Although it’s entirely possible to get a surprisingly decent smartphone for under $600 these days, you don’t have to spend that much more to end up with something truly special.
The value in the mid-tier phone market continues to grow and there are also countless premium smartphones that started out around $1000, only to fall in price and end up in the $600 - $700 price-bracket.
If our list of the best Apple and Android phones you can get for under $600 wasn’t good enough, this list is ups the ante.
Top 10 best Android and Apple smartphones for under $700
Note - we use real-world prices sourced from Shopbot and, as such, some of the entries in our roundup may surprise you.
1. Oppo R15 ($799 RRP, $437 on Amazon)
For several years now, Oppo have continued to offer a fun and appealing blend of Apple and Android. The latest installment in their mainline R-series of devices continues that trend. The Oppo R15 boasts a MediaTek Helio P60 processor, 6GB of RAM, a 6.3-inch display, AI-enhanced dual-lens camera and 128GB of on-board storage (expandable via MicroSD).
As we said in our review of the slightly pricier Oppo R15 Pro, “The R15 Pro sees Oppo bring more of that flagship experience to the sub-$800 smartphone space than ever before to generous effect. It won’t placate tech-savvy users looking for the best Android smartphone out there but if you’re looking for a good Android smartphone, it’s an easy sell over a lot of the other options.”
“There are few compromises and caveats here, plenty of clean consolidation and lots of value.”
2. Essential PH-1 ($699 RRP, $649 Actual)
The Essential PH-1 definitely didn’t catch on in the way that some might have expected. However, the device still has its fans - and it’s easy to see why. The Essential PH-1 is a really unique handset. Sure, it’s got the same Snapdragon 835 processor you’d find in plenty of other 2017 flagships but it’s unique notch and ceramic body set it apart in other ways.
Unfortunately, the Essential PH-1 is not officially sold in Australia. Like the OnePlus 5T or OnePlus 6, you’ll have to import it - but if you’re looking for a phone that’s a little different, it’s definitely worth consideration. Essential also have a strong track-record for rolling out major Android software upgrades faster than other vendors. The PH-1 got this year’s Android Pie upgrade on the same days as Google’s own Pixel devices did.
3. Samsung Galaxy S8 ($1199 RRP, $634 Actual)
In 2018, the Galaxy S8 is far from an outdated option. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 might not have the variable aperture found in this year’s Galaxy S9, but that’s actually one of the few major differences between the two. You still get a gorgeous Infinity Display, the latest Samsung Exynos processor, IP68 water resistance and support for both wired and fast charging.
As we said in our review of the Galaxy S8 at launch, “the phone’s failings are negligible at the end of the day. The screen and handling are generally excellent. Battery life is adequate. It’s super-fast and its camera is one of the very best on show.”
4. Huawei Mate 10 Pro ($1099 RRP, $599 Actual)
Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro might not win any awards for originality when it comes to design. But, once you’ve seen the device in motion it’s difficult not to respect the solid performance that Huawei’s hardware delivers. The Mate 10 Pro features a FullVision HDR display, AI-empowered Leica dual-lens camera and a Kirin 970 CPU.
As we said in our review, “if you’re not swayed by Samsung’s return to form, Apple’s ultra-expensive iPhone X or Google’s funky Pixel 2, then the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a pretty solid alternative.”
5. LG G6+ ($679 RRP, $589 actual)
After the misfire that was the G5, LG’s G6 got the brand’s smartphone division back on track. Even if it didn’t blow away critics, it was a solid course-correction. The LG G6+ builds on this in strong form. It features a 5.7-inch QHD+ LCD display and runs on a Snapdragon 821 processor. Under the hood, the device is also equipped with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board storage.
In our review of the LG G6+, we said that “Like the name suggests, the G6 Plus is everything the G6 was - with a little bit of extra goodness thrown in for good measure. If you bought the G6, it’s probably not worth upgrading just yet. However, if you passed on the original, this sequel might strike your fancy despite its shortcomings.”
6. Huawei P10+ ($1099 RRP, $599 on Amazon)
This year, Huawei redefined the standards of mobile photography with the P20 Pro. However, last year’s P10 and P10+ are hardly slouchers. Both still hold up as great options. Both feature dual-lens Leica cameras and come powered by a Kirin 970 chipset and a 3750 mAh battery.
In our review of the Huawei P10+, we said that “For regions where the Huawei Mate 9 Plus isn’t on sale, the $1,099 Huawei P10 Plus is the company’s flagship. We haven’t seen the former but the regular Mate 9 is considerably more bulky than this, costs $100 less and has a lower-resolution, Full HD screen (which is 0.4-inches larger). If we had to choose, we’d go for this though. The camera system feels like it’s more-evolved and the screen is noticeably better. Battery life is about the same but overall it feels more refined than the Mate 9.”
7. OnePlus 5T (US$499 RRP, AU$610 Actual)
If the older aspect ratio on display in the OnePlus 5 put you off picking it up, the OnePlus 5T is probably going to prove itself a solid alternative. It runs on the same Snapdragon 835 processor found in the OnePlus 5 and boasts the same slimmed-down OxygenOS Android Skin and dual-lens camera. As mentioned, the one big difference here is that the OnePlus 5T boasts a much nicer AMOLED 18:9 display to the original OnePlus’ 5’s LCD one.
8. Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 ($649 RRP, $589 on Amazon)
Though they don’t garner nearly the same level of adoration and demand as their S-series counterparts, Samsung’s Galaxy A-series has quietly continued to gain ground in 2018. As always, the latest iteration of Galaxy A brings more flagship features than ever to mid-tier buyers.
The Galaxy A8 features many of the same features you’ll find in the S9 and S9+, including IP68 water resistance, 4GB of RAM and a dual lens rear camera. If you’re after that core Samsung smartphone experience but don’t want to spend four-digits or prefer a smaller 5.6-inch display, it’s an affordable alternative.
9. LG V30+ ($1199 RRP, $507 on Amazon)
On paper, LG’s V30+ is feels like the quiet achiever of the 2018 flagship line-up. It’s got everything you’d expect: IP68 waterproofing, a Snapdragon 835 processor, a powerful dual-lens camera, face unlock, an always-on display and support for wireless charging. It’s also got some stuff you might not expect, like dedicated videography capabilities.
As we said in our review of the LG V30+, “If you’re a sucker for a good snap (or selfie), LG’s V30+ is probably not going to cut it for you. However, if you’re willing to live with photos that are only good rather than great, it’s got the makings of the best Android phones of the year. It ticks (almost) all the right boxes and does so at a price that neatly undercuts the competition.”
10. Sony Xperia XZ Premium ($904 RRP, $569 Actual)
When you factor in the raw discounts that this past calendar year has incurred, it’s hard to look past Sony’s ultra-premium flagship from last year: the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Armed with last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, an IP68 rating against water damage, a 4K HDR display and Sony’s MotionEye camera, it’s far from outdated.
As we said in our review of the device, “It’s not an outright winner, but it’s another great all-rounder with no real weak point which makes it even more attractive if you’re bothered by any of the failings and foibles of the competition.”
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