4 Best Android phones under $400 (Dec 2016)
Are you tired of searching for the best android smartphones under $400?
or you just start searching for the top mobile phones in this price?
If you are in any of these two categories, you can end your search right here.
Because i'm about to show you 4 TOP Android phones in less than $400 which will surely meet your needs expectations. (or)
If you are already a Android user and wants to upgrade your Android experience by purchasing a latest phone, then surely these are the top phones in this price.
If you are new to Android, then i'm surely you'll definitely love your first Android experience with any of these awesome phones.
Note: If you have a lower budget ($300 or less), then you should read my previous article where i have shared 10 Best Android phones under $300. Here is the post,
Just like my last post, I'm going to share some important notes before i start this post.
Important notes for my readers:
1. All the phones in this list are unlocked which means you are free to use any carrier or plan in your phone. Learn more about unlocked phones.
2. There are some phones in this list which ships only within U.S whereas some other phones is available across many countries globally.
Let's get started.
4 Best Unlocked Android Phones under $400
Image Credits: Pexels
4. Alcatel Idol 4s
At a glance,
- Size: 5.5 Inches with the resolution of 1440×2560
- Display type: AMOLED Capacitive
- SIM: Dual SIM (Hybrid second slot)
- Operating System: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
- CPU: Octa-core (4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A72 & 4x1.4 GHz Cortex-A53)
- GPU: Adreno 510
- Storage: 32 GB Internal memory and can be expanded up to 200 GB via external SD card.
- RAM: 3GB
- Camera: Rear camera of the phone is 16MP whereas secondary camera comes with 8MP
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
Last year Alcatel launched Idol 3s in a budget of around $250, and now this year they have launched it's successor Idol 4s with some unique stuffs.
In a highly competitive field of Android smartphones, Alcatel is trying it's best to enter the flagship world.
The unique thing i'm talking about Alcatel Idol 4s is, in a budget of $399 they are offering VR headset and JBL headphones along with the phone. Isn't this great?
Recommended: Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Reality
Well not all the Android users may be surprised with this offer. But still it is a good deal.
If you are not a guy who loves to play with VR Goggles, you can save your $50 by buying phone only in just $349. Sweet deal right?
Let's see what are the PROS and CONS of this phone.
- Premium Design: Alcatel 4S looks very premium because it is built by glass and metal frame. Have a look,
Pretty cool look right?
The curved display doesn't make hard to carry the phone. It's easy to carry in a single hand without much slippery.
This time Alcatel has placed the camera in the center, instead of corner just like they did last year in Alcatel 3. This is a pretty good thing done by Alcatel.
Below the camera, we have fingerprint reader which can used to unlock the phone (which works very well) and in the front it has Quad HD display.
- Boom key: If you have taken a close look at Alcatel 4s, you may have noticed a button in the right. That's not a power key. It is called Boom key. Here it is,
The boom key can be used to perform several actions such as,
When the screen is turned off:
1. You can turn on the screen by pressing the boom key.
2. You can double press the boom key to capture a photo or hold the boom for a while to a take a burst shot.
When the screen is turned on:
1. You can active the boom effects which may look like starburst.
2. You can open the camera app by pressing the boom key, double press to capture a photo or long press to take a burst shot.
3. Take instant screenshot by pressing the boom button.
4. Launch any app from a single press. You need to select which app you want to open by boom key.
If you don't want to perform any of these action when the screen is turned on, you can select "do nothing".
- Great Speakers: Another great thing about Alcatel 4s is, it comes with 3.6-watt JBL certified dual speakers on front which is undoubtedly one of the best speaker in any Android phones right now. The sounds of the loudspeaker is heavy and loud. Alcatel Idol 4s can even compete with other flagship devices when it comes to speakers.
Take a look at the Comparison of the speakers of Alcatel 4S with some other phones.
Credits: MobiWatch NET
- Reversible mode: If you are feeling lazy to turn the phone to your side, then reversible mode can be helpful to you. This isn't like a auto-rotation in your Android phone. Reversible mode completely rotates everything to your side. Completely means everything from home icons to your notification bar. This is really a good stuff from Alcatel because it may help in many cases such as in a moving vehicle, while sleeping etc.
