Tech

Best smartphones under $400

Written by admin

With so many phones on the market, and with the gap between mid-range and high-end narrowing each year, finding the right phone for you is not an easy task. Sure, if you’ve got $1000 ready to go, getting the best of the best is not a difficult task; you can narrow down your choice to 4-5 phones. However, when you’re on a bit of a budget, but are not aiming extremely low, the mid-range segment has a lot to offer, and it can get confusing. If you’re looking for such a device, you’d be surprised how much you can get for a rather modest sum of money (when compared to the ultra-high-end, at least).

With that said, here’s our picks for the best phones under $400!

Moto Z2 Play

Buy from Amazon ($389)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • Display not bright enough, colors not accurate
  • Sound quality is not very satisfying
  • Recharge times should be faster
  • Performance not a huge upgrade over first-gen model
  • Moto Mods can add significant cost to ownership


If you want to have a phone with a long-lasting battery, the Moto Z2 Play is probably one of the best choices out there. It’s not quite the battery champ as the original, but it’s not too far off. It’s also now slimmer and more elegant, The Z2 Play runs on Android 7.1 Nougat (upgradable to Oreo) and features a clutter-free Moto skin that operates quickly. It has a very good 12MP main camera that is also able to capture video at up to 4K resolution. The Moto Z2 Play also supports Moto Mods, the magnetic super-attachments that can add even more battery, improved sound, or even a projector, but even without them, the Z2 Play is quite a good deal.

Moto X4

Buy from Amazon ($399.99 or $279.99 with Prime)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • Low-light shots get noisier and struggle more with focus
  • Having three voice assistants is redundant
  • Could use more on-board storage
  • Camera lacks OIS


The Moto X4 is the first Android One phone to come to the United States with Project Fi, and this guarantees proper updates (a rarity on affordable Android phones), but the X4 is also a great device to begin with.

The Moto X series isn’t what it used to be. Since Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola’s smartphone business, the once-high-end Moto X lineup has been demoted to a mid-range ranking, overtaken by the Z series as the Moto brand’s top smartphone selection. But last year’s Moto X4 is intriguing nonetheless. In a nutshell, it is a mid-range handset with premium looks – one that just barely eclipses the G series’ spec sheet, but stands out with its fancy construction, dual-camera setup, and IP68 water resistance.

Moto G6

Buy from Amazon ($249 or $234 with Prime)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • Average still image quality
  • Display colors aren’t too natural
  • The earpiece/speakers sound a bit tinny


The Motorola Moto G6 offers a great bang for your buck. It sports a metal-and-glass design with a curved back for a comfortable in-hand feel. The display is a 5.7-inch, 18:9 panel with a 1080 x 2060 resolution that delivers sufficient brightness, although it isn’t superb for outdoor use during sunny days. The Moto G6 is powered by the Snapdragon 450 chipset, has 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable onboard storage, and a 3000 mAh battery, which delivers surprisingly good screen-on time. 

iPhone SE

Buy from Apple ($349)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • Tiny display may be hard to get used to
  • No advanced iPhone features
  • No 3D touch

The iPhone SE has once again dropped in price in September 2017, and with a starting price of just $350 for the 32GB version, it definitely deserves a place in this list. It works like a charm on all major U.S. carriers with proper 4G LTE support, and it has the Apple A9 chip, which still holds up even in 2018. It’s also the only 4″ phone on this list, a truly compact offering that is perfect for single-handed use. The iPhone SE has been updated to iOS 11, and will be getting iOS 12 when it launches this fall. If you’re looking for a sub-$400 phone, the 32GB SE is a great choice, though if you want the 128GB version, it’ll cost you $449.

LG Q6

Buy from Amazon ($299.99 or $249.99 with Prime)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • No fingerprint scanner
  • Face recognition is unreliable
  • Plastic back easy to scratch


Call it the mini G6: the mid-range LG Q6 looks and feels a lot like the company’s flagship phone. It has a similar bezel-less, immersive display and it’s got a nearly identical interface. Of course, when you are talking about a mid-range phone like the Q6 — sold at half the price of the LG G6 — you know some compromises must have been made. Rather than having high-performance silicon under the hood, the Q6 is powered by the entry-level Snapdragon 435 system chip and it lacks the fancy dual camera system of the G6. It’s not water-protected either, and the glass back has been substituted for plastic. The Q6 also doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner and relies entirely on face recognition instead, which is not exceptionally quick, but it’s not that bad for the price.

Honor 7X

Buy from Amazon ($199)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • No USB-C; no fast charging
  • Camera becomes very temperamental in low-light
  • EMUI isn’t the prettiest Android skin


Honor is Huawei’s budget-friendly sub-brand and the 7X is the sequel to last year’s 6X. Like its predecessor, it is a fiercely competitive mid-range offering, that offers an aluminum build, dual cameras and an 18:9, 5.93-inch screen with minimal bezels to match. Throw in Honor’s typically lightning-fast fingerprint scanner with gestures, and you have a lean, mean $199 mid-range machine. Available in versions with 3GB and 4GB of RAM, the Honor 7X was recently updated with Android 8.0 Oreo with many new features. For under $200, this one is a steal.

Sony Xperia XA2 

Buy from Amazon ($349)

Specs  |  Review

Cons

  • Somewhat plasticky build
  • Design doesn’t feel particularly modern
  • Display could use more accurate colors
  • No waterproofing


The Xperia XA2 is one of Sony’s latest, well-rounded midrangers and it comes with the promises of long battery life and great camera performance. Moreover, it is among the first Xperia handsets to have functional fingerprint scanners on board – a feature that has been missing from US-bound Sony phones until now. With its snappy performance and solid battery life, the Xperia XA2 offers good value for money, and despite some minor issues here and there, it’s a good deal for those who want to get the most bang for their buck and don’t want to spend a fortune on a new phone.

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