Flagship smartphones from the top OEMs are quite expensive, but there are also many affordable. There are plenty of good options in this range as well. Motorola has plenty of good options under 100 dollars. These are capable phones that offer an all-around decent experience. So, here are some of the best smartphones under $100.
See also: Best Waterproof Android Phones
Best smartphones under $100
Thumbs Up to Nokia: Unassuming but Well Built Design
The Nokia 2 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 212 processor clocking at 1.3 GHz and runs on near stock Android. The RAM is 1 GB and the internal storage is 8GB but it can be expanded using a microSD card. The graphics card is Adreno 304 GPU. The display is 5 inches with a resolution of 720 pixels and it’s protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The dimensions are 143.5 x 71.3 x 9.3mm and the weight is 161 g.
The battery is powered at an amazing 4100 mAh. The primary camera has 8 MP resolution with a 5 MP camera for selfies. It runs on Android 7.1.1, Nougat. It has a micro USB charging port and a headphone jack.
- Best option for those who want a budget phone that is sturdy, running on a near stock Android
- The battery is the best part of this phone, easily able to manage 2 days of normal usage. It’s good for those who want entertainment on the go.
- HMD has promised to upgrade the software to Android 8.1, Oreo.
- Ideal for those looking for a well built, up to date phone with clean, fast software. Some basic gestures like double press for the camera; multiwindows are present.
- However, not fit for those looking for full features, such as a fingerprint sensor and so on. Also, the design is rather generic, not showy or flashy and the camera is not a fancy one.
Minor Hiccups and Stutters
ZTE ZMax Pro
It comes with a 6 inch HD screen that has a fingerprint sensor as well. It is made completely from plastic, but it still feels sturdy. The screen is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 and comes with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon, 617 chipset clocking at 1.5GHz, octa-core.
It runs on Android 6.0, Marshmallow with additional customizations from ZTE, such as long pressing for unlocking the phone. The RAM is 2 GB and the internal storage is 32 GB and this can be expanded up to 128 GB using the microSD card.
The battery is powered at 3400 mAh, which is enough for one day of normal usage. As for the cameras, there is a front camera of 5 MP and a rear camera of 13 MP. It comes with a headphone jack of 3.5 mm and a USB C type port for charging. The performance is smooth despite the mid-range specifications.
- Those who like their phones BIG. It’s huge and cannot be held in one hand, nor will it fit in your jeans pocket. Fit for those with big hands.
- Not suitable for those looking for an excellent camera. The image quality is only average for low lit environments. Also, not suitable for those expecting wireless charging; NFC and so on.
- Those who like stock Android will prefer the ZTE ZMax Pro, as the software customizations are minimal. The biggest tweak is the notification drawer.
- The audio is good with Dolby enhancements. Listening to music is a good experience on this device. As it has a 3.5 mm headphone jack, there are no issues regarding compatible devices.
- Video viewing is good, but VR content falls flat. Gaming performance is average, with some lags
- The battery gives an amazing amount of juice and is one of the saving graces of the smartphone. It also comes with the Quick Charge 3.0 feature, which is not usually seen in budget phones.
- If you are already on T Mobile or on MetroPCS, it is a good buy.
Stacking Up Well Against the Competition
Motorola Moto E4
It is a perfectly capable handphone powered with a 1.3 GHz, Mediatek MT6737 chipset that clocks at a speed of 1.3 GHz. The RAM is 2 GB and has an internal storage of 16GB, which can be expanded using a microSD card. The phone comes with an IPS panel screen size of 5 inches with a resolution of 720 pixels. The dimensions of the phone are 144.7 x 72.3 x 9.3 mm and the weight is 151g. It runs on Android 7.1.1. The battery size is 2800 mAh.
As for the camera, there is an 8 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front camera for selfies and video chatting.
- If you’re looking for a good looking budget phone, this one is it. The design is similar to the flagship phones from Motorola, such as textured rear; rounded edges in an all-metal body.
- Good enough for gaming, though frame rates are not as high as those in flagship phones. You can run most of the Android games without any issues, except some 3D heavy games.
- Not recommended if you are a camera buff. Both the cameras are just basic ones and don’t boast of any snazzy technology, such as phase detection; autofocus and so on.
- It’s an attractive handset and there are no serious issues or shortcomings. An average performance with limited camera features.
Massive Battery to Last a Weekend
LG X Charge
LG X Charge has solved the problem of a short battery, by combining a huge battery with a reasonable screen resolution. The battery is powered at an amazing 4500 mAh and the standby time could be the whole weekend. The screen is a 5.5 inches HD, Incell Touchscreen display, with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, which is much less when compared to the competition. The phone is a rebranded version of the XPower2.
The processor is an unknown quad-core (it is probably the MediaTek MT6750), clocking at a speed of 1.5 GHz. This is combined with a RAM of 2 GB and an internal memory of 16 GB, which can be extended with a microSD card. The rear camera is a 13 MP one with a front camera of 5 MP resolution. The latter supports gestures. The phone operates on the Android 7.0, Nougat and this is overlaid with LG’s customization skin.
Other specs include a Bluetooth 4.2 version and a micro USB 2l.0. The phone is 8.4 mm in thickness and it weighs 164g.
