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Best Budget 5G Phones for 2024

Save cash while enjoying great performance from these speedy 5G devices.

  • Best overall
    image of iphone se
    iPhone SE
    • Powerful A15 Bionic processor
    • Compact old-school design
    • Limited storage space on base model
  • Best price
    OnePlus Nord N20 5G
    • Beautiful AMOLED display
    • Sleek body
    • No mmWave or C-band connectivity
  • Best features
    Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    • Long battery life
    • Compatibility with sub–6 GHz and mmWave 5G
    • No headphone jack
  • Best camera
    Google Pixel 6
    Google Pixel 6a
    • Fast Tensor processor
    • Best camera for the price
    • Limited battery power
  • Best basic phone
    Samsung Galaxy A13 5G
    Samsung Galaxy A13 5G
    • Security updates for four years
    • Long battery life
    • Subpar camera and display

Our pick: Which cheap 5G phone is best?

You really can’t beat Apple’s iPhone SE if you’re looking for a cheap phone that comes with a lot of value. This phone packs a bunch of up-to-date features and capabilities into an older and more pocket-friendly design. It’s intuitive and thoughtfully designed, making it a pleasure to use. You don’t have all the blockbuster frills of an iPhone 13 or 14, but the SE comes really close while giving your wallet a break.

If you’re not an Apple user, there are a handful of other great 5G Android phones available for a budget price. So read on for the full breakdown.

Pro Tip:

If you do have the doubloons to afford a flagship 5G phone, take a look at our recommendations for the best 5G phones to learn about all the deluxe features of heavy hitters like the iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, and OnePlus 9 Pro.

The 5 best budget 5G phones

Compare budget 5G phone prices and specs

Best forModelPictureStarting price*DisplayProcessorOrder online
Best overalliPhone SEimage of iphone se$429.00 (64 GB)4.7" Retina HD; 1334 x 750 pixelsA15 BionicView on Amazon
Best priceOnePlus Nord N20 5G$227.646.43" AMOLED FHD+; 1080 x 2400 pixelsQualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G, Adreno 619View on Amazon
Best featuresSamsung Galaxy A53 5G$397.996.5" FHD Super AMOLED; 1080 x 2400 pixelsExynos 1280View on Amazon
Best cameraGoogle Pixel 6aGoogle Pixel 6$369.006.1" FHD+; 1080 x 2400 pixelsGoogle TensorView on Amazon
Best basic phoneSamsung Galaxy A13 5GSamsung Galaxy A13 5G$240.346.5" PLS LCD; 720 x 1600 pixelsMediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700View on Amazon

What should you look for in a budget 5G phone?

The most important thing to look for in a budget or cheap 5G phone is actual 5G capability. You need a phone that works on your cell carrier’s 5G network. You also want a phone that supports most (if not all) of the available 5G frequency bands. Basic 5G phones come with sub–6 GHz 5G, but it’s equally important to get millimeter-wave (which gives you the fastest possible speeds) and C-band spectrum.

C-band spectrum is still new in 2022 and it’s limited to just Verizon and AT&T for now. But it’s expected to make a big impact on 5G performance, promising faster speeds over a wider area.

Other than that, a great 5G phone should have the same features that you’d expect from a great 4G LTE phone—including a quality camera, sufficient internal storage, and a nice design to make texting more fun. Head to the specs and features section farther down on this page for a more detailed rundown of what you should look for in a budget 5G phone.

Pro Tip:

While C-band is getting lots of hype, it’s also kind of a complex topic—and it’s only available in some markets. Get the full rundown on what C-band is and where you can get it to help inform your phone-buying decisions.

Best overall—iPhone SE

Best overall
image of iphone se

Price: $429.00 (64 GB), $479.00 (128 GB), $579.00 (256 GB)


  • Display: 4.7″ Retina HD; 1334 x 750 pixels
  • Cameras: 12 MP main, 7 MP front facing
  • Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Processor: A15 Bionic

The iPhone SE is basically an iPhone 8 that has been tricked out with features and capabilities of more advanced iPhones. The pocket-friendly device has a similar design as older iPhones (and some of the limitations too), but it comes with 5G capability (including C-band!) and the same über-powerful chipset you would get in an iPhone 13. You also get a sturdier glass body and an excellent camera, making this truly a steal of a deal.

Our only advice is to spring for the 128 GB or 256 GB model. You’ll save a bit of money when you get the base model, but having just 64 GB of storage is a real bummer—especially since the iPhone SE doesn’t have a microSD card slot.


  • Cute and tiny design
  • Same processor as iPhone 13


  • Only 64 GB storage in base model
  • No Face ID

Best price—OnePlus Nord N20 5G

Best price

Price: $227.64


  • Display: 6.43″ AMOLED FHD+; 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • Cameras: 64 MP wide, 2 MP macro, 2 MP depth
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Processor: Snapdragon 695 5G, Adreno 619

There are more powerful phones on this list, but this humble phone from OnePlus offers a lot of value for an impressively low price. You get lots of storage, a beautiful AMOLED display, and a fingerprint sensor that makes activating the phone a breeze. And it’s all contained within a slim, matte-plastic body that looks luxe even when you’re paying less than $300.

The one qualm we have with this phone is that it doesn’t support mmWave or C-band 5G, so you don’t get blazing fast 5G speeds like you would on flagship 5G phones. That won’t be a problem for most people—really fast 5G networks aren’t widely available anyway. But this is a great pick if you value bucks over gigabits.


