I have an Octopus payment card from Hong Kong using NFC technology, and I’d like to check its status, and if needed top it up to keep it valid. One way to do so is to install the Android app on an NFC enabled smartphone.
However, none of my phones, including my current Xiaomi Mi A2 smartphone, support NFC. So I’d decided to look for the cheapest Android phone with NFC support that I could find since that’s the only feature I need, and the app is compatible with Android 4.0 or greater for now.
I first went to GearBest to check out for NFC phones, as the cheapest one of the lot is Wileyfox Swift 2X going for $75.90 shipped.
The phone runs Android 8.1 on a Snapdragon 430 processor coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. It is equipped with a 5.2″ Full HD display, supports 4G LTE Dual SIM, and comes with a fingerprint reader, a MicroSD card socket, and a 3010 mAh battery.
$76 is not too bad, but for a single-use device, I’d like to go even lower.
Going to Aliexpress, I could find a much cheaper NFC phone: SANTIN ACTOMA ACE powered by a Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage and a 5.5″ full HD display. One downside is the phone was launched in 2015 and runs Android 5.1, so it may not be compatible with your preferred apps for very long. Hard to beat the price though at $46.59 including shipping. The Questions and Answers question is quite odd with many complaints and poor English mixing Russian words. But people who actually bought the phone appear to be satisfied, with one person mentioning NFC is indeed working, and others claiming they could install MIUI 9 ROM based on Android 7.1. I could find instructions to do so on the web. What I don’t know is whether NFC is still working after installing the custom ROM.
If you don’t mind a Windows Phone, you could even go cheaper with Microsoft Lumia 640 currently available for $36.64 plus shipping. If you are fine with a second hand or refurbished NFC phone, you should be able to find deals in the $30 to $40 range such as Blackberry Z10 (Android 4.3) going for $39.80 with free shipping.
If you know of other low-cost NFC phones, let us know in the comments section. Please no links to second-hand or refurbished phones.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.