Top Affordable Samsung Phones of 2024: Quality on a Budget

Even though Samsung’s premium smartphones often grab the spotlight, their more budget-friendly models offer a nearly identical OneUI Android experience and, in many instances, surprisingly capable hardware. While they might not match the high-end phones in terms of performance, the affordability of these models, priced hundreds of dollars lower, makes them quite appealing to many users. Despite the cost difference, these budget-friendly Samsung phones still deliver a solid OneUI Android implementation and reasonably competent hardware, offering users a practical and cost-effective alternative to the flagship options.

While they may not boast the same level of power or feature the most cutting-edge camera hardware, Samsung’s more budget-friendly devices are still highly functional gadgets, adept at handling everyday tasks with ease and minimal hassle. Despite not being as numerous in the lineup and not seeing frequent additions from Samsung, the company has recently introduced the Galaxy A15 and Galaxy A25 in the US. We’re actively working to acquire these devices for testing, aiming to provide insights into whether they offer good value for your hard-earned money or not. Stay tuned as we explore the capabilities and performance of these new additions to Samsung’s budget-friendly range.

Samsung A54 5G Budget Smartphone Samsung Budget Smartphone

Upon first glance at the Galaxy A54, it’s easy to mistake it for a member of the premium S23 family, especially the Galaxy S23+. Almost identical in size, it boasts the right form factor for most users, presenting itself as a premium device with a sleek and stylish appearance.

However, the Galaxy A54 goes beyond aesthetics. Featuring front and rear Gorilla Glass 5, an IP67 durability rating, and Samsung’s well-regarded One UI Android skin, it proves to be a promising contender, offering durability and a user-friendly interface at any cost. What sets it apart further is its impressive display – an OLED panel with a remarkable 1,000-nit peak brightness, HDR10+ support, a 120Hz refresh rate, and, notably, a higher pixel density than the S23+. Surpassing even the S Series, the Galaxy A54 includes the coveted microSD card slot, adding to its appeal for users who value expandable storage options.

Despite its impressive features, the Galaxy A54 does have a notable drawback – the Exynos 1380 SoC. While the top-tier Snapdragons found in $1,000 phones may be considered overkill for many users who may not notice significant performance differences between generations of flagship chipsets, the Exynos lineup, especially the 1380, takes a step down from the Snapdragons commonly used in tech devices. This difference in processing power might be a concern for users who prioritize high-end performance and rely on the capabilities of advanced chipsets. It’s essential to weigh the overall value and intended usage against this specific aspect when considering the Galaxy A54.

Premium Performance

While the Galaxy A54 may feature the Exynos 1380 SoC and isn’t on par with its pricier counterparts, it doesn’t mean its performance is subpar. In reality, it offers a commendable experience for day-to-day use, delivering smooth animations, quick app loading, and an overall satisfactory performance. Compared to other Samsung phones outside the S Series family, excluding our premium pick that utilizes a Snapdragon SoC (at least in the US), the Galaxy A54 stands out as one of the best performers.

For most users, this phone should handle everyday tasks exceptionally well and continue to do so even beyond its eventual full OS update to Android 17. Despite the differences in processing power compared to higher-end models, the Galaxy A54 proves to be a reliable choice for those seeking a balance between performance and affordability in a Samsung device.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Budget Smartphone Samsung Budget Smartphone

Certainly, while this list compiles the best budget-friendly Samsung phones, the Galaxy S23 FE, priced at $600, may not fit everyone’s definition of “cheap.” However, when you consider its striking resemblance to the S23+, a premium model priced at about $1,000, the Galaxy S23 FE becomes a compelling option. If you’re someone who seeks top-notch quality but is also keen on saving a few bucks, the S23 FE provides a worthwhile compromise, offering a balance between excellence and cost-effectiveness in the Samsung lineup.

The OLED display of the Galaxy S23 FE, while just slightly trailing the S23+, is hardly distinguishable, with only a negligible difference of 300 nits in peak brightness. It boasts excellent variable refresh rate support and color reproduction, ensuring a high-quality visual experience. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset powering the device, while not the absolute fastest, is still quite capable and won’t lag behind in performance throughout its entire Android update lifespan.

Impressive Camera

Moreover, the cameras on the Galaxy S23 FE are noteworthy, delivering impressive and vibrant images, thanks to Samsung’s colorful image processing. While the results may lean towards vividness rather than perfect realism, the overall camera performance adds to the appeal of the device. In essence, the Galaxy S23 FE presents a compelling package, offering a stellar display, competent chipset, and noteworthy camera capabilities at a more affordable price point compared to its premium counterparts.

While the S23 FE isn’t without its flaws – occasional thermal throttling, less-than-stellar battery life, and cameras that don’t quite match up to the non-FE S Series models – it still stands as the closest you’ll get within the Galaxy family to a flagship experience. Despite its imperfections, if you’re comfortable relying on its wireless charging feature to boost it during demanding days of use, the S23 FE offers a flagship-like experience without the hefty price tag. It strikes a balance between performance and affordability, making it a viable option for users seeking a premium experience without breaking the bank.

