Best cheap phones under $300 in 2024

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The selection of the best cheap phones under $300 is understandably limited compared to the options available in higher price brackets, but you are still able to find some strong devices that'll deliver incredible bang for your buck. I remember a time when a high-end smartphone would cost you $200 on-contract, but those days are long behind us.

Because I evaluate and test phones at all price ranges (along with my other colleagues), I can find devices under $300 that do offer great value. The trick is to identify which features are important to you and which areas you're willing to compromise on.

As you can see from our picks for the best cheap phones under $300, you can only get Android devices in the price range. You could probably pick up a used iPhone under $300 elsewhere, but the cheapest new iPhone that Apple sells is the $429 iPhone SE (2022) — while the cheapest Google phone, the Pixel 8a, costs $499. Then there are those other phones, like the Nothing Phone 2a, which sits a little out of this range at $349. Although, we're confident we'll see more sub-$300 phones littered throughout the year.

But if you're an Android phone fan, you've got a few low-cost options. These are the best cheap phones under $300 that I've found in my search for the best phones overall.

The quick list

Best cheap phone overall

Moto G 5G 2024 review fall guy streaming on youtube

(Image credit: Future)
Best cheap phone overall

Specifications

Price: $199
Display: 6.6-inch LCD (1612 x 720)
CPU: Snapdragon 4 Gen 1
RAM: 4GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes
Rear cameras: 50MP (f/1.8) main; 2MP (f/2.4) macro
Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Battery: 5,000 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 14:36 (automatic)
Weight: 6.8 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Long-lasting battery
+
Costs less than $200
+
Cool vegan leather materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Spotty performance
-
Just one guaranteed Android software update

For less than $200, you can get a pretty capable handset with the Moto G 5G (2024). The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chipset isn't going to set speed records and graphically-intensive apps can really test its horsepower, but it will run the apps most people use in their everyday lives just fine. And excellent power management coupled with a 5,000 mAh battery helped this phone last 14.5 hours on our battery test, beating out the average smartphone's performance by 4.5 hours.

You will need to compromise with the cameras — a main lens, a dedicated macro sensor and a selfie cam — which produce solid though unspectacular images. The screen's a little dim for our taste and we wish Motorola offered more than just one guaranteed Android update. But the leather vegan back gives the Moto G a stylish design that doesn't feel like a budget phone. Overall, it's a pretty impressive package for such a low price.

Read our full Moto G 5G (2024) review.

Runner Up

OnePlus Nord N30 5G review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best alternative cheap phone

Specifications

Price: $299
Display: 6.72-inch LCD (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Snapdragon 695 5G
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes
Rear cameras: 108MP (f/1.7) main; 2MP (f/2.4) depth; 2MP (f/2.4) macro
Front camera: 16MP (f/2.4)
Battery: 5,000 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 12:30 (120Hz), 12:42 (60Hz)
Weight: 6.9 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
120Hz display
+
Solid audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one year of Android OS updates
-
Inconsistent camera performance

Whether it's as the OnePlus Nord N30 5G in the U.S. or the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite in other parts of the world, this $299 handset from OnePlus is the best cheap phone under $300. (In the U.S., you can get the phone for slightly less than its unlocked price by buying through T-Mobile or Metro By T-Mobile.) The Nord N30 delivers lots of value by going big on key areas — the 5,000 mAh battery helps the phone last 12.5 hours on our battery test, for example, and 50W wired charging means you'll be able to top up that battery quickly.

We also like the expansive screen OnePlus uses for the Nord N30, not to mention the fact that it's capable of ramping up to 120Hz refresh rate for smoother animations and graphics. That higher refresh rate doesn't impact battery life, either. Stereo speakers and an audio-boosting feature means your gaming sessions will sound great.

Despite a 108MP main camera, we found the photos produced by the OnePlus Nord N30 to be a little inconsistent. And we wish OnePlus would buck the trend of software support for cheap phones by offering more than one guaranteed Android OS update. Still, for less than $300, the OnePlus Nord N30 offers the kind of features you'd expect to pay a lot more to enjoy.

Read our full OnePlus Nord N30 review.

Best cheap phone for Verizon subscribers

TCL 30 V 5G held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A good cheap 5G option for Verizon customers

Specifications

Price: $299
Display: 6.7-inch LCD (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Snapdragon 480 5G
Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes
RAM: 4GB
Rear cameras: 50MP main, 5MP ultra wide, 2MP macro
Front camera: 16MP
Battery: 4,500 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 12:14 (Auto), 11:55 (60Hz)
Weight: 7 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Battery lasts a long time
+
Works with Verizon’s fast C-Band 5G
+
Includes a headphone jack

Reasons to avoid

-
Underwhelming processor
-
Useless macro camera

The TCL 30 V 5G is typical of the trade-offs you make when shopping for a cheap phone under $300. But if you want a phone that can last a long time on a charge, TCL’s $299 handset delivers. The phone averaged 11 hours and 46 minutes on our battery test, and when we turned on its smart refresh mode, which scales down the refresh rate to extend battery life, results improved to more than 12 hours.

