The 5 Best Smartphones Under $400 of 2023

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Buying the best budget smartphone doesn't mean compromising on everything you want. If you don't mind using an older model, our roundup has plenty of options to help you find what you're looking for as long as you're not an iPhone user.

in this article

Best Google

Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a.


What We Like
  • Excellent camera

  • All-day battery

What We Don't Like
  • No wireless charging

The Google Pixel 6a is an excellent 5G smartphone for the price. It's fast, good-looking, and lasts all day. It also has a great camera system.

Affordable phones often feature inconsistent cameras that wilt in low light. The Pixel 6a will give you a good result in nearly any scenario, including at night via the Night Sight mode. Given the price, it's no surprise that the base model Pixel 4a lacks some perks, such as wireless charging, but it's a tremendous value for a phone with no significant flaws.

Screen Size: 6.1 inches | Resolution: 2400x1080 | Processor: Google Tensor | Camera: 12.2MP dual rear and 8MP front | Battery: 4410 mAh

Best With a Stylus

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022).


What We Like
  • Great battery life

  • Built-in stylus

What We Don't Like
  • So so cameras

If you like to write out your ideas with a pen or a stylus, then the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G will meet your needs.

It comes with an excellent stylus (and a slot to stow it) and has a large display and long battery life. When you remove the stylus, the phone launches compatible apps for taking notes, coloring, drawing, and more. It performs well, though its cameras aren't the best, and don't do well in low light situations.

Screen Size: 6.8 inches | Resolution: 2460x1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 | Camera: 50MP, 8MP, 2 MP rear and 16 MP front | Battery: 5000 mAh

Best OnePlus

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

OnePlus Nord N20 5G.


What We Like
  • Long battery life

  • Fast charging

  • Plenty of storage capacity

What We Don't Like
  • Sluggish performance

  • Low-res screen

  • Middling cameras

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is one of the company's cheapest phones, but it keeps the company's stylish Android skin and packs a few perks from pricier rivals. You get a smooth 60 Hz screen here and fast 33W charging.

Still, there's only so much that software polish and a couple of hardware perks can enhance a $300 phone, and the Nord N20 5G compromises with a slower processor and lesser cameras than pricier flagship smartphones.

Its design is hard to distinguish from fancier smartphones, which is a nice bonus.

Screen Size: 6.4 inches | Resolution: 2400x1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G | Camera: 64MP, 2 MP, 2 MP rear and 16 MP front | Battery: 4500 mAh

Best Motorola

Motorola Moto G Power (2020)

Moto G Power | 3-Day Battery1 | Unlocked | Made for US by Motorola | 4/64GB | 16MP Camera | 2020 | Black


What We Like
  • Huge battery capacity

  • Great sound quality

  • Good display

  • Durable and long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy and bulky

  • Camera app is slow

  • No NFC

The Motorola Moto G Power costs less than $300, but you wouldn't know it. The smartphone has long battery life, a good screen, and plenty of power. Some things are left out. It has no real water resistance and no wireless charging. Those are perfectly fine trade-offs for a good phone at a very reasonable price. Oh, it works with nearly any carrier, too.

Front and center, you get a 6.4-inch display with a camera cutout in the upper-left corner. Under the hood, the phone is no slouch either. Camera capabilities are also impressive for the price, but the real selling point here is the battery. According to Motorola, the runtime should be enough to last three days without recharging.

Screen Size: 6.4 inches | Resolution: 2300 x 1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 | Camera: 16 MP/8 MP/2 MP rear and 16 MP front | Battery: 5000 mAh

Best for Handwriting

LG Stylo 6

LG Stylo 6 Unlocked Smartphone – 4/64 GB – White (Made for US Verizon, AT&T, T–Mobile, Sprint, Boost, Cricket, Metro (Universal Compatibility)


What We Like
  • Great stylus built in

  • Crisp display with thin bezels

  • Great battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Cameras aren't that great

  • Teardrop camera cutout is ugly

The LG Stylo 6 is a budget phone with a flagship look. Featuring a massive 6.8-inch IPS display and a mirror-finish glass back, it both looks and feels high-end despite its modest price tag. It also features a built-in stylus. The MediaTek Helio P35 processor fails to impress, however.

The two reasons to love this phone are the upscale look and excellent stylus functionality. This is one of the best-looking sub-$300 phones around, and that extends to the beautiful FHD display. It's a bit dim in full sunlight but looks fantastic anywhere else.

The stylus is spring-loaded, and removing it automatically brings up a handful of memo and note options. It's responsive and accurate, with no discernible lag unless you move it fast. Forget to put it back in its holster, and the phone sounds an alarm when you try to turn it off.

You can find phones that perform better than the Stylo 6 for the same money, but you'll be hard-pressed to find one that looks this fantastic at this price point. If you don't ask a lot out of your phone and only want something that looks great while performing basic tasks, the Stylo 6 fits that description perfectly.

Screen Size: 6.8 inches | Resolution: 2460 x 1080 | Processor: MediaTek MT6765 Helio P35 | Camera: 13 MP/5 MP/5 MP rear and 5 MP front | Battery: 4000 mAh

LG Stylo 6

Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

Moto G Power

Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

What to Look for in a Budget Smartphone


Budget smartphones typically don't have high refresh screens. However, OnePlus increasingly brings it to market at lower price points. The most common resolution for budget phones is 1080p, which isn't as crisp as the 2K panels on flagships. That said, it's still possible to get crisp screens and even OLED panels with dense, inky blacks and rich, saturated colors.


Mid-range chipsets consist of Snapdragon and MediaTek processors. While they won't match flagship processors in benchmark testing, many budget phones are optimized for day-to-day performance. This is especially true of Google's Pixel devices. The clean software works great with less powerful hardware. Most mid-range phones can handle typical apps, multitasking, and multimedia. More demanding 3D games might be challenging, but several budget phones can still do it.


In most cases, camera performance on mid-range phones tends to be an immense sacrifice, but this isn't universally true. An increasing number of budget phones offer multiple rear cameras, giving you the option of telephoto zoom, wide-angle shots, and features like bokeh mode. Google's Pixel phones are particularly capable of punching above their weight regarding camera performance, boasting the same sensors as flagship models.

  • What is the lifespan of a budget smartphone?

    You should get between two and three years of use out of a budget smartphone. In most cases, you'll see a decrease in the phone's performance and battery life around the third year. If you take good care of your phone (for example, if you don't drop it, keep it clean, and update the software regularly), you may get seven years of use, but four to five years is most common.

  • Which budget smartphone has the best camera?

    Cameras are typically mediocre in budget phones, but some devices stand out. The Moto G Power has a triple camera sensor array, offering a 16 MP primary, 8 MP ultrawide, and 2 MP macro camera. It can even record 4K video at 30 fps. Google and Samsung also make affordable smartphones with quality cameras.

  • What budget phones are best for gaming?

    Budget phones aren't known for having the best gaming chops, but there are options. The Moto G Power has a capable Snapdragon 665 processor and 4 GB RAM. It can handle a decent level of 3D gaming and run Asphalt 9. The 6.4-inch FHD display and 5,000 mAh battery were also enough to run demanding games like Genshin Impact, which is impressive. The Nokia 7.2 is an older phone, but it also has a solid Snapdragon 660 chipset, a mid-range processor good enough for games like Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty Mobile.

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