The best budget smartphones for under $300

Update: January update

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Best Smartphones Under 300 2022 USA
© otello-stpdc /, Montage: NextPit

Smartphones between $200 and $300 mark the entry into the highly competitive mid-range segment. With several smartphone models vying for your attention, selecting the right sub-$300 smartphone in the U.S. is not as easy as it sounds. But hey, that's why we are here for! In this article, we list all the phones under $300 that we think are worth buying in 2023.

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Samsung Galaxy A33
OnePlus Nord N20
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)
Nokia G400
Specifications 6.4-inch AMOLED, 90 Hz
1080x2400 pixels
Samsung Exynos 1280
128/256 GB ROM
4/6/8 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main: 48 MP
Ultra-wide: 8 MP
Macro: 5 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
March 2022

6.4-inch OLED
1080x2400 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
128 GB ROM
Quad camera
Main: 64 MP
Macro: 2 MP
Depth: 2 MP
4,500 mAh
April 2022

6.8-inch LCD, 120 Hz
1080x2400 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
128/256 GB ROM
6/8 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main: 50 MP
Ultra-wide: 8 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
April 2022

6.6-inch LCD, 120 Hz
1080x2408 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480
Triple camera
Main: 48 MP
Ultra-wide: 5 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
January 2022

  • Powerful AMOLED display
  • Decent performance in everyday use
  • Great software support
  • Capable main camera
  • Charges faster than models at the same price
  • Includes charger in the box
  • FullHD AMOLED display
  • Expandable storage
  • All-round features
  • Large battery
  • Stylus support
  • 120 Hz display
  • 120 Hz display
  • Gorilla Glass 3 protection
  • A bit pricey
  • No wireless charging support
  • Rather slow Quick-Charging
  • No charger included
  • No headphone jack
  • Secondary cameras are mostly useless
  • Offers fewer system updates than the A32
  • Slow charging
  • Android updates lag behind rivals
  • Average camera
  • Lower memory than its rivals
Read the Galaxy A33 review
The Galaxy A33 is a worthy successor to last year's Galaxy A32!
Carsten Drees
Senior Editor
Not yet rated
Not yet rated
Not yet rated

The sub-$300 market is one of the hottest ones, with mid-range features equipping low-priced phones, without many sacrifices. Mid-range phones in this segment offer good enough performance—even for some light gaming—and distance from the miserable cameras found in the low-end category.

Of course, long gone are the days of the "flagship killers" in this price segment, but it is always worth checking for deals, such as the ones highlighted every now and again here on NextPit. And also discounts for getting the phone together with a phone contract. 

Editor's note: The prices highlighted in this article may vary depending on discounts offered by the manufacturers. Keep in mind that this list was made with the US market in mind and because of that, not all models can be found globally. 

Jump to:

  1. Editor's choice: The best smartphone under $300
  2. The best alternatives
    1. OnePlus Nord N20
    2. Motorola Moto G Stylus 5g (2022)
    3. Nokia G400
  3. How NextPit selects the best smartphones?
  4. What to expect from a phone under $300?
  5. Alternatives to buying a new phone

Editor's choice: The best smartphone under $300 is...

The Galaxy A33. It is the only model we have tested here on NextPit for this list, but you can't go wrong with it in this price range. The Samsung smartphone still offers the best update policy when it comes to Android versions. No rival Android phone for less than $400 (outside of the Pixel phones) promises four years of security updates.

Samsung Galaxy A33
The A33 looks like every mid-range Galaxy phone from the past three years / © NextPit

And the spec sheet is no slouch either, with 5G support, and decent daily performance for social media and other apps. Just don't expect much from the camera module. On the other hand, the display shows Samsung at its best, with crisp images on the AMOLED panel.

Read the complete Samsung Galaxy A33 review on NextPit

OnePlus Nord N20: Living in a hurry

OnePlus Nord N20 5G specs price features
The OnePlus Nord N20 features a 6.4-inch OLED screen and 64MP triple camera / © OnePlus

Fast is not a word usually associated with the lower mid-range phone market. But OnePlus aims for the title of the fastest phone in its category... At least in the charging department. While its rivals make do with 15 to 18 W charging, the Nord N20 offers 33 W of wired charging, cutting recharging times in half when compared to the other models on this list.

