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Budget-Friendly Smartphone Options Under $300: Best Options for 2024

Best Smartphones Under 300 Dollar 2023
© Quality Stock Arts / Adobe Stock / nextpit

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Affordable smartphones within the $200 to $300 price range used to represent a hotly contested segment in the mid-tier market. Nowadays, choosing the ideal sub-$300 smartphone in the U.S. can still be quite challenging, now due to the lack of alternatives. That's where we come in! In this 2024 guide, we'll present our top picks for the best smartphones under $300, making your decision-making process a breeze.

The ultimate budget smartphone roundup: Top picks under $300

This list, based on the author's and editorial team's preferences, combines subjective opinions with objective facts to recommend the best sub-$300 smartphones. The mid-range market saw lots of companies abandoning the mobile space, but there are still good phones offering decent performance, light gaming capabilities, and better cameras compared to low-end options.

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.

Editor's choice: The best smartphone under $300

Even though we haven't tested the Galaxy A25, launched early in 2024, the phone replaces its predecessor on this list and is basically an improved version of nextpit's pick for the best sub-$200 phone, the Galaxy A14 and A15. Not only the A25 offers a big and bright FullHD+ OLED display with smooth 120 Hz refresh rate, Samsung sprinkled on it some of the features from the more expensive models.

Samsung Galaxy A25 product image
Samsung Galaxy A25 / © Samsung

The Galaxy A25 processor, for example, is literally the same Exynos 1280 chip previously found on the Galaxy A34 we tested in mid-2023. For 2024, the Galaxy A25 offers better memory configurations right from the base model, and more importantly, the best software update policy in the price range, with a promised five years of security updates, and four Android upgrades.

Camera quality should be fine for most uses, just don't expect a versatile kit, as there is no zoom lens or other high-resolution secondary cameras, only a 5-megapixel ultra-wide lens for open shots, and a questionable 2 MP macro camera, which can also be found in many models in this price range.

OnePlus Nord N30: Living in a hurry

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 N30 offers 50 W of wired charging, cutting recharging times in half when compared to the other models on this list.

OnePlus Nord N30 5G
OnePlus Nord N30 features a big screen with really fast charging. / © OnePlus

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 (2023)

Part of Lenovo's increasingly complicated naming standard for the US market, the Motorola Moto G Stylus (2023) is a small upgrade in comparison to the previous edition. Most importantly, the manufacturer promises an update to the Android 14 version. Buyers shouldn't hold their breath for further upgrades, though, as Motorola is still trailing its rivals when it comes to software support.

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

Update policies aside, the Moto G Stylus (2023) offers a snappy processor, and its most distinctive feature: the included stylus. Take notes, draw, and control the phone using the included pen, without having to spend five times as much on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

With Motorola frequently discounting its models heavily, it is also worth checking out for deals on the 5G model of our pick above. More than simply a "5G" version of the regular model, the 5G Stylus also has more memory, a noticeably faster processor, a more versatile camera (with an ultrawide lens replacing the macro), and even a slightly faster charger.

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 United States:

  • Enjoy a smooth viewing experience with Full HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate displays.
  • Benefit from a large battery that supports up to 30W fast charging for extended use.
  • Experience reliable performance from Snapdragon 6 or 4 series SoC, or mid-range SoCs from MediaTek.
  • Capture good photos with quad or triple rear camera setups.
  • Keep in mind that there is no wireless charging available.
  • Be aware that these devices do not have an IP rating for water and dust resistance.

Alternatives to buying a new phone

Consider purchasing older, high-end second-hand smartphones or refurbished models, that have been inspected and restored by professionals. Refurbished devices with extended warranties from resellers are particularly appealing, ensuring a reliable smartphone that won't fail you within weeks.

Naturally, buying a used smartphone from private sellers on platforms like eBay or other classifieds doesn't offer the same advantages as refurbished models. However, you can find significantly lower prices on these devices, as there are no additional costs from middlemen. Additionally, purchasing "new old stock" allows you to secure older models that are no longer in production but remain in new condition at online shops.

Explore our Refurbished Smartphones Buying Guide to learn more about what to consider when purchasing a renewed smartphone online. Below are some suggestions for refurbished phones currently on sale on eBay:

Promotions and Sales

As the year progresses, there is an increased likelihood of finding a better deal on consumer electronics just weeks after purchasing. This is due to sales events such as Black Friday, Black Week, Amazon Prime Day, Singles' Day, and Cyber Monday, which typically occur in October and November to stimulate the economy before the holiday shopping season kicks off.

Smartphones are among the most popular consumer electronics items, so it's wise to stay alert for attractive deals. Refer to the table below for the dates of this year's sales and promotions:

Other Best lists on nextpit:

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.


List updated in April 2024 with a new top pick. Older comments were kept and may refer to previous versions of this article.

The current best Samsung phones to buy

  Editor's choice S23 with a bigger display 2023 flagship 2023 foldable flagship 2022 fodlable flagship 2023 compact foldable 2022 compact foldable Affordable flagship The popular mid-ranger
Product
Image Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Product Image Samsung Galaxy S23+ Product Image Samsung Galaxy S23 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Product Image Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Product Image Samsung Galaxy A54 Product Image
Review
Review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Review: Samsung Galaxy S23+
Review: Samsung Galaxy S23
Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Not yet tested
Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
Review: Samsung Galaxy A54
Price
  • $1,199.99
  • $999.99
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  • from $999.99
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Offer*
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Go to comment (17)
Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima
Writer

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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  • 49
    storm Mar 28, 2023 Link to comment

    The Moto G's biggest failing is low screen brightness outdoors in direct sun.


  • 3
    Kris R Nov 15, 2021 Link to comment

    I like Samsung Galaxy A32) Good article!


  • 49
    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.


  • 2
    Sugar Lump Jan 12, 2021 Link to comment

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    Stefan Möllenhoff


  • 7
    RowanRosh Jan 8, 2021 Link to comment

    Nice article...!!

    Stefan Möllenhoff


  • 2
    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 .


  • 1
    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.


  • David Martrano 29
    David Martrano Dec 23, 2019 Link to comment

    Very nice list!


  • 3
    Roy124 Dec 23, 2019 Link to comment

    Love this!


  • 10
    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. Yeah...it'd be stupid to sell it for $70...so it's now my backup and/or Magisk rootin' toy!


  • Chad_Higgins 15
    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


  • 49
    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

    marco sarliDeactivated Account


  • Jerry's Wilk 20
    Jerry's Wilk 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 39
    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 7
    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

    Sorin


  • David Martrano 29
    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!

    Sorin


  • Albin Foro 30
    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.

    Sorin

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