Best cheap phones for 2022: iPhone, Galaxy, best value Pixel picks

Pay less for one iPhone or one android phone doesn’t mean giving up access to all the features you need. In many cases, saving money means you get the latest version of iOS or Android, multiple cameras, processors that can handle multiple tasks at once, and large screens perfect for watching videos.

For this “cheap phones” roundup, we wanted to focus on the phones that offer the most value for their price, and so you’ll find phones as low as $160 that deliver all the elements. essentials, to phones costing up to $600 but with the features and power of a $900 phone.

Now, if your personal barometer is finding a phone within a specific budget, our best phones under $200 and best phones under $500 lists two great options to consider based on what’s currently available in 2022. But if what you’re looking for is a phone that’s out of its price range, these options from Apple, Samsung, and Google are well worth your consideration.

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Samsung’s $160 (£139, around AU$240) Galaxy A03S packs a lot of great features and might be a perfect fit for someone looking for the cheapest possible phone that can handle the most essential tasks. The phone’s 6.5-inch display, capped at 720p resolution, is ideal for reading news, watching videos, and playing games. Despite some performance lag found during our review, the phone is good at multitasking. But the phone’s tiny 32GB of storage space could fill up quickly, so if you’re considering this phone, it might be worth considering expanding storage with a microSD card.

Samsung also plans to support this phone with at least four years of security updates, which at this price point is as good as it gets. On the software side, it’s less clear how many Android versions are planned, but the phone comes with Android 11 to boot.

Read our Samsung Galaxy A03S review.

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Apple’s new iPhone SE for 2022 is a mix of an older design with the latest smartphone features, including Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip and 5G support, for $429. It’s also one of the few phones on the market to include a smaller 4.7-inch screen.

Still, it’s this throwback design, which continues the overall shape that Apple has used since 2014, that might be what you’ll love or hate most about this phone. If you want a bigger iPhone in this price range, you can also consider the $499 iPhone 11 to get a bigger screen and Face ID. But this phone, first released in 2019, does not include 5G connectivity.

Read our iPhone SE (2022) review.

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New for 2022, the Galaxy A53 gives you an abundance of Samsung features and power at a fraction of the price of the S series. It has a much bigger screen and a more versatile camera array than the iPhone SE , although Apple’s budget model offers faster performance.

Still, Samsung fans will appreciate what they get here considering the affordable price. The Galaxy A53 5G has an ultra wide lens for taking photos with a wider field of view and also supports night mode photography. Image quality isn’t quite as good as you’d get on a more expensive Samsung phone like the Galaxy S21 FE or Galaxy S22, but it’s certainly clear and colorful enough for basic shots. Other highlights include a long battery life, four guaranteed generations of Android operating system updates, and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Overall, the Galaxy A53 5G is a decent pick for those who value a big screen and long battery life for under $500. Keep in mind that you may have to deal with the occasional lag and the camera isn’t as advanced as those found on more expensive phones. Read our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review.

The iPhone 11 was released in 2019, but it still offers plenty of value at its new price of $499. It has a dual-lens camera with wide and ultra-wide lenses, a spacious 6.1-inch display, and night mode to take better photos in the dark. It lacks 5G support and runs on an older Apple processor. But if you don’t care about having 5G right now, the iPhone 11 has everything most people need in a phone.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The combination of price, design, cameras, processor, and software makes the Google Pixel 6 one of the best value phones you can buy. The Pixel 6 exemplifies the best of what Google and Android 12 services have to offer. Google updated the design, added new camera hardware, and even created its own processor for the phone, the Tensor chip.

Read our Pixel 6 review.

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