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The Best Budget Smartphones in 2022

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The Best Budget Smartphones in 2022

It’s hard living in today’s fast-paced and competitive environment without a smartphone. Smartphones connect you to the rest of the world. More importantly, smartphones put everything you need in the palm of your hand. Music, calculators, social networking, games, workplace connectivity – anything you need, there’s probably an app for it.

The common misconception is that if you want a decent smartphone, you’re going to have to spend over a thousand dollars to get one. However, smartphone technology has come such a long way that there are also high-end smartphones that don’t cost an arm and a leg to buy. Whether it’s an emergency replacement or a smartphone to give to your kids, these devices are both cheap and efficient.

01 Google Pixel 5A

Google is known to be one of the best manufacturers of budget smartphones currently. In that light, the best budget smartphone in our opinion is none other than the Google Pixel 5A, which launched last year. Alongside its cheap price, the Google Pixel 5A is also a standout when it comes to performance. Thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor and 6 gigs of RAM, the Google Pixel 5A delivers quality performance. It’s capable of editing clips and photos, and it’s able to run demanding games like PUBG, Fortnite, and Genshin Impact properly. Don’t expect the phone to slow down anytime soon upon purchase as it’s built for heavy, long-lasting performance, which is a big plus in today’s competitive setting. One of the best features of the Google Pixel 5A is its amazing front and back camera. For a phone that’s less than $500, the 5A features a top-quality front and main camera.  It’s capable of producing crisp and well-exposed photos. Moreover, it’s also capable of ultrawide captures for those scenic panoramic views. The Google Pixel 5A surprisingly gives even high-end phones a run for their money in terms of quality.

The camera and the powerhouse of a chipset are supported by a 4,680 mAh battery that can last for over two days before you plug it in. That’s a lot compared to where other phones on the market stand in terms of battery life and power. Additionally, the phone also has IP67 water resistance, 5G connectivity, NFC, a headphone jack, and a fingerprint sensor at the back.
 
Overall, the Google Pixel 5A delivers a quality experience in terms of camera and performance. In our opinion, this is the best phone to buy, especially if you are on a budget. The phone will have 3 years’ worth of software and OS support from Google. This tech brand once again proves that it’s the king of budget smartphones. 

Pros

  • Amazing camera quality
  • Superb performance
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No SD card slot

Specification

  • Price $455.00
  • Phone Memory (RAM) 6 GB RAM
  • Internal Memory (ROM) 128 GB
  • Operating System Android 11
  • Processor Model Qualcomm SM7250 Snapdragon 765G
  • Screen Size 6.3 Inches
Google Pixel 5A

02 iPhone SE Second Gen

If you’re looking for one of the best iPhones out there, then don’t expect a cheap one. Apple has always been known to have the most expensive but best smartphones out there. However, their iPhone SE line is a good budget-friendly option and gives people a taste of how powerful the iOS really is. The iPhone SE Second Generation comes with the A13 Bionic chip. If you didn’t know, this is the same chip that’s on the iPhone 11 Pro. That says a lot about this phone’s performance. By comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro costs over $900 today. Your favorite apps and games can run without a hitch on the A13 Bionic chip so, in terms of performance, the iPhone SE Second Generation definitely won’t be a disappointment. In terms of updates and upgrades, you can expect Apple to provide at least three to four more years of support for the phone. It’s a good long-term phone. As this is a budget version of the regular iPhone, the iPhone SE doesn’t come with all of the features of Apple’s flagship phones. Those missing features include Face ID, 5G, and of course, a larger screen. On the other hand, the iPhone SE does come with a Touch ID and the Home button. It comes with modern amenities like wireless charging, but like all the latest models of iPhone, it doesn’t come with a headphone jack. The camera of the iPhone SE is superb as well. The only downside is that the amazing Night mode from the superior models isn’t available on the iPhone SE. Of all the phones on this list, the iPhone SE has the second-best set of cameras next to the Google 5A. Don’t expect the same quality as you would find in high-end smartphones of course. Still, it’s good enough for those travel pictures and selfies you’d want to take. One thing worth noting before you buy the iPhone SE is that there are rumors of a new model being revealed within the first quarter of this year. The release might follow in the second quarter. It would be wise to hold off on getting a new iPhone SE as a new model might arrive eventually.

