Let’s preview the ranking of the best phones under $200 of May 2023:
Introduction: best phones under $200
Are you looking for the best $200 smartphone, but you can’t choose which budget smartphone to buy because there are so many models? This buying guide will help you with the ranking of the best phones under $200.
For less than $ 200 you can buy an inexpensive smartphone with a large screen, some have 5G, enough performance to run the most popular apps, a nice design, sometimes even with a metal case.
Some models have a good or excellent camera, even if they cannot compete with those of the much more expensive top of the range. Overall these phones are very good value for money and manage to do everything their big brothers do.
The choice of the best smartphone under $200 will depend on the use you want to make of it, for example a phone used mainly for taking photos and videos will have different characteristics than one based on gaming, or one that will be used mainly for browsing and using social networks. .
For this reason it is good to be clear about what we are interested in doing with the new smartphone, and to choose the one that best suits your needs, given that in this price range it is impossible to have everything at the top.
Features of the best phones under $200
When you are looking for the best smartphone under 200 euros, it is good to keep an eye on these features.
DISPLAY: smartphones are now small computers, for good readability we recommend displays of at least 5.5 “, with a resolution equal to or greater than FullHD, for good handling it should have a form factor from 18: 9 to 21: 9 , the optimal refresh rate is 120Hz but it is rare to find it in budget smartphones, 90Hz is already a good value.
CHIPSET: it is useless to look for the latest processor in this price range, it is important to have a good Snapdragon, Exynos or MediaTek processor with good performance and which is possibly low in energy consumption.
MEMORY: by now the minimum of RAM memory to run the smartphone without slowing down is 4GB, while the ROM, or archive space, is at least 64GB. Our advice is to spend a little more to have at least 6GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM. Some smartphones also allow you to expand the memory with a micro SD card.
CONNECTIVITY: 5G is still little used, but it could soon become the standard. It is therefore advisable to look for the best 200 euro smartphone with 5G.
CAMERA: Don’t be fooled by the number of cameras or megapixels. Only field tests can tell if a smartphone has a good camera, or if it has a huge number of pixels just for marketing. We will try to better specify this aspect in our ranking. The wide-angle camera is definitely a plus.
BATTERY: it is important that the charge of the smartphone arrives at least in the evening, for this reason we recommend smartphones with batteries of at least 4500mAh, preferably above 5000mAh. You can also evaluate a phone with fast charging or wireless charging, not essential but very comfortable to have.
NFC: (Near Field Communication), allows devices located at short distances to communicate with each other. It is not essential, but very useful, for example, to make payments with your smartphone simply by leaning it on a credit card reader thanks to GPay.
All these aspects are detailed at the end of the article. Now that we have seen the features to look for in the best phones under $200, let’s see our ranking.
Best smartphone ranking under $200
Here is the ranking of the best smartphones under $200, with all the important features that can help you choose the best phones that fits your needs. At the end of the top7, you will find explained in detail all the features to look at when choosing a budget smartphone.
1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
The latest addition to Redmi immediately leaps to the top of the ranking of the best phones under $200. Redmi Note 11 is equipped with a 2.4GHz 6nm octa core Snapdragon 680 chipset, which offers excellent performance while saving energy. 4GB of RAM and 64 / 128GB of storage, expandable with a micro SD, which does not take up space for the second sim. A large 6.43-inch AMOLED FHD + display with DCI-P3 color gamut provides more vibrant colors and details, reaching up to 1000nit to ensure screen visibility even in broad daylight, a certainly very good screen and a strong point of the smartphone.
With the two linear speakers positioned at the top and bottom, Redmi Note 11 offers immersive stereo sound for gaming and watching videos. The design is simple but pleasant, made of plastic that allows you to keep the weight very low, just 179g inside a slim 8.09mm frame, resistant to splashes according to the IP53 standard. It doesn’t have 5G, but it does have NFC, Wi-Fi ac, and Bluetooth 5.0
Featuring a display refresh rate of 90Hz and a touch sample rate of up to 180Hz, Redmi Note 11 enhances the experience with smoother animations and lag-free transitions, recording every touch instantly.
As for the photographic sector, Redmi Note 11 is equipped with a configuration with quadruple camera from 50MP ƒ / 1.8 that allows you to take pictures of higher quality than the average in the price range, especially during the day, while at night you can take some good picture thanks to the night mode; the 8MP ultra wide-angle camera has a 118-degree viewing angle but isn’t exciting; the other 2 2MP cameras are almost useless. At the moment the videos are only in 1080p and not of good quality, hopefully better with the next updates.
