Skip navigation

The cheapest phone in the world and other record-breaking devices

cheapest phone in the world

Since their invention, cell phones have come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From flip to fold and from big to small, at this point it feels like we’ve seen it all. That being said, some devices still manage to stand out. For example, recently, we shared an article on our Facebook page about a gold-encrusted iPhone 11 Pro that costs a whopping $70,000. This got us thinking, what’s the most expensive phone ever made? We then wondered, what’s the cheapest phone in the world? And which device has sold the most units?

This article will answer these questions, and more, as we look at record-breaking handsets. You won’t find these devices in the, but we thought it’d be interesting to have a look at these standout devices and what makes them unique. 

The cheapest phone in the world 

Let’s begin with the cheapest device ever sold. This Indian smartphone, the Freedom 251, went on pre-sale in February of 2016 priced at a mere 251 rupees, which is around $3.50.

Freedom 251
Freedom 251 (Image source: Android Authority)

Journalists were given prototypes that had a similar design to iPhone devices at the time, cameras on the front and back, and 8GB of storage. Sounds like a pretty good deal right? Perhaps the phrase ‘too good to be true’ has even crossed your mind? 

You would be right to think that. It transpired that the phone that journalists had been given was actually a Chinese-made phone with its brand name, Adcom, covered in white paint. How sneaky! This said, according to the BBC, many customers who ordered the Freedom 251 did actually receive their phones, which is why the device makes our list. However, Ringing Bells, the company behind Freedom 251, was accused of not fulfilling all its orders and the company’s director ended up behind bars for fraud. Rather ironic considering the name of his device. 

With technology continuing to develop at breakneck speeds, it’s amazing how much bang you can get for your buck these days. The Samsung Galaxy A10e, for example, is available in the for only $179. Whilst it may not be the cheapest phone in the world, it performs admirably and is an excellent choice for those looking for something a bit nicer than your average budget phone. We promise you’ll actually receive it too.

The most expensive phone in the world 

We wouldn’t recommend searching “most expensive phone in the world.” Not only will the amount of diamonds on these jewel-encrusted monstrosities blind you, but the price tags will leave you feeling distinctly unwell. Luckily for you, we’ve taken the retina damage and queasiness on your behalf. We were, however, not given a clear answer and instead are left with two potential offerings. 

Most of the lists we saw touted the Falcon SuperNova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond (which is a super catchy and completely unpretentious name) as the world’s most expensive phone. This decadent device reportedly costs an astounding $48.5 million. “What can possibly make this device so costly?” I hear you ask. Great question. The Falcon SuperNova is said to be made of 24-carat-gold and have a giant pink diamond attached to its rear. 

“That sounds ridiculous! Are you sure it’s real?” You inquire, as a skeptical look crosses your face. Another fantastic question. But no, we’re not convinced this phone actually exists. Despite being the subject of widespread discussion, we couldn’t find an image of the device that didn’t look like a poor attempt at Photoshop. Equally, although many of the articles we examined linked to Falcon Luxury’s website, when we followed this link we were met with a blank page. Smells fishy. 

The Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond
The Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond (Image source: TigerMobiles)

Compared to the Falcon SuperNova, our other contender for biggest waste of money the most expensive phone in the world is an absolute bargain. It comes from designer Stuart Hughes and is called iPhone 4S Elite Gold. Priced at £6 million, around 7.6 million USD, this golden gadget is made up of over 550 diamonds, 24-carat-gold, platinum and polished dinosaur bones. You know, the usual stuff. Only 2 were ever made, so you best act fast if you want to spend millions of dollars on a model of iPhone that’s over 8 years old. 

Alternatively, if you’re in the market for a new iPhone, why not get a more up to date model like iPhone 11 Pro from the and save yourself $6,999,000. Up to you.

