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Best Mid-Range Smartphones of 2023: Top Picks for Your Budget

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

In today's market, there is a wide array of budget-friendly Android smartphones that deliver features comparable to their high-end counterparts.

Remarkably, you can find some of the finest budget smartphones for less than $300. If you're in search of an economical device, explore our selection of affordable smartphones below.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G - Best Budget Killer

Samsung's Galaxy A14 5G emerges as a standout in the realm of budget-friendly smartphones, impressing users with its attractive $200 price tag. The device encompasses all the fundamental features one might desire in a smartphone. Operating on the latest Android 13 operating system, Samsung promises to uphold its security for four years and guarantees two Android OS upgrades (up to Android 15).

Despite sporting the same MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G processor as its predecessor, it exhibits a noticeable uptick in performance. Users report a smooth experience, whether they are quickly responding to emails, perusing social media, or indulging in occasional gaming sessions.

The device's 5,000-mAh battery is a notable highlight, comfortably lasting for two full days on a single charge. It's essential to note that the package lacks a charging adapter, including only the cable. On the plus side, users receive valuable additions such as a microSD card for expanding the 64 GB of internal storage, a cherished headphone jack, and NFC support for convenient phone-based payments, eliminating the need to carry a wallet everywhere.

Even the primary and selfie cameras yield surprisingly commendable results, especially considering the price point. Users have reported capturing Instagram-worthy snapshots, and the device excels in delivering sharp, if slightly oversaturated, images.

The device's main drawbacks include the somewhat quiet mono speaker, which can be prone to obstruction when the phone is in landscape orientation. Additionally, the absence of an IP rating means there's no proper protection against rain or accidental spills, warranting a degree of caution.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G: A Budget Phone with Flagship Flair

Samsung's Galaxy A54, the successor to one of the favorite budget phones of 2022, brings a slew of enhancements.

With improved performance, a sleeker design reminiscent of the flagship S23 series, a 120Hz AMOLED display, and a capable 50MP camera, the Galaxy A54 stands as a solid all-around choice, priced at just $450.

If Google's A-series doesn't quite fit the bill for you, Samsung's offering might. In 2023, the Galaxy A54 takes center stage as Samsung's primary mid-range contender. While it introduces incremental improvements compared to its predecessor, the A53, it manages to make a lasting impression.

The upgraded Exynos processor elevates performance, and the revamped design aligns more closely with Samsung's flagship S23. The result? A phone that exudes a premium feel far beyond its price point.

OnePlus Nord N30 5G: A Mixed Bag of Improvements and Compromises

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G, successor to the surprise hit of 2022, is a blend of old and new, with both improvements and compromises. While it retains some of the best features of its predecessor, it also bids farewell to certain elements that defined its predecessor's excellence.

The Nord N30 is not a bad phone by any means, but in some aspects, it takes a step back compared to the N20. The AMOLED display is replaced by a faster 90Hz LCD panel, and the premium design that once defined sub-$300 smartphones is replaced by a less premium plastic build. The latter is prone to showing scuffs more quickly.

Nevertheless, several key specs that made the N20 shine remain intact, such as the processor, now complemented by more RAM for smoother performance.

Charging speeds have also improved, although battery life has taken a hit. Despite these trade-offs, the Nord N30 emerges as one of the best budget phones, often available at a significant discount.

Choosing the Best Cheap Phone: What to Consider

When selecting an affordable phone, several factors come into play. Beyond budget-friendliness, consider the following:

  1. Battery Life: Assess the battery's endurance as it can vary among budget models.

  2. Camera: Evaluate the number and quality of cameras.

  3. Display: Check the display refresh rate and screen type, with some budget phones opting for LCD panels over OLED.

  4. Chipset: Understand the chipset's capabilities, as this impacts performance.

  5. Materials: Many budget phones use plastic instead of metal and glass.

  6. Software Updates: Consider the manufacturer's policy on software updates and support.

With a wide range of inexpensive Android phones available, you'll find options that balance cost-effectiveness with quality. Google's Pixel 6a, for instance, offers a high-end CPU, impressive camera processing, and durability at an attractive price point.

For those seeking an even more budget-friendly option, the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G performs admirably without breaking the bank, making it a worthwhile choice in the realm of affordable smartphones.


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