If you’re looking to get a new phone but want to keep your budget under control, there are a lot of great options on Android. The platform rose meteorically in popularity for many reasons, but one of the core pillars of the Android experience is to deliver a great phone for a price you wouldn’t expect. If you’re looking to spend between $300 and $400 on a new phone, we’ve got some suggestions for how to pick the best Android phones under $400.
However, if you’d like to save a bit more, the best Android phones under $300 might be a better place to begin.
What are the best Android phones under $400?
If you are looking for an affordable, mid-range smartphone, we think the Google Pixel 4a remains the best Android phone under $400 — assuming you can still find it. You get the same software, features, camera experience, and software updates as the higher-end Pixel 4 for much less than the newer Pixel 5a. The only shortcomings come in the hardware and a couple of the specs — a fine trade-off to save hundreds of dollars.
The Pixel 3a from 2019 stood out as one of the best Android values for well over a year, only for the Google Pixel 4a to fill its shoes — and then some. However, if you want a small, affordable phone with reasonably high-performing specs, plus a camera that outperforms its specs, the 4a still fits the bill. More so than the Pixel 5a, a larger mid-range device for bigger spenders.
With the Pixel 4a, you get a Snapdragon 730 that doesn’t lag too far behind the 765G found in the Pixel 5, 6GB of RAM, and a guaranteed, immediate update to Android 13 in 2022, plus security updates through 2023. It’s not “powerful” by any means, but it still holds up today — even if Google is discontinuing it.
As with any Pixel phone, the best thing about the Pixel 4a is its camera. The 12.2MP single rear camera certainly isn’t impressive on paper, but it’s outstanding in actual use. Pictures are detailed, colors are great, and low-light photography is a piece of cake. As we said in our Pixel 4a review, this is one of those phones that you can whip out of your pocket, press the shutter button without too much thought, and get a great-looking photo every single time.
While the camera is undoubtedly the main draw to the Pixel 4a, it has many other things going for it, too. The AMOLED display looks nice; you can easily get through a full day on a single charge; the 128GB of storage is very generous, and at $349, it’s not a bad price for at least two years of use.
As 5G networks continue to grow worldwide, the technology is also starting to make its way into ever more affordable phones. For example, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G is not only one of the cheapest 5G-enabled phones we’ve ever seen, but it’s also one of the best phones you can buy for under $400.
To start with, the N200 5G shares the same design language as the much more expensive OnePlus 9 series and continues OnePlus’s tradition of beautiful blue gradient finishes. It may be made of plastic, but you’d never know it, thanks to the coloring and matte texture on the back.
The screen is a full HD+ LCD with a 90Hz refresh rate, and it even comes with NFC for contactless payments and 18W fast charging (though not OnePlus’s Warp Charging). You also get a fast and responsive side-mounted fingerprint sensor and 3.5mm headphone jack, though you lose out on the alert slider on higher-end OnePlus devices.
By far, the best thing this phone has going for it is its 5G connectivity for such a low price. That, and the build should make this phone last a long time in your hand, although it is limited to one major Android platform update.
Samsung’s Galaxy S series gets the most buzz and attention as the go-to lineup of Galaxy phones, but they’re far from the only ones the company makes. If you’re eager to get your hands on a robust mid-range phone with Samsung’s special touch, check out the Galaxy A42 5G.
As we noted in our Galaxy A42 5G review, this phone has decently powerful specs for this price bracket. Its 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display is very easy to read even in direct sunlight. It has the same Snapdragon 750G chipset as the more expensive Galaxy A52 5G. Its battery life rivals the Moto G Power (another pick on this list), lasting our reviewer multiple days with active use. Outside of its merely average cameras, the A42 5G never let us down.
What makes the A42 5G unique in the U.S. is that it’s a Verizon-exclusive phone, giving you access to its Ultra Wideband network with both mmWave and sub-6 5G bands. Plenty of 5G phones just have sub-6, including the OnePlus Nord N200 5G. So if you use Verizon and live in the right area to take advantage, the A42 5G will prove an affordable game-changer.
If you don’t use Verizon, then the A52 5G is an excellent upgrade with a 120Hz screen, more RAM, better cameras, and water resistance at just $399.
Like the 7.2, the Nokia 5.4 offers a clean version of Android with practically no bloatware and a promise of two years of software updates, including three years of monthly security patches. While certainly not the most powerful or feature-packed phone on this list, it is more than capable of handling most of your daily tasks, from web browsing to social media to video consumption.
