There is no doubt that flagship devices such as Galaxy S8, LG G6 are the top Android devices. But not everyone has the budget of $700-$800. If you are on a tight budget and looking to get a cheap and good Android phone then you are on a right place. I”m going to share 7 Best Unlocked Android phones which could cost less than $200.
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Note: All the devices in this list are unlocked phones without any contracts.
7 Best Unlocked Smartphones under $200
Moto E 2nd Gen is entry level Android device by Motorola which was launched in 2015 after the success of its predecessor i.e Moto E1. Moto E2 has decent enough features and specs according to its price i.e $70. It is compatible with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile.
Currently Moto E2 is one the best unlocked smartphone you can get in less than $200. There are few differences between Moto E 1st and 2nd Gen which i’m going to talk right now.
Moto E 2nd comes with 4.5 Inch IPS LCD display with 540×960 resolution whereas Moto E1 had only 4.3 Inch display with the same resolution. It comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for screen protection.
It comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 and Quad-core 1.2 GHz processor whereas Moto E1 comes with Snapdragon 200. You should note that I’m talking about 4G LTE version of Moto E2. There is a 3G version of Moto E2 which comes with Snapdragon 200. The GPU comes with Moto E2 is Adreno 306 where Adreno 302 comes in 3G model.
Moto E 2nd Gen comes with Android lollipop out of the box and you can officially upgrade it to Android marshmallow 6.0. It has 8GB internal storage which may not be sufficient for some people that’s when external SD becomes handy. You can upgrade external memory via SD card up to 32GB.
Remember that this is a single SIM model. The 3G model of this phone comes dual with SIM option.
The rear camera of Moto E 2nd Gen is 5MP. The quality of rear camera is average but it does have new features such as auto-focus which wasn’t there in Moto E1. There was no secondary camera in the earlier version of Moto E but in Moto E2 there is a VGA which is not very great though.
The battery in Moto E 2nd gen has improved from 1980 mAh to 2390 mAh. The screen on time in Moto E2 is around 5 hours and for average users, it can last a complete day.
6. Nextbin Robin
When every manufacturers are trying to build phones with new design, Nextbit a new company have tried a simple and rectangular design to attract the users. Nextbit is a company created by ex-Google, Apple, Amazon and HTC employees which was later acquired by Razer.
The Good news about the Nextbit Robin is, when it launched in February 2016 the original price of the phone was around $400 but now the price of this phone is just $150 which is great. I’m pretty sure that this is one of good smartphone you can buy below $200 right now.
Nextbit Robin works perfectly well with carriers like T-mobile and AT&T.
Robin comes with 5.2 inch IPS display with 1080 resolution. It comes with Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB RAM. Nextbin Robin is available in 2 amazing colors which is Mint (which is in the right side) and midnight which is pretty awesome too.
The internal storage of the phone is 32GB and you can’t expand the storage via SD card but it comes with 100GB cloud storage which is the most interesting thing about Nextbit robin. You maybe wondering how the 100GB cloud works in Nextbit Robin right? Here is your answer.
“when your 32GB internal storage fills up completely, your inactive apps which you haven’t used in a while will offload to cloud storage in the phone”
Those in-active app will turn its icon color to grey. When you want to use that particular app which have transferred to cloud, just clicking the app icon will retrieve that app with data. If you have important apps which you don’t want to offload from your phone even if you don’t use it, you can pin it and it won’t transfer to cloud.
There is a logo of cloud in the backside of the phone and below that you’ll find LED indicator which will tell you if any app is offloading or restoring any app.
The cloud storage can also store photos if the external storage exceeds its limit. Even after transferring photos into cloud, you can view the photos but you can’t zoom it without restoring those photos.
In the front you have no home button but there are 2 dual speakers which is really loud and clear when you play any games or any videos. In the bottom, you have USB Type-C, micro-speakers and physical LED notification which is a unique thing done by Nextbit. At the top, you have usual 3.5mm headphone.
And I almost forgot to tell you that there is a fingerprint scanner on this device which is also a unique thing done by Nextbit. The fingerprint reader on this device is located in the right side of the phone which also serves as a power button. The fingerprint reader works fine to unlock the phone, there is no issues with that.
The 13MP rear camera in Nextbit robin does a great job in the out-door conditions but lacks in low light conditions which many mid-range devices are struggling. You can also do a 4k video recording with this camera. The secondary camera which is 5MP which is not great but decent enough quality to take selfies or record videos.
Nextbit Robin comes with Android marshmallow with custom UI and there is no app drawer in this phone which is not great for everyone. All the apps are in the home screen just like the iPhone. Android nougat is available for Nextbit Robin.
It has 2680 mAh battery which comes with Qualcomm quick charger which claims to charge 60% in 30 minutes.To get some more idea about Nextbit Robin, Watch the review of MKBHD.
5. Asus Zenfone 2
Released in March 2015 yet still remains one the best unlocked Android phone you can buy in 2017. Asus Zenfone 2 comes with 5.5 inch full HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It has good display and view angles on the phone.
It works with GSM carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile and more. I just want to inform you that you can use 2G/3G/4G in SIM 1 but in SIM 2 you can use only 2G.
