Best Budget Phones for Working Online

You can start working online as a remote worker by using a smartphone even if you don’t have the budget for a laptop yet.

Using phones to do online jobs is very viable, in fact, the article “How to Work from Home Using Mobile Phones” on this very website was written and uploaded through a smartphone.

But not all phones are made equal. Different kinds of online jobs require different features that will help you complete the tasks properly.

In this article, you’ll get practical recommendations on budget phones that will help you earn money online until you can upgrade to a laptop.

So, grouped below are the best budget phones for working online according to what jobs you can do with them. That way, you can plan what to buy and use without spending more than necessary. Also, they are all available on Shopee and Lazada so you can check the reviews before buying.

best budget phones for working online 1
Phone for Working from Home | Photo by Ylanite Koppens

When you use your phone for working online, your setup will look a little something like this:

best budget phones for working online 2

It’s almost like a laptop except you have a much smaller screen. The laptop stand, keyboard, and mouse pictured here are all work-from-phone accessories bought through local electronic shops.

You can also work with the phone in a vertical position instead of horizontal like in the picture. It all depends on what app you are using and what job you are doing.

From our experience working online using mobile phones, here are some recommendations of features that you should be looking for:

  • Display Size of 5” or Above – Screen size is one of the key features that will determine whether you can work on your phone comfortably or not. You should only get a phone with a display size of 5 inches and above. If the screen is too small, you would need to lean in much closer when you are doing your tasks. That posture is bad for your body and you’d find it very uncomfortable working on your phone.

 

  • Availability of Accessories for Working on Your Phone – Depending on your profession, there’s essential work from phone equipment, such as an external keyboard or a stylus, you need for doing the job properly. Most phones have Bluetooth capability and a USB port that will allow you to use these gadgets but always check for any compatibility issues before buying.

 

  • Compatibility of Work from Phone Apps – Some cheap and outdated phones will have an older version of their respective OS. Whether it’s Android or iOS, it’s possible that the OS can’t be updated to the latest version and it will be incompatible with the apps you need for work. So, make sure to check the system requirements of your required work from phone apps before buying a budget phone for working online.

 

  • Recommended RAM – Most apps you need for doing online jobs on your phone aren’t really that RAM intensive unless you are working with graphics and videos. For most jobs that only use office apps like Word or Excel, then a 2GB RAM is enough. You can even do a bit of multitasking with that level of RAM, but don’t open too many tabs on your web browser. If you are working with graphics and videos, then you should get a budget phone with at least 4 to 6GB of RAM. This will ensure that you have a smooth working experience even if you are using multiple apps at the same time.

 

  • Durability – If you plan to use your phone to work outdoors, you might want to invest in a budget rugged phone. It’s true that you can always add protection to your phone by equipping it with a phone case and applying tempered glass. However, that won’t protect it from water if it suddenly rains or if you plan to work from the beach. You’d also want a phone that’s bright enough so that you can see the screen under the sun’s glare.

Best Budget Phones for Working Online Under ₱3,000

What jobs can you do on budget phones priced below ₱3,000?

  • Chatroom Management
  • Light Data Entry
  • Light Web Research
  • Light Writing (First Line, Ad Copy, Blog, Email, and Newsletter)

These are the cheapest phones for working online available in the Philippines. You can’t expect to use them for apps that are very system intensive, but you should be able to run most office apps and browsers.

When using these budget phones, you have to be mindful of how many apps are open at the same time due to the low amount of RAM and weak processor. Multitasking might be difficult – doable but uncomfortable.

The small amount of storage also means you can only use these budget phones only for working online. You won’t have space for large files, such as photos, games, and videos. Since you are using the phone for doing online jobs, prioritize your work files and apps.

You also can’t expect these phones to last you for a long time, but they’re good enough to tide you over until you can earn some money to upgrade to better devices. You should also be careful about using these budget phones outside since they’re not exactly known for their durability.