The best-selling phone ever 

When you think of the best-selling phones ever, your mind probably goes to brands like Apple and Samsung, right? Wrong! In fact, these manufacturers only have one device each feature in the top ten. This list instead is utterly dominated by Nokia and the bar-style phones that they were releasing in the early 2000s, before the first generation iPhone had even entered the scene. 

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus managed to grab the bronze medal, proving popular due to their 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens, which was a marked step up from iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen. Released in 2014 and selling a combined 220+ million units, they are the newest models to grace the top ten list. They proved, however, no match for the iconic handsets that occupy the top two spots on the podium. 

Silver and gold go to two classic devices, the Nokia 1110 and 1100 respectively. Released in 2003, the Nokia 1100 tops the list with over 250+ million units sold. That’s about one device for everyone in Australia. This simple device didn’t need any of this touchscreen or slow-mo camera nonsense to succeed; just a monochrome display, a flashlight on top and the ability for users to play Snake 2. What more could you ask for?

Nokia 1100
Nokia 1100 (Image source:

The world’s first mobile phone

Back when Snake 2 was just a dream, in 1983, Motorola released the world’s first commercially available mobile phone, the DynaTAC 8000X. Huge in size and weighing in at 1.75lbs, the phone’s own creators took to calling it the “The Brick.” And this was one expensive brick. Back then it would cost you $3,9995, which is about $10,000 in 2019 dollars.

Since the device could only hold 30 numbers and its battery only had the capacity for 30 minutes of talk-time, this dumbell of a phone was seen by most as just another chance for the rich to flash their cash. And this was mostly true. Remember, this was a time when payphones (you know, those weird things attached to walls that look like the phone emoji) were everywhere and could be used for the cost of a single quarter (you know, those weird round metal things that people used to buy stuff before Apple Pay). 

We sure have come along way since then, but I guess we had to start somewhere! 

The smallest phone in the world

This little guy is our favorite device on this list. It may not be the flashiest or the oldest or the most popular but it’s definitely the cutest. The Zanco tiny t1 is, as the name suggests, tiny. But… like… really tiny. It stands at just 47mm tall, 21mm wide, 12mm thick and weighs only 13 grams! That’s less than half the weight of an AA battery. 

The Zanco tiny t1
The Zanco tiny t1 (Image source: Kickstarter)

Despite its size, this ant-sized phone has a surprising amount of functionality. Not only does it have Bluetooth, 180 minutes of talk-time and the ability to store 500 contacts, but for some reason, it has a built-in voice changer. Even the Pixel 4 doesn’t have a built-in function that means you can sound like a duck (no, seriously, that’s one of the options) so we’re pretty sure that means that the tiny t1 is the most sophisticated phone on the market. 

It appears we are not alone in our love of this adorable device. The Zanco tiny t1 started its life on Kickstarter where Zini Mobiles LTD, the developers, asked for £25,000 (around $32,000)  to bring their design to life. However, the discerning Kickstarter crowd recognized the potential of this small, but mighty, device and they ended up raising £187,247 (nearly $250,000) in funding. Could this money have gone toward a better cause? Yes, obviously. No, definitely not.

Didn’t see anything you like?

Maybe you’re looking for a phone for less than $7.6million. Maybe you want a handset that gives you more than 30 minutes of talk time. Maybe you want a device with a screen that is bigger than half an inch. All of these are perfectly reasonable desires. If you’re in the market for a new phone then we recommend heading over to where we’re sure you’ll find the device for you. Whether you’re looking for a simple flip phone for just $49 or the latest flagship iPhone, there’s something for everyone. 

Want to hear the even better news? All the devices on the Ting shop come with a Ting SIM card. With Ting, you only pay for what you use and our customers have an average monthly bill of just $23 per month. So whether you’re looking for a new device or even just a new carrier, go over to for more information.

What is Ting Mobile anyway?

What is Ting Mobile anyway?

Learn about Ting, how it works and what you’d save. Sounds good? Get $25 to try it for yourself risk-free!

Learn More!