Not everyone wants to get tied to a two or three-year cell phone contract any more. If you are on a budget and looking for decent smartphones without a contract, you will find our compilation of the best unlocked phones under $250 dollars helpful in your search.
The criteria for a device making it to this list is that it be available to buy unlocked from carriers or independent retailers in the USA, cost $250 or less, and offer great features for its price.
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Benefits of Buying Cheap Unlocked Phones
Budget unlocked phones under $250 have been quite popular for a while because they strike a fair balance between cost and performance. Here are some benefits of unlocked cell phones:
- Compatibility: Unlocked cell phones are compatible with multiple carriers, which means you can switch carriers without having to buy a new phone. This is a great option for people who travel frequently or live in areas with limited carrier coverage.
- Cost-effective: Unlocked cell phones are generally less expensive than carrier-locked phones. This is because you are not paying for the carrier’s subsidy, which is included in the price of carrier-locked phones.
- No contract: With an unlocked cell phone, you are not tied to a long-term contract with a carrier. This gives you the freedom to switch carriers or plans whenever you want, without any penalties.
If you are on a budget and on the hunt for an unlocked phone under $250, you have plenty of options to choose from. The market is awash with budget options.
Factors to Consider When Buying Cheap Unlocked Phones Under $250
If you’re in the market for unlocked phones under $250, there are a few factors to consider before making a purchase. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Operating System: The operating system (OS) is the software that runs on your phone. Two of the most popular OSs are Android and iOS. Android phones tend to be more affordable, but iOS (found only in iPhones) often have better security and longer software support. The thing is, you are not going to find an iPhone under $250, so you are stuck with Android phones only.
- Screen Size: Screen size is a matter of personal preference, but it is important to consider if you plan to use your phone for reading or watching videos. A larger screen can make these activities more enjoyable.
- Camera Quality: If you plan to take photos or videos with your phone, consider the camera quality. Look for a phone with a higher megapixel count and good low-light performance.
- Battery Life: Battery life is important if you plan to use your phone heavily throughout the day. Look for a phone with a larger battery capacity.
- Storage: Consider how much storage you will need for apps, photos, and other files. Look for a phone with expandable storage or a larger internal storage capacity.
Now that you know what to look for, listed below are some of the best unlocked phones under $250 and where to buy them.
Motorola Moto G53
The Moto G53 is a decent budget smartphone with a 6.5″, 720×1600 pixels display. The 50MP camera is quite decent too, even if not outstanding. it comes with options of 4GB and 8GB RAM, and is powered by Snapdragon 480+ 5G chipset. There is a beefy 5000mAh Li-Polymer battery to keep the lights on for hours. The 4/128GB trim is available for $185.
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G
Samsung’s A14 5G is one of the best entry-level Android smartphones you can buy in 2023. It has a large 6.6″ 1080×2408 pixels display, a 50-MP camera, and is powered by a Dimensity 700 chipset. Outside the USA, the A14 5G has an Exynos chipset. Battery capacity is 5000mAh. The 4/128GB variant sells for $220 on Amazon US, other retailers, and at multiple carriers. This is one of the best budget unlocked phones under $250 that has 5G support.
Motorola Moto G 2023
Motorola makes another showing on our list of unlocked phones under $250, this time with the Moto G 2023. The display is 6.5 inches in size and have 720×1600 pixels resolution. For photography and video recording, we have a 48MP main camera. The Moto G 2023 is powered by a Snapdragon 480+ 5G processor and has a 5000mAh battery. The 4/128GB memory trim costs $249.
Nokia G400 5G
Nokia has a strong footing in the budget phone market and steps in here with the G400 sporting a 6.58-inch display with 1080×2408 pixels resolution. It has a 48MP main camera, is powered by a Snapdragon 480+ 5G chipset, and has a 5000mAh battery. For the 4/64GB memory variant, you have to shell out $237.
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)
If you want a budget unlocked phone under $250 that supports a stylus, this is the one the doctor ordered. You get a large 6.8-inch 1080×2460 pixels display, a 50MP main camera, a decent Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, and a 5000mAh Li-Polymer battery. The 8/256GB trim will set you back by a dollar shy of $250. It sells for $249 and you can find it at Amazon, other retailers, and some carriers.
TCL is known for budget Android phones. The 40XL has a 6.75″ display with 720×1600 pixels resolution, a 50MP camera, and a lowly Helio G37 4G chipset. the 5000mAh Li-Ion battery is solid. It is the only 4G smartphone on this list.
Where the TCL 40XL stands out and earns its place on our list of the best unlocked phones under $250 is that it offers the most generous memory specs for its price. You get a whopping 6GB RAM and 256GB built-in storage for just $180. That is something you should consider if you do not need or want 5G connectivity. Afterall, for most Internet tasks, 4G is sufficient.
Where to buy budget unlocked phones under $250
There are several retailers in the United States and Canada where you can buy budget unlocked phones under $250. Here are some options:
- Best Buy – Best Buy offers a variety of unlocked phones under $250, including models from Samsung, Motorola, and BLU. You can shop online or visit a Best Buy store near you.
- Amazon – Amazon has a wide selection of unlocked phones under $250, including brands like Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung. You can easily filter your search by price and customer ratings to find the best option for you.
- Walmart – Walmart offers a variety of unlocked phones under $250, including models from brands like LG, Motorola, and Nokia. You can shop online or visit a Walmart store near you.
- B&H Photo Video – B&H Photo Video has a selection of unlocked phones under $250, including models from Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung. You can shop online or visit a B&H Photo Video store in New York.
- Newegg – Newegg offers a variety of unlocked phones under $250, including models from brands like Motorola, Nokia, and BLU. You can shop online and take advantage of their customer reviews and ratings to find the best option for you.
These are just a few options, but there are many other retailers that offer budget unlocked phones under $250 in the United States and Canada.
Should you want to go further down the ladder to morwe affordable smartphones, do check out our list of the best cheap unlocked phones under $50.