Best cheap phones in Australia 2024: the top budget handsets you can buy

Best cheap phones: Quick menu

The best cheap phones aim to offer a near-flagship experience without the flagship price tag. And, while there was once a stark contrast between the experience of a flagship device and a budget phone, today, there is little to separate the two. In fact, new budget phone releases impress more and more each year.

As prices keep going up for the premium handsets which top our list of the best phones overall, we know that those with tighter budgets want to discover the more affordable alternatives that won't see you miss out on too much in the areas of performance and power. 

So to help you discover the top options at approachable prices, we've put a large number of candidates to the test in order to determine the best cheap phones most worth your time. Looking closely at performance, design, cameras and more, you’ll find the right smartphone for you and your budget in the list below.

The quick list

Below you can find a roundup of our choices for the best cheap phones in Australia. You can quickly jump to a more detailed review of each pick, and view the latest deals for each using our price comparison tool. 

The best cheap phones in Australia 2024

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Below you’ll find more in-depth reviews for each of the best cheap phones in Australia, along with links to full reviews written by TechRadar’s team of smartphone experts. 

The best cheap phone overall

Samsung Galaxy A54 review Awesome Violet front straight

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
Best cheap phone overall

Specifications

Release date: March 2023
Weight: 202g
Dimensions: 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.4-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
CPU: Exynos 1380
RAM: 6GB, 8GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP (wide) + 12MP (ultrawide) + 5MP (macro)
Front camera: 32MP (wide)

Reasons to buy

+
Solid battery life
+
Excellent long-term software support
+
Improved performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow to charge
-
Heavier in the hand

Improving on its predecessor (the Samsung Galaxy A53 which had previously topped this list) the latest Samsung Galaxy A54 is an excellent step forward for the brand’s mid-range marvel. The screen of the A54 is marginally smaller than that of the A53, but still manages to offer a brighter (1,000 nits vs 800 nits peak brightness) and more appealing display overall. 

What’s powering this display is where the A54 makes its most welcome improvements, with its upgraded CPU offering superior performance and efficiency across the board. Achieving a Geekbench performance benchmark of 2703, the A54 significantly surpasses its predecessor (1903) and also measures in above the likes of the Google Pixel 6a and Oppo Reno 8 below. This improvement to performance also allows the A54 to make better use of its otherwise unchanged battery.

At first glance, the cameras of the latest A5-series model look like a downgrade from last year’s entry, with a 50MP primary lens versus the 64MP main camera of the A53. But closer inspection tells a different story, as the A54’s 50MP primary lens features both a larger sensor (1/1.56-inch, up from 1/1.7-inch) and greater pixel sizes (1.0µm vs 0.8 µm). The result is sharper, more detailed photos taken with the A54’s cameras, even if obviously not quite as impressive as the best cameraphones.

Still, the Samsung Galaxy A54 manages to offer more than enough quality at its price point to earn its title as the best cheap phone overall.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 review

The best cheap iPhone

Apple iPhone 13 Green

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best cheap iPhone

Specifications

Release date: September 2021
Weight: 174g
Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 17
Screen size: 6.1-inches
Resolution: 1170 x 2532
CPU: Apple A15 Bionic
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 3,240 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP (main) +12MP (ultrawide)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful for the price
+
An affordable iPhone option
+
Lightweight and compact

Reasons to avoid

-
No 120Hz screen
-
No Ceramic Shield on rear

It's now two generations old, but the iPhone 13 is still available to buy, even direct from Apple itself. Its age works in its favour too, as it means it's now more affordable than ever, and can be picked up from AU$1,099. It's technically not the cheapest iPhone you can buy, that title still belongs to the iPhone SE (2022), but for our money it offers a far superior performance.

There's no one single area it outperforms the SE, but across the board the iPhone 13 is a solid choice, offering good battery life and a great camera setup. The A15 Bionic processor is the same as that found in the SE, but it's put to better use in the iPhone 13, such as with image processing. 

