Smartphones have changed the way we live, conduct business, and communicate. Last year alone (2019), the number of worldwide smartphone users reached 3.2 billion , that’s 10% increment when compared to 2018.
The global consumer market is deluged with brands, with Samsung leading the industry with over 225.3 million units in shipments . Of course, there are small players out there who are primarily interested in attracting more customers by offering feature-rich smartphones at an affordable price. Still, despite their efforts, only a few have left a mark. Choosing the right Android smartphone is an art form!
There are so many things to consider, such as price, display, manufacturing quality, battery life, longevity, cameras, storage, security.
For most of us, let’s face it, we don’t have the time or ability to determine which device best suits our needs and preferences. Most simply follow the trend or try to follow what our friends or family members have. This is why it’s essential to look for expert opinions and reviews before reaching for the wallet. After all, you don’t want to burn a hole in your budget, only to get an average product that will annoy you with bugs and stop working correctly in a few months.
Top 10 Android Phones Under 400 Dollars
In this day and age, phones are a necessity and investment. They have become an integral part of our lives. But, contrary to popular belief, they do not have to be a considerable investment as long as you know where to look and what to look for.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good smartphone. Instead of focusing on newly released, overpriced models, why not stick to what we know works?
Sure, a mobile that has been released a few days ago might be what all your friends are after, but there are two major issues with every newly released electronic device:
- It is most probably expensive.
- It has not stood the test of time.
Why not wait until the price drops? Why not wait for a few months and see if there are any problems with the phone? What if its battery life is not as high as advertised, or what if it has an annoying bug that ruins it completely?
On the other hand, picking out the right smartphone is a considerable time investment too, and, as they say, time is money. But, you don’t even have to spend time looking for that particular Android phone, we have done all the heavy lifting for you.
There is a great smartphone out there that will make your life easier and a lot more fun and, guess what? It costs less than $400. That is why we have compiled this list to assist our readers in picking out the best Android phone under 400 dollars. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro – Best Phone Under $400
This is the Xiaomi MI 90, and it’s one of those smartphones where it seems too good to be true when you compare the cost and the specs on paper. The thing is we know how often specs on a sheet can actually sometimes end up translating to poor performance in the real world and so I’ve had my SIM card in this phone for the past few weeks to determine whether or not this is a phone you should consider buying or whether it’s worth forgetting about altogether.
Display And Overall Appearance
Now coming from using the Google Pixel 3 XL, which in case you don’t know is known for its bathtub like notch, the first thing that I really really appreciated about the Mi 90 T was the design, but more specifically that display. Mi 9T Pro display is without a doubt is its headlining feature, and that it presents virtually baseless and notch-less display, I’m going, being honest with you, I’m going to find it hard going back to a phone that has a notch or even a larger than normal sized bezel a.k.a Pixel.
Anyway, having no interruptions to the edges of this display and the fact that it goes pretty much from corner to corner with a very minimal bottom chin as well is seriously nice, and it just makes the experience of using this device super clean and downright enjoyable.
On top of that, the display itself is actually an OLED panel, and I really struggled going back to phones that don’t have OLED panels these days. And so the fact that that’s not something I have to sacrifice when using this phone is excellent. Whilst it’s certainly not the brightest panel going around, it does get decently bright. It’s probably just a little bit less bright than my Pixel 3 XL, which is pretty impressive, mainly considering the price difference.
On a negative note, the display definitely doesn’t get dim enough for low light use, in my opinion, although I’ve gotten pretty used to using a dim screen application of light even on my Pixel, so this is a fairly innocuous issue for me.
So in terms of the selfie cam, Xiaomi has gone with the now somewhat popular approach of placing it in this little pop-up mechanism similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro, although this one sees the inclusion of this neat little LCD light that shines up every time you open and close it. And this actually also acts as a notification LCD, which is pretty neat.
