Buying Guide

Unlocking Value: Best Smartphones Under $300 in 2023

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best smartphones under $300, where we unveil a curated selection of top picks that offer exceptional value and impressive performance. In a world where technology constantly evolves, finding a feature-packed and reliable smartphone within a budget can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve done the research for you, handpicking a range of devices that deliver premium experiences without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a budget-conscious consumer or simply looking for an affordable yet capable smartphone, our list showcases options that combine cutting-edge features, sleek designs, and robust performance, all under the $300 price point. Join us as we delve into the realm of affordability without compromise, helping you make an informed choice that suits your needs and preferences.

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Oneplus Nord N30 5g

Let’s start our list of best smartphones under $300 with the OnePlus Nord N30, which maintains continuity with its predecessor in terms of design, but it presents an enticing proposition at a price of $300. A notable highlight of this phone, which stands out for its charging speed, is its capability to charge at up to 50W. Notably, it stands as the sole phone in this segment to deliver genuine fast-charging functionality. Equally commendable is the inclusion of a compatible charger within the package, eliminating the need for additional expenses to optimize your experience.

Smartphones Under $300

The OnePlus Nord N30 5G boasts additional standout features, including an appealing design that distinguishes it from its counterparts within the same segment. It draws power from the Snapdragon 695 SoC, paralleling the Galaxy A23 5G, accompanied by 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The device is equipped with a triple-camera configuration at its rear, spearheaded by a 108MP primary sensor. Furthermore, it retains practical features like a 3.5mm headphone jack and NFC support. The primary distinction preventing me from elevating the Nord N30 above the Galaxy A23 5G as the superior overall choice is its software support.

OnePlus has committed to providing only a single Android OS update and a maximum of three years’ worth of security patches for the Nord N30 5G. While this theoretically aligns its support duration with the Galaxy A23 5G (given the latter’s debut with Android 12 the previous year), I hold the belief that OnePlus could have executed this aspect more effectively. Samsung is acknowledged for its enhanced reliability in delivering software updates compared to most manufacturers, contributing to my recommendation of the Galaxy A23 over the Nord N30. It’s worth noting, however, that both options are viable, so make your selection based on your specific requirements.

Model No.Nord N30 5G
Release DateJune 2023
Operating SystemAndroid 13
Technology4G, 5G
SIM InfoDual SIM
Lock SecurityRear Mounted Fingerprint, Face ID
Best forGaming, Battery Life, Multitasking
DimensionChromatic Gray
Weight In Grams195
Color OptionsChromatic Gray
Build MaterialPlastic
TypeAMOLED capacitive touchscreen
Screen Size (inch)6.72
Refresh Rate120Hz
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 695
CPUOcta-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 660 Gold & 6×1.7 GHz Kryo 660 Silver)
GPUAdreno 619
RAM and ROM8GB RAM and 128GB ROM
Rear Camera SetupTriple
Main Sensor108MP
Rear Camera Sensor TypeWide, Ultrawide, Depth Sensor
Rear Camera Aperturef/1.7
Rear Camera Features4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps
Video Rec.4K
Front Camera SetupSingle
Front Sensor16MP
Front Camera Sensor TypeWide
Front Camera MechanismNotch Selfie
Front Camera FeaturesHDR, 1080p@30fps
Fast Charge50W
Wireless ChargeNo
WiFi802.11nac, Dual Band WiFi, WiFi Direct, HotSpot
MoreNFC, USB Type C, GPS, 3.5 mm jack
3GHSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
4GLTE bands 1-41
5G78(3500), 79(4700) SA/NSA
SpeedHSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (CA) Cat18 1024/150 Mbps, 5G

Galaxy A23 5g

In the list of best smartphones under $300, Galaxy A23 5G positions itself as one of Samsung’s most affordable offerings within the A-series lineup, making it a fitting addition to this collection. This device delivers a respectable array of internal components complemented by reliable software support, all priced at $300. It’s conveniently accessible for purchase through multiple carriers across the US, ensuring effortless availability.

Smartphones Under $300

Originally introduced as an LTE-only device, the 5G iteration of the Galaxy A23 is a recent addition, marking its emergence from the production line. This variant boasts a 6.6-inch FHD+ infinity-V LCD display, featuring a resolution of 1080 x 2408 pixels. A notable highlight of this display is its capacity to accommodate a 120Hz refresh rate, distinguishing it as the sole phone in this collection equipped with such a feature.

The driving force behind the Galaxy A23 5G’s operations is the Snapdragon 695 SoC, complemented by the option of up to 6GB of RAM. It’s important to note that the base model of this device comes with a modest 64GB of storage. However, this limitation is mitigated by the inclusion of expandable storage support through a microSD card. This offers the opportunity to augment the device’s storage capacity by up to 1TB, a considerable advantage. With all this Samsung A23 positions itself well in the list of best smartphones under $300 price tag.