We also can't forget the fact it's available in a range of fun colours and is far more up-to-date in terms of mod-cons, such as offering Face ID, as opposed to the iPhone SE's Touch ID home button. 

Read our full iPhone 13 review

The best cheap Pixel

Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Valerio Porcu)
Pixel at a pocket-money price

Specifications

Release date: May 2023
Weight: 193g
Dimensions: 152 x 72.9 x 9 mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.1-inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,385mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 13MP
Front camera: 13MP

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible photos 
+
Good price
+
Impressive performance from Google Tensor G2

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life not the best
-
Shorter OS support compared to competitors

The Pixel 7a arrived as a more affordable option in the Pixel 7 lineup (which comprises the 7 and 7 Pro) yet without sacrificing too much on features. While there certainly are compromises to be made, the low price makes them somewhat justifiable. 

The headline grabbing feature here is the camera and since this is realistically one of the features most buyers will be looking at, we felt including the Pixel 7a in this list was an easy decision. At 64-megapixels, coupled with Google's seriously impressive image processing technology (powered by the Tensor G2 chip) you're able to take some stunning shots. 

As for the compromises, we struggled to get even a day of use from the battery and support for future OS updates is shorter than those provided by Apple and Samsung. But on the whole, with the Pixel 7a you're still getting a vanilla Android experience that is quick and enjoyable to use on a daily basis. 

Read our full Google Pixel 7a review

The best cheap phone under AU$500

Motorola Moto 54 5G showing Asphalt 9 on the screen

(Image credit: Future)
A perfectly capable yet affordable phone

Specifications

Weight: 177g
Dimensions: 161.56 x 73.82 x 7.99mm
CPU: Mediatek Dimensity 7020
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB (up to 1TB w/ microSD expansion)
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP (main) + 2MP (macro)
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable entry to 5G connectivity
+
Gorgeous display with 120Hz
+
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

-
Cameras still not a strong point

If you want to spend as little as possible – like really not a lot of money at all – but you want to maximise your smartphone experience, the Moto G54 5G is an excellent choice. You get all the essentials you could need from a smartphone, including 5G connectivity and a beautiful display.

Battery life is also pretty commendable, lasting a day with ease, and it now supports slightly faster charging compared to its predecessor, at 15W. The standout feature for us, however, is the screen, which is much improved over the previous G53. It's bright and vibrant, and you'll find very little to separate it from screens on phones costing six or seven times as much. 

And as for the camera, you'll get decent shots, but not class-leading which is to be expected at this price point. You could step up to the Moto G82 and still remain under the AU$500 budget for better photos, although we feel as an overall wallet-friendly package, there is much to like about the Motorola Moto G54 5G.

The best cheap camera phone

Motorola Moto Edge 30 Fusion

(Image credit: Future)
Near-flagship quality without the price

Specifications

Weight: 175g
Dimensions: 158.5 x 72 x 7.5mm
CPU: Snapdragon 888 Plus
RAM: 8GB, 12GB RAM
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Battery: 4,400mAh
Rear camera: 50MP (main) + 13MP (ultrawide) + 2MP (depth)
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great build and power for the price
+
Decent primary camera
+
5G compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
No real water resistance
-
A telephoto zoom would've been nice

The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion fuses together an incredibly well-built phone that wouldn't look out of place amongst more expensive devices, with specs and a price tag that makes it accessible to the masses. At least, now that it's received a significant price drop since it first launched, which is what has allowed it to earn a spot on this list. 

For less than AU$500 from most retailers, you get a bright OLED display, a metal and glass build and a camera that performs better than the Moto G62 listed above. All in all, as our reviewer put it, the Edge 30 Fusion is "a phone that lets you feel you found a good deal, without needing to hunt down sales or discounts."

The best cheap phone for gaming

Oppo Find X5

(Image credit: Future)
A brilliant, premium mid-ranger

Specifications

Weight: 196g
Dimensions: 160.3 x 72.6 x 8.7mm
CPU: Sna