While the big flagship smartphones keep getting more and more expensive, something completely different is happening down the budget end of the range: they’re getting so much better. Here are a selection of phones that’ll give you everything you need in a smartphone, all for less than $400.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Specs: 5.99-inch screen, 1080 x 2160, Android 7.1.2, upgradable to Android 8.1, Qualcomm SDM636 Snapdragon 636, 4/6 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, Dual 12/5MP camera, 4000mAh battery
Why Should I Buy It? Xiaomi is upping the mid-range smartphone game with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, a sub-$300 phone that can almost compete with some of the best phones on the market. It’s got a nice big 4000mAh battery to save you from mid-day recharges, plus you even get a fancy dual rear camera like you’ll see in the biggest flagship phones out now.
Where Can I Get It? Kogan are currently selling the 32GB model for just $279.
Motorola Moto G5S Plus
Specs: 5.5-inch screen, 1920 x 1080, Android 7.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 13MP + 13MP Dual Rear camera, 3000mAh battery
Why Should I Buy It? The Moto G5S Plus is a nice little upgrade on the super popular midrange Moto G5 Plus, featuring a bigger screen and a more premium-feeling all-metal build. It’s since been replaced by the G6 an G6 Plus, but the new release means that the Moto G5S has dropped in price and is now a fantastic budget buy. Like the Redmi Note 5, you’ll get a dual rear camera on the G5S Plus.
Where Can I Get It? Officeworks has the G5S Plus for $287.
Nokia 6.1 Plus
Specs: 5.8-inch screen, 1080 x 2280, Android 8.1, Qualcomm SDM636 Snapdragon 636, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 16MP + 5MP dual camera, 3060mAh battery
Why Should I Buy It? The Nokia 6.1 Plus is the brand’s best budget phone yet, a fantastic improvement on the already solid Nokia 6. It has a stylish design for those who find other budget phones a bit bland, though buyer beware it has adopted the dreaded notch of iPhone infamy. The all-glass construction makes it feel far more premium than the price tag would suggest.
Specs: 5.2-inch screen, 1080 x 1920, Android 8.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 23MP camera, 3300mAh battery
Why Should I Buy It? An update on the popular Xperia XA2, the new model takes the phone’s look and build a little more premium with thinner bezels and metal details, though it still retains that distinctive rectangular Xperia look. The battery has been beefed up too, as well as the camera quality. For those valuing camera quality in a budget phone, the Xperia is a great place to look, with an increased focus on low-light quality in the XA2 too.
Where Can I Get It? Kogan is selling this one for $399
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 iPhone-lite 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 $239
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 $369.99
Additional reporting by Jackson Ryan