The best smartphones you can buy today for under $200

Update: Complete rewrite
Best Smartphones Under 200 US
© NextPit

Is it possible to have a decent experience with a sub-$200 smartphone in 2022? Yes, it is. Check NextPit's recommended list of phones in the entry-level class, with cheap phones that in most cases outperform mid-range devices from previous years. With models from Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola, and Nokia, there is an option for all types of users.

The best sub-$200 smartphones compared

  Editorial pick Price pick 5G with stylus Decent performance The cheapest usable
OnePlus Nord N200
Samsung Galaxy A13 4G
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2021)
Nokia G100
Samsung Galaxy A03s
Specifications 6.5-inch LCD, 90 Hz
1080x2400 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480
Triple camera
Main camera: 13 MP
Macro: 2 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
June 2021

6.6-inch LCD
1080x2408 pixels
Samsung Exynos 850
32/64/128 GB ROM
3/4/6 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Ultra-wide: 5 MP
Macro: 2 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
March 2022

6.8-inch LCD
1080x2400 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480
128/256 GB ROM
4/6 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main camera: 48 MP
Ultra-wide: 8 MP
Macro: 5 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
June 2021

6.5-inch LCD
720x1600 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
32/128 GB ROM
3/4 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 13 MP
Ultra-wide: 5 MP
Depth: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
September 2021

6.5-inch LCD
720x1600 pixels
MediaTek Helio P35
32/64 GB ROM
2/3/4 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 13 MP
Macro camera: 2 MP
Depth camera: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
December 2021

  • 5G support
  • Superior software support
  • 5G support
  • Includes a stylus
  • More versatile camera than rivals
  • Reasonably snappy SoC
  • Very cheap
  • Usable
  • Mediocre camera
  • Low memory models
  • Poor update policy
  • Low memory models
  • Weak camera
  • Performance is inferior to the other models
  • Low memory options
  • Weak camera

Unfortunately, none of the current suggested phones were tested by NextPit. So this list was prepared based on our personal experiences with other models from the same brands, especially with software support, camera features, and timely updates. Keep in mind that this list was made with the US market in mind, because of that, some of the models are exclusive to North America.

Since our last update, the main change is more and more 5G models in the entry-level category, with two of the five models on the above list, and occasionally a 5G version of the runner-up phone during sales at below 200 dollars. Another welcome change is more phones with long promised software support, with not only Android upgrades but especially the important security patches.  

NextPit recommendations: The best 2022 smartphones for less than $200

OnePlus Nord N200: A good allrounder for 2022

OnePlus Nord N200
The OnePlus Nord N200 is exclusive to the North American market / © OnePlus

As the only major Chinese brand to sell its phones in the US market, OnePlus has a rather big reputation to fulfill. And it usually honors (no pun intended) the tradition of offering competitive mobiles for good prices, and the same happens in the entry-level segment with the Nord N200.

The OnePlus Nord N200 offers 5G support in the sub-$200 category, with a competent memory configuration that should result in a good performance for daily tasks. OnePlus even managed to include a 90 Hz refresh rate for the 6.5'' LCD FullHD+ screen. The only drawback is the weak camera setup, with only a 13 megapixels main camera.

Samsung Galaxy A13: Superior software support

Samsung Galaxy A13
The Galaxy A13 is available in a wide range of memory and color options / © Samsung

Although not offering top-tier performance, the Galaxy A13 more than balances that with the best software update policy in the category. While its mainstream rivals barely offer one or two years of software updates, Samsung manages to update its entry-level phones for three years (albeit in a trimester schedule in the later years).

Even the camera is slightly more versatile than most models in the price range, with an ultra-wide camera besides the (low resolution and useless) macro and depth sensors. Depending on the region, Samsung even offers a big palette of colors and memory configurations, just avoid the low-end 3+32 GB option.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2021): Note for less

Moto G Stylus 5G
Despite the weak update policy, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2021) offers plenty of bang for the buck / © Motorola

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2021) has a lot going for it (besides the convoluted name). Launched at almost double its current market price, the Moto G offers not only 5G support, but decent performance, thanks to its Snapdragon 480 SoC, a big screen, and a stylus to use it for productivity tasks.

We are not sure for how long the Moto G Stylus will be available below $200, but all signs point to a permanent price reduction for a model that is more than a year old. And that leads to Lenovo/Motorola's weak spot: its lackluster Android update policy. Android 12 should be the last version available for the model, and even the cheapest Samsung model was updated faster than the Moto G. 

Nokia G100: Above-average performance

Nokia G100
The Nokia G100 packs a processor previously found In mid-range phones / © HMD Global

An unusual suggestion for this list, the Nokia G100 is a phone that is barely one month old as of writing this list. However, it packs a reasonably competent processor, the Snapdragon 662. Although old by today's standards, the same chip used to power lots of intermediate-level phones not so long ago.

Another highlight is Nokia's recent track record when it comes to software updates, usually matching the three years of security updates offered by Samsung. But don't expect the same top-level performance from the camera, since the Nokia G100 packs low-resolution sensors that should barely be enough for family pictures. 

Note that the Nokia G100 is also available with a 3+32 GB memory configuration for a very cheap $139.99 but we cannot recommend it since it cannot keep up with the good processor.

Samsung Galaxy A03s: The bare minimum

Samsung Galaxy A03s
The Galaxy A03s is the most basic phone we can recommend / © Samsung

The Galaxy A03s is our last suggestion on this list, and on special occasions, its price hovers around $100. If it is priced close to any of the above-mentioned models, it is better to go for the upgrade picks, as you get what you pay for the Samsung model.

