As much as we love playing with and testing the latest and greatest phones here at AC, there is something we can universally agree on that we aren’t fans of — paying full price for the best Android phones. If you’re in the market for a quality Android phone but don’t want to spend a thousand dollars, you could check out the best cheap Android phones, or you you can grab one of the best refurbished phones as these offer a great experience at a fraction of what you’d typically spend. Here are our favorite options!
Still a stunner
Google Pixel 3a
Although it has been discontinued to make way for the Pixel 4a, the Pixel 3a is still a fantastic value. The device sports the same camera from the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, along with a clean design that you’re accustomed to. Plus, you’ll still get a few more major software updates before Google moves onto bigger things.
Sasmung Galaxy S20 FE
It’s tough to ignore the Galaxy S20 FE, regardless of whether you are looking to get a new phone or pick up a refurbished one. The S20 FE continues to be the best Android phone, and on the refurbished market you can save a few more bucks to get a flagship experience for less.
Ahead of its time
The OnePlus 8 has supplanted the likes of the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T, bringing the value flagship experience we have come to expect from OnePlus. You’ll find a triple camera setup on the back, a solid 4,300mAh battery, and a gorgeous AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate.
Enter the Galaxy
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Samsung does a few things really well, one being design, and the other being displays. The Galaxy S10e is the child of the standard S10 line and is arguably the most impressive of them all. This budget-minded device was a sleeper-hit in 2019, giving you almost all the flagship features at a fraction of the cost.
Great all around
LG’s V60 didn’t receive a lot of attention when it was released early in 2020 and that’s honestly a shame. While it isn’t the best Android phone ever created, it’s a really solid device in just about every regard. The metal + glass design looks great, the external speakers are insanely loud, and it has one of the highest-quality headphone jacks around.
Livin‘ the stylus life
Samsung Galaxy Note 10
With the Galaxy Note 20 here, that opens the door for the Note 10 to see steeper discounts. Despite being locked with a 60Hz refresh rate, that’s not the primary reason for grabbing a Note 10. The display itself is still gorgeous, Samsung has pushed updates to improve the camera, and it’s equipped with the ever-useful S Pen.
Powerful and cheap
Moto G Fast
The Moto G Fast is one of the more intriguing devices released in 2020, as Motorola aimed to cut all of the right corners to provide a solid experience without breaking the bank. Although the display only features a 720p resolution, you’ll get long-lasting battery life, great build quality, and a triple camera setup.
Ignore the battery life
Google Pixel 4
For everything that Google did wrong with the battery on the Pixel 4, it’s still a great phone in just about every other facet. The camera system is still one of our favorites, especially with Night Sight as newer devices just can’t stack up. You’ll just need want to use some of the cash you’ve saved to pick up a portable charger.
Almost too old
Samsung Galaxy S9
This may not be the newest Samsung Galaxy phone on the market, but it’s one heck of a smartphone here in 2020. From a hardware standpoint, the S9’s design still stands out as a thing of beauty. The AMOLED display is one of the best around, the glass back supports wireless charging, and there’s a headphone jack. Just know that the S9 is nearing the end of its software update life.
A stupendous deal
OnePlus regularly makes some of the best value flagships on the market, but if the OnePlus 8 Pro is a bit too rich for your blood, we recommend looking into a refurbished 7T. The OnePlus 7T’s design is still modern in 2020, thanks to its small waterdrop notch and sleek glass back. It has a Snapdragon 855+ CPU, 90Hz AMOLED display, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
While much of the foldable world focuses on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 with its massive display, the Galaxy Z Flip is a bit overshadowed. This is a compact and lightweight smartphone that flips, and you won’t have to worry about carrying a tablet around with you wherever you go.
Moto G Power (2020)
The best part about getting one of the best cheap Android phones is that you can save even more money on it by going with refurbished. This is the case with the Moto G Power, which doesn’t present too many sacrifices, while giving you a fast processor, solid cameras, and up to three days of battery life.
The Pixel 3a is the best refurbished phone
When Google launched the Pixel 3a in 2019, there was much fanfare as it seemed that Google was changing up the game plan. Now that the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 have arrived, it’s clear that this is the case as Google is opting to take over the budget market instead of competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple and other flagship models.
The Pixel 3a packs an impressive wallop, providing the same camera as was found on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Along with a design that is comfortable to hold and still familiar to just about every Android user. Sure, the spec-sheet isn’t the latest, and the Pixel 4a is cheaper than the 3a was, but the 3a gets the leg up in the refurbished market. Plus, Google still plans on supporting this device until May 2022 at the earliest.
Want something a bit more flashy? Check out the OnePlus 7T or Galaxy S20 FE
If you’re someone who wants to save a few bucks and get a device that is flashy and will still turn heads, there’s no better way to go other than OnePlus or Samsung. The OnePlus 7T is still being sold as new at T-Mobile and OnePlus, and for good reason. You’re getting a sleek design with a stunning AMOLED display equipped with a 90Hz display. There are no hole-punches to be concerned with, and the glass back has a texture that is simply comfortable to hold.
The camera system may not hold up against the likes of the 3a or the Note 10, but it will do the job just fine. The bigger benefit comes in the software department, as OxygenOS is one of the best Android skins available. At the very least, you will see Android 11 come to the 7T, but OnePlus has an excellent track record of providing software updates for years; just look at the OnePlus 5 and 5T.
Looking back at 2020, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE was really the phone that stole almost everyone’s hearts. The device proved that Samsung listens to its users, bringing with it a flat display, along with a matte plastic backplate so we wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with damaged glass. From a performance perspective, the S20 FE offered practically the same experience as the standard Galaxy S20.
In fact, the S20 FE was dubbed the „new flagship killer“ in our review, with its modern flagship design and specs, without having to pay the flagship premium. The 120Hz display is a dream to use, and there are more than enough colors to mix and match to your personal style. Plus, Samsung has upped the ante in the software department, promising up to three years of major Android software updates, along with the monthly security patch releases. The S20 FE really is the complete package, no matter what way you look at it.
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