The phone does have a glossy glass back with this swirling gradient of color, and I don’t mind it although it’s probably not my favorite look I tend to prefer a matte finish that some of the other devices have come out with lately and unfortunately even though we do have a glass back this phone does not have wireless charging which may be a big issue for some. I do miss the feature, although, at this price point, it’s not the biggest complaint about me.
Now, like a lot of other phones coming out at the moment, particularly lots of budget one surprisingly, the Mi 9T Pro does have an in-display fingerprint sensor, which is a fun feature to have in one sense, but it isn’t super fast or reliable.
You have to be quite intentional with the placement and pressure of your finger. And so for me, the jury’s still out on in-display fingerprint sensors. There is a face unlock feature on the Mi 9T, although it’s pretty slow and also unreliable as to when it’s even going to work. Sometimes you have even to tap the face icon for it to launch the functionality, so it’s something that I rarely use.
OS and User Experience
Perhaps one of the biggest reservations I had coming into using this phone was the software experience. Now let me tell you, I am a big stock android or pixel experience believer and Xiaomi in recent years have been known for the pretty heavy skins that they place on top of Android. But get this.
Xiaomi has obviously been pretty hard at work lately because after using this phone for the past little while, somehow this skin has become actually one of my favorite alternatives to stock android and I would actually rank it as my third favorite skin after the pixel experience and oxygen OS.
Trust me, the overall user experience is very enjoyable. I think one of the biggest reasons as to why I enjoy the experience so much is the gestures. Now you obviously have access to your standard three-button navigation which is fine but I’m all aboard the gestures train and the mute gestures are very very good. So if you’re within an app and swiping up quickly from the bottom will take you home, a swipe up and hold will launch into the recent panel and then a quick swipe from the left or the right side of the display will act as your back button.
ZTE Axon 7
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Released last year on July 27th, the ZTE Axon aims to look and perform like the precisest Android phones out there, while remaining a budget-friendly model.
Perhaps one of the best phones under $400 available today, this well-designed beauty features 64GB of internal storage. Furthermore, it is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Processor and 4GB RAM, packing a lot more power than the price tag might suggest.
With the dimensions of 5.97 x 2.95 x 3.07 inches and featuring modern, stylish design, this Android smartphone looks and feels like a high-end device. It feels great in hand and, all controls are incredibly simple, intuitive, and within comfortable reach. The touchscreen is also great, and typing on the phone feels comfortable and natural. All in all, one would have to try hard to find design and functionality flaws in this model.
The large, sharp 20 MP rear camera is capable of snapping high-quality photos. The colors are bright and vivid. The resolution is predictably excellent, and the photos have a beautiful, natural feel to them. It also comes with an 8mp front camera, which clicks good quality pictures, even in a low light environment. It may not be up to par with the rear one, but it is not supposed to be either. Overall, it gets the job done perfectly fine when it comes to taking quick photos of yourself or video chatting.
The built-in 3,250mAh battery is enough for up to 20 hours of mixed-use. Considering the size of this smartphone, the ZTE Axon charges very quickly because it supports quick charging 3.0, getting up to 17% power within 10 minutes and 50% in just 30 minutes.
Twenty20 hours of mixed-use translates to 30 or more hours of light use, which is more than most similarly priced Android phones can offer. The excellent battery life, in combination with modern design, great cameras, and the affordable price, makes this one of the best mobiles within the category.
- A mighty processor.
- It has got 64GB MicroSD expandable internet storage.
- Rear and front sensor performance are great.
- It has support for quick charging and is capable of getting 25% power in just 15 minutes charge.
- 3250mAh battery power is quite good.
- It runs on the Android 6.0.1 marshmallow operating system.
Moto Z Play
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Launched in September 2016, the Moto Z Play is an exciting combination of affordability and low price. Equipped with a powerful Snapdragon 625 processor and 32 GB of RAM, this is a well-thought-out, well-rounded product. With micro card support of up to 2 TB, this is an excellent device for those of you looking for a lot of space to store media in.
