It operates all three major US operators.
Not to be confused with the Moto G Stylus 5G, the Moto G Stylus 2022 is the minor version that does not support 5G and NFC for contactless payments. On the other hand, it’s a perfectly good phone, as I pointed out in my review, but it’s not an upgrade over its predecessor in any way. It works well enough to run most apps and games, you’ll get almost two days of battery life, and you’ll get three years of security updates (but an operating system update to Android 12).
There are only two phones in this guide that support wireless charging: the iPhone SE 2022 and the Nokia XR20 (7/10, cable recommended). If you want the convenience of not having to plug in a charger to take advantage of your phone, this is a good enough reason for the XR20. (Read our guide to the best wireless chargers for some recommendations.) It also happens to be on injured smartphone without looking too flashy or too thick. I dropped it on the sidewalk three times during my test and it barely scratched (although this is no guarantee that it will survive every drop).
I didn’t include it before because its recommended retail price is technically $ 550, but now you can regularly find it for $ 500 or less. I was positively surprised when I tested the XR20 in late 2021. Get pretty reliable performance with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, a one-day battery life, a bright LCD screen, and dual SIM support, which isn’t common on most phones. sold in the US. There’s even a headphone jack, which is rare to see at this price these days, along with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.
Best of all, there’s a two-year (also rare) warranty, and this phone will receive three Android operating system updates and four years of security updates, though don’t expect them to arrive anytime soon. (HMD, Nokia’s phone maker, is remarkably slow with these updates.) Warning? It doesn’t work on Verizon, and if you’re on AT&T, your phone won’t be able to access 5G networks.
Works on T-Mobile and AT&T. There is no 5G support on AT&T.
I tried the Moto G Power 2022 and the Motorola Moto G Pure, but I don’t recommend them here because the Moto G Power 2021 outperforms them in every way. i it costs almost the same (if not less). It’s a similar story to HMD’s Nokia G50. It is a ok phone, but it lacks many features you’ll find on other $ 300 phones, including the Galaxy A32 5G.
The Google Pixel 6A will launch in late July and is likely to become our new favorite cheap phone. It’s worth waiting to see if your budget can reach $ 450. We’re expecting a few new unlocked TCL phones to hit the market as well (and some new Nokia phones), but otherwise we’re happy with the options we have in our guide right now.
Think of last year’s flagship phones
If any of these phones have the features you want or aren’t as powerful as you’d like, your best bet is to look for last year’s flagship smartphones, which can be heavily discounted. Sometimes they are easy to find, but some manufacturers stop selling them altogether (the Samsung Galaxy S21 2021 series will be gone soon). Keep in mind that you will lose a year of software support, but it is often even better than the software support available on cheap phones.
5G is the next generation network, but it is not yet completely replacing 4G LTE because it is not available everywhere. You can read more about it here, but in short, 5G comes in two main types: sub-6 and millimeter wave (mmWave). The latter is only available on flagship phones and allows you to access super-fast speeds, but you’ll rarely find mmWave (think of selected areas of major cities and certain places, such as stadiums and airports). The Sub-6 is not much faster than the 4G LTE, but it has a wider range and is more accessible these days.
You need a 5G phone to access 5G networks, and most of the smartphones we recommend here support 5G sub-6. That said, if there’s a phone here that’s it it doesn’t fully support it, don’t worry. You will still have a seamless connectivity experience with 4G LTE. However, if you pay $ 300 or more these days, you should expect 5G sub-6 support on your device.
Check network compatibility
If you buy an unlocked phone from this list and try to take it to one of your mobile carrier’s retail stores, they might tell you that it’s not network compatible. It probably is. Just use a paper clip or SIM eject tool to remove the SIM card from your current phone, and then slide that SIM into your new phone. If it doesn’t work at first, restart your phone or wait a couple of hours.
If you need a new SIM, try ordering an online one from your carrier, or try to get a SIM provided when you activate a line in the store (if you’re starting coverage). Tell them you have a phone. Many times, reps will want to sell you a phone; this is one of the possible reasons why they may bother you to buy a different device in the store.