 2-megapixel (depth lens)

12.2-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel extremely large)

Front-facing digicam





Video seize

1080p/720p at 30 fps

1080p at 30fps

1080p/720p at 30 fps



Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G

MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G

MediaTek Dimensity 810

Google Tensor





6GB RAM/128GB storage

Expandable storage

Up to 512GB

Up to 2TB

Up to 1TB



4,500mAh; 33W charging

4,000mAh; 18W charging

5,000mAh; 33W charging

4,410 mAh capability; 18-watt quick charging (adapter bought individually)

Fingerprint sensor


Side fingerprint sensor

Side fingerprint sensor

Under show






Headphone jack





Special options

NFC, Face Unlock, HDR, Screen Flash, Face retouching

Stylus with built-in storage, producitivity software program, NxtVision HDR mode

Dual audio system, NFC, Face Unlock, HDR, Portrait, Face retouching

5G-enabled, 18W quick charging, WiFi 6E, safety updates for 5 years, Android OS updates for 3 years, twin SIM, IP67 water resistance

Price off-contract (USD)




$449 (*$299 when on sale)