You’ll need to get your phone service from Verizon to use the TCL 30 V 5G, but if you do, you can take advantage of that carrier’s faster C-Band 5G network, as the phone is compatible with that expanding 5G technology. We wish the TCL 30 V 5G had a little more processing muscle and that its cameras yielded better pictures, but these are sacrifices you have to make sometimes for a less expensive phone.

Read our full TCL 30 V 5G review.

A long-lasting cheap phone

Moto G Power 2024 review.

(Image credit: Future)
Low-cost endurance

Specifications

Price: $299
Display: 6.7-inch LCD (2400 x 1280)
CPU: Dimensity 7020
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes
Rear cameras: 50MP (f/1.8) main; 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
Front camera: 16MP (f/2.4)
Battery: 5,000 mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 13:16 (automatic)
Weight: 7.1 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Fast charging speeds
+
Grippy vegan leather case

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim screen
-
Subpar camera performance

It's a little unexpected that the Moto G Power 5G (2024) doesn't last as long as the Moto G 5G, even though endurance has been the calling card for past Power models. Still, the 2024 edition of the phone does last more than 13 hours on a charge, so you are getting a long-lasting device.

The extra $100 over the Moto G 5G gets you a more powerful processor aided by more RAM. The Moto G Power also includes an ultrawide camera, even if we weren't impressed with the cameras' performance. Still, that grippy vegan leather back and fast-charging speeds go a long way toward helping this phone deliver more value for its low price tag.

Read our full Moto G Power 5G (2024) review.

How to choose the best cheap phone under $300

Picking the best cheap phone under $300 can be tricky, because it's really all about figuring out which trade-offs you're willing to live with. But it's important to start with the basics. 

Take the camera. Budget phones will typically feature one or two lenses, but that's starting to change. The megapixel count doesn't matter that much; pay more attention to the capabilities of the camera, such as a night mode for low-light pictures. See if the phone can shoot ultra-wide shots, which is becoming more common on cheap phones. But don't expect optical zoom; digital zoom is the norm under $400.

As for storage, 64GB is preferred for budget phones and seems to have become the norm, though some phones come with 128GB of base storage. If possible, see if the cheap phone you're considering offers a microSD card slot for expansion. Battery life is a huge concern regardless of price, so check the battery capacity on the phone. In general, anything above 4,500 mAh is preferred. Our best phone battery life list can also tip you off as to which phones did the best on our battery test.

5G used to be reserved for expensive flagships, but these days, high-speed connectivity is fairly standard, even on phones that cost less than $500. Some cheap 5G phones only feature compatibility with sub-6GHz 5G networks instead of faster mmWave-based 5G. C-band coverage is also iffy on phones this cheap.

Once you've found the best cheap phone, you can also look at our tips on how to save money on your cell phone bill.

How we test the best cheap phones under $300

For this best cheap phone overview, we limit our search to phones that cost less than $300. (Our other best cheap phones roundup expands the search to sub-$500 phones, where you'll have more to choose from if your budget allows.) Even with the limitations of cheap phones, any device that makes this list needs to stand out on the different tests that we run on every handset. We perform some of these tests in our labs and some in the real world.

When it comes to performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and 3DMark to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result. (We unfortunately have to skip this test on some phones due to app compatibility issues, but we attempt this benchmark with each device we get in to review.)

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Performance benchmarks
Row 0 - Cell 0 Geekbench 6 (single-core / multicore)3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)
Moto G 5G (2024)841 / 17916.2
OnePlus Nord N30904 / 20777
TCL 30 V 5GN/A6
Moto G Power 5G (2024)924 / 2,334N/A

To measure the quality of a phone's display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and score of 0 is perfect.

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Display benchmarks
Row 0 - Cell 0 sRGB (%)DCI-P3 (%)Delta-E
Moto G 5G (2024)103.2 (Saturated) / 108.5 (Natural)73.1 (Saturated) / 76.8 (Natural)0.23 (Saturated) / 0.23 (Natural)
OnePlus Nord N30152.7 (Vivid)108.2 (Vivid)0.09 (Vivid)
TCL 30 V 5G122 (Vivid) / 112 (Natural)86 (Vivid) / 79 (Natural)0.23 (Vivid) / 0.24 (Natural)
Moto G Power 5G (2024)122 (Saturated) / 105.8 (Natural)86.5 (Saturated) / 74.9 (Natural)0.25 (Saturated) / 0.31 (Natural)

One of the most important tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery test. We run a web surfing test over 5G (or 4G if the phone doesn't have 5G support) at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11.5 hours makes our list of the best phone battery life.

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Battery life benchmark
Row 0 - Cell 0 Battery life (Hrs:Mins)
Moto G 5G (2024)14:36 (automatic)
OnePlus Nord N3012:30 (120Hz) / 12:42 (60Hz)
TCL 30 V 5G12:14 (Adaptive) / 11:55 (60Hz)
Moto G Power (2024)13:16 (automatic)

Last but not least, we take the best phones out in the field to take photos outdoors, indoors and at night in low light to see how they perform versus their closest competitors. We take shots of landscapes, food, portraits and more, and also allow you to be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews. 

John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.