Advertisement

The best

Nokia 2

The Nokia 2 offers clean software and speedy performance for just a Benjamin

Right on the dot at $99, the Nokia 2 is simply the best low-cost phone you can buy. It features a sleek and sturdy design with a metal frame, along with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and a near-stock build of Android.

$99 from Amazon

Advertisement

Why the Nokia 2 is best

The ideal package in any price range is a well-built phone with clean and quick software, and the Nokia 2 delivers. With a beta version of Android 8.1 Oreo already available, it's easily the most up-to-date device below $100, making it even more attractive on the software front than the Moto E5 Play.

It's not the flashiest or showiest smartphone, with a relatively generic design, but you don't expect pizzaz when you're paying a Benjamin for a full-featured smartphone. The only thing it's missing — and this is a big one — is a fingerprint sensor, meaning you'll have to revert back to using a PIN for security.

Runner-up

Alcatel 1X

At just under $100, the Alcatel 1X is a good alternative to the Nokia 2

The Alcatel 1X doesn't look like much, but its tall 5.3-inch display is great, and it's got all the specs necessary to power Google's version of Android that's optimized for entry-level smartphones.

$99 from Amazon

Best on Verizon

Motorola Moto E5 Play

The Moto E5 Play is a great prepaid phone for Verizon customers

The Moto E5 Play doesn't have the 18:9 display or huge battery of the rest of Motorola's refreshed lineup, but it still features a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of microSD-expandable storage.

$65 from Best Buy

Best on Cricket Wireless (AT&T)

LG X Charge

The LG X Charge's huge battery will outlast any other phone in Cricket's lineup

AT&T's Cricket sub-brand has a great selection, including the LG X Charge for $79.99 (at least for new lines). It's got a big 5.5-inch HD display, a quad-core processor, Android 7.0 Nougat, and a massive 4500mAh battery.

$80 from Cricket Wireless

Best on MetroPCS (T-Mobile)

LG K20 Plus

The K20 Plus offers decent specs and speedy performance at an affordable price

With the K20 Plus, you get a 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. The 5.3-inch 720p display barely draws any power from the 2700mAh cell inside, and the 13MP camera isn't half bad either.

$99 from MetroPCS

Best on Boost Mobile (Sprint)

Moto E5 Play

The Moto E5 Play is your best bet for clean, modern software for cheap

The Moto E5 Play is one of the few phones under $100 that still runs a current version of Android, and while its specs aren't anything mind-blowing, it's plenty good enough to keep the phone running smoothly.

$80 from Boost

Conclusion

The Nokia 2 is the best overall device, largely thanks to its clean software and high-end build quality, but customer discounts could land you a better deal depending on your carrier.

The best

Nokia 2

The Nokia 2 offers clean software and speedy performance for just a Benjamin

Right on the dot at $99, the Nokia 2 is simply the best low-cost phone you can buy. It features a sleek and sturdy design with a metal frame, along with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and a near-stock build of Android.

$99 from Amazon

Updated August 2018: The Moto E5 Play has become our top pick on Verizon and Boost.