What Can You Get for Under $100? Surprise, A Smartphone: Find the Best Phones Under $100 [2020 Update]

Price Disclaimer: Since publishing this post the mentioned product prices may have changed and could be higher than the price limit stated above.

Did you ever think this day would come? With prices of regular commodities going up every day, could you imagine smartphones could cost $100? Or less?

Yes, they do. Very few are released with that price. Most phones start higher and then drop down to that range. When a newer model of any brand hits the stores, the prices of older phones drop drastically. It’s not like the older models suddenly become bad quality products. Their demand drops. So many phones that cost very little today are high quality, they are just not as updated.

Whatever the reason, here is the list of the best phones under $100 currently available on the market.

What Can you get for under $100?

Before we start, let’s keep in mind that $100 is a pretty low range, so don’t expect a lot. It would be almost impossible to get an all-rounder at that price.

Even if you do find a great budget phone, the processor and the operating system would probably be average. Mostly all your options would be Android phones. A premium build quality would be a plus but may be hard to find. However, there are a few good things you can expect:

  • A large screen, 5 inch (127 mm) or above
  • Decent rear camera, 12MP or above
  • Good battery life (2100 mAh or higher)
  • Possibly a fingerprint scanner
  • Special features like a front-facing flash
  • RAM of 1GB or more

Since the prices drop so drastically these days, smartphones are becoming affordable for all groups of consumers. So whether you’re a student, service holder, homemaker or entrepreneur, there are many devices you can spend an extra $100 on.

Here is a list of what we think are the best phones you can buy under $100:






Samsung Galaxy J7


5.5” (139.7 mm), AMOLED

13MP (main), 5MP (front)

3,000 mAh

BLU Studio Mega


6.0” (152 mm), IPS LCD

13MP (main), 8MP (front)

3,000 mAh

Moto E5 (2018)


5.7” (145 mm), IPS LCD”

13MP (main), 5MP (front)”

4,000 mAh

Samsung Galaxy J2 Core


5.0” (127 mm), PLS TFT

8MP (main), 5MP (front)

2,600 mAh

BLU Vivo X5


5.7” (145 mm), IPS LCD

13MP (main), 5MP (front)

2,800 mAh

Microsoft Surface Pro 7


5.0” (127 mm), IPS LCD

8MP (main), 5MP (front)

2,125 mAh

Sony Xperia XA


5.0” (127 mm), IPS LCD

13MP (main), 8MP (front)

2,300 mAh



5.0” (127 mm), IPS LCD

8MP (main), 5MP (front)

2,200 mAh

Best camera

It is doubtful that Samsung would release smartphones under $100 in 2020. But it did make our list with a very popular smartphone they released in 2015.

The Samsung Galaxy J7 is probably the best Android smartphone under $100.

It has 1.5GB of RAM (quite high for 5 years ago) and 16GB built-in memory with a dedicated slot for microSD card. The 13MP main camera was quite a favorite among Samsung users.

It was released with Android 5.1. Since this was not stock Android , it was only upgradable up to Android 7.1. It has a 5MP front camera, Bluetooth, radio – pretty much everything you will need. It runs on two operating systems side by side, and since Samsung's UI is so user-friendly, it is the best phone for a beginner.

The 5.5 inch (139.7 mm) AMOLED display caught everyone’s eyes. It contains a 3,000 mAh battery which made this phone even more desirable. It was released in three color variations – white, black and gold. This phone is a good bargain. 

Samsung Galaxy J7 2018 (16GB) J737A - 5.5 HD Display, Android 8.0,...
5.5" HD 720x1280 Type LCD, 1.6GHz Octa-core Exynos; 16 GB microSD, up to 256 GB, 2 GB RAM, Android 8.0

The all-rounder

Now, BLU is not the most popular brand (at least, not everywhere) and they do not produce a wide range of devices.

But they have done a great job with some of their budget phones recently. The BLU Studio Mega (2019) is a great example of that.

This set was initially released in 2018, but has been updated with a higher RAM of 2GB and better battery for 2019. The battery is now 3,000 mAh and has a standby time of over 500 hours.

It comes with Android 9.0, which gives a great user experience with its octa-core processor. It has a 13MP main camera and an 8MP front camera, with LED flash on both sides.

The 6 inch (152 mm) screen with an IPS LCD display is great for watching videos. It has an internal memory of 32GB with a dual SIM slot, one of which can be used for memory cards. The set looks and feels great in the hand.

BLU Studio Mega 2019-6.0" Display Smartphone, 32GB+2GB Ram- Black
6. 0”Hd+ 18: 9 curved glass display, 720x1440 resolution; 13MP Main Camera with LED flash, 8MP selfie camera with LED flash

Best battery life

Before the advent of smartphones, Motorola was a user favorite. They released a great range in the early 2000’s and earned worldwide fame. If you remember this time, you’re probably feeling old! 

The brand disappeared sometime later, but is now back with a bang. Motorola phones are a personal favorite and I’ll tell you why (with the E5).

The predecessor to the Moto E6 - Moto E5 - was released in 2018 with Android 8.0 (also a personal favorite). It has a 5.7 inch (145 mm) Max Vision HD display which larger than the Moto E6, and 720 x 1440 resolution, which doesn’t sound like much but looks great in real life. It has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory (expandable).