- A 3000 mAh battery gives you above average battery which can easily give 36 hours for normal users. For heavy users, it can last up to 6 hours which is a great thing. Heavy users need not to worry about charging because Alcatel has provided quick charge 2.0 along with the phone which can completely charge the battery in almost 90 minutes.
- It has On-the-Go (OTG) feature which can be used to sending and receiving files. If you don't know what is OTG, then watch this useful video by Jay Kapoor.
So these are some of the PROS of Alcatel Idol 4S, Let's see what are the CONS of this device.
- The phone has AMOLED screen but still it doesn't have expected brightness.
- The fingerprint scanner is a little hard to locate because of its shape.
- Camera quality isn't very great at low light.
- As i have already mentioned in the specs, the phone has a hybrid slot which means you can either use the SD card or another SIM in the second slot but can't used both at once. If you are single SIM user, then you may not have any issues with this.
So these are some of the PROS and CONS of Alcatel Idol 4s. If you want to get additional information about this device, watch this awesome review by DetroitBORG.
"In a budget of $400, Alcatel is delivering a phone with great design, high quality speakers along with its own VR Goggles and JBL. You shouldn't miss this awesome phone if you looking to buy a phone with these specs"
3. OnePlus 2
At a glance,
- Size: 5.5 Inches with full HD display
- SIM: Dual Nano-SIM Card
- OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop (upgradable to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow)
- CPU: Octa-core (4×1.56 GHz Cortex A53 & 4×1.82 GHz Cortex A57)
- GPU: Adreno 430
- Storage: 64 GB Internal memory and there is no external SD card slot
- RAM: 4 GB
- Camera: Primary: 13 MP Secondary: 5 MP
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 3300 mAh battery
Well now you may think i'm crazy because i'm suggesting you the older OnePlus device instead of the newer one i.e OnePlus 3. OK, Let me clarify your doubt here.
OnePlus has officially disconnected selling OnePlus 3 in U.S and Europe regions because they are launching the upgraded version of OnePlus 3 callled OnePlus 3T. And mostly my readers are from U.S region that's the reason i have not added OnePlus 3 in my list.
Well if you are a reader from U.S region and still wants to buy OnePlus 3, you can buy it via Amazon. But it may cost you extra $40 (or more) than the older price.
If OnePlus3 would have been still in the U.S market, then that could have been the best budget smartphone of 2016. But sadly it's not the case anymore.
Are we clear about OnePlus 3 now?
Let's talk about OnePlus 2. This isn't very old model. OnePlus released this device in August 2015 and still performing well in the market.
OnePlus 2 comes with metal frame body which looks stunning and comfortable to hold.
If you don't like back panel of the phone, you can buy a different and premium looking back cases for your OnePlus 2.
It has IPS full HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to protect the screen and 3300 mAh battery can give you almost a day for average usage.
There are both good and bad things i found in this device which i'm going to talk with you now.
- End of Invite system: This was the worst thing from OnePlus. Now everyone can buy OnePlus 2 (or other devices) without an invite system or code.
- Fast fingerprint scanner: The fingerprint scanner in OnePlus 2 is almost perfect and accurate.
- Left slider: This is a new feature which can be use to prioritize the notifications of the phone. This is pretty useful if you are tired of unlocking your phone and change the settings. This hardware button make very easy to change the notification priority.
- Minimal Bloatware: OnePlus 2 comes with less pre-installed apps which can save your internal memory and the phone may run smoothly.
These are some of the major PROS of OnePlus 2. Let's move to the CONS of the device.
- No fast charging: This is not a drawback for the all users, but these days many users rely on fast charging. I must remind you that OnePlus 3 has fast charging feature and OnePlus 2 doesn't. If you want fast charging feature compulsory, then you should buy OnePlus 3 by paying few extra bucks.
- Video recording in OnePlus 2 is limited to 720P.
"After disconnecting the sales of OnePlus 3 in U.S, OnePlus 2 is one of the best phone you can buy under $400 (but it costly only under $300)"
2. Moto G4 Plus (2016)
At a glance,
- Released on: May 2016
- Size: 5.5 Inches with full HD screen (1080×1920 resolution)
- Display type: IPS capacitive touchscreen
- SIM: Dual Micro or Nano SIM
- OS: Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 (Planned to upgrade to Android Nougat 7.0) see more details here.
