Best Smartphones under $400 [June 2021]

best smartphones under $400

Buying a smartphone but can’t decide which one to choose? Buying a perfect smartphone can be a tough task because there are so many choices and so many suggestions. In this post, you will see only those smartphone which worth buying and are the best smartphones under $400.

Many factors make a smartphone excellent or bad for you. Like Performance, Battery life, Build quality, and more. Some smartphones are good at one point, while some are all-rounders. We have done the research and collected all Benchmarks, tests, and Reviews Score from all over the Internet and prepared this list.

Best Smartphones Under $400

Best Overall: iPhone SE (2020) | Google Pixel 4A

Best for Performance: iPhone SE

Best for Camera: Google Pixel 4A

Best for Display: Samsung A70

Best for Software: iPhone SE | Google Pixel 4A

Best Value for Money: iPhone SE | Goole Pixel 4A


iPhone SE

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The second installment in the iPhone SE lineup, the 2020 version of iPhone SE is a perfect smartphone for most of the people. It creates a new benchmark in many areas, like performance and Camera, which will be a hard job for any budget Android device to offer at this level. Until the Google Pixel 4A releases, iPhone SE is our recommendation for you under $400.

Pros

  • Excellent camera
  • Equipped with the most Powerful Processor
  • Great Software
  • Value for money
  • Good Design and Build Quality

Cons

  • Battery life is average
  • Small Form Factor is not for everybody
  • Big Fat Bezels
  • No Night Mode

iPhone SE 2020

CPU: A13 Bionic

Display: 5.4.7 inches, 750 x 1334 pixels 326 ppi

RAM: 3 GB

ROM: 64, 128, 256 GB

Weight:148 g

OS: iOS 14

Camera: 12 MP, f/1.8 on the back and 7 MP, f/2.2 on Front

Battery: 1821 mAh with 18W Fast charging

Fingerprint sensor: Front-Mounted

Performance

It is rocking the most powerful Chipset on the planet, the A13 Bionic. A13 Bionic is the same chipset used in the iPhone 11 series. The chipset makes the Device very snappy to use, the camera is very quick, the app opening is very quick, so there no complaints here. iPhone SE gets full points on the performance department. You can run every game you can find on the App Store and it will run them without any sweat.

Display

The display is a 4.7 inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 750 X 1334 and a pixel density of 326 PPI. The quality of the display is really good and it comes with HDR playback support from Netflix and other services. Color reproduction is really nice and there is nothing to complain here.

Design

iPhone SE is a small form factor device with really good built quality. It has a Touch ID on the front which is great in the COVID time so you dont have to take off the mask to unlock like other iPhone with Face unlock. It is a Glass sandwich design with a metal frame in the middle, it is simply an iPhone 8 body. You also get an IP67 rating which is quite rare in smartphones with a price tag of $400. 

Camera

Just like Google, Apple is also really good at making good Camera smartphones and iPhone SE is no exception. The 12 MP shooter on the back has the OIS support and capture well-detailed images with good dynamic range. One thing which is missing here is the Night Mode. And when it comes to the Video recording, iPhone SE blows every other camera in the competition out of the water, it is the best you can get in $400 segment.

Software

One of the best things about iPhone SE is that you get exactly the same interface you get on an iPhone 11, a $1000 device. iOS is very limited when compared to Android, but you get a stable, bloatware-free and polished software. 

If you want to migrate from an older iPhone but dont want to spend $1000 on iPhone 11, then the $399 iPhone SE is the best choice for you.

If you are coming from Android, then the software can be limited for you in many ways. First, there is no App drawer but only a Home screen, secondly, Customization is basically nonexistent and you cannot a lot of things that you can do on Android. On the plus side, you get Software updates up to years and Apple offers the best messaging app and Video conferencing platform that integrate really well with other Apple products.

