Top 10 Apple and Android smartphones you can buy for under $300

Credit: Motorola

With the arrival of foldables like the Motorola Razr and Samsung Galaxy Fold, buying a premium smartphone has become more expensive than ever. 

However, if you’re willing to live without premium features like wireless charging, foldable displays or cuttinh edge cameras, it’s not all that hard to find a decent smartphone on a budget. It might not look good but it'll get the job done.


If our round-up of the best Apple and Android smartphones you can find for under $700 and $600 wasn’t good enough for you, here’s our latest list of the top 10 best Android and Apple phones you can find for under $300.

1. Motorola One Macro

Credit: Motorola

The Motorola One Macro is a fast, clean and highly-usable phone with a nifty trademark feature and longer-than-average battery life.

Under the hood, the One Macro comes powered by MediaTek’s Helio P70 processor, 4GBs of RAM and 64GB of ROM. Like the name suggests, the One Macro distinguishes itself through its incorporation of a macro lens when it comes to the rear camera. However, the real charm of the device can be found in all the things it features that modern flagships don’t. 

In our review of the Motorola One Macro, we said that “For all the compromises that have been on the hardware, the cleaner software might just give the Motorola One Macro the edge over the more expensive Motorola G8 Plus.”

You can read our full review here

Pros

  • Macro lens

  • Battery life

Cons

  • Triple-lens camera disappointing overall

  • Design not as nice as One Vision

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Motorola One Macro through the following:

The Motorola One Macro 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).


2. Nokia 4.2

Credit: Nokia

The Nokia 4.2 is a decent budget smartphone when it comes to the essential but it falls off hard if you expect anything more from it. 

Still, if $399 is your limit, there’s a lot to like here. The device itself runs on Android One, a Snapdragon 439 processor, 3GBs of RAM and a 3000mAh battery.  

In our review, we said that “It’s rare to find a phone this cheap that looks this good, let alone one that ticks so many boxes. On paper, it’s a $299 phone that feels like it could maybe be a $599 phone.”

You can read our full review here

Pros

  • Feature packed

  • Slick design

Cons

  • Poor camera performance

  • Underwhelming performance

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Nokia 4.2 through:

The Nokia 4.2 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. Samsung Galaxy A30

A30Credit: Samsung
A30

Despite being perched at the bottom-end of Samsung’s A-series lineup, the Galaxy A30 has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. 

It’s got a 6.4-inch FHD display with a teardrop notch, a dual-lens rear camera, an Exynos 7885 processor, a 4000mAh battery, a fingerprint sensor and Samsung’s OneUI Android skin.

It’s leaner and less feature-packed than some of the pricier A-series options to be sure but Samsung have managed to keep the core fundamentals of what makes a good smartphone intact here.

Pros

  • Infinity-U display

  • Beefy battery

Cons

  • Only dual-lens camera

  • Limited RAM/ROM

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy A30 through:

The Samsung Galaxy A30 is also available on postpaid mobile plans:


4. Oppo AX7

Credit: Oppo

Unless you’re particularly spurred by the choice to feature a teardrop-style notch and more-powerful front-facing camera over the traditional wedge found in the AX5, there’s not a huge number of reasons to opt for this device over its predecessor. 

Still, for the sub-$400 asking price, you do get a lot of bang for your buck here. The Oppo AX7 is equipped with a Snapdragon 450 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 4230mAh battery plus a dual-lens rear camera.

In our review of the Oppo AX7, we said that “Like the Oppo AX5, Oppo’s latest is a solid budget buy that provides a ton of value.”

You can read our full review here

Pros

  • Clean design

  • Great battery life

Cons

  • “OK” camera

  • Inconsistent performance

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Oppo AX7 through

The Oppo AX7 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).


5. RealMe 5

Credit: RealMe

The RealMe 5 isn’t as powerful or feature-packed as its more-expensive cousins but it still offers a lot of bang for your buck. 