Pros

  • Powerful chipset that rivals iPhone Pro 11
  • 3-4 years worth of support from Apple
  • Superb camera quality

Cons

  • Backplate isn't durable so a good case is necessary

Specification

  • Price $268.00
  • Phone Memory (RAM) 3 GB
  • Internal Memory (ROM) 64 GB
  • Operating System IOS
  • Processor Model A13 Bionic
  • Screen Size 4.7 in
iPhone SE Second Gen

03 Moto G Power 2021

The Google Pixel 5A brings a lot to the table in terms of battery life. However, if you want something that can stay with you longer, then you might want to get the Moto G Power from last year. It’s the cheapest phone on this list with an average of $200 for brand new models. It’s definitely worth its value. Thanks to its 5,000 mAh battery, the Moto G Power can last for 3 full days before being needed to plug in. That’s a lot considering how powerful this phone is. It’s the perfect phone for those who are always on the go. Aside from its superb battery life, the Moto G Power also comes with a Snapdragon 62 chip inside and 4 GB of RAM. In truth, the Moto G Power isn’t as strong as the other phones on this list; however, you still won’t have any problems running most apps and games on your phone as long as they aren’t too demanding. Benchmark tests reveal that the phone is still pretty much capable of running most games on low settings. The phone comes with a crisp and clean 720P LCD display. It lags behind other phones on this list that come with OLED displays, but it’s still a pretty decent display that can help you see clearly outdoors. The camera of the phone is also good, but don’t expect too much out of it when you’re using it to take shots in low lighting. If you want better camera quality, go for the Pixel 5A or the Samsung A32 instead. While the phone does come with only 64 GB of storage, you can still expand it with a MicroSD card for more space. Other features of the phone include a headphone jack and a fingerprint sensor as well.

It’s also worth noting that Motorola has already announced the 2022 version of this phone. It’s a bit more expensive than this one, but it does come with its fair share of upgrades.

Pros

  • Best battery life for budget phones
  • Cheapest phone on this list
  • Good camera quality

Cons

  • 1-2 years of software support left

Specification

  • Price $129.99
  • Phone Memory (RAM) 4 GB
  • Internal Memory (ROM) 64 GB
  • Operating System Android 10
  • Processor Model Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
  • Screen Size 6.6 inches
Moto G Power 2021

04 Samsung Galaxy A32

Can you really have a best phones list without a phone from Samsung being thrown into the mix? When it comes to budget-friendly options, the best one we’ve found is the Samsung Galaxy A32. With a large display and a decent battery life, it’s a phone that’s worth getting if you’re on a budget. One of the notable features of the Samsung Galaxy A32 is its 6.5-inch screen, which is one of the largest on this list of budget-friendly phones. However, the large size of the screen is hindered a bit as the display technology in the Samsung Galaxy A32 is, honestly, subpar. There are better displays out there, but it’s not too much of an issue if you aren’t picky. When it comes to performance, the Samsung Galaxy A32 is definitely a powerhouse of a phone. Another reason that to get the Samsung Galaxy A32 is that it comes with a very powerful 5,000 mAh battery. It can last for around 3 days when not in use. If you use it straight and with adaptive refresh rate enabled, it can last for 12 hours at least, which is the most out of any other budget option on this list. Thanks to its octa-core chipset, the Samsung Galaxy A32 is a beast when it comes to performance. It can run high-end games smoothly on the lowest settings. Other than that, the smartphone can also support most of your smartphone needs. It’s a complete package if you overlook the mediocre display. Samsung focused on performance more than anything else when it comes to the Galaxy A32. Samsung has a solid support plan for the A32. The phone still has 3 years worth of software support and updates from the makers. That means if you’re careful with this phone, it will be a long-term investment. You don’t need to worry about having to replace this anytime soon, which makes it even more enticing.