Battery

The battery size is 1,821 mAh battery. Compared to Android devices, iPhone SE has a very small battery, less than half of what Samsung devices give at a much cheaper price. But iOS and the A13 Bionic Chipset together provide a very respectable battery backup. You can expect a 4 to 5 hour of Screen time and it gets better with time because of all these optimizations that happen in Software according to your usage.

Pixel 4A

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Pixel 4A is Google’s second entry after Pixel 3A which refines everything that made Pixel 3A such a good smartphone. It is a simple yet powerful device that will suit most of the users looking to buy the Smartphone right now. You get the best software, the best camera, and a very simple and good original design. Pixel 4A is a reliable device and I recommend this phone if the iPhone SE small screen is not a thing for you.

Pros

  • Excellent camera
  • OLED Display
  • Value for money
  • Software

Cons

  • Battery life is average
  • Gaming Performance

Pixel 4A

CPU: Qualcomm SDM730 Snapdragon 730G

Display: 5.81 inches, 1080 x 2340 pixels 443 ppi

RAM: 6 GB

ROM: 128 GB

Weight: 143 g

OS: Android 10 with Guaranteed Updates

Camera: 12.2 MP, f/1.7 on the back and 8 MP, f/2.0 on Front

Battery: 3140 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Rear-mounted

 

Design and Build

Unlike other devices in the list, Pixel 4A does not try to give you 7 rainbow colors with a Glass back, instead, the device has a plastic build which brings several advantages with durability being the major one. The plastic back also means that it is not a fingerprint magnet like Glass and if you drop your device quite often, then Pixel 4A will survive with you longer. Pixel 4A only comes in matte black.

The build quality is really good and the design looks original and modern. Especially on the front, The display is bezel-less with a Hole-punch camera in it, which gives a 2020 look to it. It comes with a headphone jack and a USB Type-C port on the bottom side.

Display

Pixel 4A is rocking a 5.81-inch OLED display with a 1080 x 2340px pixel resolution and 443 ppi density. The OLED display gives vibrant colors, wide viewing angles, and perfect blacks.

Unlike the previous Pixel 3A, Pixel 4A comes with HDR support which means you can stream Netflix in HDR10. The display offers 3 modes to choose from. The always-on display shows notifications.

Performance

Pixel 4A sport a Snapdragon 730G with Adreno 618. Talking about real-world performance, Pixel 4A holds up pretty good and will give you smooth performance most of the time, using Android and using Apps is very smooth. However, Longer sessions of Gaming can make the Pixel 4A stutter a little bit, although not very much, it will be noticeable because of the throttling of the CPU.

If you are not too much into Graphic intensive Games like Fortnite, PUBG, or Call of Duty, then Pixel 4A will present you with no problems. And combined with the excellent software, Pixel 4A might the best device for day to Day use.

Software

Software is the plus point of Pixel 4A. It’s the Stock Android with a clean UI and no bloatware. And the Android updates will be the fastest among all Android devices.

Camera

The camera is the only thing in a smartphone that gets better with a higher price tag, but Pixel 4A does the opposite. For a $349 device, the camera is absolutely killer.

The backside of Pixel 4A rocks a  12.2 MP, f/1.8 camera on the back, and 8 MP, f/2.0 on the Front. Although the image processing is slow because of the mid-tier CPU, the results it gives are excellent. The camera gives Perfect Dynamic range, perfect colors, and never forgets the Night sight. If you love to capture images then there is no better smartphone than Pixel 4A in the budget, it even beats the smartphone as twice as expensive.

Battery

5 to 6 hours of screen time is what you will get if you are a Medium user. Although, Heavy users may need to charge the device twice a day. However, The 18W charger charges the device to 100% under an and a half hour.