Redmi Note 11 features an elegant and contemporary design, and offers an excellent touch sensation; to offer a firm and comfortable grip, Redmi Note 11 manages to enclose a large 5,000 mAh battery with fast charging at 33W.
Good performance / Battery life and fast charging at 33W / Micro SD + Dual Sim / Good 90Hz display / Above average camera / NFC / Splash resistance
5G missing / Proximity sensor not very accurate / Video quality
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2. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G / Redmi Note 10 5G
When it comes to cheap smartphones, Redmi is always in the front row, and in fact we find it at the top of the ranking of the best phones under $200 or euros.
Among Redmi’s proposals in this price range, probably the best choice is the Redmi Note 9T, equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 800U chipset, an excellent SoC also present in the Realme 7 5G. It has 4 + 128GB of memory, expandable with a micro SD. It is dual sim, with both Sims being 5G. The performance is good, in normal daily activities but also in gaming, making it an all-round smartphone with an excellent quality / price ratio.
The display is a 6.53-inch LCD with Gorilla Glass 3. The battery is 5,000mAh, and combined with the fact that the processor consumes little, it can easily reach 2 full days before recharging, which is fast at 18W. Peculiarity: the fingerprint reader is located on the side, under the power button. There is an NFC and an infrared transmitter, the speakers are double and work in stereo.
The photographic quality is very good during the day, at the top of the category, and is guaranteed by a 48MP main camera, as well as 2 2MP cameras, one for the Macro function and one for the depth of field. The front camera is 13MP and does its job well, with colors faithful to reality.
Alternatively, you could consider the Redmi Note 10 5G, released in the same month as the Note 9T, with practically the same features, except a slightly less powerful processor, the MediaTek Dimensity 700, it is also more aesthetically pleasing and has a 90Hz display. The camera is virtually identical.
Good performance / Battery life / 5G / Dual Sim / Good camera / NFC / Stereo speaker
Missing Wide Angle Camera / 60Hz Display
3. Realme 7 5G
Another brand that produces excellent cheap smartphones is Realme, and with this phone it enters by right among the best smartphones for $200 or euros.
The Realme 7 5G in fact manages to improve the already excellent Realme 7, introducing 5G connectivity, a more powerful processor, the MediaTek Dimensity 800U Octacore at 7nm, and a display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen is 6.5-inch IPS with 2400 × 1080 px resolution.
This smartphone is dual sim, both in 5G, and allows you to expand the memory with a micro SD card. The battery is 5,000mAh with 30W fast charge and allows 7.5 h of screen on, most likely you will be able to make a charge last two days with not too intense use. NFC is present.
The photographic sector consists of the 48MP main camera, 8MP wide-angle, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. The main camera works quite well during the day, even if not at the level of the Redmi, while the wide angle reaches the sufficiency, as well as the front. The videos are not very good, reaching 4K @ 30 fps resolution, but they are not well stabilized and the colors are a bit dull.
The added value of the Realme is the software, the Realme UI 2.0 which in our opinion is one of the best software in the Android field.
Good Performance / Battery Life / 5G Dual Sim / 120Hz Display / NFC / Software
Not very good quality videos / Fair photos
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4. Realme 8 5G
The Realme 8 5G is behind the Realme 7 5G in our ranking of the best phones under $200 or euros, because it is equipped with a processor with practically the same power as the Dimensity 800U present in the 7 5G, but with some limitations on the multimedia side.
The Realme 8 5G mounts the MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G at 7nm, 2.2GHz, which does not support recording in 4K, limiting the Realme 8 to FullHD. The Dimensity 700 also does not support displays with 120Hz refresh rate – present in the Realme 7 – and for this reason the 6.53 ″ IPS screen with 2400 × 1080 px resolution in this mobile phone has a refresh rate of 90Hz, of excellent quality, very bright and clearly legible even outdoors. The chipsetis not very fast, but it is possible to activate the “high performance” mode and the reactivity increases significantly without sacrificing too much autonomy.
Realme 8 is 5G dual sim, automatically switches from 5G to 4G when reception is not good, and allows you to expand the memory with a micro SD card without using the SIM slots. The battery is 5,000mAh with 18W fast charge and allows 7.5 h of screen on, most likely you will be able to make a charge last two days with not too intense use. There is NFC and the fingerprint is on the side.
