​Top 10 best Android and Apple smartphones for $700

SIM-free and unlocked phones, smartfones and iPhones which you can buy right now in 2020 compared and reviewed

Credit: Oppo

In 2019, it’s all too easy to spend too much money on a smartphone - especially if you’re only looking at throwing your money at the most popular brands on the market.

Following the arrival of iPhone X and iPhone XS, the cost of flagship smartphones has continued to rise. Apple’s top-end iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max and iPhone 11 Pro can cost you thousands, and Samsung’s own high-spec Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G aren’t that much cheaper.

Thankfully, it’s much easier to find a cheaper and more budget-friendly alternative to these flagship devices than ever before. The amount of overlap in features for mid-tier devices and premium ones continues to grow while the gap in quality continues to shrink. 

Nowadays, you can spend around far less than the amount asked for by flagship devices and come away with more than just a phone that handles the basics. Here are our picks for the top 10 best Android and Apple phones you can find for around $700.

Google Pixel 4a 

Google Pixel 4aCredit: Google
Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4a doesn’t have anything particularly revolutionary inside it but, for the AU$599 asking price, it pretty much blows every other mid-ranger out of the water.

As with the previous Pixel 3a, the Pixel 4a nabs you the same slick, clean and expansive version of Android found in the flagship Pixel 4 plus a camera that’s almost just as good. 

In our review, we came away impressed and said that “If you don’t want an iPhone and you’re on a budget, then the Pixel 4a is a tremendous option. For less than six hundred dollars you get a superlative camera, guaranteed three years of software support, all-day battery life, and clean Android software with exclusive features in a phone that you can hold in one hand. It’s surprising how rare that is to find today, let alone at such a good price.”

You can read our full review here.

Pros:

  • Incredible camera

  • Clean software

  • OLED screen

Cons:

  • No wireless charging

  • No water resistance

  • Physical fingerprint sensor & no Face Unlock

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Google Pixel 4a outright through the following retailers:

The Google Pixel 4a is also available on any postpaid mobile plans via Vodafone and Telstra. Check out the widget below for more.

Oppo Reno4 Z 5G

Oppo Reno4 Z 5GCredit: Oppo
Oppo Reno4 Z 5G

A learner, cheaper companion to Oppo’s 5G-ready Reno4, the Reno4 Z 5G successfully replicates most of what makes the former one of the more compelling sub-$1000 devices out there.

Priced at thrifty AU$599, the Reno4 Z packs in 5G-connectivity, a 6.5-inch LCD screen clocked at 120Hz, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage plus a quad-lens rear camera. You won't find flagship perks like wireless charging, water-resistance or the Find series’ famed 10x lossless zoom but you will find an in-screen fingerprint sensor, a 4000mAh battery and a surprisingly-capable camera for the price point.

Pros

  • Sleek design

  • In-display fingerprint sensor

  • Great performance

Cons

  • No wireless charging

  • No water resistance

  • ColorOS can be an acquired taste

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Oppo Reno4 Z 5G outright at the following retailers:

You can't currently buy the Oppo Reno4 Z 5G on a post-paid plan but you can pair it with a SIM-only plan using the widget below:

Samsung Galaxy A90

Credit: Samsung

Even if the waterproofing is a conspicuous omission, the Samsung Galaxy A90 still manages to hold up as an impressively adept mid-ranger that hits a surprising amount of the same notes as its flagship inspirations. Building on the legacy of the Galaxy A70, which our review praised as "more than the smartphone you can get away with", the Galaxy A90 is Samsung's first mid-tier phone with 5G connectivity.

The device is also equipped with a 6.7-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 855 processor,  a triple-lens camera (48-megapixel + 5-megapixel depth sensor + 8-megapixel wide-angle lens), 32-megapixel front-facing camera, 128GB of storage, up to 8GB of RAM, a 4500mAh battery and an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Pros

  • Great performance

  • Quad-lens camera

  • In-display fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • “Glastic” feel-factor can be off-putting

  • No wireless charging

  • No water resistance

Where to buy

In Australia, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy A90 outright at the following retailers:

You can no longer purchase the Samsung Galaxy A90 on a post-paid mobile plan but you can pair it up with a SIM-only plan using the widget below:

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 ProCredit: Huawei
Huawei Mate 20 Pro

To say we stan the Mate 20 Pro would be putting it lightly. In our review, we said that "the Mate 20 Pro really is far and away the best smartphone Huawei have produced to date. It's not quite the same leap forward for smartphone photography that the P20 Pro. However, it holds its own on other fronts that serve to propel it to the top of the category."

The device itself is equipped with a Kirin 680 processor, 6.39-inch OLED display, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4200mAh battery and a triple-lens rear camera.

You can read our full review of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro here.

Pros

  • Fast processor

  • Triple lens camera

Cons

  • NanoMemory storage
  • No MicroSD

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the Huawei Mate 20 through the following:

The Huawei Mate 20 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).

Oppo Reno 5G

Oppo Reno 5GCredit: Oppo
Oppo Reno 5G

Oppo's Reno 5G launched at a price of AU$1499 but you can now grab it for around half that number. The device boasts a Snapdragon 855 processor, 256GB of on-board storage, 8GB of RAM and a 48-megapixel triple lens camera with up to 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid zoom.