IMPORTANT: These budget phones under 3000 may not have the latest operating system installed (Android or other). Make sure that the work-from-phone app you need is compatible with the phone before buying.

1. Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Lite

best budget phones for working online 3 (Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Lite)

Specifications:

Display Size: 5.71” HD+ TrueView Teardrop Display

OS: Android 9 Pie

Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable to 128GB with microSD)

Battery: 2500mAh

CPU: 2.0GHz Octa-Core Mediatek P23

GPU: Mali-G71 MP2

Chipset: MediaTek Helio P23

Camera: 8MP + 2MP Rear & 5MP Front Camera

Connectivity: LTE Ready

Price: ₱2,999 from Official Cherry Website & Lazada Store

The Cherry Mobile Aqua S10 Lite is probably the cheapest modern budget phone you’ll find that has at least a 5” display size.

Its 2GB RAM is enough for most light office apps, such as Microsoft Word or Google Sheets. A 16GB storage is also enough for storing documents, spreadsheets, and other kinds of work files. If you do find yourself working with larger files, you can expand your storage using a microSD card.

The battery is small at only 2500mAh. During an 8-hour work day, you’ll probably find yourself plugging your phone to recharge often.

Cherry Mobile isn’t exactly known for its durability so make sure to take care of your phone well. Protect yourself from losing your work by saving your files on a cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Your biggest concern is the older OS used in this phone. Android 9 is still currently supported by popular office apps, but you still need to check if the app you need will work with this older OS.

Despite the drawbacks, overall, this phone will do its job so you can do yours. It’s only as powerful as you can expect from its price point, but that’s enough in helping you to start earning from an online job as a beginner.

Best Budget Phones for Working Online Under ₱5,000

What jobs can you do on budget phones priced below ₱5,000?

  • Basic Audio Editing
  • Basic Graphic Design
  • Basic Video Editing
  • Chatroom Management
  • Consulting & Tutoring
  • Data Entry
  • Social Media Management
  • Specialist Virtual Assistants
  • Tech Support
  • Transcription
  • Web Research
  • Writing

This price range opens up more options for your online career. At 2GB of RAM, multitasking is still limited but you should be able to work comfortably using most office apps even if they are running at the same time. Still, you should be mindful of opening too many apps or too many tabs on your web browser at the same time since they use up a lot of memory.

You’ll also be able to do graphic design and video editing work but nothing too system intensive. To give you a better idea, you can make graphics on Canva for Facebook posts but you won’t be able to add complex effects to your videos.

The screen size is now also much larger at above 6” across the budget phones in this range. You’ll be able to see more of what you are working on so you can do your job better.

There are still some limitations in terms of battery size, camera, processor, network capabilities, and OS on budget phones in this price range. You’ll have to check each phone’s specifications carefully and decide on where you are okay to compromise.

1. Nokia C10 (2GB RAM Version)

best budget phones for working online 4 (Nokia C10 2GB)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.5” HD+ V-notch display

OS: Android 11 (Go edition)

Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expand to 256GB with microSD)

Battery: 3000mAh

CPU: Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7

GPU: Mali-400 MP2

Chipset: Unisoc SC7331E (28nm)

Camera: 5MP Rear & 5MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 3G

Price: ₱3,990 from Nokia’s Official Lazada Store

With just a small step up in price from the previous budget, you can get a Nokia phone with a 6.5” HD screen and 2GB RAM. This should make it easier for people doing writing, data entry, web research, and other similar work much more comfortably.

With an operating system of Android 11, you also don’t have to worry about app compatibility as much. However, the weaker 1.3 GHz means you might find it difficult to do image and video editing work on this phone.

But the largest drawback of the Nokia C10 is that it can only support a network speed of up to 3G. It can be infuriating if you need to work outside using your mobile data, but you’ll have no problems if you are just working at home using your WiFi.

