~$150 Budget Android Hardware [Suggestions Needed]

Continuing the discussion from CalyxOS (Android ROM):

Do we have thoughts on this question, as a community? If someone was looking for a brand new budget (around $150) phone, would we recommend purchasing a budget phone with DivestOS compatibility? I assume so, but in that case which phone?

I don’t think that we would recommend anybody purchase a Pixel device older than a Pixel 6 in any circumstance right now, and even used there are very few Pixel 6 or 6a devices under $200. There are also many legitimate reasons someone would want to avoid purchasing used hardware, so I don’t think we should assume that’s an option even if there was a budget used marketplace for Pixels. So looking at brand new hardware people can obtain, what’s the situation?

Maybe @SkewedZeppelin has insights into the best phones out of the devices he supports? (As I haven’t yet looked through all 160+ of them myself) :slight_smile:

Other than Pixels, I have yet come across a brand-new device with good after market ROM support.

I don’t know whether GSI ROMs could be considered an option. But it’s likely that most of them will need the bootloader to be unlocked, and even disabled the verity check. Bootloader’s relockability is also rare (out of all the models that DivestOS supported, only 50 of them are relockable).


I am relatively knowledgable in this topic so let me start by saying that is impossible to make a guide/suggestion for this. Because official lineage development is typically slow, and even the newest non-pixel device that has LineageOS support (and therefore divest) is at least 1 years old https://lineageosdevices.com/ . Also the current phone market is shit

What I usually do in searching for cheap (and new) device is to find every device within my budget (you won’t realistically get it with 150, for reasons I will elaborate later. So the budget should be closer to 200 or even 250)

Ok so here’s the step by step guide

  1. Find every device within your budget (I recommend starting with xiaomi as they’re cheap and has relatively strong community, Samsung custom ROM development is mostly dead unless you have a flagship S series phone)
  2. Filter out all phones with mediatek (this is why getting budget android is hard, most uses mediatek), mediatek is not custom ROM friendly. They often don’t publish android source (violating GPL), have a high risk of of bricking, and require specialised tool to unbrick
  3. Check XDA, if you’re lucky you’ll find someone with an unofficial LineageOS ROM. If you’re even luckier, the unofficial maintainer also maintains an official LineageOS build (as is the case with Poco X5 Pro 5G). No official Lineage = No divest

TLDR: You ain’t getting official ROM, maybe in 1-2 years if you’re lucky


on the bright (?) side, the security risk of being outdated from using Lineage on budget phones are close to none. Because manufacturer typically cares little about budget phones and rarely updates, so you’re likely already half-outdated on first purchase (lmao)


Possibly worth noting that the Motorola G32 (also the reason I’m thinking about this topic in the first place) does meet all this criteria including official LineageOS support, although not DivestOS evidently.

I should also clarify that by “new” I mean currently available for purchase from the manufacturer, and not like within 1 year old or any arbitrary timeframe like that.


I guess I could just look up the price of every phone on the DivestOS 20.0 list lol


Yeah, that seems good enough to be a recommendation. But I do still think that maintaining the recommendation is probably gonna be a bit of a pain as the lower-end market is more volatile and the increasing dominance of mediatek on lower end stuff. Definitely a nice recommendation for someone where motorola is available in their country though (sadly it’s not available on mine)


Well the main issue with it is the lack of DivestOS support, since we don’t currently recommend LineageOS or CalyxOS. So part of my asking is to see if anyone has suggestions like that phone but with better ROM support (like if anyone knew that one of the DOS phones is readily available for a good price off the top of their head).

Otherwise we’d have to revisit other custom ROM options, which is always an option too I suppose.

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Only Pixels and iPhones have good hardware security features. Samsung’s phones do too, but if you flash an alternative OS on them, then hardware security features will break.

I disagree with recommending anything than Pixels for a new device purchase.

No, absolutely not.

I vote that we do this, PG usually targets the “best available” (that’s kinda why brave is still recommended despite all it’s shit, isn’t it?). But a lot of times, Pixels (and arguably divest) are just often times* not available

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lmao no 100 million Samsung phones affected by encryption weakness | TechRepublic

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Couldnt it be argued though that not everyone needs or finds such extensive hardware security useful? And they are quite expensive meaning that accessibility is low for many people.


All phones have vulnerabilities this doesn’t change the fact that Samsung’s, Pixels and iPhones are the only ones with decent hardware security.

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Yeah, I’d rather have someone pick something more private within their means than nothing at all

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Well since Pixels aren’t available in every price range it’s not really an option, unless the suggestion is to just ignore poor people :upside_down_face:

We could consider recommendations along the lines of the Samsung Galaxy A14 with a $200 MSRP (or A03s at $160) and no custom ROM perhaps by this logic… but I’m not sure I agree that is the most private option at this price range.


All phones have vulns sure, but samsung got fucked precisely because they does non-standard crap like that

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If we went the “no custom ROM” route here I’d probably be inclined to find an Android Go phone within this price range rather than a Samsung device, but I’m not sure what the Qualcomm/MediaTek ratio is among Android Go phones.

I wouldn’t recommend Samsung A0X and A1X series on even my worse enemies. Those phones are a total piece of shit, for context I have a Samsung A11, even after debloating the phone is still laggy as fuck. Even something as basic as volume control lags and it takes like 2+ minute to boot


At least in my country there are things such as splitting the payment into 10 pieces over 10 months without any price increase at all.

I would go with this if possible rather than going with insecure and overall crappy hardware and short software support.

To be fair, if you don’t plan to flash custom. Mediatek is probably fine

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