The photographic sector consists of the main 48MP camera, 8MP wide angle, 2MP Macro and 2MP depth sensor, and behaves similarly to the Realme 7 5G, it takes good shots during the day, but at night the quality drops, remaining in the average of this price range. The front camera is also decent. The videos are in FullHD and are quite good.
The added value of the Realme is the software, the Realme UI 2.0 which in our opinion is one of the best software in the Android field.
Good performance / Battery life / Dual Sim 5G / Bright 90Hz display / NFC / Software
Not very good quality videos / Fair photos
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5. Poco X3 PRO
If you are primarily interested in performance in a smartphone, this is the smartphone under $200 for you. In fact, the Snapdragon 860 chipsetmakes it very reactive, and with performances that do not envy those of the top of the range, while being attentive to consumption. This smartphone can be used for long even demanding gaming sessions.
The low energy processor, combined with a 5160 mAh battery with 33W fast charging, allows you to arrive in the evening with still a lot of energy, and up to 6.5h of screen on. The display has dimensions of 6.67 “with resolution 2400 × 1080 px and refresh rate at 120Hz, protected by a Gorilla Glass 6. The RAM memory is 6GB, while the ROM is 128GB. It is dual SIM, alternatively you can use a slot to expand the memory with a micro SD. It doesn’t have 5G.
The photographic sector is discreet, but nothing more. During the day and with unproblematic lighting it takes good photos, but if there are lights in the scene or little light the quality drops a lot. The quality of the wide angle is only sufficient. The photos are certainly not the strong point of this smartphone, but it is in line with the average of $200 smartphones. The videos are in 4K, stabilized quite well and with good colors.
Great performance, above average / Battery life / Dual Sim / 120Hz Display / NFC
Heavy 215g / Dim display / 5G missing / Poor design
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6. Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G
If saving money is your priority, but still want a quality product, this is probably the right choice for you. The design is pleasant and quite original even if the body is made of rigid plastic. It has a dual 5G Sim to keep up with new technologies. It weighs 190g, has a 6.5 ″ FullHD + IPS display and 90Hz refresh rate, of good quality but not very bright. Equipped with a 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 810 processor, 4/6 GB of RAM and 64/128 ROM expandable via micro SD. We also find the FM radio, the infrared port and the fingerprint reader on the right side. It can be considered a Redmi Note 11 with Poco launcher and a cool design.
The main camera is 48 megapixel ƒ / 1.8, the two secondary cameras are two 2 megapixels ƒ / 2.4, one for depth of field and one for macro, but practically useless. The main one works very well in good and uniform light conditions, it struggles with low light or highlights on stage, but the quality is still above the average for the category. The front camera, on the other hand, is not very good. It can record videos in Full HD, of good quality during the day, stable and with a good balance of lights.
The battery is 5,000 mAh with 33W fast charging, which combined with a processor that consumes little, easily reaches two days on a single charge. There are 2 speakers and they work in stereo for immersive sound.
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7. Samsung Galaxy M12
On the medium and low range Samsung has two distinct product lines: the A range aimed at those looking for a greater overall balance of performance, and the M range aimed at those who want maximum battery life, even at the expense of design. This is the case of Samsung Galaxy M12 which presents itself as an interesting alternative to the Galaxy A12 on the under 180 Euro range.
Smartphone of the well-known Korean brand, with Android 11, 6.5-inch Display, 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of Expandable Internal Memory, you can add extra space with a Micro SD. Compared to the Galaxy A12, it has a 90 Hz refresh rate which in everyday use gives it an apparently greater reactivity and is more pleasant to use.
Quad Camera System: 48MP F2.0 main camera, 5MP F2.4 ultra wide angle camera with wide viewing angle, macro camera and depth sensor.
5,000 mAh battery that allows you to arrive safely in the evening with a large residual energy. It has 15W fast charging.
On the right side there is the fingerprint sensor which offers a secure and sufficiently fast unlocking method, it always recognizes the fingerprint effectively but obviously for left-handers it can be difficult.
The best-selling smartphones under $200
Now let’s see the ranking of the best-selling cheap smartphones:
How to choose the best smartphone under $200
Now let’s deepen the aspects already seen in pills at the beginning of the article. To make your choice easier, we show you in this small guide what are the characteristics that must be taken into account when choosing the best 200 euro smartphone. The guide is for inexperienced users, but you can still use it as a refresher.