2. Infinix Smart 6 PLUS

best budget phones for working online 5 (Infinix Smart 6 PLUS)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.82” HD+ Sunlight display

OS: Android 11

Memory: 2+2GB Extended RAM, 64GB storage (expandable with microSD)

Battery: 5000mAh

CPU: Octa-core 12nm processor

Camera: 8MP AI Rear & 5MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 4G

Price: ₱4,790 from Infinix’s Official Lazada Store

At the higher end of this price range is the Infinix Smart 6 Plus. You won’t find many other budget phones with a screen larger than its 6.82” display. It also features a built-in 2GB RAM and uses part of the phone’s memory to add an extra 2GB of virtual RAM to make the device run faster and smoother.

It also has a large 5000mAh battery, a recent Android 11 OS, and allows up to 4G connectivity. The Infinix Smart 6 Plus also looks very premium with its smooth and glossy finish.

The only thing questionable about this phone is the lack of information about its CPU and chipset. On the box, it says it uses an Octa-core 12nm processor but they did not specify exactly which one it is.

But even so, this phone can definitely pull its weight. You can conduct your Zoom calls, write documents, create graphics, edit videos, make music, and do many other kinds of work on this phone with little trouble. It’s cheap compared to the power you can get, so try to test the limits of what jobs you can do on this budget phone if you do get it.

Best Budget Phones for Working Online Under ₱7,500

What jobs can you do on budget phones priced below ₱7,500?

  • Audio Editing
  • App Testing
  • Basic Coding
  • Graphic Design
  • General Virtual Assistants
  • Most Office Work
  • Video Editing

You can expect a faster and more consistent performance from budget phones at this price range, just not top-level performance. You’re unlikely to encounter any major performance issues when doing most kinds of office work, from creating large spreadsheets to conducting video calls with multiple people.

You should be able to complete moderately system-intensive jobs, such as graphic design and video editing work, much more smoothly as well. However, these budget phones won’t be enough for color-accurate design and editing work if the job requires it.

The display screen also doesn’t get much larger compared to the earlier ones, though this is typically the upper limit of sizes for phones.

Also, unlike the previous price range, there are not many disadvantages of using one phone over the other if you are just using them for office work. Most of the budget phones in this price range have similar specs so go for the brand you are most comfortable with. But if your profession is related to coding, video editing, or graphic design, then you may need to consider your choice more carefully.

1. Nokia C30 (3GB RAM + 64GB ROM Version)

best budget phones for working online 6 (Nokia C30)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.82” HD+ V-notch display

OS: Android 11 (Go edition)

Memory: 3GB RAM, 64GB storage (expandable to 256GB with microSD)

Battery: 6000mAh

CPU: Octa-core 1.6GHz (4*A55 1.6GHz+4*A55 1.2GHz)

GPU: IMG8322

Chipset: Unisoc SC9863A (28nm)

Camera: 13 MP Main (Rear) + 2 MP Depth + 5MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 4G LTE

Price: ₱6,690 from Nokia’s Official Lazada Store

The Nokia C30 is another big screen phone at 6.82”. Tough for people with small hands, but perfect as a substitute for a laptop screen. It also has a long-lasting battery at 6000mAh so you can work through the day without being interrupted to charge your phone.

However, it’s not the fastest phone in this price range with only 3GB of RAM but can do its job if you are just mainly doing office and administrative work. You might experience some difficulties with video editing jobs, so if that’s your profession, then look elsewhere.

If you do want a Nokia phone with a higher RAM, check out the Nokia G10 (4GB RAM + 64GB ROM Version). It has a smaller display compared to the Nokia C30, but with a higher RAM, you are able to multitask more if necessary for your job. But it does come with a slightly higher price tag.

The Nokia C30 also has a durable polycarbonate build that’s perfect for people who tend to drop their phones a lot. Also, if you hate the bloatware that tends to get installed on smartphones today, you’ll be glad to hear that the Nokia C30 has little of them. 

Overall, the Nokia C30 is a tough and practical phone.

