The Best Smartphones Under $400 [Updated]

The Best Smartphones Under $400 [Updated]
Image: YouTube

Though many potential smartphone buyers are after the Biggest and Best that they can find, there are those of us that like to stick to cheap phones that just get the job done – a cheeky phone call every now and again, easy texting and an occasional jaunt online to check the news. If that’s you, you’re probably looking for a mid-range phone that doesn’t break the bank, so we’ve rounded up the best of them. Plenty of familiar names here — and plenty of bargains too.

Galaxy J7 Pro

Specs: 5.5-inch screen, 1080 x 1920, Android 7.0, Exynos 7870 Octa chipset, 3GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, 13MP camera, 3600mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? Samsung’s J series tries to take what makes their Galaxy series so good but they’ve struggled to keep the hardware at a good enough point to really warrant buying a J phone in the past. The J7 Pro definitely has the right stuff behind the screen, enough storage and battery to be serviceable. It’s a little throwback in its design – but you’re paying less than $500, so the premium design glass and minimal bezels will be missing – but its sturdy.

Where Can I Get It? Amazon Australia has it for under $350

Motorola Moto X4

Specs: 5.2-inch screen, 1080 x 1920, Android 8.0, Qualcomm SDM630 Snapdragon 630, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 12MP + 8MP Dual Rear camera, 3000mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? The X4 is a good middle ground for those looking to go with a Motorola. It performs well and has an excellent display even though it isn’t an AMOLED, runs the latest Android 8.0 with very little issue and is the only phone on our list with a dual rear camera. It also has that glass design that the bigger, more expensive phones seem to be favouring these days. Does look a little like the J7 Pro, but that Snapdragon 630 means it outperforms most similar phones in this price range.

Where Can I Get It? Kogan sell this one for $399


Specs: 5.5-inch screen, 1080 x 2160, Android 7.1.1, Qualcomm MSM8940 Snapdragon 435, 3GB RAM, 16-64GB storage, 13MP camera, 3000mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? A big ol 18:9 display that LG enjoy slapping on their phones now and a cheaper phone that looks just like LG’s G series. You can probably fake it ’til you make it with this one and the display certainly makes it feel a little more premium than it has any right to. The major downside is that the chipset is getting a bit on in life and its not quite as sturdy as others on this list.

Where Can I Get It? Kogan are currently selling this one for just $229, Officeworks and JB Hi-Fi have it for $299.

Nokia 6

Specs: 5.5-inch screen, 1080 x 1920, Android 8.0, Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 16MP camera, 3000mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? Nokia have tried to carve out their own niche back in the budget smartphone market and they’re doing a pretty good job with the ZEISS optics, #Bothie-sporting Nokia 6. Gimmicky camera hashtags aside, the screen may not be best in class, but it still gives nice crisp images. Some have said that the battery does not last long enough. It is durable – which some have come to expect since Nokia’s brick phones of the 90s. Note: This is the 2018 version.

Where Can I Get It? Amazon currently has it for $345.

Xperia XA1

Specs: 5.0-inch screen, 720 x 1280, Android 8.0, Mediatek MT6757 Helio P20, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 23MP camera, 2300mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? Sony went HAM on the camera for this one, with 23MP packed into the rectangular telephone box – some will like that, others will hate the way Sony handles the images you take. Many Lifehacker readers have commented in the past how they enjoy the Xperia design and I am partial to it. The square edges aren’t for everyone, though. Sadly, this one only has a low screen resolution and the later editions of this line are far superior, but this is a little workhorse that won’t break the bank.

Where Can I Get It? Catch is selling this one for $255

HTC Desire 10 Pro

Specs: 5.2-inch screen, 1440 x 2560, Android 8.0, Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM, 32-64GB storage, 12MP camera, 3000mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? HTC get a lot out of their devices at a budget price – I mean, look at the chipset on this one, the RAM and storage options. They also pump up the front-facing camera in this model and the image stabilisation in the front camera. The fast charging is also a mega bonus for someone like me, an idiot who never rips himself away from his phone screen.

Where Can I Get It? Amazon have this one for $388.

Oppo R9S

Specs: 5.5-inch screen, 1080 x 1920, Android 6.0.1, Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 16MP camera, 3010mAh battery

Why Should I Buy It? In Gizmodo’s Australia review, the R9S was favourably compared to an iPhone 7 – but at a budget price. If you’ve ever held one, you’ll know that Oppo takes a lot of design cues from Apple and that’s exactly the market Oppo wants to capture. If you’re looking for an Apple-lite phone with a similar UI, good battery life, capable cameras and fast charging – this is worth looking at.

Where Can I Get It? eBay has this one for $299

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • I’ve got the Nokia 6.1 i love it but there are constant camera issues either laggy screen, laggy shutter (takes the photo 1 to 30 seconds after the button is pushed), or the camera appears and you see the camera view in the screen, then you get a dialog saying it cant connect to camera device.

    Perhaps its the Microsoft Launcher i installed or some other software causing the issues but there are other reports on the Nokia forum.

    This months update didn’t fix it either, but as long as you reboot every few days, your generally safe.

    Oh and you cant rename the [email protected]#*&^$ device, so if you had multiple Nokia 6.1s you couldn’t tell what device it is by name (blutooth can be renamed, but it shows up as HMD Global Nokia 6.1 in my google play account).

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