- CPU: Octa-core (4x1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.2 GHz Cortex-A53)
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
- GPU: Adreno 405
- Storage: Internal: 16GB, 2GB RAM and 64GB, 4GB RAM External: Expandable up to 128GB via SD card
- Camera: Primary: 16MP with f/2.0 and more features Secondary: 5MP with f/2.2
- Battery: Non-removable Li-lon 3000 mAh battery
I have already suggested in my previous post that Moto G4 is one of the best budget Android phones under 300$. Now I've added Moto G4 Plus in this list because this is one of the top phone under 400 dollars.
There is not a lot of difference between Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus but still it is worth considering in this budget.
Here i'll talking about the PROS, CONS and the difference between these two devices in detail. Let's get started with PROS of Moto G4 Plus.
- Doesn't have a Hybrid slot: This is the first and main benefit of Moto G4 Plus, as it provides different slots for SIM's and SD card. If you don't like Alcatel 4S because of hybrid slot, then Moto G4 Plus is surely the best choice you may have. Personally i like this feature because of 2 reasons. 1. You don't have to sacrifice your second SIM to use SD card. 2. Unlike OnePlus 2, You can expand the storage via SD card.
- Another great thing about this device is, it supports almost all the major U.S carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and more.
- Moto G4 Plus has 16MP rear camera whereas Moto G4 has 13MP. The quality of the rear camera in Moto G4 plus is really impressive at this price but it has average quality in low lights.
- Fast charging: If you don't like OnePlus 2 for the lack of fast charging, then you can choose Moto G4 plus instead. It comes with Turbo charger which can quickly charge your phone in 90 mins.
- The best thing personally i like about Moto G4 Plus is, its fingerprint reader. Nowadays, most of the mobile companies offers fingerprint scanner in the backside of the phone i.e below the camera. But In Moto G4 plus, they have enabled the fingerprint reader in the place of Home button. Take a look below,
I must remind you that another difference between Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus is Moto G4 Plus has fingerprint scanner and Moto G4 doesn't.
The fingerprint scanner in Moto G4 Plus works really well and you'll be impressed to know how quickly it can unlock your phone.
- Moto Display and Moto Actions: This is another best part of Moto G4 Plus. Let me give you brief descriptions of both these features. 1. Moto Display: When you pickup your phone after locking and placing it somewhere, Moto actions will display the notifications without pressing any keys. How cool is that? You can enable or disable this feature as per your choice. If you want to use this feature but don't want to be enabled in particular timings such as night, you can also do this in settings. 2. Moto Actions: There are 4 actions you can perform using Moto actions and all the 4 actions are very useful and i'm pretty sure everyone will like that. Here are they, 1. Double karate chop to open the torch. 2. Flip for do not disturb: For example, If someone is calling you and you want to quickly silence the phone, just place the phone face down. It'll automatically put the phone in silent mode. If you are worried that you'll miss any important call/SMS, you can prioritize it via settings. 3. Pick up to stop ringing: You can silence the phone call just by picking the phone. 4. Twist the phone to quickly capture the phone.
So these are some of the good things which i found in Moto G4 Plus. Let's talk about some of the CONS of this device.
- Heating issues of Snapdragon 617 continues in Moto G4 plus too. If you are a normal user, you don't need to worry at all. But if you are heavy user, continuous usage of this phone may lead to heating problem.
- The Lack of compass sensor in Moto G4 Plus is pretty sad for those who rely mostly in Google maps.
- Lack of Notification LED: Well personally i think they should've enabled physical notification LED because it saves much time.
- Earlier in Moto G3, they have offered water resistant But in Moto G4 Plus they have opted not to offer water resistant.This is really a bad move by the phone maker (Lenovo)
"Except few cons, Moto G4 Plus is a complete package of performance, features and impressive design. If you are not worried about the cons which i mentioned here, then you shouldn't give a second thought for purchasing Moto G4 Plus"
1. ZTE Axon 7
At a glance,
- Released on: June 2016
- Size: 5.5 Inches with Quad HD Screen (1440×2560 resolution)
- Display type: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
- SIM: Dual Nano-SIM (Hybrid slot)
- OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
- CPU: Quad-core (2x2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
- GPU: Adreno 530
- Storage: 64GB Internal memory and external memory can be expanded up to 128GB
- RAM: 4GB
- Camera: 20MP rear camera with f/1.8 and the secondary camera of the phone is 8MP.