2. Samsung Galaxy A03 (4GB RAM + 64GB ROM Version)

best budget phones for working online 7 (Samsung A30)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.5″ HD + TFT Infinity-V Display

OS: Android 11 (One UI Core 3.1)

Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (expandable to 1TB with microSD)

Battery: 5000mAh

CPU: Octa-Core 1.6GHz (Unisoc T606)

Chipset: Unisoc SC9863A

Camera: 48 MP Main (Rear) + 2 MP Depth + 5MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 4G LTE

Price: ₱6,490 from Samsung’s Official Lazada Store

Though smaller than Nokia’s C30, there’s little to complain about with Samsung’s budget phone, the Galaxy A03. The smaller screen and lighter weight also mean that it’s also easier on the hands when you need to use it as a phone rather than a substitute laptop. It’s all about your preferences at this point.

However, the Samsung Galaxy A03 has a faster RAM at 4GB so there’s definitely value in that for the multitasker. It’s also perfect for people who need to do more system-intensive work, including graphic design and video editing.

Lastly, you now have a decent camera phone that can take photos up to 48 megapixels. If that’s useful for your work or hobbies, then it’s something to consider. And if you do need larger storage, you can expand it up to 1TB using microSD or get a Samsung Galaxy A03 version with 124GB ROM instead.

3. Xiaomi Redmi 10C (4GB RAM + 64GB ROM Global Version)

best budget phones for working online 8 (Xiaomi Redmi 10c)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.71″ IPS LCD Display

OS: Android 11, MIUI 13

Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (expandable to 1TB with microSD)

Battery: 5000mAh

CPU: Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 265 Gold & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo 265 Silver)

GPU: Adreno 610

Chipset: Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G (6 nm)

Camera: 50 MP Main (Rear) + 2 MP Depth + 5MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 4G LTE

Price: ₱6,909 from Xiaomi Global’s Official Lazada Store

At the higher end of this price range is the Xiaomi Redmi 10C. It has very similar specs as the Samsung A03 but boasts the Snapdragon 680 which is rare to find at this price range.

You probably won’t need the Redmi 10C’s fast processing capabilities for administrative jobs but it’s useful for design and editing work. This processor will help you process your videos and images much more smoothly compared to the other devices in this range. Of course, complex effects will still take some time.

If you also tend to play mobile games, then you can play popular ones like Mobile Legends Bang Bang and Genshin Impact on this phone. You can expect frame drops even in the lowest setting but it’s serviceable if you are just casually playing to take a break from working online.

Lastly, it does have a larger display and a higher megapixel camera than the Galaxy A03 if you are willing to pay more for those features. There’s also a 4GB RAM + 124GB ROM version available if you need more storage.

Best Budget Phones for Working Online Under ₱10,000

What jobs can you do on budget phones priced below ₱10,000?

  • Coding
  • Color-Accurate Graphic Design
  • Color-Accurate Video Editing
  • Photography

At this price range, you now have much faster processors and RAMs. It’s okay to explore the limit of what you can do on phones at this price range, but as always with budget phones, try not to push it too much.

You can also get budget phones with high color accuracy. This is useful if your graphic design or video editing job requires such a feature. But note that at this price you’re almost halfway there to a decent budget laptop.

You should only really consider budget phones in this range if you plan to use them for complex graphic design, heavy video editing, and other system-intensive work. This is because laptops for those kinds of jobs can get really expensive at around the ₱40,000 and above range. So, you’re still saving money by doing these tasks on your phone for now.

Alternatively, if you want to use your phone for your hobbies, like photography or gaming, then it’s perfectly acceptable to spend a little bit more. There’s more to life than work after all.

