US wireless carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon go out of their way to make expensive smartphones seem affordable. Why not buy a $1,000 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 if you only have to pay $0 down and $30 a month for it? Whether you pay it at once or in 24 installments, you’re still blowing hundreds of dollars. Your pricey new phone will also keep you locked to your network, unable to switch wireless carriers until you pay it off.
Here’s another idea: Forget the spendy phones and get a seriously great, cheap phone instead. We’ve tested dozens of phones this year to find the best cheap smartphones that aren’t annoyingly slow. Our top pick is as good as almost any device you can buy, and our other picks strike a great balance between price and luxury.
Updated April 2019: We re-ordered and refreshed this list, removing a couple phones and adding some new favorites, like the Moto G7.
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1. Best for $300
Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, SprintRead the rest of this post here