- Those looking for a long battery life. What it lacks in processor punch, it makes up with its battery, which could last you the weekend.
- If you’re looking for a fast phone, this isn’t for you. However, if you want to buy a cheap phone with a BIG battery and with the latest Android version, it is a decent option.
- Suitable for users who spend more time on the go and who wish to have the maximum usage between two charges along with a big screen.
- It is targeted at heavy-duty users who want a competitively priced smartphone with advanced camera features, like Auto Shot; Gesture Interval shots; Sharing images is easy using Quick Share.
- Perfect for those who want to watch movies; videos; play games; surf social networks and share content while on the go. The viewing experience is immersive with rich and vibrant colors.
- It satisfies the demand for entertainment with high-speed data while on the go.
Simple, yet cool
No Groundbreaking Specs
LG Rebel 3
It sports several updates compared to other LG Rebel smartphones. The phone comes with a 5 inches touchscreen display. It runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat. The phone is powered by a Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset clocking at a speed of 1.1 GHz and has 2 GB RAM combined with an internal storage of 16 GB. The internal memory, as well as the RAM, has been increased, as compared to the previous Rebel versions. There is a microSD card for expanding memory up to 32 GB.
Other specs include a Bluetooth 4.1 version. The front camera is a 5 MP one and the rear camera is also the same 5 MP. The rear camera comes with HDR and HD video recording features along with flash and autofocus; 4X zoom etc. The front camera offers features like gesture shots and Selfie light as well as cheese shots. The display size is 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches with a screen resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. The battery is powered at 2500 mAh and offers a talk time of 12 hours. You can make the battery go a long way by putting it in airplane mode or reducing the screen brightness.
It operates on Android Nougat, 7.0.1.
- Usable for most customers, as it has the same features as the Rebel 2, with the same processor and the same screen display size. However, there are some improvements in the RAM and internal memory.
- The quad-core chipset combined with 2 GB of RAM is sufficient for multitasking, playing most games. You can run several apps simultaneously and it is also capable of running intensive apps.
- Cameras are good for recording images and sharing them on social media.
- It is all round smartphone available on a budget and so it presents a good deal. The performance is good enough for most users.
Entry Level and Budget Friendly
ZTE Tempo X
The display screen is 5.0 inches IPS with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. The dimensions of the phone are 5.73 x 2.83 x 0.36 inches and it weighs 5 oz. It is an Android 4G phone powered by a Quad-core Snapdragon 810, MSM8909, a 32-bit chipset, clocking at 1.1 GHz. The graphics card is a Qualcomm Adreno 304, 400 MHz. The ZTE Tempo X has one rear camera of 5 MP with LED flash and a front camera of 2 MP. Connectivity options include a Bluetooth 4.1 version; a USB port 2.0; and a 3.5 mm having Stereo output.
The RAM of this smartphone is 1 GB LPDDR2 and the internal memory is 8GB, which can be expanded up to 32 GB using a microSD card. It has a removable battery powered at 2200 mAh and is a single SIM phone. It operates on Android Nougat OS, 7.1.1.
- Suitable for those looking for an entry-level, budget phone. Also suitable as a backup phone.
- The specs of this phone are energy efficient, so you can make the battery last for a whole day.
- The Android version is also not an outdated one.
Impressive Combo of Features and Specs
Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro
The J7 Sky Pro is a touchscreen 4G mobile phone operating on Android Marshmallow 6.0. The screen size is 5.5 inches and it comes with a display resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The dimensions are 3.09 x 6.0 x 0.30 inches. The RAM is 2 GB and the internal memory is 16GB, which can be expanded to a maximum of 128GB using a microSD card. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 425 processor, clocking at a speed of 1.4 GHz.
The front camera is 5 MP with a lens aperture of f/2.2. The primary or rear camera is 8MP resolution. It comes with connectivity options like Bluetooth 4.2 version. Other options include Wi-Fi capabilities; 4G LTE and an MP3 player. The phone is powered by a battery of 3300 mAh, offering a talking time of 31 hours.
- Those interested in watching videos will find it enjoyable to watch it on the big screen. The HD screen is vibrant with a dpi of 266. You can also make it brighter when using it outdoors and dim it during night time.
- It also fits in pockets and is a popular size among smartphones.
- Quite capable of handling everyday use. You can load quite a number of apps in it, without running out of space.
- The camera is good for taking 1080 pixels HD videos and good images.
- Battery life is good and can last a whole day. The battery saving mode is useful for reducing the power usage when you are running low on battery.
Budget Android phones will not offer you the experience of a Google Pixel or a Galaxy S9 but is reasonably good enough for most people. Budget smartphones are not always able to hit the mark with respect to all features. It is difficult to assemble a desirable phone with full functionality at a low price. Yet, all these phones come with up to date software and offer good security features. They are reasonably priced and offer good value for money. Though there is plenty of top of the line Android phones with superior features, not everyone is need of all these bells and whistles and not everyone can afford them as well. Many need just a simple, basic, serviceable device for communication that can get them through half a day at the least.
Today, it is becoming quite difficult to find a really bad phone. You don’t necessarily have to empty the coffers and buy a flagship model. You can get full featured ones at budget prices, without too many compromises.