What instantly stands out about this android phone is the sleek design – smooth corners, sturdy aluminum frame, elegant look. The phone looks modern and feels comfortable in hand. It’s large enough to serve as a great multimedia device, but not too big, so very easy to maneuver. In short, the design is spot on. But, the aesthetically pleasing look doesn’t mean Motorola has given up on build quality. On the contrary, the Z Play has a completely rigid body.
The Moto Z Play, like most Android mobiles nowadays, has two cameras – a front and a rear one. Predictably, the rear camera, meant for “serious” photography, is a lot more powerful, featuring a 16 MP resolution. The front-facing 5 MP secondary camera features a wide-angle lens. This makes up for the lack of resolution and adds another dimension to this model.
As for the security, apart from the software-based security feature, Moto Z comes with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. The responsive time of the sensor is superb, but it won’t work correctly if your fingers are wet.
Battery life, however, is where this droid stands out the most. You can expect to get up to 50 hours of mixed-use from the Moto Z Play, which is borderline incredible. Most much more expensive mobiles can’t even come close to 50 hours of mixed-use, let alone models in this price range. The 3510 mAh battery lasts long and charges quickly. In conclusion, this is an excellent, no-nonsense day-to-day companion and one of the best Android phones under $400 you can buy.
Samsung Galaxy S7
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In many ways, a new and improved version of Samsung’s S6 model, the S7, has everything its predecessor has been lacking. But, it is not merely a new and enhanced version; it is much more than that.
It was released back in March 2016. Samsung Galaxy S7 has a built-in Snapdragon 820/Exynos 8890 processor. It also has 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of additional storage. This is enough for top-notch performance.
Weighing only 0.33 pounds, this lightweight smartphone has an excellent grip, which makes typing on it effortlessly accessible. While the design is reminiscent of that of the Samsung Galaxy 6, some improvements have been made. One of the biggest ones being the rear curving; this makes the phone much more comfortable to hold in hand.
The design makes the entire experience of using it a lot more user-friendly. It’s important to note that the S6, unlike its predecessor, is waterproof, which adds another level of security. Overall, it is undoubtedly an Android phone to take into consideration if you tend to spend a lot of time outdoors or want to make sure your phone stays safe at all times.
Known for integrating brilliant cameras into their phones, Samsung did not disappoint this time either. The S7 has a 12 MP rear camera. It offers vivid colors, perfect brightness, and plenty of effects and modes to play with. This is great if you’re into photography. The 5 MP secondary camera may not be as spectacular as the rear one, but it is still capable of snapping incredible, high-quality photos.
The S7 has a larger battery than the previous model, and that has tremendously paid off. Even with heavier use, the battery will last for an entire day. But what makes things even better is the inbuilt power-saving mode. It works incredibly well and elevates this unlocked Android smartphone into the best-buy territory.
Sony Xperia X
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Released in May 2016, Sony’s Xperia X aims to be a high-performing, budget-friendly device with a lot to offer. Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor ensures exceptional performance in all areas. Supported with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of flash memory, the Xperia X is fast and capable. All sorts of games and apps should run with ease, even the heavier, more demanding ones.
It also has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor which has a response time of fewer than three milliseconds.
X’s design can be summed up a few words: simplicity and elegance. The phone is free of fancy, flashy design features a lot of models nowadays seem to be rich with. Instead, it is a traditionalist’s model that has glass sides, adding an attractive look to the vivid screen. The sturdy build is perhaps its strongest point, design-wise. The capacitive touchscreen display is very intuitive. Typing on this device is pretty easy, even for those who haven’t gotten used to modern touch screens yet.
The front-facing 5 MP cam is capable of delivering decent quality photos. Actually, it’s good enough for a decent selfie or a Skype video call. The rear camera is spectacular. With the resolution of 23 MP, this is a photographer’s favorite. It is capable of taking high-quality photos regardless of the setup or the surroundings. If you’re an avid photographer and robust camera is a must but don’t want to spend too much on expensive DSLRs, then look no further than this smartphone.
