Best affordable Quad HD smartphones (under $400) that you can buy right now

Best affordable Quad HD smartphones (under $400) that you can buy right now
If you're looking to buy a Quad HD smartphone, but you think you don't have the money for that, you may be wrong. Right now, there are several smartphones with Quad HD displays that don't cost more than $400 in the US, while still offering very nice features (even though they were all released in 2015).

Sure enough, you may not notice any sharpness difference between Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) and 1080p (1080 x 1920 pixels) when we're talking about displays measuring around 5 inches. But things start to change when you have screens of at least 5.5 inches - mind you, all four handsets that you'll see below sport such screens. Check them out - they're listed in alphabetical order - and tell us if you're tempted to buy any of them (that is, of course, if you don't already have one).


BLU has made a name for itself by selling unlocked smartphones at prices that are hard to beat on the US market. Released in September 2015, the Pure XL is one of the company's latest high-end handset, and, of course, it costs less than most - if not all - other devices in its class. With its 6-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, the BLU Pure XL is the largest smartphone on our list. While the screen is very sharp (490 ppi), it's not as bright as we would have wished, and color accuracy isn't the best, either. However, we'll forgive BLU for this, because the Pure XL costs only $349 at Amazon, yet manages to offer plenty of appealing features, including a 24 MP rear camera, fingerprint scanner, 3 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable internal memory, and a pretty capable octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 processor. The BLU Pure XL currently runs Android Lollipop, but it will soon be updated to Android Marshmallow.


The G4 is LG's former flagship smartphone, and although it's already been replaced by the G5, it's not yet 1 year old. Needless to say, the G4 remains an attractive device. Its highlight features include a 5.5-inch IPS Quad HD display (with 538 ppi), a very good 16 MP rear camera with extensive manual mode, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of expandable storage space. The LG G4 relies on a six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor (not Qualcomm's most powerful CPU, but still good enough), and currently runs Android Marshmallow. You can buy an unlocked LG G4 for as low as $379.99 from B&H Photo.

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition

The Moto X Pure Edition was recently offered for as low as $299 (16 GB variant), but Motorola is now selling it starting at $399. Fortunately, the handset's price is still discounted at Best Buy and Amazon (starting at $299 and $324.99, respectively) - an excellent deal, considering the fact that the Moto X Pure was one of the best Android smartphones that we reviewed last year. Available in the US since September, the Moto X Pure (now running Android Marshmallow) sports a 5.7-inch Quad HD IPS display with 520 ppi, and, like LG's G4, it's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 808 processor. Other features include a 21 MP rear camera, 3 GB of RAM, microSD card support, and a dust- and splash-resistant body that can be customized via Moto Maker.

ZTE Axon Pro

Launched in August 2015 as a premium unlocked smartphone, the ZTE Axon Pro was initially sold for prices starting at $450. However, the handset is currently available starting at $349.98 (32 GB) or $379.98 (64 GB), and offers you a lot of bang for the buck - including a 5.5-inch Quad HD display protected by antimicrobial Gorilla Glass, an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, Hi-Fi sound, and 4 GB of RAM. Like the LG G4 and Moto X Pure, the ZTE Axon Pro was recently updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow - a near stock software experience.



1. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Not QHD but...LG G Flex 2

11. MSi_GS70 unregistered

none of these are good

2. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

I don't like any of them, but the BLU is definitely the better of the bunch.

9. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

You only like Microsoft Windows Phone. It's good and its very rare. You could carry it like some collectable.

21. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Be surprised, I've actually been an active BlackBerry user lately. Why bother myself on carrying one of these listed phones as collectibles? Think I'm El Chapo or something?

13. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

For updates I'll stick with the Moto X Pure Edition. I have yet to read about or seen an update to the OS from BLU.

19. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

My BLU Studio Energy received multiple patch updates for bugs and one major update from 4.4 to 5.0. So they do what they can. Of all these phones the only one I'd consider actually buying for myself would be the BLU Pure XL, maybe the Moto X but I've been burned by Motorola promising updates than taking it back so I don't trust them.

3. redmd

Posts: 1935; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

LG G3?

5. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Ehhh...somewhat deprecated. But still good battery life, despite power hungry screen + how the 801 chipset is constantly under heavy load.

4. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

BLU Pure XL looks like Xperia Z series from the front.. That weather widget too..

6. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

LG seems to be the best bang for the buck here, followed by Motorola... But where's Samsung Galaxy S6? I don't know about ' Yankee Land' but around here it's going for roughly 450 US Dollars... Not exactly sub $400 or a mighty 6 Incher, but it at least deserves a mention in this article... G'Day!

8. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The G3 is a two year old phone while the MXPE is less than a year old, and it was under $400 at launch.

15. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

they did say QHD phones under $400....

7. Mrmark

Posts: 396; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

Moto Nexus 6 ?

10. BigVanVader

Posts: 51; Member since: Jan 01, 2016

Is my Asha 230 quad HD?

22. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

For Indian standards probably

12. emmawilliam834

Posts: 241; Member since: Feb 09, 2016

I actually like Motorola Moto X Pure Edition.

14. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

I'll go with the Moto X Pure Edition, followed by the LG G4.

16. imkyle

Posts: 1115; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

How do you know Blu will update this phone to 6.0?

17. KingSam

Posts: 1448; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Blue has been updating recent phones. I have first hand experience. I've been looking for a Qhd phone for vr thanks. Moto x wins.

18. OdysseasP

Posts: 67; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

I suggest instead of writing articles for affordable Quad HD smartphones, to start writing articles about the balance between power (SoC) and specs (screen resolution) in order to educate the average consumers. What is the point of someone buying a smartphone which features a Quad HD screen but on the other hand the moment he tries to play a relatively demanding game or any other demanding application as far as graphics is concerned he won't be able to do so satisfactorily, since most of the processing power of the weak GPU will necessarily be used in order just to move the pixels on the screen of the phone. In my opinion, the SoCs which could handle the Quad HD resolution without any compromises are the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. Excluding the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 due to the overheating issues and the subsequent thermal throttling as a result, the only SoC capable to handle such high on screen resolutions while not suffering from any overheating issues while at the same time being an excellent SoC as far as its general performance is concerned is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. Both the Mediatek MT6795 Helio X10 SoC (BLU Pure XL) with its Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU & PowerVR G6200 GPU as well as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC (LG G4 & Motorola Moto X Pure Edition) with its Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 & Quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU & Adreno 418 GPU aren't capable of handling such high on screen resolutions. Finally, the Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 SoC (ZTE Axon Pro) with its Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A57 CPU & Adreno 430 GPU although capable at the hardware level of handling such high resolutions it suffers from overheating issues which result in thermal throttling. In my opinion, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, one of the best of all time which achieved perfect balance between processing power and battery life, is able to offer an excellent user experience up to a FHD (1080p) on screen resolution while the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC is more than capable to support Quad HD screens offering comparable user experience.

20. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

23. robertdenaro116

Posts: 64; Member since: Mar 07, 2016

Moto X Style/Pure is the best Budget phone right now. This is a great smartphone.

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