  • Sleek design
  • MicroSD card support for up to 512 GB


  • No support for mmWave or C-band 5G
  • No alert slider

Best features—Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

Best features

Price: $397.99


  • Display: 6.5″ FHD Super AMOLED; 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • Cameras: 64 MP wide, 12 MP ultrawide, 5 MP macro, 5 MP depth, 32 MP front-facing
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Processor: Exynos 128

Samsung’s Galaxy A53 isn’t all that much different from the A52, but there’s a lot to enjoy in this honker of a phone. The Galaxy A53 has a powerful battery, loud-and-clear dual speakers, and a screen whose 120Hz refresh rate ensures a smooth and colorful image.

The camera is fully stocked too, bearing no fewer than four lenses. You can adjust lighting and blur in portrait mode and the AI zoom function gives you lots of detail. It’s a large phone—so this one might not be great for the small-handed—but it packs a huge punch for the price.


  • Long battery life
  • Compatibility with sub–6 GHz and mmWave 5G


  • Large size
  • No 3.5 mm headphone jack

Best camera—Google Pixel 6a

Best features
Google Pixel 6

Price: $369.00


  • Display: 6.1″ FHD+; 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • Cameras: 12.2 MP wide, 12 MP ultrawide, 8 MP front facing
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Processor: Google Tensor

Here’s another midrange phone that bats closer to a flagship level. Google Pixel 6a’s solid camera setup and sophisticated imaging software get you photos of a quality you normally get from more expensive phones.

The Google Tensor chipset delivers some serious CPU power so you can multitask over lots of apps, play online games, edit videos, and more with ease. It’s slim, it’s lightweight—it’s a silicone-and-gorilla-glass dream that fits in the palm of your hand.


  • Fast Tensor processor
  • Best camera you can get for the price


  • Limited battery power
  • Slightly limited camera specs compared to flagship Pixel phones

Best basic phone—Samsung Galaxy A13 5G

Best basic phone
Samsung Galaxy A13 5G

Price: $240.34


  • Display: 6.5″ PLS LCD; 720 x 1600 pixels
  • Cameras: 50 MP wide, 2 MP macro, 2 MP depth, 5 MP self-facing
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • Processor: MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700

The A13 5G gives you a bunch of great stuff, even if it’s a relatively standard phone. The MediaTek MT6833 chipset can handle a range of apps and games, the battery holds strong for up to two days without charging, and you even get a headphone jack—no need for annoying dongles here.

The phone only has 64 GB of storage, but you can get around that with the microSD card slot. Meanwhile you can take advantage of NFC for contactless payments and the fingerprint sensor for easy unlocking and authenticating.


  • Security updates for four years
  • Long battery life


  • Only 64 GB of storage
  • Subpar camera and display

Specs and features for budget 5G phones

Does the phone’s 5G fit with your cell carrier’s 5G?

Most cell phones work with any carrier nowadays, but since 5G is still a developing technology, some 5G phones work on some cellular companies’ 5G networks and not others. Mainly you’ll see this with T-Mobile–certified phones such as the OnePlus Nord N200, the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, and T-Mobile’s own REVVL V+ 5G.

Want to make sure your phone is good to go? Look at the phone’s specs to confirm that it works with your carrier’s 5G network before making your purchase.

Pro Tip:

Want to know which cellular carrier has the biggest and baddest 5G network? T-Mobile is in the lead so far, but Verizon and AT&T are gaining ground with C-band rollouts in 2022. Look at the speeds and availability of each carrier’s 5G network to see what you can get from each one.

Aim to get as many 5G bands as possible (bonus points if you get C-band)

Just like 4G LTE, 5G relies on radio frequencies to connect your phone to the internet, but not all 5G phones are certified to work on the same frequencies. Lower-priced 5G phones commonly work on a range of 5G channels that fall below 6 GHz, giving you modestly fast speeds over a wide area.

Sub–6 GHz is a modest step forward from 4G, and only a handful of cheap 5G phones tap into millimeter-wave and C-band channels. So if you get a cheap 5G phone, you may have to be content with slower 5G speeds—although you still can get reliable phone reception and fast downloads.

Also important—the camera, storage, and other common phone features

Aside from all the technical 5G stuff, a 5G phone should also have all the other goodies that make up a proper smartphone nowadays. Here’s a quick rundown of what to look for.

5G phone featuresWhy you want it
High-resolution camera (50 MP or better)Captures quality images in a variety of conditions and situations
Display with high refresh rate (90 Hz or higher)Improves scrolling, animations, and gaming
At least 128 GB of internal storageMakes it easier to collect photos, docs, and apps without slowing down the phone
Sturdy bodyProtects from cracks and drops
Thoughtful design and hapticsIncreases efficiency and enjoyment of use

Since you’re looking for a cheap 5G phone, you might not be able to get everything on this phone-features wish list. But it’s worth thinking over what you really need and what you can do without.

For example, if you love taking Instagrammable portraits of your food every time you go to a restaurant, then you’ll definitely want a good camera. If you’re a digital hoarder who needs an app for every occasion, look for a lot of internal storage (and a microSD port).

Our verdict

The iPhone SE is a killer phone that gives you excellent value at a modest price. It’s probably the smallest-sized 5G phone you can get, but it comes with a solid camera, a rugged glass body, and the same processor as an iPhone 13. We’re a little bummed it doesn’t have Face ID and you’ll definitely get a better camera on a flagship iPhone—but for under $500, you really can’t go wrong.

Buy iPhone SE

Android users have lots to choose from as well. Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G and Google Pixel 6a both give you tons of features and great cameras for midrange prices, while the OnePlus Nord N20 5G and the Galaxy A13 5G tick off a lot of boxes for more basic-but-cost-effective options.

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Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.

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