The 2620mAh battery does not seem very promising at a glance, but it has exceeded all expectations. Getting all of our job done very well. The Xperia X performs a lot better than previous Sony models. With only 10 minutes of charge, you can use this device for up to 6 hours. The X’s battery may lack in capacity but makes up for it in quick charging, which is a compromise most people would gladly accept.
Huawei Honor 8
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A successor of Huawei’s best-selling model, the Honor 7, the Honor 8 is one of the best phones under $400 China has ever produced. Released in August 2016, this is a high-performing android smartphone, perfect for those looking for more power.
This model features a very powerful octa-core Cortex-A72 CPU, which is capable of delivering processing speed up to 2.3GHz. Furthermore, it is assisted with 4GB of RAM. Combining the power of the processor and 4GB RAM, this mobile offers outstanding performance.
The design and build of the Honor 8 are almost spectacular. Even though it has a dual rear camera, it is entirely bump-free. Huawei has always done a fantastic job when it comes to making their smartphones as comfortable and as sleek as possible, and that is the case with this model too.
Honor 8 is covered with 15 layers of nano-etched glass, which gives off a pleasant, reflective glow. The smooth surface adds to the overall ease of use, too, as does the lightweight – weighing only 0.33 pounds. With the dimensions of 5.7 x 2.7 x 0.29 inches, this is one of the most comfortable unlocked Android phones to handle.
To enhance your security and your privacy, it comes with a read mounted fingerprint scanner. The response time of the scanner is quite good, and you can add more than one user into the fingerprint database.
The Honor 8 has two cameras on the back and rear, selfie camera. The dual 12-megapixel cam setup on the back is undoubtedly a unique engineering solution that makes the photos look even better than one would expect, since one lens is in charge of collecting color data, while the other one captures details. The secondary camera is, predictably, not capable of taking amazing shots of the double cam setup on the back, but it’s good enough for a selfie or two.
The 3,000mAh battery capacity and a lower-resolution display work together to create optimal performance, making the battery life of the Huawei Honor 8 almost incredible, allowing for nearly 30 hours of mixed-use. All in all, Honor 8 does what it is supposed to and does it better than most mobiles on the market.
The LG V20 – GSM Unlocked International Model
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The market has been craving for phablets, and a lot of them has been released recently, some have disappointed, and some have exceeded expectations, but LG’s V20 seems to be a step in the right direction. Unveiled on September 6th, 2016, the V20 is an eclectic combination of unique features and stellar design. It’s Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820, Quad-core processor is strong enough to handle even the most demanding of tasks. 4 GB of RAM adds to the performance and complements the performance wonderfully.
LG has practically made a name for themselves in the smartphone arena by producing well-built, almost military-grade devices. It’s safe to say that they have outdone themselves with the V20. The top and the bottom area both are made of silicon polycarbonate, which is an incredibly powerful material that can handle a lot. However, no compromises have been made – the V20 is very user-friendly, and handling the phablet feels very natural, almost effortless. The sturdy and robust design does not mean aesthetics have to suffer, and LG has proven that yet again. This is an aesthetically pleasing model, featuring an elegant design.
Another thing LG has always been great at is cameras, and that is the case with this device too. LG V20 has got a dual rear camera, one of which is 16 MP and the other one 12 MP. They work very well with the integrated camera app, which means the user can play with the settings and effects quickly. This guarantees high-quality photos and videos, especially if you know what you’re doing and like photography. The front 5 MP camera has a wide-angle (120 degrees), which certainly makes up for the lack of resolution, making the camera even more convenient for video chatting.
Battery life is what matters the most to the vast majority of smartphone users. Since this is a high-performing phablet with a lot of features, one would expect the battery life to be around 12 hours tops, but the V20’s 3,200mAh removable battery is capable of delivering almost twice more. A perfect cross between a tablet and a smartphone, the LG V20 is one of the best devices of this kind of money can buy.
