For years, the best cheap phones came from the likes of Motorola. Samsung, facing little Android competition at the top end of the market, is coming for Motorola's lunch. Samsung has always sold cheap phones, but it only recently shuffled them all up into a more simplified (and less confusing) Galaxy "A series" branding. There are still a few too many A-series phones, but this strategy is finally paying off. Now Samsung produces good phones that don't break the bank.
If Google introduced a lot of hardware in 2018, it might have a veritable avalanche in store for 2019. Nikkei sources claim to have details of Google's roadmap for the year, which includes a few firsts for the brand. To begin with, the insiders appear to corroborate rumors of lower-cost Pixel phones. The scoop doesn't include many details, but suggests the budget Pixel line will sit below the $749 price of the iPhone XR. Earlier rumors pointed to mid- and large-sized devices with 1080p LCDs, Snapdragon 670 processors, 32GB of storage, a 12-megapixel rear camera and a lone front shooter.
Alcatel is rather fond of bringing trendy smartphone features to low-cost devices, and that's true than ever for its 2019 lineup. Its new Alcatel 3 (above) and 3L phones both have extra-tall 19.5:9 displays with teardrop notches, giving you a more expansive view than you're used to in budget handsets. You can also expect dual rear cameras (13 megapixels and 5 megapixels) for portrait-style photos, and it's hopping on the AI bandwagon with intelligent photo scene detection as well as a basic face unlock feature for the 8-megapixel front cam. There are catches that keep the price down. Both are using 5.9-inch displays with a 1,560 x 720 resolution, so neither will satisfy people who crave pixel density.
From foldable screens to 5G connectivity, to super AMOLED displays, smartphone companies are evolving and innovating faster than ever. While Samsung's Galaxy line dominates as many people's top choice for the best Android phone, other smartphone makers are gunning for its place with great handsets of their own. Of course, all this competition benefits consumers -- we now have many choices of fantastic Android mobile phones to pick from, and at a number of different price levels, from high end to budget phones. Read on to see our top picks for the best Android phone available right now. And while you're at it, check out our tips on how to buy a new phone.
The Nokia 2.1 Android Pie edition is a useful low-cost workhorse if you want a basic phone. Its 4,000mAh battery delivers good battery life and reasonable performance, and its 5.5-inch screen has a large bezel at the top and bottom of the screen, giving a screen-to-body ratio of 69.82%. It is a lightweight phone at 174g, but at 9.67mm, feels more solid than other low-cost phones. This phone is not dustproof, water-resistant, or shock-proof, so try not to drop it in case the screen shatters. The 2.1 has a dual SIM slot and can take a micro SD card up to 128GB, which will let you install a few apps. Its 1GB RAM might be an issue if you use multiple apps simultaneously.