Table of Contents
- There are affordable Android phones, and then there are Android Go phones. Android Go devices are designed to be as cheap as possible and run a special version of Android that’s created specifically with lower-end specs in mind. Android Go handsets are great starter or backup phones, and these are the best ones you can buy in 2023 — including the Ulefone Note 7 as our top overall pick.
- Best Android Go Phones Android Central 2023
- Best Overall: Ulefone Note 7
- Best Overall
- Best for Photography: Alcatel 1
- Best for Photography
- Best Storage: Samsung Galaxy J2 Core
- Best Storage
- Best Display: Huawei Y5 Lite
- Best Display
- Best Design: ZTE Blade L8
- Best Design
- Best in Europe: Nokia 1 Plus
- Best in Europe
- Bottom line
- Get a budget phone with a clean interface thanks to Nokia
- The best Honor phones available right now
- The Xperia 1 is still our favorite phone for shooting video
There are affordable Android phones, and then there are Android Go phones. Android Go devices are designed to be as cheap as possible and run a special version of Android that’s created specifically with lower-end specs in mind. Android Go handsets are great starter or backup phones, and these are the best ones you can buy in 2023 — including the Ulefone Note 7 as our top overall pick.
Best Android Go Phones Android Central 2023
Best Overall: Ulefone Note 7
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The best Android Go phone is one you probably haven’t heard of before, but we think it’s the best overall choice, all things considered. It’s the Ulefone Note 7, and it’s a pretty impressive handset when you factor in the price tag.
Right off the bat, the Ulefone Note 7 stands out thanks to its design. Its 6.1-inch display has incredibly slim bezels and a waterdrop notch on the top for its 5MP selfie camera. Compared to the other phones on this list, it really is something. You’ll also find an impressive array of three cameras on the back, allowing for a ton of shooting possibilities.
Specs-wise, the Ulefone Note 7 is offering a 3,500 mAh battery, 16GB of expandable storage (up to 64GB), 1GB of RAM, and dual SIM slots if you want to use two phone numbers at once. We also appreciate the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and face unlock functionality. Even better, you get a free case with the phone!
- Modern waterdrop display
- Triple rear cameras
- Very generous 3,500 mAh battery
- Storage is expandable up to 64GB
- Comes with a free case
- Only 16GB of base storage
- 1GB of RAM
This is the one to get
Overall, the Ulefone Note 7 stands out as the best Android Go phone. It has a modern design, a huge battery, and more.
Best for Photography: Alcatel 1
Alcatel is also in the Android Go game, and its latest offering is the Alcatel 1. The 5-inch display is great for one-handed use, but compared to the Ulefone Note 7, the bezels are noticeably larger. You get 8GB of storage out of the box, and while it’s excellent that Alcatel allows you to expand it with a microSD card, we wish it went beyond the 32GB maximum.
Although it may sound silly to say this for a phone that costs as little as the Alcatel 1 does, the real draw to this phone is its camera experience. You get a 5MP rear camera and 2MP selfie camera, and while there’s nothing special about the sensors themselves, Alcatel’s packed a ton of features into the phone’s camera app. There’s a Photo Booth mode that captures four pictures over three seconds in a photo booth-like setup. Also, there’s an Instant Collage function that helps you easily create a collage of your photos and a One-Handed Mode that brings all of the camera’s controls down to the bottom section of the display.
The Alcatel 1 is available in a trio of colors (Black, Blue, and Gold) and supports 4G LTE connectivity. Do keep in mind that this is an international device, meaning that it doesn’t come with a warranty and might have some connection issues in rural areas or crowded buildings.
- Modern 18:9 display
- Tons of camera features
- Expandable storage
- 4G LTE support
- Available in multiple colors
- No U.S. warranty
- Max storage of 32GB
Best for Photography
Take great photos on the cheap
The Alcatel 1 is loaded with all sorts of features and settings in its camera app, making it a great pick for shutterbugs.
Best Storage: Samsung Galaxy J2 Core
Samsung is one of the most popular phone makers out there, and it hasn’t ignored the Android Go market. The Galaxy J2 Core is the Samsung-made Android Go phone we recommend you get, with its biggest perk being a large amount of expandable storage.
Similar to most Android Go devices, the Galaxy J2 Core only has 8GB of onboard storage. However, you can use a microSD card to expand it up to an impressive 256GB. That’s more than enough space for all of your favorite movies, music, games, and more, making this an excellent choice for anyone that likes to store all of their files locally.
Outside of the excellent storage, the J2 Core also shines with its clean design, three available colors, and 2,600 mAh battery. As long as you don’t mind the missing warranty and weaker LTE coverage in rural parts of the country, the Galaxy J2 Core is a robust Android Go option.