The display is the smartphone screen, so it must be large enough for your needs, and of good quality. These are the things to look at on the display when looking for the best smartphone under 200 euros:
Size: the screen of mobile phones is measured along the diagonal in inches, indicated by the symbol “. Up to 5.2 ″ you can handle the smartphone even with one hand. If you also use your phone for photos or games, it is good to aim for something slightly larger like a 5.5 ″. In order to optimally view web pages or apps, it is recommended to have a 6 ”smartphone. It should be noted that phones with an elongated screen, for example 18: 9, are narrower and therefore less bulky for the same screen size.
Resolution: it is measured in pixels and indicates the number of points in height and width that make up the screen, for example 2160 x 1080px. The higher this value, the more defined and easily readable the screen. The minimum in these times is FullHD, or 1980 × 1080.
Density or ppi: density is measured in ppi or pixels per inch, and indicates how many pixels there are in each square inch. The higher this value, the more the display will return images and texts defined and therefore enjoyable.
Technology: There are IPS LCD screens characterized by color fidelity, wide viewing angle and visibility even under sunlight, or Amoled / superAmoled, newer technology and only present in some high-end mobile phones such as Samsung S21, which turns off the black pixels returning unreachable contrast and depth from IPS displays, but screens with this technology are less visible in sunlight and have a narrower viewing angle.
Frequency: the screen refresh rate affects how smooth it is. The top of the range have 120Hz screens, while the low-end ones work at 60Hz, 90Hz is a good compromise. Some budget smartphones have a 120Hz screen, obviously sacrificing other aspects.
Chipset and GPU of the best smartphones $200
The processor, or CPU, is a chip that performs the calculations. The best producers are Qualcomm which produces Snapdragon, Exynos for Samsung, Hisilicon which produces Kirin for Huawei / Honor. Mediatek produces good processors, but on average less performing, and cheaper.
In addition to the brand, you have to look at the number of cores, or processors, present, which in modern mobile phones are 4 (quad-core) or 8 (octa-core) and the frequency of the individual cores expressed in GHz or Giga Hertz (e.g. 2.5 GHz). Obviously, just to give an example, a phone with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor is less performing than one with a 2.0GHz octa-core processor of the same brand.
Associated with the processor is the graphics department, or GPU, which is usually integrated into the processor. An equally high-performance GPU is integrated into a high-performance processor, so there’s no need to worry.
A powerful processor is used to make the phone smooth, to run heavy applications, such as the latest generation games. If your phone is mainly used for taking photos / videos or for browsing and using social networks, this is a fact that interests you relatively little.
Ram and Rom memory, expandability
The programs to be executed by the CPU are copied (or loaded) into the RAM memory, and are measured in GB or GigaByte. The greater the availability of Ram on the phone, the better the performance, the less lag or jamming in the transition from one application to another, the faster the phone in general.
Whether you use your mobile to take photos, browse, play games or update social media, the amount of RAM memory is very important, make sure your phone has at least 3GB.
The memory ROM is the physical space in which to install programs, games, and store photos, documents and any type of file. The operating system is also installed in the ROM memory, for example Android, for which a part of the internal memory is not available, furthermore the quantity declared by the manufacturer is always greater than the actual one.
For general use it is good to have at least 32GB of storage space, while if you intend to make a lot of videos or install a lot of games or heavy apps, it is good to have at least 64GB.
But if you are running out of space in your mobile, don’t despair. Many mobile phones have the ability to expand physical memory using one of the best micro SD cards. This way you can use the micro sd to increase the phone memory, and
archive photos, videos, music, or even install Apps and Games, but only with the most recent versions of Android and using a class A1 micro SD.
The maximum expansion ranges from 64GB to 256GB depending on the phone. If the phone is dual sim, it is often necessary to choose whether to use the second slot for a second sim or for the micro sd.
Connectivity: 5G, 4G and LTE, wifi, Bluetooth, GPS
It is recommended to buy mobile phones that support the 5G network or the fifth generation. 4G mobile phones are now the norm, and their acronym is LTE. There are different types of LTE depending on the maximum download speed, the most frequent in this price range are at 150Mbps (Mega bit per second), high-end mobile phones reach 300Mbps, or category 6.
As for wifi, there are two types, the standard 2.4GHz one supported by all mobile phones, and the 5GHz one, supported only by mobile phones with dual band wifi. The two WiFi networks, 2.4 and 5 GHz can generally operate simultaneously, the 5 GHz band is usually preferable when there are many 2.4 GHz wireless networks nearby.