1. Infinix Note 12 G96 (8GB + 128GB Version)

best budget phones for working online 9 (Infinix Note 12)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.7” FHD True Color AMOLED Display

OS: Android 12

Memory: 8+5GB Extended RAM, 128GB storage (expandable with microSDXC)

Battery: 5000mAh

CPU: Octa-core (2×2.05 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)

GPU: Mali-G57 MC2

Chipset: Mediatek MT6781 Helio G96 (12 nm) Ultra Gaming Processor

Camera: 50MP Rear & 16MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 4G

Price: ₱8,990 from Infinix’s Official Lazada Store (Also available with 256GB storage for ₱9,990)

The Infinix Note 12 G96 has very impressive specs at this price point. With a whopping 8GB of RAM which can be extended by an extra 5GB of virtual RAM, you won’t find many work apps that will have problems running on this phone.

Of course, the biggest draw for this phone is the 6.7” FHD AMOLED Display and a very accurate 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. At the moment, you won’t find any other phones in this price range with this feature. You’ll enjoy working on the colors of your graphics and videos as they seem to pop out remarkably from the screen.

As far as disadvantages go, the phone’s user interface might take getting used to since it differs from the usual Android phones.

While you still can’t beat the efficiency of working with a laptop built for graphic design or video editing, there’s a lot you can accomplish in your career if you are using this budget phone for working online for the time being.

2. Vivo T1x Snapdragon680

best budget phones for working online 10 (Vivo T1x)

Specifications:

Display Size: 6.58” FHD + 90Hz

OS: Android, Funtouch OS 12

Memory: 4+1GB Extended RAM, 64GB storage (expandable with microSDXC)

Battery: 5000mAh

CPU: Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 265 Gold & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo 265 Silver)

GPU: Adreno 610

Chipset: Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G (6 nm)

Camera: 50MP Rear & 8MP Front Camera

Connectivity: 4G

Price: ₱8,999 from Vivo’s Official Lazada Store

Marketed as a budget gaming phone, the new version of the Vivo T1x features the Snapdragon680 as its chipset. It’s good enough for casual gaming, so it should also be a decent option for moderate but not heavy photo and video editing work.

But the lack of AMOLED and only a 96% NTSC color gamut means it’s not as accurate as the Infinix Note 12 G96. Also, since it has only 4+1GB of RAM, you might encounter some issues multitasking while doing editing work at the same time. Consider carefully which features are more important for your work before you buy.

Though the best thing about this budget phone is the screen’s 90Hz refresh rate which would be rare to find at this price level. If you are a video editor who needs to edit videos at more than 60fps then this phone is also something that you can positively consider.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) Where can I find jobs that I can do on my smartphone?

Realistically, it would take more time to do tasks on your phone than on a laptop. However, it’s not impossible to match the same quality of output. As long as the client is happy with your work, there’s no reason you can’t do the job on your smartphone. You can check “Best Online Jobs Without a Laptop or Desktop (Just Mobile)” for a list of work you can do on your phone.

So, you can find these job opportunities in the usual places. These include job boards like Onlinejobs.ph and Upwork, and social media like Facebook and Reddit. For a guide on where to find work-from-phone opportunities, please see “How to Find Legit Online Jobs for Phones”.

2) When should I upgrade to a work-from-home laptop?

You should check the prices first of a laptop that would meet the requirements of your profession and lifestyle. For example, if you are an online writer, a laptop with a budget of ₱20K should be enough. But, if you are also planning to use the laptop for games, then you might want something more powerful (and expensive).

It’s up to you to determine when you want to transition to a laptop. You can even do it in multiple steps. For example, you can start with a budget phone. Then, shift to a cheap laptop that’s good enough for your work. And then eventually, once you’ve saved up enough money, you can buy your dream laptop with no hesitation.

For our recommendations on the top laptops for RFWs, please see the article “Best Laptop for Work From Home Philippines”.

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Rod Michael Perez

Rod Michael Perez is the co-founder of The Remote Filipino Worker, a freelance writer, and an aspiring startup founder. He aims to help people who are in the same field to have a better buhay digital. On a day off, he plays video games, takes care of his dog, and cooks for his wife.