- Expandable storage up to 256GB
- Large 2,600 mAh battery
- Simple design
- Three colors
- FM radio
- Doesn’t have a warranty
- Potentially spotty network support
Plenty of space for all your files
Need to save a lot of apps, games, and movies on your phone? The Galaxy J2 Core’s expandable storage up to 256GB has you covered.
Best Display: Huawei Y5 Lite
Huawei’s take on Android Go can be seen with the Y5 Lite, an impressive little device that packs a lot of features into a phone with such a small price.
One of the main draws to the Y5 Lite is its display. Compared to other Android Go phones, the Y5 Lite has a noteworthy HD resolution (1440 x 720) with slim bezels surrounding it. This makes it an ideal phone for playing games, watching YouTube videos, you name it.
You also get a sizable 16GB of storage right out of the box, and you can later expand this up to 256GB with a microSD card. Rounding out the phone is an 8MP rear camera, 5MP selfie camera, and a pretty big 3,000 mAh battery. Similar to some other phones on this list, the Y5 Lite is an international device — meaning it doesn’t have an official warranty and has weaker LTE coverage in rural areas.
- HD display with small bezels
- 16GB of internal storage
- 3,020 mAh battery
- Clean design w/ multiple colors
- Lacks a U.S. warranty
HD makes a big difference
Bring your movies and games to life with the Huawei Y5 Lite, offering a crisp HD display at a super low price.
Best Design: ZTE Blade L8
ZTE creates a lot of low-cost Android phones, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the company has an Android Go offering. The ZTE Blade L8 made its debut in April 2023, and it packs quite the punch.
The thing that helps the phone stand out the most is its design. While it is made out of plastic-like all of the other phones on this list, the reflective backside allows it to shimmer and shine when light hits it. It’s also available in two colors, including a sleek black and gorgeous blue.
Powering the Blade L8 is a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 2,000 mAh battery. You get 16GB of storage right out of the box, and if you need to, you can expand it up to 128GB with a microSD card. There’s also an 8MP rear camera along with a 5MP front-facing camera for all of your selfies.
This is another international phone, and as previously mentioned, the biggest downside to this is the fact that the ZTE Blade L8 does not come with an official warranty in the U.S.
- Reflective back looks great
- 16GB of internal storage
- Quad-core processor
- 8MP rear camera
- No U.S. warranty
An eye-catching option
Stand out of the crowd with the ZTE Blade L8, featuring a reflective back that’s available in two gorgeous colors.
Best in Europe: Nokia 1 Plus
Last but certainly not least, we have the Nokia 1 Plus. It’s a fantastic entry in the Android Go family, but unfortunately, you can’t buy it in the U.S.
Should you happen to live in Europe or another market where the phone is sold, then you’re in for a real treat. The Nokia 1 Plus delivers a large 5.45-inch display, an 8MP rear camera, and a “3D Nano-pattern polycarbonate shell” that looks outstanding.
Also offered with the phone is 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB, and a 2,500 mAh battery. You’re getting a lot of bang-for-your-buck, so if you’re able to purchase the Nokia 1 Plus, it’s definitely a phone worth checking out.
- Textured plastic back
- Large 5.45-inch display
- Relatively slim bezels
- 8MP rear camera
- 2,500 mAh battery
- Not sold in the U.S.
Best in Europe
Live in Europe? Get this
If you happen to live in Europe, you owe it to yourself to check out the Nokia 1 Plus. This thing is an insane value.
We don’t think you can go wrong with any of the phones on this list, but if we had to pick just one to recommend, it would be the Ulefone Note 7.
Compared to a lot of other Android Go phones out there, we have to give Ulefone a lot of credit for the Note 7’s modern design. This does not look like a phone that costs as little as it does, and that’s largely due to the bezel-lite display and three rear cameras on the back. Looks aren’t everything, but they sure do help.
The Note 7 isn’t packed with the most impressive specs in the world, but there’s plenty here to ensure you have a reliable day-to-day experience. The 3,500 mAh battery should allow for excellent endurance, having a microSD card slot for expandable storage is always appreciated, and the fingerprint sensor makes it easy to log into your sensitive apps. For the price Ulefone is asking, the Note 7 is a smash hit.
Bigger and better
Get a budget phone with a clean interface thanks to Nokia
Right now, Nokia makes some of the best budget and mid-range phones in the market today. That’s down to a combination of great hardware and collaboration with Google that allows HMD to offer Android One on all of its devices.
For The Brave
The best Honor phones available right now
Huawei’s ongoing trade ban has affected its Honor sub-brand as well, with the manufacturer launching fewer devices than usual last year. That said, we got to see a few standout phones in the likes of the Honor 20
The Xperia 1 is still our favorite phone for shooting video
If video recording is your thing, then look no further than the Sony Xperia 1 — it offers a large screen, three great cameras, and extremely robust manual video controls.
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