The rest of the specs are as good or better than the competition in the price range, including 5G support and a "good enough" Android update policy (although not as good as Samsung's). The main downside, however, is the camera module, with the auxiliary sensors limited to only 2 megapixels.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)
As the name says, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) includes both 5G and stylus support / © Motorola

Part of Lenovo increasingly complicated naming standard for the US market, the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is a beefy upgrade in comparison to the 2021 edition. Most importantly, the manufacturer promises an update to the Android 13 version. Buyers shouldn't hold their breath for further upgrades, though, as Motorola is still trailing its rivals when it comes to software support.

Update policies aside, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) offers a snappy processor, futureproofing with 5G support, and its most distinctive feature: the included stylus. Take notes, draw and control the phone using the included pen, without having to spend three times as much on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Nokia G400

Nokia G400
Nokia summons its legendary build quality on the G400 press materials / © Nokia

Is the Nokia G400 as tough as feature phones from 20 years ago? Probably not, but that doesn't stop HMD Global from evoking toughness in the phone's marketing materials. The Finnish mid-ranger ticks all of the modern features in the mid-range market, with a fast refresh rate screen with 120 Hz, triple camera, and 5G support.

And even though the processor used lags behind the components used on the other models on this list, the Snapdragon 480 should sip energy to provide the promised two-day battery life.

How NextPit selects the best smartphones?

As mentioned in the introduction, this list is subjective, as it is based on the preferences of the author and the rest of the editorial team.  However, we do take a lot of objective facts into consideration before deciding to include a smartphone in one of our best lists.

Our subjective opinions are thus determined by objective criteria and at the same time, we remain open to comments from our community members. So if you think we have missed a model that should really have been a part of this list, feel free to post it in the comments.

What can you expect from a phone under $300?

Thanks to players like Xiaomi, Realme, and Oppo, you can get a really capable phone for under $300 if you live in Asia or Europe. That, unfortunately, isn't the case with the U.S. where almost all the devices in the $200-$300 segment are sold for less than $200 in other parts of the globe. Still, here is what you can typically expect from $300 smartphones currently sold in the U.S.

  • Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate displays
  • Large battery with support for up to 30W fast charging
  • Snapdragon 7 series or 6 Series SoC, Mid-range SoCs from MediaTek
  • Quad or triple rear cameras
  • No wireless charging
  • No IP rating

Alternatives to buying a new phone

If it doesn't necessarily have to be a new smartphone, you can also reach for older, more expensive second-hand smartphones. Refurbished models are a highly recommended option, as these are used devices that have been checked and refurbished by specialists.

These refurbished devices are especially attractive when resellers offer you an extended warranty. This way, you can be sure that you're buying a smartphone that won't give up on you after a few weeks.

Of course, you do not have this advantage when buying a used smartphone from private owners on platforms such as eBay, eBay classifieds, or other portals. However, used devices can be found for significantly reduced prices here, as there are no additional costs because the middleman has been cut out. With the so-called 'sale', you also secure older models that online shops still carry in new condition but which are no longer in production.

Promotions and Sales

Towards the end of the year, each consumer electronics device that you purchase is accompanied by an even greater risk of stumbling upon a cheaper offer just a few weeks down the road. This can be attributed to sales like Black Friday and its associated Black Week, Amazon Prime Day, Singles Day, and Cyber ​​Monday, all of which are discount days in the months of October and November, which are meant to prime the economy before the Christmas shopping frenzy begins.

Since smartphones are one of the most popular consumer electronics devices in the market, you should keep your eyes peeled for great deals. You can check out the dates for this year's sales and promotions in the table below:

Upcoming bargains and sales dates

Mark these days down in your 2023 calendar:
Event Date
Amazon Prime Day July 2023 (rumored)
Singles Day 11 November 2023
Black Week 20 to 24 November 2023
Black Friday 24 November 2023
Cyber Monday 27 November 2023

What do you think of this selection? Do you think we missed a model that should REALLY have been on this list? Well, say it out loud and we will definitely include it in the list when we update it.

