Five Best Android Smartphones Under $200 in 2016

Five Best Android Smartphones Under $200 in 2016

Published on: 14-09-2016 | by Misty in Android, Smartphones, Moto G4, Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, ASUS ZenFone 2, Moto E 2nd Gen, Huawei Honor 5x

Cory Gunther writes this review for

Budget Android Smartphones

Last year was all about budget Android smartphones, and while 2016 started off with a new king in the budget market, the trend has continued all year.

Buying an excellent smartphone doesn’t mean spending $700 or signing your life away with a 2-year contract. Right now there are countless excellent smartphones under $400, and impressively enough, some pretty great ones for under $200 that all budget shoppers need to know about.

With an expensive new Galaxy Note 7 now official and countless other $600+ smartphones, buyers have a lot of options. If you’re not up on the latest news you won’t know where to look or what phones to consider, and with that in mind our list below shows buyers the cheaper side of Android.

Our 2015 list has a few great smartphones that won’t break the bank, but many of them still cost nearly $300, which isn’t as cheap as we’d like to go. As a result, our list further down will go over everything buyers need to know about some excellent Android smartphones that actually cost less than $200.

Finding a good smartphone is really easy, but finding a great smartphone that’s also cheap, isn’t. There are countless terrible cheap budget smartphones with awful screens, poor performance and terrible battery life.

They’re a dime a dozen on Amazon and coming out of China. The Wileyfox Swift came close, which is a super cheap phone, but it can’t quite compete with the others mentioned below.

What we’ll be going over here are smartphones that cost less than $200, but that are actually worth spending hard-earned money on. These are budget smartphones that don’t suck. Of course leading the pack here is Motorola with the stunning Moto G4, but that isn’t all.

Not everyone can afford the fancy aluminum and glass covered Galaxy S7, or wants to spend $600 or more on an HTC 10. As a result, you’ll end up searching for something cheaper, and we have exactly what users are looking for.

All of the phones in our slideshow below cost less than $200, yet are still great phones buyers will be happy to use, rather than just dealing with it because it’s all they can afford.

Moto G4

The Moto G lineup has made our list for the best cheap Android phones every year since it was first released. Each year it gets a little better too. For 2016 the company went with the Moto G4 for the name, as it’s the fourth generation.

And while there are two different models, one which has a fingerprint scanner and some improvements, the base model is still $199 and a lot of phone for the price.

Buyers will get a bigger 5.5-inch 1080p Full HD display, 16 or 32GB of storage with a micro-SD slot to expand storage, a decent and much improved 13 megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, and finally a big 3,000 mAh battery. All of this completes a phone that’s only $199. It’s impressive.

There’s a model with more storage, a Moto G4 Plus with a fingerprint scanner, and some other options on, but the base Moto G4 for $199 is hard to beat. It’s still one of the best overall smartphone experiences for the price.

Honorable mention goes out the Redmi Note 3. However, we’re keeping this list to mostly devices for the US.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 (4.7-Inch)

Alcatel, who typically makes cheap smartphones that aren’t all that great, changed things up in 2015. The Idol 3 was surprisingly great, but as the company got better the new Idol 4 isn’t priced as low, and while a good phone, doesn’t make this list.

However, in 2015 they did announce the Idol 3 with a 4.7-inch display and a wallet-friendly $179 price tag to take on Motorola. It’s still available, often for $149, and is a great budget phone even halfway through 2016.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 offers buyers a 4.7-inch 720p HD display which looks pretty good. It has a fast quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a micro-SD slot.

Dual front facing speakers that sound quite impressive, and two awesome cameras, a 13 megapixel rear and 5mp front camera setup, and more. Sadly the battery is only 2,000 mAh, so the G4 might be a better route.

The battery is the weakest link, but with a smaller display battery life shouldn’t be too bad. This phone is sleek, runs great, sounds good, looks premium and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It went on sale a while back, and there’s even a 5.5-inch model that can sometimes be found for around $200 right now too.

ASUS ZenFone 2

This year everyone wants part of Motorola’s budget pie, but so far in 2016 Motorola is still winning. The ASUS ZenFone 2 runs an Intel processor like many computers – rather than what most Android phones are powered by – and is a good option, but now nearly a year old.

The ZenFone 2 comes with a premium look, feel, and decent specs, all for only $199. This phone comes with a large 5.5-inch 1920 x 1200 Full HD display, a 1.8 GHz quad-core Intel processor with 2GB of RAM.

16GB of internal storage, 13 megapixel rear and 5 MP front cameras, a large 3,000 mAh battery, and supports 4G LTE on all GSM carriers (so no Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular) but will work with all other carriers.

It is powered by the latest Android 6.0 Lollipop, and ASUS has four colors: Black, Silver, Gold or Red all for only $199 or cheaper on sale. It’s well-rounded for the price.

There’s also a version with a faster processor 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which is equally as impressive but costs more. Sadly the ZenFone 3 lineup for 2016 isn’t priced as low, and didn’t make our list. If you can manage $249, the new Zenfone 3 is pretty great, and is often on sale for a fair price.

Moto E 2nd Gen

While this next one isn’t as good as the first three, it’s also much cheaper if you truly can’t afford the $179 price point we’ve been focusing on.

If you want to go really, really cheap, get the Moto E. The new Moto E delivers a quad-core processor, 4G LTE and Android Lollipop in a small package for only $149 outright.

The screen is bigger than the Moto E from 2014 at 4.5-inches, but sadly offers a low 960 x 540 resolution. The first model had dual front facing speakers, but this model that was removed in favor of a bigger screen and 4G LTE.

All of that is only $149 outright though, so pick your battles. It’s also over a year old at this point, but there’s nothing too great in the United States that can match the price. Chinese phones excluded.

The Moto E 2015 runs the latest Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and has plenty to offer for those on a really tight budget. If you have to, get this, otherwise spend a little more and get the Huawei below or the Moto G4.

Huawei Honor 5x

Last but certainly not least, is potentially the King of the budget market. The Honor 5x is every bit as good as the Moto G4, but made of metal and has a fingerprint scanner.

We’re talking about the Huawei Honor 5x. It was announced in early January at CES 2016, and went on sale on January 31st for only $199. The price is good, and the features are even better.

The Huawei Honor 5x has a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080p Full HD display and is made almost entirely out of metal. It looks and feels like a premium phone, but only costs $199.

It’s powered by the latest budget-minded 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM, has 16GB of storage, a 13 megapixel rear and 5MP camera setup, and a fingerprint scanner on the back.

Yes a 1080p HD display, fingerprint scanner, metal design, micro-SD card and a 3,000 mAh battery all for only $199. The only downside this has over the Moto G4 is the Marshmallow software isn’t stock Android.

That aside, it’s excellent and worth the price. It comes in Silver, White and Gold and is available from Amazon, Newegg, Huawei and other retailers. If it’s out of stock, look elsewhere.

As 2016 continues we’re expecting to see a few greater budget phones arrive. Once they do, we’ll update this list. Another good route is picking up an on sale Nexus 5X, the OnePlus 2, or many other high-end phones from 2015 that are dropping in price.

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