Under the hood, this lean smartphone rocks a Snapdrgon 665 processor, 4GBs of RAM and a hefty 5000mAh battery. You also get 128GB of on-board storage and a quad-lens camera.

In our review we said that “If $299 is your number and you’re unswayed by Motorola’s One Macro and Oppo’s A-Series, the RealMe 5 might be the budget phone you’re looking for. It might not do all the things you want a phone to do very cleanly but it still does them. It’s heavy on the specs but light on charm and a sense of identity”.

You can read our full review here.

Pros

  • Cheap

  • Big battery

Cons

  • Iffy performance

  • Inconsistent camera

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the RealMe 5 through the following:

The RealMe 5 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. Oppo AX5s

Credit: Oppo

Oppo’s AX5s cuts a few corners when it comes to executing on a familiar blueprint. However, if value for money is what you’re looking for, it provides plenty of bang for your buck. You get a dual-lens rear camera, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage space and 4230mAh battery. 

In our review, we said that “when you factor in the exceptional battery life, improved processor and updated design, it’s not difficult to dig what Oppo is selling here.”

You can read our full review of the Oppo AX5s here.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No NFC

  • No fast-charging

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Oppo AX5s through the following:

The Oppo AX5s is also available via a postpaid mobile plan:


7.Samsung Galaxy A20

Credit: Samsung

The Galaxy A20 is the cheaper and lower-spec cousin of the A30.

Read more: 5 foldable phones we expect to see in 2019

The Galaxy A20's RAM, ROM and fingerprint sensor are exactly the same as the A30. However, it's differentiated by a Exynos 7884 processor - which features a lower clock speed than the 7885.

Still, if you’re looking for a cheap phone to buy, it keeps just enough of the appeal intact to be worth consideration.

Pros

  • Cheap!

  • Samsung OneUI

Cons

  • Slower processor

  • Limited camera tech

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy A20 through the following:

The Samsung Galaxy A20 is also available on postpaid mobile plans:

8. iPhone 7

Credit: Apple

Apple’s iPhone might not have the 3D face unlock, slick OLED screen or powerful processor found in more recent efforts like the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro.

You know what it does have? A headphone jack. 

Jokes about legacy ports aside, the biggest thing that you get when you buy something like the iPhone 7 is a ticket into Apple’s walled garden of apps and services. For as much as the hardware has aged since the iPhone 7 released in 2015, the software side has continued to evolve.

If you're willing to live within the limitations, there's still a lot to like about the iPhone 7.

Pros

  • iOS

  • Headphone jack

Cons

  • Battery life

  • Small screen

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the iPhone 7 hrough the following:

The iPhone 7 is also (ssomehow still) available through a post-paid mobile plan:

9. Nokia 7.1

Credit: Nokia

HMD Global’s Nokia 7.1 takes the standard Nokia formula and attaches it to a glitzy new display technology that seamlessly upscales content from SDR to HDR. It’s not quite premium but it definitely feels more than halfway there. 

As we said in our review, “The Nokia 7.1 isn’t a device without caveats but I think it’s one that’ll pay off for those looking to get a decent smartphone at a decent price.”

You can read our full review here

Pros

  • Great build quality

  • Gorgeous screen

Cons

  • Sometimes sluggish performance

  • Notch doesn't really justify itself

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Nokia 7.1 through the following:

The Nokia 7.1 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).


10. Moto E6 Plus

Credit: Motorola

The new Moto E6 Plus features a 6.1-inch HD+ display, a MediaTek MT6762 processor, a dual-lens camera (13-megapixel + 2-megapixel), an 8-megapixel selfie camera, a 3000mAh battery, fingerprint sensor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. 

None of that is particularly revolutionary or exclusive - but it's nothing to sneeze at for the price-point. 

Pros

  • Cheap price

  • Big screen

Cons

  • Iffy camera

  • Limited RAM and storage space

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Moto E6 Plus through the following:

The Moto E6 Plus 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).

Related: Top 10 best Android and Apple smartphones for under $700

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Related: Top 10 best Android and Apple smartphones for under $600

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Fergus Halliday
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