With the arrival of the iPhone 13 series, buying a premium smartphone has become more expensive than ever.
However, if you’re willing to live without cutting edge premium features like wireless charging, foldable displays or Quad camera arrays, it’s not all that hard to find a decent smartphone on a budget. Saving money this way, might not leave you with the most impressive handset but, at the end of the day, it'll still provide you with all the usual features and mobile connectivity you need to get through the day.
If our round-up of the best Apple and Android smartphones you can find for under $700 and $600 wasn’t cheap enough for you, here’s our latest list of the top 10 best Android and Apple phones you can squeeze into a budget of under or around $300.
1. Oppo A54 5G
Oppo's A54 5G is feature-packed phone at a very reasonable price. The handset is very light and comfortable to hold and the 6.5-inch (1080 x 2400) IPS LCD screen looks very spacious and bright.
Under the hood, the Oppo A54 5G comes powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G processor, 4GBs of RAM and 64GB of ROM storage.
The A54 5G features 5G connectivity for the fastest possible download speeds. The Quad camera array includes a 48MP rear main sensor, while an 8MP front-facing camera takes selfie shots. The A54 5G also has side fingerprint and face unlock biometrics for added security.
Long battery life
48MP main Quad camera
It's heavier than some phones
ColorOS 11 based on Android 11
Where to buy?
The Oppo A54 5G is available on prepaid or postpaid mobile plans via Optus and Woolworths (see below).
2. Nokia 5.4
Picking up where the original Nokia 5 left off, the new Nokia 5.4 features a 6.39-inch HD+ punch hole display, a Snapdragon 662 processor, 4000mAh battery, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board storage.
It's also got a quad-lens rear camera to the sum of a 48MP main lens, a 2MP depth lens, a 5MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP Macro lens.
Originally priced at AU$329, you can now find the Nokia 5.4 for slightly less than that.
Display feels a bit small
Battery could be bigger
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the Nokia 5.3 through:
The Nokia 5.4 isn’t available on any postpaid mobile plans via Telstra, Optus or Vodafone but you can always pair the device up with a SIM-only plan (see below).
3. TCL 30 SE
Despite its low cost, the TCL 30 SE handles most basic entertainment needs remarkably well, having a decent-sized 6.52-inch (720 x 1600) LCD display that reproduces colours vividly in games and videos.
TCL tick off a few other must-have features for those wanting to compromise on price but not functionality. They include: A rear camera with a decent resolution (in this case a 50MP rear-facing camera) and a 5000mAh battery with 15W fast charging.
It also features a 3-card slot, consisting of dual SIMs and a microSD card slot that can expand storage up to 512GB.
The display looks good
Camera lacks field of view
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the TCL 30 SE through:
The TCL 30 SE isn’t available on any postpaid mobile plans via Telstra, Optus or Vodafone but you can always pair the device up with a SIM-only plan (see below).
4. TCL 20 R 5G
TCL's newly released 20 R 5G draws a new line in the sand for affordability, bringing 5G into the budget sub-$300 smartphone category for the first time. It features a MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, 4500mAh battery capacity and 90Hz refresh rate.
The 6.52-inch HD+ display (720 x 1600-pixel) packs a 180Hz touch sampling rate.
It sports NXTVISION that boosts the quality and contrast in image and video content, and also has a number of brightness and dimming modes such as a Reading and Eye Comfort Mode to reduce strain on users eyes. With an current RRP of AU$198 at Harvey Norman, this phone is as cheap as chips.
90Hz screen refresh rate
Modest 13-megapixel rear-facing camera
In Australia, you can buy the TCL 20 R 5G from:
In Australia, the TCL 20 R 5G isn't available on any postpaid mobile plans via Telstra, Optus or Vodafone but you can always pair the device up with a SIM-only plan (see the widget below).
5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G
This phone's predecessor - the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro - hit three home runs when it came to features like its camera, display and long battery life, so we had high expectations for the Note 10 5G. In a nut shell, it proved a decent all-round performer for this low price point. Some of the standout features include a large 5,000mAh battery, 48MP main camera and snappy MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 processor.
Unlike its predecessor the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G also packs 5G connectivity that dramatically speeds up the speed at which you can download apps and play games.
Design-wise, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G is quite modest and it's likely you'll find more attractive phones in this low-cost category out there - handsets like the Oppo A54 5G. Even so, we still like the Redmi Note 10 5Gs silky matte finish that blends in with just about any environment you'd like to take it.
Display won't wow you
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G through the following:
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G isn’t available on any postpaid mobile plans via Telstra, Optus or Vodafone but you can always pair the device up with a SIM-only plan (see below).
6. Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A22 5G is a capable 5G phone that won't cost an arm and a leg. It features a MediaTek MT6833 700 processor, 5000mAh battery, up to 128GB of storage and up to 8GB of RAM. These internals are backed up nicely by a 48MP main camera on the back and a 6.6-inch FHD+ Infinity-V display on the front.
Other perks include 15W adaptive fast charging, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and 3.5 mm audio jack.
- Long battery life
- Lots of storage
- Lacks power for gaming
Where to buy?
The Samsung Galaxy A22 5G is available on postpaid mobile plans from Optus only (see below).
7. iPhone SE (2020)
Apple’s iPhone SE (2020) may be discontinued now thanks to the release of the 2022 iPhone SE, but if you're on a budget and don't mind a refurbished handset this smartphone is great value for money.
While this older version may have a slower processor and lack 5G compatibility compared to the iPhone SE 2022 edition, it features the same A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, so it performs decently in games and videos.
The iPhone SE (2020) also features a 12MP rear camera and 7MP front-facing camera, both of which do a decent job capturing colour as well as black and white. You won't find the same levels of detail or contrast in images compared with later model iPhones, but for is everyday runabout lifestyle snaps, it's perfectly fine.
Supports wireless charging
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the iPhone SE (2020) through the following:
The iPhone SE (2020) isn’t available on any postpaid mobile plans via Telstra, Optus or Vodafone but you can always pair the device up with a SIM-only plan (see below).
8. Samsung Galaxy A13
Samsung's Galaxy A13 is the company's most affordable handset right now, but it doesn't shirk in the camera and battery departments.
For capturing images, it features a 50MP rear main camera, which is backed up by an 8MP front-facing camera. The Galaxy A13's rear camera also includes a 5MP ultra-wide lens that provides a generous 123-degree angle of view.
The smartphone's 5000mAh battery is one of the biggest you'll find in a handset today, so it should provide more than a day's use.
For display, the Samsung Galaxy A13 features a 6.6-inch PLS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 2408p. It's internal hardware is modest compared to some premium Samsung phones. It features an octo-core Exynos 850 processor. Still, it's fast enough to be snappy and responsive.
Powerful quad-lens camera
8MP front-facing camera
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy Samsung Galaxy A13 through the following:
The Samsung Galaxy A13 can also be purchased on postpaid mobile plans via Optus, Vodafone and Woolworths (see below).