Xiaomi Mi 9T

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Pros:

  • Great performance
  • Camera
  • Design and Built
  • Edge to Edge display

Cons:

  • MIUI is full of bloatware
  • Xiaomi is slow to update MIUI

Xiaomi Mi 9T: Best Smartphones under $400

CPU: Snapdragon 730 (8 nm)

Display: AMOLED 6.39 inches 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~403 ppi density)

RAM:  6 GB

ROM: 64/128 GB

Weight:  191 g

OS: MIUI 11

Camera: 48 MP (wide)+8 MP (telephoto)+13 MP (ultrawide) | Motorized pop-up 20 MP

Battery: 4000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Optical: Under Display

Design and built

Mi 9T is one of the best-looking smartphones on this list. It follows the common Glass back design with a Metal frame. The back Glass has a gradient finish and it looks gorgeous.

When it comes to the front, the display is an edge to edge bezel-less display with a fingerprint sensor underneath it. The Power button is colored which matches the accent.

The bottom side contains the USB-C type port along with speakers and mic. The upper side contains the Pop-up selfie camera and headphone jack.

Performance and Battery life

Mi 9T does not house a flagship chipset but still performs the same as any flagship device. Snapdragon 730 with Adreno 618 provides good snappy performance and gaming is also very smooth. 

The 4000 mAh battery provides a full day backup for medium usage. Furthermore, 18W fast charging is available and Xiaomi provides a fast charger in the box.

Display

The display is a 6.39-inch Full HD+ at 2,340 x 1,080 resolution. It is an AMOLED panel that provides deep blacks and high contrast. The display is one of the best under $400 segment.

It is also an edge to edge with no cutout which is pretty rare among all smartphones.

Software

Mi 9T runs on MIUI which is a heavily modified Android skin that comes in all Xiaomi Smartphones. Because of these heavy modifications, the updates are always delayed. 

Performance is good but you will find some Advertisement in Mi apps in certain regions like India. I am not a big fan of MIUI, however, it will be good enough for most of the people.

Camera

Mi 9T houses three camera modules on the rear side which are 48MP primary, at f/1.75 (IMX582), 8MP telephoto at f/2.4, and a 13MP wide-angle at  f/2.4.

Mi 9T takes “true to life” color shots in daylight with a wide dynamic range. Portrait shots come out to be very detailed with good edge detection. The camera struggles a little bit in low light condition but it is the same with every budget smartphone and Mi 9T does a very good job among them.


Pocophone F1

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Poco F1 is a balanced smartphone with flagship performance and amazing battery life. In fact, The camera is also good but recently overtaken by Pixel 3A in the sub $400 segment. The only downside is the lack of 4G support in the USA.

Pros

  • Performance
  • Camera is Good
  • Battery life

Cons

  • Plastic back
  • The LCD display is average
  • MIUI

Pocophone F1

CPU: Snapdragon 845 Octa-core Kyro

Display: 1920 x 2246 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~403 PPI density)

RAM:  4/6 GB

ROM: 64/128 GB

Weight:  182 gm

OS: Android Pie

Camera: 12+8 MP and 20 MP on Front

Battery: 4000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Back

Design and Build

The design is decent and builds quality is good. Xiaomi decided to cut a lot of fancy elements to maintain the price under $300-400 and that’s why there is no glass back, chrome finish, or other refinements. The back is of polycarbonate but the smartphone build is strong.

Display

The Pocophone F1 features a 5.99-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 2246 pixels (18:9). Colors are nice and punchy. The display may feel dull if you are coming from an OLED display but looking at the price, the display is fine.

Performance

Pocophone F1 beats the double priced smartphone here. The Snapdragon 845 with 6 or 8 gigs of RAM gives a monstrous performance. The UI is snappy and the overall smoothness easily matches the Pixel or Oneplus.

Software

Pocophone is a Xiaomi smartphone which means it comes with MIUI. However, MIUI on Poco is a little bit different. The launcher now has an App drawer similar to nova launcher.

There are many MI apps like File manager, music, video player, and other MI cloud services.

