8 Best Cheap Smartphones for 2021 (iPhone, Android)


Works with all three major U.S. carriers

Photo: Nokia

There are faster, similarly priced phones G20—Waste if you try to use multiple consecutive applications-but if you don’t use your phone very much, it’s a solid option that’s cheap and lasts two and a half days on a single charge. The screen may not be much brighter, but the camera is decent and has even a Night mode for better picture lights. Nokia has promised three years of security updates and two OS upgrades. Two big caveats: It won’t work on Verizon, and it doesn’t support 5-GHz Wi-Fi, which is required for some services like wireless Android Auto.


Another Good Budget Phone

Photo: TCL

There are technically three phones in TCL’s 2021 smartphone line: the TCL 20 Pro 5G ($ 500), TCL 20S ($ 250), and TCL 20 SE ($ 190). We eliminated the latter two here because any other sub- $ 300 or $ 200 phones at high are better options. But there are many reasons to go with the TCL 20 Pro 5G.

It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chip as Galaxy A52 5G, but doing so is relatively slow. It’s powerful – well used by the best Android phone in this tutorial – and it’s fast most and a more luxurious felt device as well. It has an aluminum frame and glass on both sides, though it’s even more fragile. It’s also the only Android phone here that has wireless charging support.

The 6.67-inch AMOLED screen is colorful, and it’s bright enough to be seen on the outside. The 4,500-mAh battery cell comfortably lasts more than a full day of use, and it comes with the usual features like NFC, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot. The only reason it’s not our primary choice is that TCL only promises two OS upgrades and a two-year security update, so Google and Samsung phones are highly supported for longer period.

Also, it has 5G access but it is not available to AT&T, and there is no IP rating for water resistance. It has a good camera system, but no As as good as the aforementioned competitors.

Works on all three major US carriers (5G will operate on Verizon soon, but not on AT&T)


Yes Every major smartphone maker starts with budget and mid-year phones, and we probably won’t see many new options until 2022.

Consider Last Year’s Flagship Phones

If none of these phones have the looks you want or aren’t as powerful as you’d like, your very best option is to search for last year’s flagship smartphones, which can leave a discount. Sometimes they are easy to find but some manufacturers will stop selling all of them, like 2020 Samsung Galaxy S20 or the Google Pixel 5. Remember you will lose one year of software support.

Check Network Compatibility

If you buy an unopened phone on its list and try to take it to one of your wireless carrier’s retail stores, they may tell you that it is not network compatible. Probably so. Just use a paper clip or SIM removal tool to pop the SIM card out of your current phone, then slide that SIM into your new phone. If it doesn’t work at first, reboot the phone or wait a few hours.

If you need a new SIM, try ordering one online from your carrier, or try to get them to give you a SIM when you activate a store line (if you are starting to subscribe) . Tell them you have a phone. Many times, reps want to sell you a phone; that’s a potential reason they might bother you to buy different devices in the store.



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