The big upgrade from its predecessor, the Nokia 5.3, is in its cameras. The primary sensor made a massive jump from 13MP in the 5.3 to 48MP in the 5.4. In addition, Nokia’s AI and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 allow for a snappy camera app experience, with good colors and cinematic video recording.
The other three cameras didn’t appear to change much from the 5.3, at least on paper. You still get a 2MP depth camera, a 2MP macro camera, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 16MP selfie camera. You can take or leave the 2MP shooters, but our testing found the 5MP ultra-wide very usable. Sometimes the shots could appear a little washed out, but that was nothing that a basic touchup in Google Photos couldn’t fix. All in all, we were very pleased with these cameras — especially for the price!
Motorola’s Moto G phones often represent some of the best values the Android landscape has to offer, and that’s no different with the Moto G Stylus 5G. Motorola released an updated model with 5G in 2021 and it still has that built-in stylus that people love.
Getting two days of battery life out of a single charge is a cinch with the Moto G Stylus 5G. The performance of the processor could be a bit better, but it’s hard to argue with the price Moto sells this phone at, and it’s a considerably better experience than other 2021 Motorola phones by a wide margin.
As always, Motorola packs the Moto G Stylus 5G with its My UX features, including those fantastic gestures like double-chop to toggle the flashlight, or double-twist to launch the camera. It’s also got a 3.5mm headphone jack and a solid main camera on the back. There’s no NFC and only one Android OS update (to Android 12), but three years of security updates mean you should be covered from potential digital threats for the lifetime of the phone.
There’s no denying just how good of a phone the Pixel 4a is, but it may cost more than you were hoping to spend; plus, plenty of people will want a larger phone. In either case, you owe it to yourself to consider the TCL 20S. Hands down, it has some of the best specs and features you’ll find in this price bracket.
For starters, the TCL 20S has an excellent display. It’s a 6.67-inch Full HD+ LCD panel, with its secret weapon being TCL’s NXTVISION technology. This allows for a sharper image and more vibrant colors, creating a great canvas for games, movies, and more. The internals for the TCL 20S are just as great, with the phone offering good performance, 128GB of expandable storage, and a large 5,000 mAh battery. Its 64MP main sensor dramatically improves the 48MP shooter on the 10L, and the 20S is guaranteed to get updated to Android 12.
We’re happy that the TCL 20S includes an NFC chip, which allows for contactless Google Pay payments, and you can also summon the Google Assistant via a dedicated key. It’s available in two gorgeous colors, North Star Blue and Milky Way Black. It will be updated to Android 12 and should get security updates through mid-2023.
Our TCL 20S review praised the phone for its stylish design, long-lasting battery life, clean Android 11 software, and audio features. He was much less bullish on its 60Hz display, last-gen Snapdragon 662 chipset, and lack of 5G or water resistance but, for the price these days, it’s actually a great performer.
We’d like to highlight that another one isn’t officially available in the U.S. but can still be found on some marketplaces. We’ve long been fans of the Redmi Note series. The 10 Pro is just the latest in that line. It’s another outstanding piece of tech that delivers a phenomenal experience at an even better price.
Looking at the spec sheet, the Note 10 Pro has a lot going for it. The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 5,050 mAh battery — even bigger than the one found on the Moto G Power. It also has a large 6.67-inch AMOLED with slim bezels, along with four cameras on the back.
Similar to the Galaxy A52, the Redmi Note 10 Pro has similar international quirks. Not only does it lack a U.S. warranty, but Xiaomi’s custom Android interface also takes some getting used to. Plus, the device only works on GSM networks, so you’re out of luck if you are on Verizon. Assuming you’re fine with those things, however, this is one heck of a deal.
The sub-$400 market is both extremely competitive and a little confusing, but there have never been more options in this price point among the best Android phones readily available. The Google Pixel 4a clearly stands out as the best possible value for the money under $400 because it’s based on the same principles as Google’s higher-end Pixels. That means it has the same software, features, and camera as the Pixel 4, but at a considerable discount.
But, given the fact that it’s really not available new these days, we’ve got to give the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G the next-best pick. At $399 (or less) it’s got great 5G connectivity, Samsung’s feature-rich software, a Snapdragon 750G processor that absolutely flies, and battery life that rivals the old Moto G Power from 2020.