- 1. Moto G7 Power
- 2. Honor Play
- 3. Honor 10
- 4. Honor 8X
- 5. Nokia 6.1
- 6. The Moto E5 Plus
- 7. Pocophone F1
- 8. Motorola Z3
- 9. iPhone SE
- 10. Huwaei P30 Lite
Gone are the days when you’ll feel like you’re settling whenever you don’t buy a flagship phone.
These days, the sub-$300 market is filled with budget gaming phones that are so good that you’ll very rarely feel the difference between them and their more expensive counterparts.
Sure, there’ll be a couple of compromises. For example, storage capacity won’t be as generous. But, then again, you can easily solve that by either buying a microSD card or an OTG storage device.
Even the design aspect, which used to be the biggest gripe with “budget” phones, is no longer a big deal breaker.
If you’re on a budget, you can still get a smartphone with a decently-sized and sharp screen that’s capable of running even the most popular of apps, featuring a design that rivals that of flagship phones.
Plus, the cameras of budget phones lately are surprisingly good as well.
Put simply, what we’re trying to say is that you no longer have to spend a big chunk of money to get a capable gaming smartphone.
Below, we rounded up some of the best budget gaming phones available today, to help prove to you that there’s excellent value to be had in the smartphones found in the low/medium budget price range segment.
Remember when we said earlier that you don’t have to spend big money to get a capable gaming smartphone?
Well, meet Exhibit A.
The Moto G7 Power has everything you could expect in a premium smartphone — except for the price.
There’s the near 16-hour long battery life, as per numerous battery tests, a 6.2-inch display with near-to-nonexistent bezels, an impressive 12 megapixel camera, and finally, a Snapdragon 632 processor to help tie it all together. The phone can has TurboPower Charging via USB-C, so rest assured that you won’t be out of commission for too long when the inevitable low battery prompt comes.
2. Honor Play
Literally billed as a smartphone built for gaming, the Honor Play delivers on its promise and them some.
Equipped with the Kirin 970 CPU and with as much real estate as you can get from this price point with a 6.3-inch FHD+ screen that has an 89 percent screen-to-body ratio, the Honor Play isn’t so much as a runner-up to the Moto G7 Power that we recommended earlier as it is more of a 1B.
Topped off with a 7.1 Histen audio system, 64GB of internal storage, and solid cameras, the Honor Play will definitely make you wonder why anyone would bother spending money on a flagship phone.
3. Honor 10
At its original price when it first released, the Honor 10 wouldn’t even be close to making it to our list. But, that’s not because it didn’t have much value. Rather, it’s because it was a bit too expensive to be considered a “budget” gaming phone.
Now that the price has gone down, the Honor 10 is a no-brainer purchase if you’re looking for arguably the same specifications that the newer Honor Play has to offer but in a more stylish and pleasant package.
A former flagship device, the Honor 10 screams premium thorough and through.
From its beautiful body finish to the superb camera and the more gorgeous, albeit smaller display, the Honor 10 is an excellent value-for-money gaming smartphone.
4. Honor 8X
With the Honor Play, you can get one of the best value smartphones available on the market today.
The Honor 8X checks all of the boxes that anyone would need in a gaming smartphone, let alone an all around phone. From the full-screen design to its solid performance and dual cameras as well as metal chassis that belies its budget-range stature, the value of the Honor 8X can be hard to beat.
If there’s one caveat, it’s probably that the Honor 8X isn’t available in the United States yet locally.
But, don’t worry, the slightly slower (and cheaper) Honor 7X is an excellent alternative if you really can’t wait for the Honor 8X to arrive in a couple of weeks.
5. Nokia 6.1
Arguably the best budget gaming phone in our roundup, the Nokia 6.1 is cheaper than the others on our list and, yet, just as capable.
It’s true that none of the specifications of the Nokia 6.1 will wow you.
The Snapdragon 630 is decent but not spectacular and the screen is definitely not something you’d write home about. But, it’s the total package, which includes everything from the aforementioned processor, to the very capable 3GB/4GB ram, and 32GB/64GB internal storage, as well as very affordable price tag, that makes the Nokia 6.1 such a good buy.
