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

Credit: Oppo

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 cutting edge premium features like wireless charging, foldable displays or triple-lens cameras, it’s not all that hard to find a decent smartphone on a budget. Saving money this way, might not leave you with the prettiest looking 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. 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 5.3

Nokia 5.3Credit: Nokia
Nokia 5.3

Picking up where the original Nokia 5 left off, the new Nokia 5.3 features a 6.55-inch HD+ screen, a Snapdragon 665 processor, 4000mAh battery, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-board storage.

It's also got a quad-lens rear camera to the sum of a 13-megapixel lens, a 5-megapixel ultrawide lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel depth lens.

Originally priced at AU$349, you can now find the Nokia 5.3 for slightly less than that.

Pros

  • Feature packed

  • Slick design

Cons

  • Poor camera performance

  • Underwhelming performance

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Nokia 5.3 through:

The Nokia 5.3 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. Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2Credit: Google
Google Pixel 2

Refurbished versions of Google's second generation flagship can now be found for less than AU$300.

While you're not getting quite the same level of cutting software and hardware found in the Pixel 3 or Pixel 4, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still offer up plenty of likable features.

In our review, we said that "If you want a smartphone that does everything or is the best at any one particular thing, there are lot of other options out there. As brilliant as the Pixel 2 is, it's not going to sate the ambitions of power-users out there. However, if you want a smartphone that’s as clean as they come and highly-effective at dealing with the everyday pain-points it sets out to solve, the Pixel 2 is a clear-cut winner."

You can read our full review here

Pros

  • Smart look and feel

  • Surprisingly nice camera

Cons

  • Aging specs

  • No headphone jack

In Australia, you can buy the Google Pixel 2 (and Pixel 2 XL) through

The Google Pixel 2 is no longer available on a 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

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

  • 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 A52

Oppo A52Credit: Oppo
Oppo A52

The Oppo A52 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 655 processor, 5000mAh battery, 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. These internals are backed up nicely by a quad-lens camera array on the back and a 6.4-inch LTPS “Neo Display” on the front.

Other perks include 18W USB-C fast charging, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and dual-speakers. 

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No NFC

  • Only 1080p LCD screen

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Oppo A52 through the following:

The Oppo A52 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.

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. Huawei P40 Lite

Credit: Huawei

Huawei's P40 Lite does come with its fair share of compromises and caveats.

However, if you're looking for a $299 phone with a camera that swings above its weight when it comes to the camera side of the equation, it's not to be overlooked.

The Huawei P40 Lite features a Kirin 810 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of ROM, a 4200mAh battery,a 6.4-inch LCD display and a quad-lens rear camera.

Pros

  • Cheap price

  • Powerful quad-lens camera

Cons

  • No Google Apps / GMS

  • Proprietary NanoMemory system

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can buy the Huawei P40 Lite through the following:

The Huawei P40 Lite 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: Which phones have the best cameras?

Related: Top Rated Android Phones in 2016

This article was updated by Fergus Halliday on September 11, 2020.

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