There are some different things done by Asus in their Zenfone 2. The power button in the Asus Zenfone 2 is at the top which is unusual and the volume buttons are at the back which you won’t see in many Android phones these days. There are some difficulties reaching the power button at the top but you can turn on/ off the screen with double tap gestures which is a nice thing. Learn more tips and tricks of Asus Zenfone 2 by Geekyranjit.
It comes with Intel Atom Z3580 chipset with 4GB RAM which does really a great job when it comes to performance. There are no issues with the multi-tasking in Asus Zenfone 2. The 4GB RAM really helps to run the phone without any issue.
Asus Zenfone 2 comes with Android Lollipop 5.0 out of the box and you can upgrade it to Android marshmallow officially. It runs with custom UI called Zen UI which provides useful options.
The 13MP rear camera does provide just decent camera quality but the secondary camera of the phone does great job and provide excellent camera quality. It comes with 3000 mAh non-removable battery which can last a typical day for average users.
Let’s about talk about the pros and cons of this device.
4. Zenfone 3 laser:
Another good Android phone you can buy in less than $200 from a established brand. It was launched in August 2016.
There are few differences between Asus Zenfone 2 and Zenfone 3 laser which is worth noticing and i’ll talk about those differences and improvements right now.
Asus Zenfone 3 laser is an unlocked smartphone which works with most of the GSM carriers but make sure to confirm with your carrier before buying it. You can get the best cellular call quality in Zenfone 3 laser, you don’t need to worry about that.
Asus Zenfone 3 laser comes with 5.5 inch IPS display with 1080 resolution. Unlike Zenfone 2, it comes with aluminum body instead of plastic that’s a great improvement by Asus. It comes with same Gorilla Glass 3 just like Zenfone 2. Asus hasn’t provided the best display but neither the worse.
The display of Asus Zenfone is good, sharp and has the excellent viewing angles. There is no back light in the navigation keys on the display which may cause some issues while operating the phones in the darker environment.
Zefone 3 laser may not come with the latest processor but it gets the job done for normal and moderate users. If you are looking for a high-end processor phone, keep reading this article. Zenfone 3 laser comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset which you’ll find in mid-range handset these days.
Zenfone 3 is a dual-SIM phone with an expandable storage option but if you want to use micro-sd card, you have to give up your 2nd SIM.
Both the 13MP in rear and 8MP front camera does a job and provides useful features like face detection, panorama and more. You can record videos up to 1080p. The fingerprint scanner is placed in the back just below the rear camera which works fine.
Zenfone 3 laser comes with Android marshmallow 6.0.1 and you can upgrade to nougat 7.0. (Source).
One of the most disappointment thing about Asus Zenfone 3 laser is, it comes with normal USB 2.0 instead of USB Type-C which takes a longer charging time i.e more than 3 hours. But the battery life in Zenfone 3 laser is very good. It can last a full working day for average users.
3. Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
Alcatel is trying to win the mid-range category devices from past few years and here is good mid-range device by Alcatel from 2015.
It is not a hot device which was launched in the recent time. It was launched on June 2015 which makes it a 2 year old phone but still managed to be in the best $200 phone. Some of you may be wondering why i have not included Alcatel idol 4 which is a latest model instead i’m talking about Idol 3 here.
The answer is simple, Alcatel Idol 4 falls in $400 category whereas Idol 3 costs less than $200.
There are 2 variants of Alcatel Idol 3,
1. 4.7 Inch ($129.99)
2. 5.5 Inch ($199.99)
Not only size, there are few differences in the specs as well which i’m to going to share with you.
The 4.7 inch variant comes with 720p display where the 5.5 inch variant comes with the full HD display which is quite usual in the market these days. If you feel 5.5 inch is too large for your hand, then you opt for the smaller size variant which could perfectly fit in a single hand.
Both variants offers 1 micro SIM and a micro-sd slot and both offer 16GB internal memory. You can expand the storage up to 128 GB via micro-sd card. The smaller version comes with 1.5GB RAM and the bigger boy comes with 2GB RAM.
The power button is one the left side and volume buttons are one the right. If you are feeling uncomfortable about power button being on the left, you can double tap the screen to wake up.
There are dual front facing speakers from JBL audio and 2 mirco-phones on both sides of the phone. The dual facing speakers provides excellent audio quality which will amaze you for sure. but that’s not the end. Here’s the most interesting feature Alcatel has provided in this phone.
“You can reverse the whole screen of the phone and use it”
What i meant was when you pick up the phone in wrong side, the screen will automatically reverse to your side. The best thing about this feature is, you can even answer the calls if you picked the phone in the wrong side Cool isn’t?
The smaller variants comes with Quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor where the bigger version comes with Octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor. There is no doubt that, the bigger boy will perform better when you compare to the smaller version but they are good for their respective prices.
The rear camera of the phone provides good quality but lacks optical image stabilization which Alcatel should have provided. The front camera also does a great job to take good selfies. The video recording in this phone will amaze you with its quality.
