Best Android Phone Under $100 in 2018

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The best

Nokia 2

See at Amazon

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. It's a bit lacking internally, with just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, but the clean software keeps it running smoothly, and you can expand its storage with a microSD card.

The 5-inch 720p display is fairly impressive as well, but where you'll really be wowed is with the 4100mAh battery, which easily manages two days of moderate usage. It also has a surprisingly decent 8MP primary camera, as well as a 5MP selfie shooter.

Bottom line: The Nokia 2 offers clean software and speedy performance for just a Benjamin.

One more thing: There's a newer version of the device, the Nokia 2.1, but it sits just above our $100 price limit.

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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

See at Amazon

The first Android Go-powered phone on the market exceeds our expectations. 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. There's even an 8MP camera around back, a fingerprint sensor, an LTE modem and a nice 2460mAh battery.

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

One more thing: The phone is only compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile and other GSM carriers in the U.S.

Best on Verizon

Motorola Moto E5 Play

See at Best Buy

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. The phone ships with Android 8.0 Oreo, and the 2800mAh battery is one of the few removable batteries left on the market.

Bottom line: The Moto E5 Play is a great prepaid phone for Verizon customers.

One more thing: While Verizon sells the Moto E5 Play for $95, Best Buy (linked above) sells it for even cheaper — just $64.99.

Best on Cricket Wireless (AT&T)

LG X Charge

See at Cricket Wireless

If you want to get a prepaid phone from one of the big four carriers, your choices are limited, but 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.

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

One more thing: If you're upgrading from an existing Cricket device, the X Charge will actually cost $129.99.

Best on MetroPCS (T-Mobile)

LG K20 Plus

See at MetroPCS

Sitting right at the edge of our budget, the K20 Plus is the best phone on MetroPCS's roster for under $100. With it, 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.

Bottom line: The Moto E4 offers decent specs and speedy performance at an affordable price.

One more thing: The K20 Plus is running the dated Android 7.0 Nougat.

Best on Boost Mobile (Sprint)

Moto E5 Play

See at Boost

The Moto E5 Play is just as good on Boost as it is on Verizon. It's one of the few phones under $100 that still runs a current version of Android — specifically Android 8.0 Oreo — and while its specs aren't anything mind-blowing, it's plenty good enough to keep the phone running smoothly. Its software is delightfully close to stock Android, with a few added goodies from Motorola.

Bottom line: The Moto E5 Play is your best bet for clean, modern software for cheap.

One more thing: If battery life is your top priority, the ZTE Max XL with its 3990mAh battery is a better option.

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

See at Amazon

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. It's a bit lacking internally, with just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, but the clean software keeps it running smoothly, and you can expand its storage with a microSD card.

The 5-inch 720p display is fairly impressive as well, but where you'll really be wowed is with the 4100mAh battery, which easily manages two days of moderate usage. It also has a surprisingly decent 8MP primary camera, as well as a 5MP selfie shooter.

Bottom line: The Nokia 2 offers clean software and speedy performance for just a Benjamin.

One more thing: There's a newer version of the device, the Nokia 2.1, but it sits just above our $100 price limit.

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

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