Pros

  • 3 years of support from Samsung
  • Amazing battery life
  • Good performance

Cons

  • Mediocre display

Specification

  • Price $304.00
  • Phone Memory (RAM) 4 GB RAM
  • Internal Memory (ROM) 128 GB
  • Operating System Android 11
  • Processor Model Octa-core
  • Screen Size 6.4 inches
Samsung Galaxy A32

05 Moto G Fast

Another amazing offering from Motorola is the Moto-G Fast. Despite the price, the Moto G Fast still houses the Snapdragon 665 chipset, which makes it a powerful device in terms of performance. Just to note, the more powerful G-series phones also have the same chipset. That says a lot when it comes to the performance of this phone. Do take note that the device still has a substandard CPU and GPU. Don’t expect it to run high-end apps at their max output despite the decent chipset. The resolution of its 6.4-inch display is only HD, but the screen itself is large. It’s more than good enough to browse the internet and to watch movies. That said, the device is pretty slim, so you don’t need to worry about how it fits. Motorola didn’t hold back when it came to the casing and the screen of the phone; both are durable components that will last a long time. Other features of the Moto-G Fast include a fingerprint scanner, a headphone jack, and a USB-C slot for charging. The cameras of the Moto-G Fast aren’t that impressive, but they aren’t something to worry about either. They can hold their own, but if you’re taking pictures or shooting videos, make sure to do it in moderately lit areas. The quality can decrease if you’re doing it in a very light or a very dark area. What we can say negatively about the Moto-G Fast is that it has a measly 3GB of RAM. Moreover, the baseline storage of 32GB is extremely low as well. Personally, we see the Moto G Fast as a good secondary phone. It can be used to access your work files and your other professional files on the go. It’s also a good alternative emergency phone just in case your main one is having issues.

Pros

  • Surprisingly good chipset despite price
  • Runs Android 10
  • Good cameras

Cons

  • Low ram and base storage

Specification

  • Price $169.99
  • Phone Memory (RAM) 3 GB
  • Internal Memory (ROM) 32 GB
  • Operating System Android 10
  • Processor Model Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
  • Screen Size 6.4 inches
Moto G Fast

06 TCL 20 Pro

TCL was been very busy in 2021. They had a good lineup of phones, but if you’re looking at the best budget option from the manufacturer, go for the TCL Pro 5G. There are cheaper TCL phones, but this one is the best in our opinion. The TCL Pro 5G houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chip much like the Galaxy A52. However, it performs more smoothly thanks to its more powerful CPU and GPU. It can run high-end games on medium graphics without any lag or drop in framerate. In terms of performance, the TCL Pro 5G is a perfect phone, be it for gaming or for work purposes. As such, we highly suggest this TCL phone over the others which cost $250 and $150 respectively. It comes with a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen, which is superb for its price. Our main problem with it is that, while its frame is aluminum, the phone does have a glass front and back. It’s more fragile than most phones. As such, we highly suggest getting a good smartphone case if this is the budget phone of your choice. Some of the other features of the TCL Pro 20 include a 4,500 mAh battery cell that can last for an entire day of usage. It also has NFC, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot just in case the base storage isn’t enough. Sadly, the TCL 20 Pro only has two OS upgrades and two years of security updates for it.

Pros

  • Amazing screen quality
  • Powerful chipset for superb performance
  • Amazing set of cameras

Cons

  • 2 years of OS and security support only

Specification

  • Price $499.99
  • Phone Memory (RAM) 6 GB
  • Internal Memory (ROM) 256 GB
  • Operating System Android 11
  • Processor Model Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
  • Screen Size 6.67 inches
TCL 20 Pro

Jonas

Feb 23, 2022

93 Articles Published

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We're not just tech junkies, but we're also tech experts. Each and every "Best of.." list on TechJunkie is curated by our content-area subject matter experts to provide a well-rounded, unbiased perspective to help and inform you, our reader. Our lists are constantly reviewed and updated, so you can be sure you're reading relevant and up to date information.

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