There are some great smartphones on the market right now with powerful functionality, high capacity and eye-catching features.
The iPhone 7 and Samsung S7 Galaxy Edge are some of the top smartphones on the market at the moment, in addition to the Google Nexus 6P, LG G5, Sony Xperia Z5 and HTC 10. The recently released Pixel by Google phone may be the most powerful smartphone yet.
But with price tags ranging from $419 to $969, these phones are not cheap. And if you buy with a payment plan, you’ll be stuck paying for that phone for 24 to 30 months in a contract-like agreement with the carrier.
So if you aren’t quite ready to drop that kind of cash, here are 7 smartphones under $250 — a fraction of the price of the highly-marketed smartphones — that are great!
Read more: These are the best cell phone plans and deals out there
7 great smartphones under $250
Great battery life: The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 for $199.99
This phone has up to three days of battery life and is a great phone that can do most everything you need a smartphone to do. The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is available for as low as $199.99 at Rakuten.
- 6.10-inch touchscreen display
- 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7 Processor
- 16GB, 2GB RAM, plus microSD Slot Expandable up to 64GB
- Lithium Ion 4050 mAh Battery
- 13 Megapixel Camera
- Runs on Android v4.3 (Jelly Bean)
Watch: A smartphone with a battery that lasts for 3 days
Great all-around performance: The ZTE Z Max Pro for $99
Clark particularly likes this phone due to the large 6′ display. It also comes with a state-of-the-art fingerprint sensor — a great security feature. Plus, you can charge this phone up to 40% quicker than older phones.
It’s available for $99 at Metro PCS, or $0 if you decided to switch to Metro PCS.
- 6′ Full High Definition (FHD) Touchscreen Display
- 1.5 GHz Octa Core processor
- 32GB ROM / 2GB RAM
- 3400 mAh battery
- 13MP autofocus camera with LED flash and digital image stabilization + 5MP front-facing camera
- Runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
- Fingerprint Sensor
Read more: This Clark-approved smartphone is just $99!
Works on every major carrier: The Moto G4 for $149.99 – $199.99
There are a lot of high-performance phones in the Motorola family, but probably one of the best features of the Moto G is that it works on all 4 major carriers. It also regains up to 6 hours of battery life on a 15 minute charge.
The latest 4th edition of the Moto G has the following features:
- 5.5′ full HD (1080p) display
- 1.5 GHz octa-core processor
- 2 GB of RAM + Add up to 128 GB of additional storage with a microSD card
- 3000mAh battery
- 13 MP HD camera + 5 MP wide-angle selfie cam
- Runs on Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow
The neat thing about buying the Moto G 4th edition on Amazon is you can get a lower price ($149.99 for the 16GB) if you’re a Prime Member and you’re okay with ads showing up on your phone. But if not, the phone is $50 more, making it $199.99.
Micro Center has the 64GB Motorola Moto G4 Plus smartphone for $199.99 right now (save $100), but it appears to be available in a very small number of stores.
You can also pre-order the Moto G Play smartphone for $100 if you’re an Amazon Prime member with ads, or $150 for anyone, without ads.
Watch: A hot new smartphone at a fraction of the price
New iPhone 5S for $149
Though the iPhone 5S has been out for a while, if you love the iOS and you want to stick to a budget-friendly phone, this might be the way to go.
Walmart has the Total Wireless Apple iPhone 5S 16GB Prepaid Smartphone available for $149, a savings of $301.
- 4′ Retina display
- A7 chipset, dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 1560 mAh battery
- 8MP iSight camera + 5MP Facetime camera
- Runs on iOS 9
Note that this phone only works with Total Wireless cell phone plans, but resellers like Groupon have refurbished iPhone 5’s available for under $200, as does Amazon. â€‹
Refurbished unlocked 16GB Apple iPhone 6 for $210
One great way to save on electronics is buying refurbished. Such is the case with this unlocked iPhone 6 producer Joel found, with a pricetag of $209.99!
This iPhone is compatible with GSM networks such as T-Mobile or AT&T.
- 4.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
- Apple A8 64-bit processor
- Battery: Standby Time – Up to: 10.5 days, usage Time – Up to: 14 hrs. .
- 8+ megapixel phase detection auto-focus, f/2.2 lens, warm LED flash, BSI sensor with 1.5µ pixels / touch focus, face detection, panorama, burst mode, auto HDR.
This deal is available through a highly rated seller on eBay.
A great all-around smartphone: The BLU R1 for $59.99 – $109.99
The Blu R1 smartphone at Amazon, like the Moto G4, offers you a choice between an ad-free experience or a lower price with ads. The 16GB with ads is $59.99 for Prime members, while the 16GB without ads is $109.99 for anyone.
- 5′ HD display with curved Gorilla Glass 3 protection
- 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek 6735 ARM Cortex processor with 16 GB Internal memory
- 2 GB RAM
- 2500 mAh battery
- 8 MP main camera and 5 MP selfie camera that includes a front-facing LED flash
- Runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
It is important to note, the Blu R1 is not compatible with Sprint or Verizon.
Read more: $50 smartphone from Amazon Prime may be the hit of 2016
Best phone for the money: Huawei Honor 6X for $250
It’s being called an ‘adversary’ to the Moto G4 due to its impressive 2-day battery life, but the Huawei Honor 6X GSM smartphone also has something in common with the iPhone 7 — a dual-camera configuration which allows a special portrait mode bokeh effect. And at $250, it’s a much better deal than the $770 iPhone 7!
- 5.5-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel HD display (403ppi)
- 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel rear cameras
- 8-megapixel front-facing camera
- Android 6.0 with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 software
- 3,340mAh battery
- 2.1GHz octa-core Kirin 655 processor
- Fingerprint sensor (no NFC or Android Pay)
- Dual-SIM optional
- 32GB and 64GB options (US gets 32GB model)
If you love your current phone, but…
If you love your current iPhone but storage or battery life has become an issue, these simple fixes can help you keep enjoying your phone without dropping big bucks.
Problem: Low battery life
- Get a case like a Mophie case with a built-in battery.
- Get the battery replaced by Batteries Plus (get a $10 off coupon by scheduling the repair online) or a reputable cell phone repair shop.
- Install a new battery yourself with a battery kit. (Proceed with caution here.)
Read more: 8 ways to make your smartphone battery last longer
Problem: Short on storage
- Delete non-essential apps from your phone.
- Move photos and especially videos to your computer.
- Use cloud-based backup storage.
Read more: Easy ways to get more storage on your smartphone
A final thought
Clark is not a big fan of iPhones due to the astronomical pricing, and so he kids those of us on the team who are team Apple. But whether you are team Apple or team Android, you can still buy your phone of choice without spending a lot of money — by buying a lower-priced phone, by waiting for the price of newer phones to drop or by buying used. Buying the best of the best may have it’s merits, but buying smart can help you save!