In our review, we called the Reno 5G out as the best 5G handset at the time and said that “while the real-world usability of that 5G connectivity is hard to lean on, the Reno itself still holds its own as a compelling package.”

“It’s a big phone and even if that form-factor sometimes gets in the way of it working as well as it ought to, it never feels big for the sake of it. It genuinely feels like Oppo pushed themselves to cram as much cool tech as they could into the Reno 5G.”

You can read our full review of the Oppo Reno 5G here.

Pros

  • Premium design

  • High-end zoom

  • VOOC fast Charging

Cons

  • Pop up camera won't be for everyone

  • Lacks water resistance and Face ID

  • No wireless charging

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the Oppo Reno 5G through the following:

The Oppo Reno 5G is no longer available on postpaid mobile plans via Optus but can be paired with a post-paid SIM-only using the widget below:

Samsung Galaxy Note9

Samsung Galaxy Note9Credit: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Note9

Samsung's Galaxy Note9 didn't just build on the renewed momentum of the 'from the ashes' Note8, it arguably perfected the formula. The only catch? At AU$1499, that supremacy came at a pretty hefty cost. 

In our review, we said that the Note9 "is a device that offers the world. It’s got one of the best displays you can get on a smartphone. It’s got one of the best camera systems you can get on a smartphone. It’s got one of the best processors you can find in a smartphone. But so does the Note 8. And while the Note 9 is definitely the better device, savvy customers are probably wanna gonna opt for its discounted predecessor or wait for whatever comes next."

Thankfully, the Note9 is now way cheaper and only a little less compelling. You still  gets you a pretty powerful Exynos processor, the ever-useful S-Pen and a gorgeous Infinity Display. You even get access to the new One UI Android skin that Samsung debuted alongside the Galaxy S10. Software updates and price-depreciation have helped the Note9 hold its edge over the years.

Pros

  • Great display & design

  • Water resistance & wireless charging

  • Still has a headphone jack

Cons

  • Camera hasn’t aged as well as it should have

  • Looks dated compared to modern Samsung devices

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the Samsung Galaxy Note9 through the following:

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 is available on postpaid mobile plans via Telstra:

OnePlus 7

OnePlus 7Credit: OnePlus
OnePlus 7

Even if they aren't *officially* available in Australia, there's a good chance you might have seen the name OnePlus around the place in recent years. This boutique brand has quickly made a name for themselves by combining razor sharp specs and flagship features with a price-tag that’s perhaps a little more reasonable than you’ll get from the Samsungs and Apples of the smartphone world. 

The OnePlus 7 features a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 855 processor, (up to) 8GB of RAM plus (up to) 256GB of on-board storage. Compared to the previous OnePlus 6, the OnePlus 7 ditches the iPhone X style notch and tags in a more powerful dual-lens (48-megapixel + 5-megapixel) rear camera.

Pros

  • Premium specs

  • Crisp display

  • OxygenOS

Cons

  • No wireless charging

  • No water resistance

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the OnePlus 6 through the following:

The OnePlus 7 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).

Apple iPhone X

Apple iPhone XCredit: Apple
Apple iPhone X

Apple's iPhone X represented a turning point in the modern history of the company's smartphone business. The Apple iPhone X wasn't just the device that saw the world's most popular smartphone brand finally catch up to the best of the Android market but become a trendsetter in its own right. The iPhone X upped the ante when it came to biometrics, notches and premium flair.

The iPhone X also saw Apple firmly focus on positioning their latest flagship as the stuff of luxury rather than everyday users. Thankfully, with a few years of depreciation, the once-mighty iPhone X can now be yours for a much more affordable sum.

Pros

  • iOS

  • FaceID remains unmatched

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Camera hasn't aged so well

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the Apple iPhone X through the following:

The Apple iPhone X is no longer 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).

LG V30+

LG V30+Credit: LG Electronics
LG V30+

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.”

Pros

  • Flagship feature set

  • Videography shortcuts

Cons

  • Plain design

  • Underwhelming camera

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the LG V30+ through the following:

The LG V30+ ThinQ 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).

OnePlus Nord 5G

OnePlus Nord 5GCredit: OnePlus
OnePlus Nord 5G

Announced earlier this year, the new OnePlus Nord sees the brand return to its roots of offering cutting edge specs at a competitive price-tag. The Nord combines a 6.44-inch OLED display clocked at 90Hz with a Snapdragon 765G processor and a quad-lens rear camera setup.

Ahead an expected 'launch' date of October 8th, Kogan is stocking both the Blue Marble (Blue) and Gray Onyx (Black) versions of the device in both their 8GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB variants. Pricing for the former starts at AU$769 while the latter are likely to hit your wallet harder at AU$899.

Pros

  • Latest version of Oxygen OS
  • 5G
  • 90Hz display

Cons

  • No water resistance
  • No wireless charging

Where to buy?

The OnePlus Nord 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).

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This article was originally published on the 18th of September 2018 and updated by Fergus Halliday on the 28th of September 2020.

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