Camera

The runner-up of MKBHD’s blind camera test, Pocophone F1 rocks an excellent camera in the price range. The 12MP main sensor with a 5MP secondary sensor offers good details, dynamic range, and color on well-lit conditions. However, it struggles in low light.

Video recording is good.

Battery

The 4000 mAh battery is more than enough. For a medium to the heavy user, the battery will last for one day.


Nokia 7.2

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Pros:

  • Good display
  • Good Design and built
  • Android One
  • Battery life

Cons:

  • Average Performance
  • Mediocre cameras

Nokia 7.2: Best Smatphones Under $400

CPU: Snapdragon 660 (14 nm)

Display: 6.3 inches 1080 x 2280 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~400 PPI density)

RAM:  4/6 GB

ROM: 64/128 GB

Weight:  180 gm

OS: Android 10

Camera: 48 MP (wide)+ 8 MP (ultrawide)+ 5 MP (depth) | 20 MP on Front

Battery: 3500 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Back

Design

The Glass sandwich design looks stunning and the device feels sturdy and got plenty of weight to it which gives it the structural toughness. The Glass back has a Chrome finish around the camera. The frame is made of a polymer which Nokia claims to be stronger than plastic and lighter than aluminum.

The power button contains an LED that pulses on the notification. There is a dedicated button for Google’s assistant on the left side.

Performance and Battery life

Nokia 7.2 sport a Snapdragon 660 processor with 4 GB of RAM. The Budget level specs give a similar performance.

It will run everything you will find on Playstore. But keep one thing in mind that it will not play graphics-intensive games like PUBG on 60 FPS. The device is not for the hardcore gamer. The performance is not bad (it is just good) but it is not great either.-

The battery is 3500 mAh in size which can last for One day on medium usage. 

Display

Nokia 7.2 comes with a 6-inch, 19:9 aspect ratio,  1,080 x 2,280 resolution LCD display. The HDR 10 support actually improves the display quality in supported apps. It gives better contrast and a broader range of colors. In day to day usage, the display performs well and it is punchy and sharp.

Software

All Nokia smartphones are under the Android One program which means faster updates.

The Android on Nokia is all Stock and there is no bloat. The navigation and opening apps are fast enough.

Camera

The triple-camera setup consists of a main 48 MP main shooter with 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 5MP depth sensor that’s used for portrait shots. The front camera is a 20 MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture.

The camera performance is really good on Nokia 7.2. It performs well in daylighting situations and gives a good Dynamic range with good details and colors.

The low light photography is also acceptable and Nokia 7.2 manages to capture some good details in dark spots.

The Pro mode gives you control over ISO and white balance if you care about those.


Moto G7 Plus

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Moto G7 Plus costs only $300 but it is good enough to be placed in a smartphone under $400 list. The design and build are really good and the camera gives a satisfactory result. The performance is decent and the battery can give you a one-day usage.

Pros

  • Costs $300
  • Looks Good
  • Camera is good
  • Software

Cons

  • Performance
  • Deep Notch

Moto G7 Plus

CPU: Snapdragon 636 Octa-core 1.8

Display:  6.2 inches 1080 x 2270 pixel , 405 ppi

RAM: 4 GB RAM

ROM: 64 GB

Weight: 176 g

OS: Android 9.0 (Pie)

Camera: 16 MP, f/1.7 on the back and 5 MP, f/2.2 on front

Battery: 3000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Rear-mounted

Design and Build

Moto G7 plus has an Aluminium frame with a Glass sandwiched design. Although Glass back is pretty common in budget devices, the curved glass of Moto G7 Plus puts it in a premium design category. The Fingerprint is on the back with a Motorola logo on it.

Design and build are overall better than the average competition.

Display

The screen is a 6.2 inches LCD with a resolution of 1080 x 2270. The colors are good with decent brightness. It is not better than Pixel 3A but competes well with similarly priced phones like Honor Play.

There is a teardrop notch which is pretty big compared to other manufacturer’s offerings. Although its better than Conventional notches found in Moto One and Poco F1.

