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The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is the ReviewGist pick for the best cell phone to buy under $150. The Note 3 did a blockbuster launch in its home market of China and is the typical Xiaomi offering - class leading specs offered at an attractive price point.


1. Best Phablet under $150

The Redmi Note 3 is a phablet device with a 5.5 inch screen, a segment leading 16 MP camera, huge 2 GB RAM and a mammoth 4000 mAh battery. The only reason it might not be the best phone under $150 for you, is if you don't want to lug around a huge phone. But if you are looking for a cheap phablet with a great display and huge battery - maybe to watch a lot of movies on - the Redmi Note 3 is the best out there.


Our review round up confirms the value proposition of the Redmi Note 3. The Note 3 has seen a price drop and is now retailing just above the $150 barrier on Amazon.


..with some simple setup tweaks it is an excellent budget Android phone with a fantastic design and performance for the price.

The Redmi Note 3 performs admirably well in all areas - display, battery, performance. The only thing to watch out for probably is the camera. Our review round-up shows that the Note 3 isn't the best cell phone out there at this price point to click pictures.

 The 16MP primary camera on the Redmi Note 3 is a slight disappointment.

 Camera could have been better.


Lenovo Vibe K5

Lenovo Vibe K5


2. Best 5 inch cell phone under $150

At the #2 position in our best cell phone under $150 rankings is the Lenovo Vibe K5. The Vibe K5 is the best cheap android phone to buy if you are looking at a normal 5 inch device.

The K5 gets all the basics right - 13 MP camera, 2 GB RAM, Octacore processor, and a 2750 mAh battery. Reviews for the Vibe K5 confirm that while nothing really stands out, there is nothing which it gets wrong either. And at the $150 price point, the Vibe K5 is probably as good as it gets.


It's not every day you see an entry-level smartphone that does a decent job all round and we had a deja-vu moment with the Lenovo Vibe K5, after its Plus brother left a very positive impression a few months ago.


Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung Galaxy J5


3. Best Samsung cell phone under $150

The Samsung Galaxy J5 is our 3rd ranker for the best cell phone under $150 list. The Galaxy J line has done a consistently good job over the years dominating the cheap android handset niche.

The J5 does not disappoint and ticks all the right boxes with the basics - 13 MP Camera, 1.5 GB RAM and a 2600 mAh battery. The specs are almost the same as the Lenovo K5 and performance has been reviewed equally well.


The camera on the Galaxy J5 is really the phone's only issue, though, as the rest of it is great value. Its excellent screen and amazing battery life far exceed anything else in this price range. The only other slight downside is that it's unlikely to receive an upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The reason that the J5 scores below the K5 is because there has been some concerns raised with respect to the camera capabilities. Truth be told, a great low light camera performance or swift autofocus isn't really possible in any cheap phone on the market today.

 Detail levels were reasonably good, but the resulting photos weren't very satisfactory.

 The autofocus can also be quite slow and unreliable at times, especially while shooting macros.


Samsung Galaxy J3 2016

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)


4. Best no-frills cell phone under $150

At the 4th position in our best cellphone under $150 list is the Samsung Galaxy J3. The J3 was refreshed in July of 2016 and is retailing at around $100 on Amazon making it the cheapest best phone to buy.

The J3 is slightly lower spec'ed than the J5 - 8 MP camera, 5 inch screen and 2600 mAh battery. The reviews confirm that the J3's low price reflect in its performance all across the board.


Light users will do fine with Samsung's entry-level Galaxy J3, but you'll want a higher-powered phone if you plan to keep it around for two years or more.

That being said the J3 is still a robust Samsung device and if you are looking for a cheap, no-frills, android device which can do basic stuff like calls, messaging and hailing uber, the J3 is the best out there.


5. Best Moto under $150

Motorola has always held the niche in the smartphone market for value-based offerings with a stock Android setup. At the 5th position for the ReviewGist list of the best smartphone under 150 dollars is the cheap yet robust and competent offering from Motorola, the Moto G (3rd Gen).

The Moto G ticks all the right boxes with most of the feature set: great camera, decent battery life and a very good display. The only caveat here is that this Moto G does not support 4G so might not be the best choice if you are looking to do a lot of browsing. The Moto G is currently going for just below $150 on Amazon which makes it a great cheap smartphone to buy out there.



Xiaomi Redmi 3

Xiaomi Redmi 3


6. Best 5-inch phone with 4G and big battery under $150

If you are looking for a 4G version then might we recommend the Xiaomi Redmi 3. The Xiaomi's do not have a very good reputation relative to Motorola which is known for its robust devices. Even then the Redmi 3 is a pretty refined offering from Xiaomi and has seen very good sales in its home country of China. It comes with a beefy 4100 mAH battery, suffers a relatively lower quality display but is still our recommended pick for the best cheap smartphone with 4G under 150 dollars.


Browse All Top Cell Phones Under $150 - 2016 »

Comparison of the Top 5 Cell Phones Under $150 - 2016

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Lenovo Vibe K5
Samsung Galaxy J5
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
Moto G (3rd Gen)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Lenovo Vibe K5
Samsung Galaxy J5
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
Moto G (3rd gen)
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Release Date
Dec 2015
Aug 2016
Sep 2015
Jul 2016
Jul 2015
Digital Camera Resolution
16.0 MP
13.0 MP
13.0 MP
8.0 MP
13.0 MP
Installed RAM (GB)
2.0 GB
2.0 GB
1.5 GB
1.5 GB
1.0 GB
Screen Size(Diagonal)
5.5 inch
5.0 inch
5.0 inch
5.0 inch
5.0 inch
Front Webcam Resolution
5.0 MP
5.0 MP
5.0 MP
5.0 MP
5.0 MP
Processor Type
Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 & Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A72
Octa-core (4x1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.2 GHz Cortex-A53), 1.2GHz  octa-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 415
Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A7, Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 - J320A
Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53, 1.4GHz  quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
Battery Capacity
4000.0 mAh
2750.0 mAh
2600.0 mAh
2600.0 mAh
2470.0 mAh
Operating System
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop), Android 5.1
Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop), upgradable to v6.0 (Marshmallow), Android 5.1.1
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