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The best phones under $400 - updated August 2021

The best phones under $400 - updated August 2021
What are the best phones under $400? 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 your choice down to a handful of phones. 

However, when you're on a bit of a budget but are not aiming extremely low, the sprawling mid-range segment has so much to offer, that it can get confusing quickly. There's no need to get a flagship, you can get one of the best phones under $400 instead. 

What do you value the most in a phone? Long-lasting battery life? A great camera? Smooth performance? Perhaps a combination of the three? Whatever it is, you're sure to find an affordable phone that checks most (if not all) of your boxes. To help you in this endeavor, we've compiled a list of the best phones under $400 that you can get right now!

Best phones under $400, a summarized list:

Best phones under $400, a detailed list:

Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a

The Good

  • Top-notch still photo quality
  • Polished software and user experience
  • Lightweight design
  • Smooth performance
  • Excellent value

The Bad

  • No wireless charging or 5G support (for now)
  • Plasticky build
  • No waterproofing
With the Pixel 4aGoogle has delivered another superb mid-range phones! Compared to its predecessor, Google has improved the performance by choosing a 700-series chip, and the design still looks modern in 2021. 

Other than that, we don't think the plastic designs are bad; the phones may not feature wireless charging, but in terms of look and feel, there doesn't seem to be that much of a difference compared to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL. 

The only obvious difference is the lack of multiple camera sensors, but the Pixel 4a more than makes up for that with the quality of the pictures it takes. Best of all, this year the phone is even cheaper, making it an amazing value if you're a fan of Team Pixel.

Read more: Google Pixel 4a review

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

The Good

  • Unmatched performance
  • Impressive image quality, industry-leading 4K video capture
  • Great price
  • Compact form factor, easy to use with one hand
  • iOS and the ecosystem (AirPods, Apple Watch, etc)
  • Support for wireless charging

The Bad

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Dated look on the front with big bezels
  • Only one small size that won’t fit everyone (no Plus model)
  • Slow 5W charger in the box
  • No Night Mode, no telephoto camera, no ultra-wide camera
Within the body of the iPhone 8, the iPhone SE (2020) has tucked Apple's A13 Bionic chip, making this one of the best-performing phones in any class. 

This phone will be able to handle any app you throw at it for years to come. Wireless charging is another feature you won't see on many other phones in that price segment. Yes, the display is small and the bezels are like no other on this list, but that's what you get with the classic iPhone design. Keep in mind this phone isn't the best in terms of battery life, so if you are a heavy user this probably isn't your best choice.

If you want to add a kid or a parent to the Apple ecosystem and team Blue Text Bubble, without spending much, the new iPhone SE is the phone for you!

Read More: Apple iPhone SE (2020) review

Samsung Galaxy A72

Samsung Galaxy A72

Samsung Galaxy A72

The Good

  • Big OLED display with 90 Hz refresh rate
  • Versatile camera and good quality photos
  • Very well balanced weight for a comfortable hold
  • Big battery

The Bad

  • No 5G support
  • Gaming performance has a few hiccups

The Samsung Galaxy A71 was the king of mid-range smartphones, and for a good reason. That's why the task before its successor, the Galaxy A72, was a tough one. Samsung managed to pull this one off, though. The Galaxy A72 takes everything good about its predecessor and makes it better.

The phone features the same 6.7-inch AMOLED display we're familiar with from the Galaxy A71 but upgrades the refresh rate to 90Hz. Samsung has tweaked the brightness and the panel is 15% brighter than the display of the A71. 

The chipset is also slightly better, and the huge 5,000mAh battery makes this phone an endurance champion. It's price is a little bit over our $400 budget but with proper deals and discounts, and with time, it will fall into this price bracket easily.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy A72 review

Motorola One 5G Ace

Motorola One 5G Ace

Motorola One 5G Ace

The Good

  • Great value for a 5G phone
  • Snappy performance
  • Good camera quality
  • Excellent battery life

The Bad

  • Macro lens doesn’t add much value
  • Build could be sturdier
Motorola’s affordable One 5G Ace phone is a great choice. This device has a nice 6.7-inch screen with FHD+ resolution and a big 5000mAh battery. As its name suggests, it indeed has 5G connectivity. It is powered by a Snapdragon 750G processor, which is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The Motorola One 5G Ace has some good features from the past, like a 3.5mm headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot. Camera-wise the phone has a triple-camera system, which is able to produce some pretty nice pictures.

A downside to this smartphone is its weight and thickness, which are on the big side. The phone weighs 212g and has a thickness of 9.9mm. The One 5G Ace also has a plastic back, which won’t be to everyone’s taste, but hey, it still packs great specs for under $400.

Read more:  Motorola One 5G Ace Review

OnePlus Nord N10 5G

OnePlus Nord N10

OnePlus Nord N10

The Good

  • 90Hz display
  • OxygenOS is perfect for a budget phone
  • Good build quality
  • Decent camera performance
  • Headphone jack
  • Super-competitive price

The Bad

  • Two useless cameras
  • LCD display
  • Uncharacteristically boring design
  • Poor haptics
We can't talk about sub-$400 phones without mentioning the OnePlus Nord N10. With the Nord OnePlus goes back to its roots of delivering great bang for your buck. A 90Hz AMOLED display, 5G-capable chip, super fast charging and a decent camera system, what more can you want? It also comes with a decent, fast charging battery and a stylish design. The Nord N10 also features a headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot, which is pretty cool.

Read more:  OnePlus Nord N10 5G Review

Motorola G Stylus 5G

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2021)

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2021)

The Good

  • Attractive, lightweight design
  • Decent camera setup
  • Ergonomic stylus
  • Excellent battery life

The Bad

  • Dated 60Hz display
  • Rudimentary speakers
  • No NFC
  • Not the greatest value
Motorola carved sort of a niche with its G Stylus line of phones. If you suffer from low-battery anxiety (totally a real thing), this is the phone for you. With its 5,000mAh battery and energy efficient chipset, this phone can easily last more than a day. Its display is also very good.

The Moto G Stylus 5G sports a pretty solid for the category octa-core Snapdragon 480 processor paired with 4 or 6GB RAM count and 128 or 256GB of internal storage space. In the camera department the phone also does well, with a 48MP main camera and the addition of 8MP ultrawide, as well as 5MP macro and 2MP depth sensors. Last but not least, let's not forget this phone comes with a stylus, which might be useful to people that love taking notes. 

Read more:  Motorola G Stylus 5G Review

Sony Xperia 10 III

Sony Xperia 10 III

Sony Xperia 10 III

The Good

  • 6-inch HDR10 OLED 21:9 display
  • Battery life is stellar
  • Adequate camera system
  • 5G-capable
  • Gorilla Glass 6 front and back
  • IP65/IP68 rating
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Pleasant design (subjective)
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microSD card slot (shared)

The Bad

  • 60Hz display refresh rate
  • Hiccups here and there
  • Inadequate bundled charger
  • Slow fingerprint reader
Sony has a great history of making compact phones - the company actually introduced the term with the Xperia Z1 Compact back in 2014. The new affordable Sony Xperia 10 III is a great mid-ranger that offers a 6-inch OLED display, water and dust resistance, a fingerprint scanner, and a triple camera system on the back. 

You won't find a flagship chipset inside, it's powered by a Snapdragon 690 chipset, coupled with 6GB RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage, but it's sufficient, especially at this price point. This phone also comes with a MicroSD card slot and a headphone jack. Its a perfect buy if you don't want a big phone and have a more active lifestyle.

Read more:  Sony Xperia 10 III Review

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