Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds.
Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
ExpertiseContent strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
If you're strapped for cash or just don't want to spend the money on
's Galaxy S8 and larger S8 Plus, you do have options. Lots of good ones, in fact. Because at $750 and $850 in the US, £689 and £779 in the UK, and AU$1,199 and AU$1,349 in Australia, Samsung's phones cost a pretty penny.
The cheap-but-good Android alternatives cost a fraction of the price and keep the compromises in check. You won't see a curved screen, built-in wireless charging or every camera mode, but you'll get a competent phone that does the basics well -- and often far more.
Motorola Moto Z2 Play
Watch this: See Moto Z2 Play's almost-killer feature
This 5.5-inch phone has a beautiful screen, takes pretty good photos on its 12-megapixel camera and has room for a ton of extra storage. Software details add pizzazz, like saying the name of an app to get it to launch. That's a feature we really grew to love. Snap-on Mods personalize the phone the phone and can extend its battery life or blast tunes for an impromptu party. It'll sell this July for $500, which converts to about £390 or AU$675. Read the Moto Z2 Play review.
Motorola Moto G5 Plus
The Moto family has been the reigning champ of midrange phones for a long time, and for good reason. Its latest G5 Plus starts at just $229 and £259 (that converts to about AU$300) but offers a roomy 5.2-inch display, a 12-megapixel camera and a splashproof design. Read the G5 Plus review.
Watch this: The Motorola Moto G5 Plus makes it look easy
Starting at $479, £449 and about AU$750 converted, the OnePlus 5 was given CNET's Editors' Choice Award because of its hardware, performance and price. It's equipped with the speedy Snapdragon 835 chipset, a long-lasting 3,300mAh battery and two rear cameras (which includes a telephoto lens to create "bokeh" portrait photos) that stands up against the iPhone 7 Plus and other Android rivals. Read the OnePlus 5 review.
Watch this: OnePlus 5 is the best, cheapest premium phone
Samsung Galaxy A7
Despite its dated Android 6.0 Marshmallow software, the Galaxy A7 looks just like the Galaxy S7 and has a 22-hour battery life. It having NFC also means you can use Android Pay. Read the Galaxy A7 review.
Watch this: Samsung's Galaxy A7 (2017) is a great midrange phone
Samsung Galaxy S7
It may be last year's flagship, but the Galaxy S7 is still a great phone. (And now that the S8 is out, retailers are offering the predecessor with deep discounts). The S7 features a 5.1-inch display, the Qualcomm 820 Snapdragon chipset and a 12-megapixel camera. Oh and just like the S8, it's water-resistant, too. Read the Galaxy S7 review.
Watch this: The Samsung Galaxy S7 is how a phone should be
Huawei Honor 8 or Honor 8 Pro
If you can get over its ho-hum battery life, the Honor 8 is a slick little package that combines good photos from a dual-lens camera with a useful customizable button and a fingerprint reader. And it's easy to use one-handed. You can also seriously up-level to the Honor 8 Pro, if it's available where you are. It costs £474 directly from Huawei (roughly converted to $610 in the US or AU$820 in Australia). Read the Honor 8 review and Honor 8 Pro review.
Watch this: Huawei's Honor 8 Pro packs a punch but won't drain your bank account
ZTE Axon 7
ZTE has come a long way in the last few years, as shown by the Axon 7 -- the company's best-looking phone to date. In addition to its sophisticated design, it also has a zippy processor and very loud speakers. Read the Axon 7 review.
Watch this: ZTE gets luxe with Axon 7 phone
This story originally published April 20, 2017, and is updated periodically.
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