Performance

To cut the cost, Motorola used the Snapdragon 636 Octa-core CPU, which is very common in much cheaper devices like Redmi Note 5 Pro and Nokia 6.1 Plus. Looking at the competition, the Snapdragon 660 is the standard. However, the Stock Android and optimization make Moto G7 Plus a snappy device to use.

All games are playable, however, you may need to turn down some graphics settings for smooth 60 FPS.

Software

Moto devices come with Stock Android with few additional apps like camera and Moto action. There is no bloatware in Moto G7 Plus

Using the OS is really smooth and there are no major lags or delays. Thanks to Stock Android, the experience is up to the level of many expensive phones. However, Motorola has made a bad reputation for not giving updates timely.

Camera

Moto G7 Plus sport a 16-megapixel Sony IMX519 sensor also found in Oneplus 6T. The image quality is good and the camera gives accurate colors with good exposure. However, the Dynamic range is a little bit unbalanced.

The Night mode gives some good Night shots with good detail and low noise.

Battery

Battery life is decent if you are a light user. For heavy usage, you will need to recharge the device twice a day.

However, the 27 W fast charger charges the device from 0 to 79% in just 30 minutes so that is a pretty big advantage.


Redmi Note 8 Pro

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Redmi Note 8 Pro: Best value for money under $400

Pros:

  • Great Value
  • Good Design and built
  • Good battery life
  • Camera is good

Cons:

  • MIUI is bloated
  • Updates take time

CPU: Mediatek Helio G90T (12nm)

Display:  6.53 inches 1080 x 2340 pixels , 395 ppi

RAM: 4/6 GB RAM

ROM: 64/128/256 GB

Weight: 200 g

OS: MIUI 10 (Pie)

Camera: 64 MP at f/1.9 (Main), 8 MP at f/2.22 (Ultrawide), 2 MP at f/2.42(Macro), 2 MP at f/2.4 (depth) | 20 MP, f/2.0 selfie camera

Battery: 4500 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Rear-mounted

Design

Redmi Note 8 Pro follows a Glass back design with a gradient finish. The middle frame is of plastic. The sides are curved which improves the handling of the smartphone.

The Bottom side contains the USB-C type port, speakers, mic, and a headphone jack.

There are 3 camera modules on the back with the fingerprint sensor beneath it. 

Performance and Battery life

Considering the price, Redmi Note 8 Pro offers very promising hardware with large battery enough for many users. 12nm Mediatek G90T is a gaming-focused chipset which easily outmatches the Snapdragon 730 in term of performance and almost gets to the Snapdragon 845 performance in synthetic benchmarks. 

Xiaomi smartphones are well known for large batteries and Redmi Note 8 Pro is no exception. The 4500 mAh should be more than enough for most of the users. It also comes with an 18W fast charger.

Display

The display is a 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel. The resolution is FHD+ at 2340 x 1080. LCD panels are becoming outdated compared to OLED panels which now making its way to the budget segment. Realme XT and many Samsung budget smartphones offer OLED display. 

There is a teardrop notch on the above side of the display.

Software

MIUI is a heavily modified Android skin that comes in all Xiaomi Smartphones. Because of these heavy modifications, the updates are always delayed and Redmi Note 8 Pro still running on Pie. 

Performance is good but you will find some Advertisements in Mi apps like files. I am not a big fan of MIUI however it will be good enough for most of the people.

Camera

Xiaomi focused a lot on its 64 MP camera module in the marketing of Redmi Note 8 Pro. And they did it right, the camera is pretty good for a $200 smartphone. 

There is a 64MP camera at the back joined by three other modules: an 8MP ultra-wide lens, 2MP portrait lens, and a 2MP macro shooter. The daylight shots come out detailed with a wide dynamic range. Artificial light shots are average and low light shots are a little bit noisy and blurry but acceptable. Video recording is decent which struggles in low lighting conditions.