Detailed specs are as follows:

Operating SystemAndroid 12 OS
User Interface: OneUI 4.1
Dimensions165.4 x 76.9 x 8.4 mm
SIMDual Sim, Dual Standby (Nano-SIM)
Frequency2G Bands: SIM1 – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
SIM2 – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Bands: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G Bands: LTE
5G Bands: SA/NSA
ProcessorCPU: 2.21 GHz Octa Core
Chipset: Snapdragon 695 5G SoC
GPU: Adreno 619
DisplayIPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen, 16M Colors, Multitouch
Size: 6.6 Inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2408 Pixels (~400 PPI)
Extra Feature: 120Hz refresh rate
MemoryBuilt-in: 128GB Built-in, 6/8GB RAM
Card Slot: microSD Card, supports up to 1TB
CameraMain Camera: Quad Camera – 50 MP (wide, f/1.8, PDAF) + 5 MP (ultrawide, f/2.2)
– 2 MP (macro, f/2.4) + 2 MP (depth, f/2.4)
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
Video: 1080p@30fps
Front Camera8 MP (wide, f/2.2)
Video: 1080p@30fps
ConnectivityWLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: v5.1 with A2DP, LE
GPS: Yes + A-GPS support & Glonass, BDS
Radio: FM Radio
USB: USB Type-C 2.0
DataGPRS, Edge, 3G (HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps), 4G LTE-A, 5G capable
FeaturesSensors: Accelerometer, Compass, Fingerprint (side-mounted), Gyro, Virtual proximity sensing
Audio: 3.5mm Audio Jack, Speaker Phone
Browser: HTML5
Messaging: SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Games: Built-in + Downloadable
Torch: Yes
Extra: Photo/video editor, Document viewer
BatteryCapacity: (Li-Po Non removable), 5000 mAh
Charging: Fast charging 25W

Moto G Power

Smartphones Under $300

In the list of best smartphones under $300 price tag, the Moto G Power 5G distinguishes itself as the most economically viable option, showcasing a capacious 256GB of internal storage. This generous storage capacity provides a significant advantage for enthusiastic downloaders of movies and music, extending ample entertainment possibilities even during periods of unsteady internet connectivity. The device showcases a 6.5-inch 1,080p display operating seamlessly with a fluid 120Hz refresh rate, delivering a captivating visual encounter across movies, applications, websites, and games alike.

In smartphones under $300 bracket, for those seeking heightened storage flexibility, expansion becomes readily attainable through a microSD card. Remarkably positioned within the $200 to $300 price range, the Power 5G duly upholds the inclusion of a headphone jack, a feature of considerable value to many.

While Motorola places the Power 5G as a multimedia force within its price bracket, certain trade-offs manifest in its photographic prowess. As anticipated within this price segment, it demonstrates prowess in outdoor photography but encounters challenges when it comes to capturing intricate details in low-light settings.

Nevertheless, individuals for whom storage takes precedence will find the Moto G Power 5G to be a compelling contender deserving of consideration.

Detailed specs are as follows:

SoCMediaTek Dimensity 930
Display6.5″ FHD+ 120Hz LCD
Storage128GB/256GB, expandable up to 1TB
Operating SystemAndroid 13
Front camera16MP (f/2.4, 1.0um/2.0um Ultra Pixel)
Rear cameras50 MP (f/1.8, 0.64μm), Quad Pixel technology for 1.28μm, PDAF; 2 MP depth sensor (f/2.4, 1.75μm)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.3, 3.5mm headphone jack
Dimensions163.06 x 74.8 x 8.45mm, 185g
ColorsMineral Black, Pearl White
Charging15W capable, 10W charger in-box
Outstanding batteryBloatware
Reliable 120Hz displayLackluster gaming experience
Relatively stock Android experienceLimited software support

The Moto G Power 5G stands as an exemplar among smartphones under $300, akin to a diligent worker arriving at the job site equipped with their hardhat and lunch pail. Just like the dependable performance of a Toyota Camry, this phone efficiently fulfills its tasks without unnecessary embellishments. It’s important to recognize that within the same price range, there exist alternatives capable of delivering an electrifying experience while upholding reliability.

For those who value a relatively unaltered Android experience yet harbor reservations about selecting Pixels, this phone emerges as a compelling option. Moreover, if prioritizing exceptional battery life takes precedence in your smartphone selection, the Moto G Power 5G rightfully claims your attention.

Xiaomi Poco X4

Smartphones Under $300

The Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro features a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. It utilizes a somewhat underpowered Snapdragon 695 5G processor compared to its predecessor. The processor is supported by either 6 or 8 GB of RAM, depending on the chosen configuration. Internal storage options include 128 GB or 256 GB, with the possibility of expanding storage via microSD card.