- Battery: Non-removable Li-lon 3250 mAh battery
- Screen protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Axon 7 is one the best phones manufactured by ZTE till now.
Most peoples were comparing Axon 7 to OnePlus 3 when they launched this device because both these devices cost $400.
But now Axon 7 costs less than $350 and OnePlus 3 has got little bit costlier due to sales disconnection in U.S.
In case, if you are fan of OnePlus 3 but can't buy it due to it's hike in price then you should definitely consider Axon 7 and it's features. Let's dive in to the detail and let me show you 6 PROS and 3 CONS of this device.
- 1. Design and body: Before i you tell something about the design of this phone, let me tell you that this phone is designed by Design Works, A BMW Group Company.
Axon 7 has a premium looking design with aluminium unibody. It has slight curved edges like Galaxy S7 which makes the phone a little different from others.
Axon 7 comes with 5.5' Quad HD Super AMOLED display.
The back design of this phone looks good but it is slippery in hand. You need to be careful about that.
- 2. Dual facing speakers: This is the second phone in this post which has dual facing speakers. previous one was Alcatel 4s.
The quality of the speakers on both Alcatel 4s and Axon 7 is pretty good. If you are a person who depends more in speakers, then you should watch the below video to get speaker performance of Alcatel 4s and Axon 7.
Video Credit: YourTechGuide
As you can guess from these specs how awesome and fast Axon 7 could be. I forgot to mention that it has Adreno 530 GPU which can be very helpful to play both normal and heavy games in your device.
- Great battery: A 3250 mAh battery may not seem sufficient for a phone like this, but it gives decent battery life. For heavy users who play HD games and browsing simultaneously, it can give around 5-6 hours and for normal users, it can give more than a day.
If you are a heavy user(or even normal user), don't worry about the charging. Because Axon 7 comes with Qualcomm's quick charge 3.0 which can charge 50% battery in 30 minutes. This is one of the biggest PROS of Axon 7.
- It has Gorilla Glass 4 for scratch resistant.
- Affordable Price: The last best part i'm talking about this phone is, it's PRICE. As i have already mentioned here, some of the core specs of Axon 7 matches to flagship devices which makes the more valuable in this price.
OK. I've talked enough about the PROS of Axon 7, let's see what are the 3 CONS of this device.
- 1. Capacitive buttons: If you don't know what are the capacitive buttons, it's a back and task button in the phone. Let's see what is a bad thing about capacitive buttons in Axon 7.
Do you see anything weird in the Capacitive buttons? I hope you DO.
Instead of normal back and task button, ZTE has decided to go with two dots as it's Capacitive buttons.
If you are an Android user from a long time, you may not find any issue with this. But if you are new to Android, you may confuse with these buttons as which one is a back and which one is task key.
- 2. Bell icon: Let me remind you that Axon 7 comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and it has ZTE's custom UI called MiFavor UI 4.0 Just like Samsung's Touchwiz.
The UI of the phone is good and gives lots of new options but one major flaw i want to mention here is, when you try to unlock your phone the first thing we see is notification. But in ZTE Axon 7, you have to press the power key and a BELL ICON in the top to see the notification or else you won't see any notification.
This is major flaw in my opinion. Because it feels irritating when you want to check out the notification but you need to click on the bell icon every single time to do that.
Thanks to the latest software from ZTE, now the bell icon in the notification panel in optional. But remember that you have to update the software in your phone to make bell icon optional.
- 3. Again camera quality of Axon 7 in day light is good but quality in low light is not so impressive just like many other budget phones
"If you want a flagship level Android phone under $400, then ZTE Axon 7 would the best choice for you"
So these are 4 Top Android phones that is worth buying under 400 dollars. I've tried mentioned major PROS and CONS of each device here.
There are many other android phones which claim to be the best in this price range but users are not happy with those devices so i haven't added those over rated phones.
So what do you guys think about these 4 Android phones? or If you have any suggested phone under $400 to add up in this list, please do let me know via comments.