Content creators live on our phones. Even those who use traditional cameras and software to create know that a smartphone is vital to reaching an audience. The problem is smartphones are wildly expensive. How do you balance price and technical features to get the perfect middle ground? Thankfully, you don’t have to sacrifice.
The best budget smartphones for creators are also some of the best smartphones on the market. If it’s time to upgrade your device, look at these options before buying the latest upgrade.
What Should Creators Look For In A Smartphone?
Your needs as a creator will differ, but most of us need the same basic things if we’re honest. Look for a smartphone that has a powerful camera and good battery life. The actual power of your phone isn’t going to be incredibly important, mainly because today’s biggest apps are fighting for attention on the world stage.
Millions of people can only afford an inexpensive phone, so apps like TikTok and Instagram can’t afford to lock them out. There’s almost no chance you’ll find a phone you can afford that can’t run the apps you need. We’ve ensured every device here can use your favorite apps, including essentials like Venmo which help creators get paid.
The Best Smartphones For Creators At Any Budget
1) Best Budget Android Phone For Creators: Google Pixel 7a
For creators who are balling on a budget, it doesn’t get better than the Google Pixel 7a, available unlocked for under $500. The Pixel 7a has a large, but not too large, 6-inch OLED display for watching and editing content. Google gave this phone killer front-facing cameras with two lenses at 64MP (wide, ƒ/1.9) + 12MP (ultrawide, ƒ/2.2) respectively. These lenses deliver incredible photos.
Pixel 7a also includes Google’s impressive Magic Eraser feature to remove random strangers from the background of your photos. Battery life isn’t an issue with the Pixel 7a, thanks to its adaptive battery that delivers up to 24 hours of life. There’s also an extreme battery-saver mode that can last up to 72 hours.
Google’s Tensor G2 chip helps it deliver incredibly crips images, crystal clear audio, and enhanced security features. Heck, it even has a VPN from Google One. This phone comes unlocked, meaning you can take it to any carrier you want. Google Pixel 7a is a budget-minded phone with premium features at an incredible price.
2) Best Budget iPhone For Creators: iPhone 13 Mini
The sad reality of life is there isn’t a budget iPhone for creators. Apple has made it almost a personality trait that its gear is wildly expensive. But fret not; a secret wonder is waiting: the iPhone 13 Mini.
The 13 Mini is the unsung beast from Cupertino, delivering lightning-fast performance and two 12MP lenses for less than the Pixel 7a. These lenses, ƒ/1.6 aperture primary lens and an ultra-wide ƒ/2.4 aperture lens with 120° field of view, produce great video and photos in a tiny package.
This 5-inch delight is a welcome change from the massive smartphones that have dominated the market. It slips into your pocket easily and doesn’t weigh you down. With a 5.4-inch OLED display, you can precisely edit your content without needing a massive phone. Apple’s A15 Bionic chip is blazingly fast, even after prolonged use. And it’s compatible with all of today’s biggest apps. Even programs like Adobe’s Lightroom sing on the 13 Mini.
It can record in 4K or 1080p up to 60fps and even has a powerful timelapse mode for nighttime shots. Add to that the security and reliability of Apple, and the iPhone 13 Mini feels like a much more expensive phone. You could break the bank by getting an iPhone 14. But why waste money when the 13 Mini is the best sleeper iPhone around?
3) Best Ultra Budget Smartphone For Creators: Realme C35
Everyone’s idea of a budget is different. But when you genuinely are looking to save the most money imaginable while still getting an incredible creative experience, the Realme c35 sings. For under $170, you get an unlocked Android phone with three fantastic 50mp lenses.
That’s right, three 50mp lenses; you get a f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.76 “, 0.64µm, PDAF 2 MP, and f/2.4 (macro). For under $170, that is an unbelievable deal.
The C35 has a beautiful 6.6-inch HD display, delivering plenty of room to navigate apps and edit photos/videos. We wish the display were a little brighter, as it pales compared to any mainstream iPhone or Android. However, it more than makes up for its screen by having an incredible battery life and three wildly powerful cameras.
You’ll have no problem crafting your next brilliant TikTok or documenting a day at the museum with the C35. The C35 is the perfect phone for anyone who thinks you must drop hundreds to get an incredible camera. It has a MicroSD port, so you can always add more storage if the standard 128GB doesn’t meet your needs.
4) Best Budget Name Brand Smartphone For Creators: Google Pixel 6a
a 6.1-inch OLED display, powerful all-day battery life, and two powerful 12.2MP, ƒ/1.7 + 12MP, ƒ/2.2 lenses. It comes unlocked for just $257.99 from major retailers, freeing you to take it to whatever carrier you wish.
You might imagine it’s lacking features like the Magic Eraser that its older brother, the 7a, has, but you would be wrong. The 6a takes beautiful sharp photos and can record video up to 4K, which is wild given it’s sub $300 price point.
There are a few downsides, but they’re things like reduced battery life compared to the 7a, which should be expected. The Pixel 6a is a fantastic phone. If you’re a parent looking to get their kid a smartphone to learn content creation, this would be our pick.
It’s the perfect mix of power and price point. But even adults looking to explore their creativity without a monthly payment plan will find a ton to love here.