Size6.7 inchesChipSnapdragon 696
Resolution2400 x 1080ProcessorOcta-core
TechnologyAMOLEDGPUAdreno 619
Refresh rate120HzRAM6GB LPDDR4
S-to-B ratio85.91%Storage128GB (UFS 2.2)
Brightness1200 cd/m²ExpansionmicroSDXC up to 1024 GB
OSAndroid (12)
Capacity5000 mAhRearTriple camera
ChargingFastMain108 MP (F1.9)
Max SpeedWired: 67.0WSecond8 MP (F2.2)
Third2 MP (Macro)
Front16 MP
Dimensions6.46 x 3.00 x 0.325GMultiple Bands
Weight7.23 oz4G (FDD)Multiple Bands
ResistanceIP534G (TDD)Bands 38, 40, 41
BiometricsFingerprint3GMultiple Bands
ColorsBlack, Blue,Dual SIMShared with microSD
YellowSIM typeNano SIM
Headphones3.5mm jackBluetooth5.1
SpeakersEarpiece,Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Multi speakersUSBType-C (reversible), USB 2.0
Screen MirroringWirelessLocationGPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou
MicrophonesNoise cancel.SensorsAccelerometer, Gyroscope
OtherNFC, Infrared

The Poco X4 Pro makes it to the list of best smartphones under $300 and presents an appealing overall package, incorporating an AMOLED display, 5G connectivity, and a high-quality 108 MP camera.

Xiaomi has significantly upgraded the main camera sensor to a 108 MP resolution. The device also includes fast charging capabilities of up to 67 watts and houses a sizable 5,000 mAh battery. However, it’s disappointing that the device comes preinstalled with Android 11, especially considering that its predecessor already runs Android 12.

TCL Stylus

The TCL NxtVision HDR setting on the phone introduced enhanced colors that added vibrancy to the gaming experience, making it a standout choice among smartphones under $300. Minimal adjustments were made to Android 12 by TCL, and the magnetic stylus was particularly enjoyable for its secure fit into its designated slot on the device.

However, the prolonged duration of the review, spanning four months, was primarily due to the recurrence of software bugs. These issues created challenges in confidently recommending the phone within the sub-$300 range. Frequent restarts and connectivity problems with Bluetooth were encountered, although the latter was eventually resolved through a software update. Additionally, the phone’s exclusive lock to T-Mobile limits its use to that carrier and includes pre-installed T-Mobile apps that are challenging to uninstall.

Despite these setbacks, for those who prioritize having a stylus and have a budget under $300, this phone becomes one of the more attractive options. It’s important to exercise caution regarding potential software issues and to acknowledge that the phone will receive only one major software update and two years of security updates within this price range.

Detailed specs are as follows:

TechnologyGSM / HSPA / LTE / 5GAnnouncedJune 02, 2022
StatusAvailable. Released June 02, 2022
Dimensions169.6 x 76.5 x 9 mm (6.68 x 3.01 x 0.35 in)TypeIPS LCD
Weight213 g (7.51 oz)Size6.81 inches
BuildGlass front, plastic frame, plastic backResolution1080 x 2460 pixels
OSAndroid 12, TCL UI 4.0Card slotmicroSDXC (dedicated slot)
ChipsetMediatek MT6833 Dimensity 700 (7 nm)Internal128GB 4GB RAM
CPUOcta-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
GPUMali-G57 MC2
Triple50 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide), 1/2.76″, 0.64µm, PDAFSingle13 MP, f/2.3, 19mm (ultrawide), 1/3″, 1.12µm
5 MP, 115˚ (ultrawide)FeaturesHDR
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)Video1080p@30fps
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
LoudspeakerYes, with stereo speakersWLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct
3.5mm jackYesBluetooth5.2, A2DP, LE
USBUSB Type-C 2.0, OTG
SensorsFingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometerTypeLi-Ion 4000 mAh, non-removable
Charging18W wired
ColorsLunar BlackModelsT779W

Final Remarks on Smartphones Under $300

In the realm of affordable smartphones under $300, these five options stand out as reliable contenders. From the Galaxy A23 5G’s commendable display and reliable software support to the Nord N30’s remarkable fast charging, each device brings unique features to the table within the sub-$300 price range. The Moto G Power 5G impresses with its outstanding battery life, catering to those seeking long-lasting performance within a budget under $300. On the other hand, the OnePlus Nord N30 offers a beautiful design and powerful internals, delivering a compelling package without exceeding the $300 mark. Finally, the TCL NxtVision showcases its value through enhanced colors and storage capacity, offering a solid choice for those looking for a comprehensive experience under $300. Ultimately, the decision rests on individual priorities, but these smartphones collectively prove that premium experiences can be accessible without breaking the bank, making them worthy contenders among smartphones under $300.