When it comes to the software section, Alcatel idol 3 comes with Android lollipop 5.0.2 which isn’t the latest OS but you can upgrade it to Android marshmallow 6.0.2. You’ll experience the near stock Android in Alcatel Idol 3 as there aren’t much bloatware installed in it. This is really a great thing.
The last part of this phone comes i.e battery. The 4.7 inch model is packed with 2000 mAh battery whereas the bigger version is packed with 2910 mAh battery which is a huge difference. If you are a heavy user and depends on a single charge mostly, then go ahead with the bigger version or else you can opt for the smaller version.Watch the review by Pocketnow to get more idea about this device.
2. Honor 5X
Another affordable unlocked smartphone from Huawei which is another company trying to be in the race of mid-range phones. Honor 5X was released on November 2015 and it has got some good specs at a reasonable price of $170.
The 5.5 inch IPS display of Honor 5X comes with full HD resolution. It has 72.2 screen to body ratio and it has got metal on the back which is great at this price range. The top and bottom of the phone are plastic which isn’t surprise for many people. You can find the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top and at the bottom you can find a normal USB slot.
The fingerprint reader is available at the back side of the device below the camera which works really well. Its really hard find fingerprint scanner on a devices which costs less than $180 But Huawei has managed to impress the consumers by adding that.
Other than unlocking a phone, the fingerprint scanner in Honor 5X offers lots of options such as swiping down will bring you the notification area, you can launch any app by tapping on that and many more.
It comes with Snapdragon 616 chipset along with Adreno 405 which performs decent but not very great. The emotion UI in Honor 5X does lag some times and takes extra few seconds to launch any apps. It may not be great but its not the worse either.
It comes out of the box with Android lollipop 5.1.1 and can be upgraded to Android marshmallow 6.0.1 officially. Just i said before it comes with emotion UI 4.0 which lags a little but you can always use launcher such as Google now or Nova launcher to improve the performance of the device.
The 13MP rear camera with dual LED in Honor 5X is just decent but it may not be enough for photos loves who loves to take photos very frequently. Again the lack of OIS cause some issues while taking capturing perfect photos. The outdoor photos are good but in low light, it is just decent. The 5MP front facing camera does a decent job while taking selfies.
It comes with 3000 mAh battery which can easily last for more than a day for typical users. And for heavy users who plays lots of games, mostly browse web only on in their Android phones, it can give more than 5 hours of screen on time which is excellent for the device of this price range.
1. Moto G4 Plus
You may already know that Motorola is delivering good budget Android devices from past few years by launching Moto G series and it is one of the best selling series of Motorola. Just in April 2017, they have launched 5th model of Moto G but it costs $230. If you have $30 extra in your budget, then you can surely buy that else you can go with Moto G4 plus which isn’t a bad choice at all.
Moto G4 plus isn’t a very old device from Motorola, it was launched just a year ago on April 2016. There are 3 variants of Moto G4 plus, but only 2 variants is available on Amazon right now.
1. 16GB internal storage+ 2GB RAM
2. 64GB internal storage+ 4GB RAM
Let’s talk about Moto G4 plus in detail.
The Moto G4 plus comes with 5.5 Inch IPS full HD display. The display quality is really good for its pricing. The back of the phone is plastic and its very flat. At the top, you have 3.5mm headphone and at the bottom you have normal USB slot.
The fingerprint scanner is located in the front and there is no capacitive/ home buttons available. The shape of the fingerprint reader is square so there is chance that you might get confused between a fingerprint scanner and home button. But just like i said before, there no home bottom.
There are 2 variants available for U.S market right now which i mentioned above and both variants runs with same chipset which is Qualcomm Snapdragon 617. The device gets heats up when you try to play HD games for than 15-20 minutes so you need to be aware of that.
The general performance of this device is good and you won’t have any issues with that. It runs with Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 which is close to stock version of Android. You can upgrade your Moto G4 plus to Android nougat 7.0 if you want to. It does’t comes with much bloatware which is really good thing.
The 16MP rear camera of Moto G4 plus does really a nice job by taking sharp images without any issues. The images taken in low light are also really job when you compare to the other phones in this price category. Even though it doesn’t have OIS, but there are useful features like phase detection, laser auto-focus and more.
You can record videos up to 1080p and the video quality is average. When it comes to secondary camera, it does a good job but it isn’t the greatest front camera phone.
The battery which comes with Moto G4 plus is 3000 mAh and it comes with fast charging which may help the phone to charge quickly. The battery life on Moto G4 plus is really good and you can depend on a single charge for more than 24 hours if you have normal user. For heavy users, by playing games, making VOIP calls, it can last up to 4-5 hours of screen on-time which is really good.
In my personal opinion, Moto G4 plus is one of the best Android phone you can under $200.
These days choosing a flagship devices are really easy when compare to the mid-range or budget devices. Most of the flagship devices has almost all the basic to high end specs/ features but that’s not the same case with mid-range devices.
Some of the mid-range devices have good enough features for its reasonable price and some of them devices doesn’t justify for price. If you are looking to buy a good Android device for a reasonable price, then these are the 7 Best Android phones you can consider buying under $200 right now. what do you think about these devices? Let me know via comments.