NextPit's best phones lists

Best phones in the market Best phones under $400
Best phones under $300 Best phones under $200
Best smartphone cameras Best foldable phones
Best gaming phones Best compact phones
The best Apple phones The best Samsung phones
The best Xiaomi phones The best Motorola phones

List updated in January 2023 with current prices. Older comments were kept and may refer to previous versions of this article.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Having written about technology since 2008 for a number of websites in Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and Germany, I specialize in the mobile ecosystem, including various models, components, and apps. I tend to not only value performance and specifications, but also things like repairability, durability, and manufacturer support. I tend to prioritize the end-user's point of view whenever possible.

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  • Kris R Nov 15, 2021 Link to comment

    I like Samsung Galaxy A32) Good article!

  • storm Nov 13, 2021 Link to comment

    charging speed is over-hyped anymore. Batteries will get you through a day easily anymore and so an overnight charge is no big deal. While you can note it as a con, sure, it's trivial in reality.

  • Sugar Lump Jan 12, 2021 Link to comment

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  • RowanRosh Jan 8, 2021 Link to comment

    Nice article...!!

  • Ant Kan Dec 1, 2020 Link to comment

    The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro is the best smartphone for me because has Infrared port , IR blaster to use it as Universal Remote Control for TV or Climate or Sound systems .

  • Chantelle Apr 12, 2020 Link to comment

    I have to say the Honor 8x rocks my world. I'm in love with it. She's like a beautiful woman, I can't stop checking her out.

  • GabrielLuke Jan 1, 2020 Link to comment

    Awesome. I will suggest to buy Huawei Honor 8x

  • David Martrano Dec 23, 2019 Link to comment

    Very nice list!

  • Roy124 Dec 23, 2019 Link to comment

    Love this!

  • Ken Dec 21, 2019 Link to comment

    I'm upgrading from my already pretty snappy Moto G5+ to the G7 for $150 brand new with warranty! Need a solid 4GB of memory and and evetually Q. Could get ~$70 for my old phone as it's in A grade condition...spent it's entire life in a case with a tempered glass screen protector. Battery never charged above 80%, so plenty life left.'d be stupid to sell it for $ it's now my backup and/or Magisk rootin' toy!

  • Chad_Higgins Aug 18, 2019 Link to comment

    I can honestly say the LG V40 is #1
    And it's less than $200! It's a steal!

    Deactivated Account

  • storm Aug 16, 2019 Link to comment

    This is probably the most interesting segment of the Android market giving the most bang for the buck

  • Jerry's W. Aug 16, 2019 Link to comment

    I like the Nokia 8.1, the very downside is: there is no way to root it :-(

    Deactivated Accountstorm

  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Aug 15, 2019 Link to comment

    Very nice list. And when it comes to essential features they have them all same as phones that cost 4 or 5 times more

    Deactivated Account

  • Waqar Ghafoor Sep 7, 2018 Link to comment

    Thanks Nicholas for sharing such an informative blog with us :)
    Well, I am soon gonna buy 7X as in my opinion its the best budget device with exciting features

  • David Martrano Dec 16, 2017 Link to comment

    I think the honor 7x is the best budget phone. It offers flagship features & priced at 199.00 here in the US. Display, camera & battery better than average. The first 18.9 display in the budget category. For consumer's who cannot afford a flagship this may well be the ticket. At this price I can forgive the lack of NFC!

  • Albin Foro Dec 8, 2017 Link to comment

    Interesting list - I'm in this market segment, and will be looking to replace a ZTE Android L phone probably next year. I'd like to see a standard spec for full implementation of the Camera2 API in these reviews - it can be taken for granted in premium phones but has been extremely spotty at the lower end and because the press and enthusiast forums focus on the high end it's difficult to find out if Camera2 is on board. The stock camera apps for cheaper phones are generally junk, and the best third-party camera apps are full of caveats about models that can't be supported for all features, and in experience they are hit and miss on specific devices. I've been lucky to find apps that greatly improve my ZTE's camera performance, but would be shopping for a new phone with full Camera2 API next time.

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