Greatest Telephone Beneath $200: Our High Decide Checks All of the Bins

$200 at Samsung

Image of Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

Greatest telephone for beneath $200

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

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$160 at Samsung


Greatest for its cheaper worth

Samsung Galaxy A03S

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$100 at Amazon

Image of Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

Greatest for battery life, however nothing else

Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

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Telephones that price beneath $200 have gotten extra useful than they have been up to now. The most recent telephones on this worth vary, just like the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G, are beginning to incorporate 5G assist for sooner information and NFC for contactless funds. Different telephones, like Motorola’s Moto G Stylus, have gotten higher media machines, offering stereo audio system to enhance audio high quality whereas together with cameras that take respectable photographs.

These cheaper telephones have noticeable trade-offs: They often run slower than dearer telephones, and whereas they may often ship with the newest model of Android, there is likely to be solely a brief window of safety replace assist. That final situation is especially necessary to remember when buying on this worth vary, because it’s dangerous to make use of a telephone that is not being protected in opposition to safety vulnerabilities by its producer.

Whereas we would not think about any of those picks to be productiveness machines, these telephones are probably going to be extra helpful than you’d anticipate for the value. Plus, a few of these units may find yourself being “free” when signing up with a telephone service’s subsidization program — often requiring a two-year dedication with a view to get the associated fee coated.

What’s the most effective telephone beneath $200?

The $200 Samsung Galaxy A14 5G is our present high decide for the most effective telephone beneath $200. That is largely due to its inclusion of 5G assist for sooner information, NFC assist for contactless funds, and a reasonably beneficiant software program and safety assist timeline in contrast with different telephones on this worth vary. Samsung will probably be offering two years of software program updates and 5 years of safety updates to the Galaxy A14 5G, making it a telephone that may be safely used for a number of years should you select to. 

Nevertheless we’re not loopy about its images, and if that is extra necessary to you than 5G, you also needs to check out the $200 Moto G Stylus for its higher digicam high quality. 

For those who want a telephone that is even cheaper, we’re additionally holding across the $160 Galaxy A03S on this checklist. That gadget remains to be being supported by Samsung, however remember that it has solely a tiny 32GB of cupboard space.

Greatest telephones beneath $200 of 2024

The $200 Samsung Galaxy A14 5G is among the most useful telephones beneath $200 obtainable proper now. Although it is at a budget-friendly worth, this Samsung telephone contains 5G assist for sooner information and NFC for contactless funds utilizing Google Pockets. Whereas each of these inclusions are highlights for this worth vary, Samsung can also be planning to assist the Galaxy A14 with two years of software program updates and 5 years of safety updates, making it a telephone that will probably be secure to make use of for a number of years.

Nevertheless it is best to nonetheless remember that the telephone does have trade-offs to hit its $200 worth. It has a colorless design, a slower processor and blended images efficiency. But regardless of its points, the options it does embrace make it a simple suggestion should you’re shopping for the telephone outright or if it is provided at no cost with a service subsidy deal.

The $200 Moto G Stylus would not have 5G however as an alternative features a built-in stylus together with an honest 50-megapixel essential digicam. The Stylus did a pleasant job taking photographs whereas I used to be in quite a lot of environments, together with indoors and open air. I significantly loved the telephone’s tackle Portrait mode, and it captured a transparent photograph of the plant wall in CNET’s New York workplace that I take advantage of for photograph testing. The 6.5-inch 720p show can also be in a position to run at a constant 90Hz refresh fee, offering clean animations whereas navigating apps and studying web sites.

The telephone is in any other case let down by Motorola’s software program and safety replace coverage for its G sequence of telephones, overlaying just one software program replace and three years of safety updates. That, mixed with the dearth of 5G or NFC, imply that whereas it is an amazing alternative for higher photos, there are a variety of the way this telephone may change into left behind because the years move. However should you’re planning on utilizing this telephone for under two to 3 years, you would get numerous worth out of this gadget.

Samsung’s Galaxy A03S at $160 (roughly £126, AU$240) may nonetheless be an amazing match for somebody in search of the most affordable potential telephone that may deal with most important duties. The telephone’s 6.5-inch display, capped at 720p decision, is succesful for studying the information, watching movies and taking part in video games. Regardless of some efficiency lag discovered throughout our evaluate, the telephone is sweet at multitasking. However the telephone’s tiny 32GB of cupboard space may refill quick, so should you’re contemplating this telephone, it could be worthwhile to consider increasing the storage with a microSD card.

The A03S, first launched final yr, is getting 4 years of safety updates, that means that there are nonetheless three left. It is much less clear what number of Android model updates are scheduled, and in contrast to the newer A14, it would not have 5G assist or NFC. Whereas these two advantages together with the A14’s 64GB of inside storage are price the additional $30 worth enhance, you may nonetheless get some mileage out of the A03S should you’re merely in search of the most affordable Samsung telephone potential.

The $170 Moto G Play’s finest characteristic is how its 5,000-mAh battery can stretch itself to 3 days of battery life. Nevertheless, past that, it is necessary to reveal that this gadget is among the extra irritating telephones for beneath $200.