If you’re the sort of gamer who needs nothing more than something that lets you play games with your friends, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value than the Nokia 6.1.
An alternative to the Nokia 6.1, the Moto E5 Plus might just be the better value of the two, with a bigger and better screen, as well as a bigger battery, with the only caveat being that the Snapdragon 435 that it comes equipped with definitely isn’t going to be as snappy as the Snapdragon 630 of the Nokia 6.1.
For the same reasons that you’re thinking of buying the Nokia 6.1, the Moto E5 Plus is worthy of consideration.
In case you wanted something different and the Nokia 6.1 looks just isn’t doing it for you, the Moto E5 Plus is a good choice.
7. Pocophone F1
In terms of feature-set, the Pocophone F1 is definitely on the low-end of our list.
It doesn’t punch well above its weight, per say, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not capable of going toe-to-toe with slightly more expensive handsets, especially when it comes to gaming.
So long as you’re willing to live with the thick bezels, the 6.12-inch Full HD+ screen, Snapdragon 845 Processor, 6GB of ram (can come with 8GB for the more expensive variant) and 4000mAh battery means that you’ll be gaming happily for hours on the performance-oriented Pocophone F1.
For pure raw compute and gaming performance, the Pocophone F1 is a near no-brainer.
8. Motorola Z3
The only smartphone on our list with a base price of a little higher end budget phone, the Motorola Z3 offers near-flagship performance for its price.
Equipped with a slightly older but still capable Snapdragon 835, a 12-megapixel dual camera, and a robust 3,000 mAh battery, along with a 64GB internal memory, the Motorola Z3 is an excellent gaming phone.
But, the built-in hardware isn’t the only reason why we included the Motorola Z3 on our list.
With Moto Mods, the Z3 can be made to be the ultimate gaming phone as you can fit it with a number of add-ons, including the Moto Gamepad, which adds another 1035 mAh to its internal battery, as well as two joysticks, a D-pad, as well as four face buttons and two shoulder buttons per side.
Unfortunately, Moto Mods many come at an added premium, which is why the Motorola Z3 finds itself this low on our list.
If you’re looking for a device purely for gaming, however, the Z3 is hard to beat.
9. iPhone SE
As with any iPhone, the iPhone SE’s specifications won’t jump off of the page. But, thanks to Apple’s clever iOS optimization, the iPhone SE is capable of punching well above its weight, which is exactly why it finds itself on our list.
Sure, the small screen is a big trade-off. However, it’s also a huge selling point for those looking for something more diminutive.
Plus, smaller screen also means the phone’s battery isn’t taxed as much as well, making for a surprisingly long battery life that you can use to play even the most popular games without making too many compromises.
Considering that Apple likely won’t drop support for the iPhone SE for at least two years, a new SE is one of the more logical gaming smartphone choices if you’re looking for something small and compact, or you just want to get your hands on the most reasonably-priced iPhone that you can get today.
10. Huwaei P30 Lite
Are the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro too rich for your tastes? Don’t worry. The budget-friendly Huwaei P30 Lite isn’t that big of a step down compared to its more expensive and more powerful brothers, despite sporting a much, much lower price tag.
Sure, the P30 Lite lacks the top-end processors and cameras of the P30 and P30 Pro, but the 6.15-inch screen and 6GB of ram makes it one of the more competitive cameras at its price range.
A robust UI and fast-charging capabilities also make the P30 Lite a breeze to use.
As for gaming, well, the P30 Lite is arguably on the low-end compared to the other smartphones on our list, especially when given the price. But, if you’re looking for a good all-around phone with solid gaming performance, it’s hard to pass up on what the P30 Lite has to offer.
Final Thoughts on budget gaming phones
As you can see, what constitutes as “budget gaming phones” has changed dramatically over the past few years, with today’s more affordable offerings more powerful than ever.
With the flagships comfortably priced at well over $1,000 and mid-range phones at half the price, the budget gaming phones are an excellent alternative, especially since there’s not as much compromise as most are led to believe.
If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a capable budget gaming phone, then you’d best look at the list we prepared for you.
You’ll definitely be able to find what you’re looking for once you reach the end!