Samsung Galaxy A70

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Pros:

  • Best Screen in the Segment
  • Battery life 
  • Good performance with good Software

Cons:

  • Cameras struggles in low light
  • Plastic build prone to scratches
  • No EIS 

Smasung A70: Best multimedia consumption smartphone

CPU: Snapdragon 675 (11 nm)

Display:  6.7 inches 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~393 ppi density)

RAM: 6/8 GB RAM

ROM: 128 GB

Weight: 183 g

OS: One UI

Camera: 32 MP (wide)+ 8 MP(ultrawide)+ 5 MP (depth) | 32 MP selfie camera

Battery: 4500 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: Optical: Under the display

Design

Samsung went with a plastic build to cut the cost but still managed to give a pretty good looking design. The back is reflective and produces rainbow colors. The curved corners help in a better grip. 

The USB-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack are positioned at the bottom side. The right side contains power and volume buttons.

Performance and Battery life

Samsung A70 is powered by Snapdragon 675 with 6 GB of RAM. The performance is satisfactory with no major hiccups. Gamers can also expect good results.

OneUI is well optimized to run on this SoC, apps open up fast and run well.

The battery is 4500 mAh in size and can easily give you more than One day of backup on Medium to heavy usage. It also supports fast charging and comes with ships with 25W fast charger.

Display

Samsung Galaxy A70 uses a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED panel which is tall and vivid with a Full HD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) resolution. The panel produces vivid colors with deep blacks.

The display is the best in the sub $400 segment. In fact, the size and quality of the panel make it great for multimedia usage. 

Software

Samsung A70 runs on OneUI which is the successor to Samsung’s Experience UX. The OneUI got a much simpler and cleaner look to it with colorful icons. OneUI is a heavy Android skin with many extra features added by Samsung.

Camera

A70 got three camera modules on the back: The main 32MP (f/1.7) snapper, an 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide-angle camera with a 123-degree lens, and a 5MP (f/2.2) depth camera for portrait mode.

Daylight shots are detailed with good colors while low light shots are blurry with blown-out highlights. Portraits shots are just fine.


Benchmarks

Antutu

Antutu Benchmark: smartphones under $400

Geekbench Single Core

Geekbech single core bechmarks: Smartphone under $400

Geekbench Multicore

Geekbench multicore benchmark: Smartphone under $400


Verdict

The iPhone SE totally crushes all budget Android in many aspects, if you want performance, a good camera, good design, good software, then go for iPhone SE.

The only reason you would be choosing an Android device like Mi 9T or Samsung A51 is when you need a good AMOLED display for hardcore gaming or if you watch a lot of Netflix and movies.

Best performance

The new iPhone SE packs an A13 Bionic chip, which is faster than every single Android smartphone in the existence right now. The only smartphone that gives marginally better performance is the iPhone 12 due to its larger RAM.


Best Camera

iPhone SE and Google Pixel 3A both are really good camera smartphones.

If you take a lot of photos with your smartphone then you can get any of them. Both of them are boasting a capable camera system, however, iPhone SE is missing the Night Mode features.

When it comes to shooting video, then iPhone SE is clearly the better one here.


Best Multimedia device

If you into Netflix or media consumption then buy the Samsung Galaxy A70 for its AMOLED panel. A70 has the best panel among all budget smartphones.


Best Design and Build Quality

All the smartphone here are good looking but Mi 9T has the best design so far. Talking about the built: Nokia 7.2 is a durable smartphone.

If you are looking for a compact smartphone, then go for iPhone SE


Best All-rounder

If you are from the USA or Canada, then go for iPhone SE 2020 version. The only smartphone that worth considering other then the iPhone SE is the Pixel 4A, and rumors say that it will release on 12 May.

For the Asian market, where iPhone SE pricing is generally high because of Taxes, Mi 9T is the best smartphone to buy.

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