The telephone’s MediaTek Helio G37 processor and 3GB of RAM had a difficult time loading apps, and its 32GB of house will get stuffed up shortly. The telephone does embrace a microSD card slot for storage enlargement. Images was additionally persistently fuzzy, and the $160 A03S simply outdid the Moto G Play in my images check.

Regardless of releasing in 2023, the Moto G Play ships with Android 12 and can obtain just one software program replace to Android 13. It’s going to additionally obtain three years of safety updates, which is customary for Motorola’s G sequence of telephones.

Finally, whereas I’m together with this telephone on the checklist as a result of its long-lasting battery — which is probably as a result of how underpowered this telephone feels — I might sooner level you to another telephone on this checklist earlier than selecting the Moto G Play.

Each telephone on this checklist has been completely examined by CNET’s professional opinions workforce. We truly use the telephone, check the options, play video games and take photographs. We assess any advertising guarantees that an organization makes about its telephones. And if we discover one thing we do not like, be it battery life or construct high quality, we inform you all about it. 

We study each side of a telephone throughout testing:

  • Show
  • Design and really feel
  • Processor efficiency
  • Battery life
  • Digicam high quality
  • Options

We check all of a telephone’s cameras (each back and front) in quite a lot of situations: from open air beneath daylight to dimmer indoor locales and nighttime scenes (for any obtainable night time modes). We additionally examine our findings in opposition to equally priced fashions. We run a sequence of real-world battery checks to see how lengthy a telephone lasts beneath on a regular basis use.

We have in mind further telephone options, like 5G, fingerprint and face readers, styluses, quick charging, foldable shows, and different helpful extras. And, in fact, we weigh all of our experiences and testing in opposition to the value, so you already know whether or not a telephone represents good worth.

Learn extra: How we check telephones

swap platforms.

Decide a very powerful characteristic: Is it display measurement? Digicam high quality? Battery life? This may assist slender down your decisions.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G vs. Motorola Moto G Stylus (2023) vs. Samsung Galaxy A03S vs. Motorola Moto G Play (2023)


Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Moto G Stylus (2023) Samsung Galaxy A03S Moto G Play (2023)
Show measurement, decision 6.6-inch FHD+ LCD show, (2,408 x 1,080 pixels), 90Hz 6.5-inch IPS LCD; 1,600×720; 90Hz refresh fee 6.5-inch HD+ LCD (720×1,600 pixels) 6.5-inch IPS TFT LCD; 1,600×720 pixels; 90Hz refresh fee
Pixel density 399 ppi 269 ppi 269 ppi 269 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.6 x 3.07 x 0.36 in. 6.41 x 2.9 x 0.36 in. 6.5 x 2.9 x 0.3 in. 6.58 x 2.95 x 0.36 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 167.7 x 78 x 9.1 mm 162.8 x 73.8 x 9.2 mm 165.8 x 75.9 x 9.1 mm 167 x 77 x 9.4 mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 204 g (7.19 oz.) 202 g (7.13 oz.) 202 g (7.13 oz.) 203 g (7.16 oz.)
Cellular software program Android 13 Android 13 Android 11 Android 12
Digicam 50-megapixel (essential), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth) 50-megapixel (essential), 2-megapixel (macro) 13-megapixel (huge), 2-megapixel (depth), 2-megapixel (macro) 16-megapixel (essential), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth sensor)
Entrance-facing digicam 13-megapixel 8-megapixel 5-megapixel 5-megapixel
Video seize 1080p at 30fps 1080p at 30/60 fps FHD (1920×1080 at 30fps) 1080p at 30 fps
Processor MediaTek MT6833V MediaTek Helio G85 Octa-core processor MediaTek Helio G37
RAM/Storage 4GB + 64GB 4GB + 64GB; 4GB + 128GB 3GB/32GB 3GB + 32GB
Expandable storage Sure Sure As much as 1TB Sure
Battery/Charger 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh (15W charging) 5,000 mAh (charger not included, doesn’t assist wi-fi charging) 5,000 mAh (10W charging)
Fingerprint sensor Aspect Aspect Aspect Rear
Headphone jack Sure Sure Sure Sure
Particular options 5G-enabled, NFC, 15W charging Stylus, Moto Gestures 3-day battery life, Moto Gestures, Auto Smile Seize, Portrait Mode

telephones which can be beneath $300 or telephones beneath $500, should you can increase your funds.

TCL 30 Z is among the most cost-effective Android 12 telephones obtainable, at $70. Although we’ve not examined this telephone, I’ve observed that it makes use of the antiquated micro-USB port for charging.

Most different Android telephones and wi-fi headphones, even these within the funds worth vary, now use USB-C for charging, that means you may end up scrambling for a charger should you misplace it. The telephone can also be getting just one main software program replace to Android 13 and two years of safety updates, which is brief however similar to some telephones offered beneath $300.

We have not reviewed any flip telephones not too long ago, however anybody in search of a tool made particularly for telephone calls ought to be well-served by most obtainable choices. Flip telephones assist 4G alerts and — extra importantly — HD Voice for clearer voice calls. Some flip telephones even assist trendy apps like WhatsApp and the Google Assistant, albeit in a extra restricted manner in contrast with how these companies perform on a smartphone. The Nokia 2789 Flip, as an example, is a flip telephone operating on the model’s KaiOS, which helps downloadable apps and companies.

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