Against its main rivals released around the same time, the Samsung Galaxy A03s outshines them by the simple fact that it is being updated to Android 12, while most of the opponents will forever stay with Android 11 (or worse). Like most basic Android phones, the A03s offers the bare minimum when it comes to usability, performance, and features, just avoid the configurations with less memory.

Alternatives to purchasing a new smartphone

Refurbished, sale units, and used/refurbished phones

If removing the protective film for the first time on your new device does not spark you joy, you can pick up more expensive smartphones from the second-hand or refurbished market. It is particularly advisable to use devices that carry a refurbished guarantee. These are used smartphones that have been checked and refurbished by reputable companies to ensure that they are in tip-top condition.

Refurbished devices are particularly interesting to check out when they come with an extended warranty. This is how you protect yourself when picking one up just in case the handset gives up the ghost just a few weeks down the road.

Of course, you do not have this advantage when buying a used smartphone from private owners on platforms such as eBay, Craigslist, or other portals. However, used devices can be found for significantly reduced prices there, 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.

Most of them happen right 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 open 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 2022 calendar:
Event Date
Singles Day 11 November 2022
Black Week 21 to 25 November 2022
Black Friday 25 November 2022
Cyber Monday 28 November 2022

It's best to keep an eye on our homepage during these days. Because we search for offers in every online shop and manufacturer's website and assess the offers according to their value. As in this article, you can inform yourself with further test reports and news about the respective devices before buying.

Sign up for a contract with a service provider or an installment plan 

If your old smartphone is completely broken and cannot be used, leaving you in desperate need of an immediate replacement, you can always opt for an installment plan that covers several months of payments. Normally, this is tied to a phone plan contract, where you obtain a new smartphone for free for a monthly surcharge or for a lower one-time payment. However, there is still the risk of paying more for the device at the end of the contract compared to buying it outright now.

On the other hand, you also obtain lower prices with a monthly financing plan. You pay off the purchase price of the new device across an agreed number of monthly installments sans contract and with 0% interest. Such financing packages are extremely popular, but it also comes with their own risks. For instance, if you lose your new smartphone immediately after buying it or if it breaks, you will still have to honor the remaining installments for a device that can no longer be used or is limited in functionality. 

Are you not satisfied with the selection of our list of sub-$200 smartphones? Do share your recommendations with us in the comments section below. If the price-performance ratio is not right for you within this price range, perhaps other "Best Of" lists in the following articles might be more your cup of tea:

Article updated on October 2022 with a complete rewrite and new suggestions for the US market, including 5G options, stylus support, and long-term software update policies. Comments prior to the update were not deleted and refer to older versions of this list.

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

Rubens has been working with tech journalism since 2008, with works published in Brazil, Spain, and Germany.

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  • Sorin Nov 6, 2021 Link to comment

    Personally, I like the Oppo A16s, especially for looks but also for performance. My second choice would be the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T. And that's about it for now. Even for the $200 budget, the performance is very good, the choice of a model is not exactly easy, and even the overall look is now taken much more into consideration. The $300 category raises the bar even higher, and again the choice is not easy.

    • Zois Bekios Zannikos Nov 8, 2021 Link to comment

      Im personally using the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro and its still a very solid device for 200 eur

  • Davin Peterson Jun 17, 2021 Link to comment

    The disadvantage of the cheaper Motorola phones is that they don't include NFC like Nokia and Samsung do.

    • storm Nov 5, 2021 Link to comment

      It's not used so much in the US yet. Which is too bad.

  • Mitchell Nov 14, 2020 Link to comment

    I bought the Redmi 9 for about 100, its a amazing phone after some tweaking with help from youtube and xda forum

  • harshatecordeon Feb 6, 2020 Link to comment

    huawei was good

  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Feb 6, 2020 Link to comment

    I have a Redmi 8 and, for the price, it is great.If it only had a removable battery...but anyway I get 2 days of use with 30% of charge left

  • Ken Feb 6, 2020 Link to comment

    U can get a full Moto G7, 4GB ram, 64GB storage, New on Ebay $179 all day...Don't settle for the weak 2/32GB Power...get the full on G7! smh...

  • storm Feb 6, 2020 Link to comment

    Realmi and Xiaomi are not offered with support here to speak of and with mega bloat. Nokia and Huawei don't let you unlock the bootloader.

    Moto wins as everyone else eliminates themselves.

  • Chad_Higgins Nov 22, 2015 Link to comment

    The HTC Desire 816 is a impressive phone with dual front speakers an amazing display which is 5.5 in by the way and a even better camera front and back! Highly recommend this phone!
    oh and its got the lollipop update and is on the list to receive marshmallow update!

  • Edward Amarille Nov 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Zte grand X max+ through Cricket wireless. $169 for a 6 inch screened beast.

  • Deezul Yusof Nov 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Tsch, tcsh,tcsh you poor Americans only know Samsung, LG,Motorola Asus . Whereas there are uncountable models here in Asia with myriad of combination of specifications but most of them comes with SDCard and sells much much lower than USD 200. The only reason you guys got stung is that you bought without asking if it is ROW ( Rest of the World) version or CN ( China only) version.

  • Kaleb Nov 18, 2015 Link to comment

    The G3 is awesome just saying..

  • Arpit Saini Nov 18, 2015 Link to comment

    Great Article

    However the s4 came with 16GB minimum (you wrote 8GB)
    unless you mean the usable storage memory with was about 9GB

  • hotspring21 Nov 18, 2015 Link to comment

    Excellent recommendations - it's surprising how good an android phone you can get for $200 or less these days. We are almost to the point where $600 flagships are only really different from $200 phones by cosmetic design and better camera.

  • Ankur Jain Nov 18, 2015 Link to comment

    Lenovo K3 Note, Honor 4x Meizu M2 Note, Xiaomi Mi 4i also very good option under $200 if you can get one in US of course.

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