The main camera on this cell phone is 13MP, the front one is 5MP and both sides have an LED flash. The black handset is the most popular, but you can also get it in another color variant - gray.

In addition to all these pretty decent features, it has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a large battery of 4000 mAh. The added features are what make this device one of the best android phones under $100. I could not possibly ask for more!

Most popular

Samsung released another great phone in 2018, which was not priced very high initially. The Galaxy J2 Core is for consumers who use their phones mostly to just stay connected.

It had a low RAM of 1GB and 16GB internal memory, which is not an issue with the dedicated SD card slot included. Its 5 inch display with a PLS TFT screen has decent colors and resolution. It came with Android 8.1 and a quad-core processor, which makes the overall user interface better than it sounds.

There is an 8MP camera at the back and 5MP at the front. The battery life is decent, even with the 2,600 mAh capacity, since the RAM is only 1GB. However, unlike the J7, there is no fingerprint sensor.

It comes in three colors – black, gold and lavender (an interesting variation). This device didn’t really retain its initial popularity, but it’s still available on Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Core (8GB) 5.0", Android 8.0, GSM Factory Unlocked...
8MP Main Camera f/1.9, 28mm, 5MP Front Camera; 5.0-inch HD 540 x 960 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~220 ppi density) Android 8.1
Samsung Galaxy J2 Core

Best processor

BLU’s budget phone successes continue, with the Vivo X5. Also released in 2019, this phone offers good value for money.

This could easily be termed as the best cheap smartphone under $100.

With a 3GB RAM and 64GB internal memory, the phone has proven to be a good performer. It comes with Android 9 Pie but will probably not receive Android 10 update. Its 5.7 inch (145 mm) LCD display is great for watching videos and even reading documents.

It has a 13MP camera that can be used to take pretty decent pictures and record 1080p videos. Although the 8MP camera at the front is subpar, the phone has flash on both sides, which makes it great for taking selfies. The cell phone has a fingerprint scanner at the back and a removable battery with 2,800 mAh capacity.

Overall, this phone is quite impressive for just less than $100.

BLU Vivo X5-5.7" HD Display Smartphone, 64GB+3GB RAM-International...
5.7” HD+ 18:9 Curved Glass Display, Octa-Core 1.6GHz processor; 13MP A.I Main Camera with Flash + 8MP Front Camera with Flash

Great value for money

LG is known for manufacturing budget smartphones. Their best feature is that the products never look cheap.

LG K8 Phoenix 2 is AT&T’s version of the LG K8 – carrier locked, but with no other major difference. Unlocked versions of this model are available now.

The LG K8 was released in 2016 and has been loved by LG fans. With a 1.5GB RAM and quad-core processor, this device checked all the features on the mandatory list.

It has an internal memory of 16GB (expandable) and a removable battery with 2,125 mAh capacity. It may seem small in comparison, but is not all that bad.

The 8MP camera is above average, but the 5MP camera at the front is just passable. The 5 inch (127 mm) screen provides a decent resolution and is probably fitting for the price tag. It came with Android 6 and later released an update for Android 7. The phone can now be bought on Amazon.

LG Phoenix 2 AT&T Prepaid (U.S. Warranty)
Prepaid carrier locked phone; Please Note: Kindly refer the User Manual which is very essential before use.

Best looker

I know this is a shocker. At least a little. Sony smartphones are loaded with premium features.

The Sony Xperia XA, released in 2016, is now available for a low price but still offers a lot. Although that does not include a fingerprint sensor.

This device has a 2GB RAM, but because of the octa-core processor, it performs pretty well. It is available in Android 7.0 which makes the user experience even better.

There is a 13MP main camera and an 8MP camera at the front with HDR features and 1080p video recording. The back has an LED flash and allows panorama shots. The 5.0 inch HD display is decent - it is an LCD screen and the scratch resistant glass is a bonus.

It has a non-removable 2,300 mAh battery that is quite reliable. It comes in four colors – White, Graphite Black, Lime Gold and Rose Gold. 

Sony Xperia XA unlocked smartphone,16GB Black (US Warranty)
5” borderless display gives you less bezel with more view; 2300 mAh battery; Sony Exmor R 8MP front-facing camera with a wide angle lens that fits everyone in the shot

Most updated OS

RCA is probably not the brand you think of when you hear the word ‘smartphones’. You may not have even heard of the brand.

The company, now independent, was a subsidiary of General Electric (GE). Even after it broke away, the manufacturers mainly concentrated on electronics and have only recently entered the smartphone industry.

For a relatively new brand, the RCA Q2 is quite an impressive device. Launched with Android 9 as the central operating system, this phone has a 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage.

It has an 8MP rear camera with 1080p video recording and 5MP front camera. It has a non-removable battery and a dual SIM slot.

It comes in variations of black, white and dark grey. 

These cell phones are perfect for an emergency situation or to keep as a backup. You may not get a lot for the price, but at least there is (almost) always an HD display. Many people would think twice before buying a phone worth so little. But it is up to you to decide how much you are willing to spend on a gadget that you will carry around regularly.

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