Motorola Nexus 6
When two technology giants like Google and Motorola team up to co-develop a smartphone, you know you’re in for a treat. Released in November 2014, is another phablet on our list, a combination of a phone and a tablet that doesn’t leave a lot to be desired for. Powered by a 2.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 and equipped with 3 GB of RAM, the Nexus 6 performs smoothly and handles everything the average user needs with absolute ease. Don’t let its age fool you, and the Motorola Nexus 6 might turn out to be just what you need.
Since this is a quite large device, one has to use two hands to operate it properly. This, however, is not an issue because the back of the phablet is smooth and has an excellent grip, which makes it easy to hold. All buttons are within reasonable reach, and the responsive touchscreen certainly adds to the entire experience, turning this into a very user-friendly model. The sturdiness and the solid build are also there, which is always a sign of longevity.
The primary, the rear 13-megapixel camera is excellent, especially considering this is a phablet device. The photographs clicked are clear and crisps. The colors are vivid, and it is capable of recording 4K resolution videos. The front camera is far from decent, but considering most of us use it for video chatting, social media posts, and selfies, it’s good enough.
The Motorola Nexus 6 stands out when it comes to battery life. This is a capable, high-performing device, and one would expect the battery to drain fairly quickly, but that is luckily not the case. The 3220mAh capacity battery is nothing short of brilliant, delivering up to 24 hours of battery life in mixed-use. What makes things even more impressive is the fast charge time. The Nexus 6 goes from 0 to 100% in less than an hour and a half.
Huawei P9 EVA-L09 Unlocked Android Phone
If you are looking for a high performing Huawei phone, then look no further than EVA-L09. Launched in April 2016, this smartphone comes with an outstanding premium look and build quality.
The whole body is made with aluminum, thus giving it a smooth and shining effect. The rounded corners give an extra pinch of a premium look. It is lightweight as it weighs just 144grams, it is slimmer than the previous model, and it is super comfortable to hold in hands. The dimension is 145 x 71 x 7mm, and it features a 5.2inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen. So as for design, I will give it 100 upon 100. I mean, I have just fallen in love with its Titanium Grey color.
Coming to the performance, it is packed with a 64bit architecture based HiSilicon Kirin 955 octa-core processor. It has been built using 16nm manufacturing technology. The base clock speed of this processor is 2500 MHz. As per our performance test, it has scored 7159 Points in PCMark for Android test. It also has a 3GB ram and 32Gb internal storage. Furthermore, as for GPU, this device comes with ARM Mali-T880 MP4, which offers 900MHz speed.
Now let’s talk a bit about its camera. It has got the dual 12MP rear sensor in which one is a monochrome sensor. With the help of a monochrome sensor, Huawei P9 EVA-L09 is capable of producing incredibly detailed pictures. They are even assisted with a Dual-tone LED flash, which contributes to retaining the image quality even in a low light environment.
The front sensor is 8MP, and its image quality is also quite decent. But if you are planning to take selfies in a low light environment, then you might get disappointed.
Now coming to the battery, it is loaded with a 3000mAh non-removable battery, which is 400mAh more than it’s the previous model.
Considering the processor, display size, and operating system, 3000mAh battery power is sufficient for a day-long usage. But if you are a gamer or if you are planning to do lots of multitasking, then you can expect a maximum of 8 to 10 hours backup. The phone itself takes around 5 to 6 hours to attain a 100% charge as it doesn’t support fast-charge.
Moto X Pure Edition
It is one of the most successful models of the Moto series from Lenovo. Launched in July 2015, it is still one of the most sought after smartphones. Why, well, there are various reasons, and I will discuss it below.
The most noticeable feature of Moto X pure is its 5.7inches IPS LCD. It offers an ultra-high resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. This capacitive display comes with 520 pixels per inch density, which is by far the highest among every other competitor on our list. Furthermore, to enhance the durability of the display, it is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating.