The 2.4 GHz signal has the advantage of overcoming obstacles better but is more subject to disturbances and interference (WiFi in the vicinity, cordless phones, transmitters for opening automatic doors and gates, influence of other hardware products, … ) moreover the 5GHz signal is generally more performing.
Usually the camera is the sore point for cheap mobile phones, excellent cameras are easier to find in the top of the range, and not always. But some phones on this list started out as top-of-the-range a couple of years ago, so they have a good camera and fall into our ranking as they have dropped in price since they are no longer new.
Others, on the other hand, have a good camera despite being under 200 euros, and maybe they have sacrificed other details in other areas. In general, the cameras in this range take good photos in daylight conditions, while they suffer a little, in some cases a lot, in low light. The main data to look at regarding the photos are:
- the resolution, which is measured in MP or megapixels, and which must be at least 12MP for the rear camera and 8MP for the front. Many MPs are not by themselves an indication of the goodness of the camera, we should evaluate the sensor it mounts – the best are Sony, but it produces several more or less good models -, and often this data is not even indicated in the specifications, so you have to look in network examples of photos taken with that cell phone or trust reviews.
- aperture, which is measured in f / n, where n is a number ranging from 1 upwards, but in mobile phones it is difficult to find less than 1.6. The lower the n number is, the more the camera is able to capture light and therefore take better pictures in low light conditions. Make sure that the aperture is at least f / 2.2.
- stabilizer: very important for low-light shots, but also for videos, so that they don’t get shaky. Usually the stabilizer is electronic, so the stabilization is done via software, but in some high-end phones it can be optical, giving me higher quality and accuracy.
- video: you have to see the resolution and the maximum framerate. Better to have at least a maximum resolution of 4k at 30 fps – frames per second -. The ideal is to have 4k at 60fps or more.
Lately, many phones, including mid-range phones, are offering a dual camera, in some phones it is useless, sometimes it is used to improve focus, or to create a nice bookeh or blur effect in portraits, in other phones it is needed to have a zoom 2x optical as the focal length of the second lens is different.
Usually the second camera has a smaller aperture and therefore can only be used during the day or with lots of light. Furthermore, now all smartphones are equipped with rear LED flash, while only a few have a front flash, which can be very useful for those who love to take selfies even in low light conditions such as indoors.
As for the videos instead you have to watch:
- video resolution must be at least fullHD or 1980 * 1080 at 30fps (frames per second). Mobile phones with more advanced cameras reach 2K or even 4K at 60fps.
- the presence of an electronic stabilizer, which makes the difference to have stable and brighter videos.
The fingerprint sensor allows you to unlock the phone with the simple touch of a finger on the sensor that detects the fingerprint. Once it was only the prerogative of the top of the range, now it is often found even in mobile phones under 200 or even 100 euros.
Sometimes it can be used to unlock individual apps, or it can be used instead of entering a password for apps that support this function, simplifying and speeding up access to restricted areas.
Nowadays almost all the fingerprint sensors are fast and reliable, if they were not in the mobile phones of our list we will report it. It can be found on the front side, which is much more comfortable, or on the back of the phone, which is more difficult to access, especially if the phone is placed on a table or other surface.
The larger the battery, the longer the phone can last before being recharged. The battery capacity is measured in mAh or milli Ampère hour, and to have a good duration it is good that the phone has a battery with a capacity of at least 3,500mAh.
However, this data alone is not enough to say whether a cell phone lasts longer or shorter than another, because some processors consume more than others, and software optimization plays an important role in this field.
The operating system is the software that is pre-installed on your phone and that runs all applications and games. There are phones with Android, iOS (in iPhone phones) and Windows Phone (Microsoft operating system now disappeared).
In the price range below $200 it is impossible to buy an iPhone, moreover the Windows Phone system is not taking off and there are few applications in its store, so I definitely recommend phones with Android.
It is good to look at which version of Android the smartphone you are about to buy is fitted, especially if it has a customized version from the smartphone manufacturer, because manufacturers are very slow to release updates. So look for phones with at least Android 9 or better Android 10.
Small note: some phones such as the Xiaomi A1 and A2 are sold with Android in stock version, or as it comes out of the Google software house without modifications and customizations made by the mobile phone manufacturer. The software is cleaner, less heavy and therefore probably faster, and will receive updates as soon as google releases them. The disadvantage is that the software is not optimized and there are no extra functions added by the manufacturers, such as particular gestures, a second space or clonable apps, etc.