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Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Budget Smartphone Samsung Budget Smartphone

The Galaxy A14, positioned as an entry-level device, is turning heads, particularly due to its impressive 5G performance, a feature not easily matched by many competitors. While its hardware may not reach the heights of most devices in Samsung’s lineup, it functions perfectly well for users who aren’t overly particular and don’t engage in heavy phone usage throughout the day. The A14 proves to be a practical and cost-effective choice for those seeking reliable performance with the added benefit of 5G connectivity, making it stand out in the entry-level smartphone market.

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The Galaxy A14 shares common features with other budget-friendly phones, such as microSD storage expansion and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. However, what sets it apart are the notable inclusions that defy its price point, most notably the incorporation of 5G connectivity. Additionally, the A14 played a role in making high-refresh-rate displays more accessible to the mainstream with its 90Hz display, a noteworthy feature in an affordable handset.

Decent Camera

Moreover, the camera performance of the Galaxy A14 surpasses expectations for a device in its price range. These “despite the price” features contribute to making the A14 a compelling option, providing users with a budget-friendly smartphone that doesn’t compromise on essential functionalities and even introduces some advancements that were previously associated with higher-end models.

While the Galaxy A14 may not be mistaken for a pricier S-Series Galaxy, it undeniably provides a solid Samsung mobile experience, complete with the assurance of four years of full Android updates. Though locating the A14 at a price near its Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) can be challenging in the current market conditions, if you manage to do so, it stands out as one of the top choices among entry-level phones. Offering a reliable Samsung experience and long-term software support, the Galaxy A14 proves to be a commendable option for users seeking a budget-friendly smartphone without compromising on essential features.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G Budget Smartphone Samsung Budget Smartphone

If you’re having difficulty finding the Galaxy A14 for purchase or it doesn’t quite meet your requirements, the A23 could be the incremental upgrade you’re seeking. Powered by the Snapdragon 695, it runs faster, cooler, and more efficiently compared to its relatives’ Exynos SoCs. The standout feature is the 120Hz display, a rarity among phones in the $300 price range. Additionally, the main camera performance leaves little to be desired, adding to the appeal of the A23 as a solid choice for users looking for enhanced features in a budget-friendly device.

While the Galaxy A23 has its merits, there are some downsides to consider. Despite the impressive main lens, the overall camera performance falls short, particularly with the ultra-wide, macro, and depth lenses, which don’t significantly contribute to the picture-taking experience. Similar to the A14, there’s a level of disappointment in the challenge of finding this model in new condition, although it’s feasible with persistent searching.

However, if you manage to secure the A23, it stands out as one of the top low-priced models offering 5G support. It provides users with a compelling example of why Samsung’s Android implementation is widely appreciated, showcasing a commendable balance between features and affordability in the budget-friendly smartphone market.

Samsung Galaxy A03s Budget Smartphone

Let’s be clear, the Galaxy A03s isn’t designed to be a high-performance device, and it was never intended to be one. Its sole purpose is to provide the Samsung experience on a basic piece of hardware, and in that aspect, it succeeds quite well. While it doesn’t offer the same polished interface, camera capabilities, or overall processing performance as its counterparts, it stands out as a budget-friendly option. Moreover, it comes with a lower price tag compared to nearly every other phone we review, particularly if you can find it on sale. The Galaxy A03s caters to users seeking a no-frills smartphone experience at an affordable cost.

Compared to mid-range and high-end phones, the Galaxy A03s may not boast many standout features. However, it recently received an update to Android 13 in most markets, marking its final major software iteration. Despite this, it will continue to receive security patches for approximately two more years. While the device’s internal storage is notably limited, it manages to run most Android apps reasonably well.

In terms of photography, the Galaxy A03s may not capture exceptional images, but it typically produces pictures that are sufficient for identifying subjects. However, where it truly excels is in its affordability. If you manage to find it on sale or bundled with a carrier at around $100, the Galaxy A03s serves as a competent backup phone and can adequately mimic the functionality of more powerful Galaxy smartphones.

Conclusion: Picking the Right Budget Smartphone

Despite the limited options available, we’re quite satisfied with the Galaxy lineup’s offerings in the entry-level and mid-range categories. The A54 stands out as a clear winner. It provides an almost perfect combination of outstanding software, good-to-great hardware. The design and build quality closely rival that of the S Series. While the S23 FE leans heavily into flagship territory with its premium features, the $600 MSRP is not what most consumers would consider budget friendly. The A54, on the other hand, strikes a commendable balance between performance and affordability, making it an excellent choice in the mid-range segment.

Once you venture into the lower price range, things become a bit trickier, primarily due to limited availability. The Galaxy A14 and A23 are both commendable choices. However, finding them in new condition from a reputable retailer can be a challenge. Especially if you aim to avoid international models.

At the bottom of the range, the A03s doesn’t boast impressive specifications or reviews. However, it’s a functional phone that gets the job done. If you’re familiar with and content with the performance of Samsung smartphones and want to stick with a brand you trust, the A03s could be worth considering. Particularly if you can snag it for around $100. While it may not offer top-tier features, it serves as a viable option for basic smartphone functionality at an affordable price point.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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