Officially, it comes with an Android 5.1 operating system, but there’s good news, it is upgradable to Android 7.1. This is an official upgrade, and you will receive the notification as soon as you connect it to wifi.
Another noticeable feature of Moto X is Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. It is a 64-bit architecture based Hexa-core processor which offers a clock speed of 2GHz. It has Qualcomm Adreno 418 GPU, which ensures that you enjoy your multimedia content without any flickers or lagging. As per our 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Physics test, it scored 12767 Points. This test proves that this processor can handle multitasking quite efficiently. Additionally, it comes with 3 GB RAM and gives you the option to choose from 16/32/64GB internal storage.
As for the body color, this mobile is available in 5 different colors, and they are dark gray, black lens, black with white, silver, bamboo inlay.
Coming to the camera, Moto X pure features 21MP primary sensor and 5MP selfie sensor. The rear camera is supported with dual-LED flash. It also supports phase detection autofocus, automatic HDR, geo-tagging, panorama, and much more.
The front sensor is also assisted with an LED flash. It is capable of taking pictures or recording videos in HD quality at 30 frames per second speed.
To ensure that you can enjoy this smartphone for a longer period and that without needing to recharge, it comes with a 3000mAh battery. What’s interesting is that it can refill 34% of power within 15 minutes, thanks for fast-charging.
Moto G5 Plus
If you are looking for feature-loaded unlocked Android smartphones under $400, then don’t look beyond Moto G 5th generation. It was released back in April 2017 by Lenovo, which is the parent company of Motorola.
It has a multi-touch enabled 5.2inches LCD screen which comes with a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. To improve the durability of this android phone, the screen is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating. Additionally, the screen is covered with Water repellent nano-coating, which makes the display spell proof.
What makes G5 Plus apart from other competitors is its camera quality and turbo power charging.
First, let’s discuss its camera and picture quality. It has got a 12MP primary sensor, and it offers 1.7 aperture. A dual-LED flashlight ensures that your picture has great details, even in a low light environment. Additionally, the rear sensor supports 8X digital zoom for images and 4X zoom for video. Other noticeable features are burst mode, auto HDR, 4K video recording at 30fps. The front sensor is equipped with a wide-angle lens and comes with in-built beauty and professional mode.
Coming to the performance, this phone has a Snapdragon 625, which is one of the most powerful octa-core processors in the market today.
It offers processing speed close to 2 GHz, and it is quite capable of handling multitasking. As for the GPU, it has Adreno 506, which can easily handle all sorts of multimedia contents and resource-demanding games. It also comes with the option to choose a model with either 3Gb or 4GB ram. You should note that the higher-end version, which comes with 4GB ram and 64GB internal storage, will cost you more.
Moto G5 Plus rocks 3000 mAh battery, which, according to the company, can handle all your activities on your smartphone for 24 hours. Additionally, you get a 15W turbo power charge, which can refill the battery for 6 hours of usage in just 15minutes.
Which is the Best Android Phone Under 400?
As we have already said that ZTE Axon 7 is the winner of this list, and we have various reasons to support it. First of all, the features which Axon 7 provides is far beyond what other competitors are offering in the price range of $400.
Second, this mobile has won the Editor’s Choice Award from both Android authority and PCMag.
Third, battery life is just outstanding, and it can comfortably withstand 8 to 12 hours of gameplay or video playback. If you are just a normal user, then you can get a 12 to 16-hours battery life. Furthermore, it comes with support for Quick charging 4.0, which helps it to gain almost 50% power within 30 minutes.
Fourth, it comes with a 20 MP rear and 8MP front sensor, both of which are capable of capturing high-quality pictures with great details. The rear sensor is capable of recording 4K UHD videos.
Fifth, the performance of Axon 7 is just amazing. Snapdragon 820 is one of the best processors which any mobile device can have. Additionally, it comes with 4GB ram and 64GB internal storage.
There is no other smartphone that can offer such performance and so many features within the price range of $400.