Here are the best budget smartphones of 2020

As we approach the end of 2020, many have decided to take some time to pause and reflect. Be it personal life, career, or world events, everyone has had quite the year and there's a lot to mull over. Bringing this philosophy of looking back and contemplation to the tech industry, we will be taking a look at some of the most memorable budget smartphones that came out this year.

After weeks of thought, consideration, and careful analysis, we have reached the conclusion of our budget series which intensively analyzed this year's affordable phones. Today, in the final piece, we have listed out some of the best budget smartphones of 2020 in no particular order.

Poco X3

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's Poco brand saw the introduction of a couple of new models this year. By far, the Poco X3 NFC - also known as simply the Poco X3 in India - is the best one of the lot. If one can swallow the bulky nature of the device, this is definitely the perfect phone for most people. When it comes to the tech specs, the question isn't what the phone does have, rather it is what doesn't it have. IP rating? Check. 3.5mm jack? Check.

Packing an 8nm Snapdragon 732G chipset, a 6000mAh battery with 33W MMT charging, 6/8GB of RAM, and 128/256GB UFS 2.1 storage, the Poco X3 has excellent performance and battery life. As for the camera setup, the device consists of a main 64MP Sony IMX682 camera sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide, and 2MP depth and macro sensors. Perhaps the only drawback in the device is the lack of an AMOLED display, but even that is made up for by a 6.67-inch FHD+ panel which has a 120Hz refresh rate.

At an asking price of $255 or ₹16,999, the Poco X3 is an absolute bargain and the best way to start off this list. If you're interested to grab one for yourself, you can buy it from Amazon here in the U.S. or here in India. You can also check out our review here.

moto g stylus

Motorola refreshed its moto g family of smartphones this year and the moto g stylus was one of the newcomers. It is very rare to find a budget phone sporting a stylus, which is one of the factors which makes this device so attractive. Under the hood, its got the 11 nm Snapdragon 665 SoC, 4GB RAM, and 128GB internal storage. The battery is a sizeable 4000mAh one, paired with 10W charging support.

One of the nicest features of the moto g stylus is the camera setup. It has got a 16MP wide-angle front camera and on the rear, a 48MP main wide-angle lens, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro lens. Despite the plastic body and the lower mid-range pricing, the Motorola device looks quite classy.

If you're looking to buy the moto g stylus, you can purchase it here for the reasonable price of $245.

Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung has established its place in the affordable smartphone marketplace so well with its Galaxy A series that it doesn't need any introduction. This year saw the launch of the Galaxy A51, an inexpensive device powered by the South Korean electronics giant's in-house Exynos 9611 chipset. While the design isn't winning any awards, the A51 is a pretty great all-round device.

The Samsung Galaxy A51 features a beautiful 6.5-inch super AMOLED display, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, and a decent 4000mAh battery along with 15W fast charging. As for the cameras, it has a 32MP selfie snapper at the front and a quad-camera setup on the back. The rear cameras include a 48MP camera with Quad Bayer technology, a 12MP wide-angle lens, and 5MP depth and macro sensors .

To acquire a unit of the Galaxy A51, be prepared to spend upwards of $278.99 in the U.S. and about ₹22,999 in India. You can buy the phone from Amazon in the former region or Flipkart in the latter. Alternatively, check out our review here.

Google Pixel 4a

Google's Pixel 4a made its debut a little later than it was supposed to thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Fortunately, the pandemic could not hamper the eventual launch of the device and the Pixel 4a turned out to be an excellent phone. Priced at $349, this inexpensive smartphone is quite the package. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G under the hood, 6GB LPDDR4x RAM, and 128GB storage.

On the front the device sports an 8MP camera and on the rear it has a 12.2MP dual-pixel f/1.7 lens which delivers impressive photography - something Pixel cameras are known for. The relatively small 5.81-inch OLED screen and polycarbonate unibody make the Pixel 4a comfortable to hold and carry in pockets. Bundle that with three years of updates and 18W fast charging, and we've got a winner on our hands.

If you don't mind a small 3,140mAh battery, then the Google Pixel 4a might be an excellent fit. Read our review if you're looking for an extensive evaluation. Those who want to buy the device may purchase one from Amazon for $349 in the U.S. or from Flipkart for ₹31,999 in India.

iPhone SE

Image via Apple

For those who prefer iOS over Android, it's a tricky business trying to shop on a budget. We all know that Apple devices don't come cheap, so the refreshed iPhone SE which came out this year had a warm reception. The smartphone has a petite 4.7-inch Retina HD display, the same A13 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 11 series, IP67 water and dust resistance rating, and storage options of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.

Like Google with the Pixel 4a, the Cupertino-based tech giant didn't bother with more than one camera on the back and frankly, it didn't need to. The iPhone SE features a 12MP wide main camera with a ƒ/1.8 aperture which takes commendable shots for a single camera. It also has a 7MP selfie camera with a ƒ/2.2 aperture and a very nostalgic feature: a home button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. On the downside, the battery on the iOS phone is a minuscule 1,821mAh battery.

2020's inexpensive iPhone SE will set back customers $399.99 and can be bought here. Indian citizens can purchase the device here for upwards of ₹32,999. This may not exactly be a budget smartphone for many, but for the Apple fanatics, this is the best bargain when hoping to buy a new release.

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite

Image via Xiaomi Global

In today's day and age, you can't think of a budget smartphone list without including Xiaomi. They've done really well in the affordable phone segment over the years, catering to every tier. For our final noteworthy mention, we have picked the Mi Note 10 Lite which came out in the early phase of the global pandemic. A lot of you will probably wonder why we picked this over the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the answer is pretty straightforward - a big, beautiful, curved 6.47-inch AMOLED display.

The Mi Note 10 Lite sports the Snapdragon 730G SoC, 6GB/8GB of RAM, 64GB/128GB UFS2.1 storage variants, dual SIM slots, a 5260mAh battery, and supports 30W charging. Interestingly, the Mi Note 10 Lite features the exact same cameras as the Redmi Note 9 Pro. It has an AI quad-camera setup on the back consisting of a 64MP Sony IMX686 main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, a 2MP macro camera, and a 5MP depth sensor. For snapping selfies, the display houses a 16MP camera on the front.

While the European retail price for the Mi Note 10 Lite is €349, U.S. residents can purchase the budget champion on Amazon for around $314.

As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.

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