At the Google I/O 2017, Android Go was announced. Nearly a year later, the first Android Go phones arrived courtesy of the Mobile World Congress 2018, just like Google had promised. A bunch of popular names are in there, led by Nokia, Alcatel and ZTE, but you can expect this segment to be dominated by mostly no-name Chinese OEMs, but don’t write off several others from India and Europe, among other regions.
Even the giants of the smartphone industry, Samsung and Huawei, are also in this Android Go ship with offerings of their own. Without further ado, here are the best Android Go phones unveiled so far this 2018. Note that this list will be updated regularly as more devices join the party.
We already knew that the Nokia 2.0 will get Android Go optimizations with the update to Android Oreo. In fact, the device started receiving Oreo on June 19, but this is a beta version with the stable version expected in July. Now, with the phone’s successor, the Nokia 2.1, HMD went for Android Go out of the box, making it the best device on the market so far that runs the slimmed-down version of Android, at least on the basis of specs and features.
Speaking of which, the Nokia 2.1 rocks a 5.5-inch HD display screen with the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, a powerful Snapdragon 425 processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB of expandable storage (up to 128GB), an 8MP shooter on the back and a 5MP lens for selfies, and a massive 4000mAh battery unit that is charged via a microUSB port and supports fast charging technology.
The Nokia 2.1 also offers extras like LTE connectivity, a 3.5mm audio jack, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, stereo speakers, and so on, all this for a decent price tag of just €100 or about INR 7,000 for those in India (although not confirmed). Oh, did we mention that the Nokia 2.1 is also guaranteed at least two OS upgrades in Android P and the one after as well as regular monthly updates? Well, there you have it.
Buy Nokia 2.1: USA | UK | Europe | India
Asus ZenFone Live L1
The ZenFone Live L1 is one of the best smartphones out there for any first-time smartphone owners. First is that it’s easy on the pocket and second is that for anyone who wants a solid handset at this price, the Live L1 packs some punch. Also, you’ll be getting a device that conforms to the latest design trends thanks to the inclusion of an 18:9 display screen, although at its price tag of just $110, don’t expect anything more than the HD+ resolution the device offers.
The specs include a 5.5-inch 18:9 HD+ LCD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 1GB RAM and 16GB storage, a 13MP + 5MP camera combo, a 3000mAh battery and of course, Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition) out of the box. You also get extras such as Bluetooth 4.0, MicroUSB, 3.5mm audio jack, 4G LTE, Face Unlock, etc.
Buy ZenFone Live L1: USA | UK | Europe | India
Alcatel is one of the few common names to join Android Go. With the Alcatel 1X, which has a price tag of €100, you get quite an interesting package. There’s a 5.3-inch 18:9 LCD display with 480 x 960 pixels resolution, MediaTek MT6580, 1GB RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, 8MP/5MP cameras with LED flash on both sides and a 2460mAh battery unit.
If you want a dual-SIM variant, the Alcatel 1X will set you back an extra €10. Availability begins in April.
Buy Alcatel 1X: USA | UK | Europe | India
Priced at $85, the Nokia 1 packs a regular 4.5-inch FWVGA (480 x 854 pixels) IPS display screen, MediaTek MT6737M, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage (expandable up to 128GB), 5MP/2MP cameras and a 2150mAh battery unit. Of course, there’s Android Oreo Go edition out of the box. Availability begins in April.
Although OEMs can still customize Android Go, HMD isn’t doing that with the Nokia 1. In fact, it’s the same story with the rest of the company’s phones, which will from now henceforth run on a clean Android One version.
ZTE Tempo Go
ZTE Tempo Go is another seemingly great Android Go phone. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 SoC and 1GB RAM, the 5-inch Tempo Go also features a 5MP main camera and 2MP selfie shooter. Keeping it alive is a 2200mAh battery unit, which is not bad for a phone with a display resolution of 480×854 pixels.
The Tempo Go will set you back just $80.
Buy ZTE Tempo Go: USA | UK | Europe | India
General Mobile GM 8 Go
Unlike the others, you might dig what General Mobile has in store. Dubbed GM 8 Go, the phone brings you a 5.5-inch IPS display with an 18:9 design and 1440 x 720 pixels resolution, MediaTek MT6739, 1GB RAM and 16GB of expandable storage, 13MP/8MP cameras and for what it takes, you also get a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a whopping 3500mAh battery unit.
At launch, General Mobile indicated that the GM 8 Go will have a price tag that anyone in these countries can afford. In the home country of Turkey, the phone has a price tag of 899 Turkish lira, which is a little under $200. At this price tag, you’d be better off with devices like Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, Honor 9 Lite, or even some of the new Nokia phones like the Nokia 5.1 or Nokia 3.1, all of which have superior hardware and a full-blown Android Oreo OS running the show.
Buy GM 8 Go: USA | UK | Europe | India
One of the first Indian OEMs to confirm their intentions with Android Go was Lava and in the Lava Z50, you have the company’s first Go Edition device, which isn’t bad on specs.
The device rocks a 4.5-inch display screen with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels and a 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass on top. Running the show is a MediaTek MT6737M chipset clocked at 1.1GHz and mated with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, which can be expanded by up to 64GB using a microSD card. The same 5MP lens features on either ends and to power it up is a 2000mAh battery unit.
For these, you only get to part with INR 4,400, which is under $70.
Buy Lava Z50: India
Micromax Bharat Go
Besides Lava, Micromax also confirmed that it will give us an Android Go device in the shape of Bharat Go and indeed, the company has delivered on its promise. In the Bharat Go, you have an affordable device that mimics the Lava Z50 in just about every aspect, be it the screen size and resolution, performance specs and even the price, although the Bharat Go is a little pricier at INR 4,768, which is about $70.
However, one thing the Bharat Go beats the Lava Z50 is the expandable storage capacity, where the former can handle up to 128GB compared to the latter’s 64GB limit.
Buy Bharat Go: India
The best one? You ask!
Well, that has to be the Nokia 2.1. Nokia’s software on regular Android OS has impressed us thus far, both with the performance and timely security updates as well as Android Oreo, so in all likelihood, we find the Nokia 2.1 the most attractive Android Go phone among the ones discussed here. Though we would hold final judgment until we get our hands on the device, which shouldn’t be too long.
What do you think?
Upcoming Android Go phones
The MWC 2018 was just the beginning. We expect to see more OEMs joining the Android Go bandwagon, mostly Chinese OEMs. We’ve heard word that Huawei will join in soon and so will the likes of Tecno, Infinix, iTel, and Spice, all of which are owned by Transsion Holdings.
Although we cannot guarantee this, our wish is that Xiaomi also comes aboard. With devices like the Redmi 5A selling for around $80 yet you still get optimum performance on the standard Android OS and way better specs than what most Android Go phones are offering at similar price tags, one only wonders what kind of beast Xiaomi would unleash under Android Go.
Only time will tell! Meanwhile, you can keep an eye on our post on all upcoming Android Go phones, which will be updated regularly, to stay up to date.