Choosing a new smartphone isn’t as simple as it used to be. They may not come in more than one shape, but they do come in lots of different sizes, with plenty of different features and most importantly, at plenty of different price points.
For some the camera is important, for others it will be battery life, or perhaps biometrics. These days it isn’t just the very best flagship smartphones that offer these features though. There are another breed of smartphones – the mid-rangers – that offer great specs but at a lower price.
That’s what this feature is all about: it’s for those looking for a new smartphone that isn’t necessarily bargain bucket, but won’t break the bank either.
Here we’ve rounded up the best devices that sit between the £200 mark and the £400 mark, all fully reviewed here on Pocket-lint. Want something even cheaper? Then check our the best budget phones under £200.
Our best mid-range smartphone
Here’s our choice for the best all-round budget smartphone under £400 on the market at the moment…
Motorola Moto G7 Plus
The Motorola Moto G7 Plus is the best mid-range phone on the market. It delivers a truly affordable, well-designed and capable handset that offers very little to complain about for its £270 price.
Its main issues come from the strong competition and excessive auto-brightness adjustment, but on the whole, the Moto G7 Plus has a great design, a great battery life, a clean software experience and solid camera results. It is easily recommendable as the best affordable device on the market.
And the best of the other top mid-range smartphones…
The Motorola Moto G7 Plus might not be for everyone, and luckily there are plenty of other great budget smartphones under £400 to consider. If a starting price of £200 is stretching too far, then check out our best budget smartphones under £200 feature, or if you want a round up of the best smartphones across all budgets, we have a feature for that too.
Here are the ones under £400 that are also worth considering though:
Motorola Moto G7
The Motorola Moto G7 is an excellent budget phone that not only improves over its predecessor – the Moto G6 – but it also offers the same design and size and resolution display as the Moto G7 Plus for £30 less.
The Moto G7 Plus offers faster charging, a bump in processor and OIS on its better cameras though, while the Moto G7 Power that falls under £200 has a huge 5000mAh battery. This means that while the standard Moto G7 is a great device, the Moto G7 Plus or Moto G7 Power might be better alternatives to consider.
Google Pixel 3a
The Google Pixel 3a just manages to slip into this category at a pound shy of £400. Like Google’s flagship Pixel 3, the 3a has a clean and smooth software interface, coupled with the excellent Pixel camera, offering a great point-and-shoot experience.
It’s not the cheapest of the devices on this list, and there are some with more advanced processors and more impressive specifications, while the plastic build feels cheaper than the flagship Pixel. Overall though, if you’re after a pure Android device with an excellent camera, the Pixel 3a is a great device.
The Honor 20 replaces the excellent Honor 10 – also worth considering if you can find it cheaper than the Honor 20 – and it delivers an impressive balance of features and price. It offers capable cameras at a fair price point, a side-positioned fingerprint scanner and a screen-dominating design.
It has a couple of downsides – including a large camera protrusion, an LCD rather than OLED display and no 3.5mm headphone jack, but the battery life is solid and this device offers a great design for half the price of flagship devices. There are some ongoing Google/Huawei issues worth bearing in mind with regards to software and security updates though so check the latest before you buy.
Xiaomi Mi 9
The Xiaomi Mi 9 offers plenty of power, a compelling camera experience and a great display with a minimal notch, all within a great design that looks excellent in the various colours offered.
The mono speaker isn’t brilliant, there’s no IP rating or MicroSD card and the MIUI software isn’t anywhere near as good as the likes of the Motorola software experience, but the Xiaomi Mi 9 offers fabulous value for money, making it one of the most compelling phones of 2019 at this price.
Motorola Moto One Vision
The Motorola Moto One Vision is a well-priced and specified phone shows that a mid-range device can deliver the goods in performance and features terms without costing the earth. It offers a really smooth software experience and a solid dual rear camera setup for its price.
The punch-hole for front camera is bigger than competitors and it has a so-so battery life, but the Moto One Vision has a 21:9 aspect ratio – something only Sony has dabbled in previously – offering something a little different.
Honor 20 Lite
The Honor 20 Lite is an affordable and well designed phone, bringing good looks with ample performance for the price. It offers a large screen with a small notch, capable modes on the rear cameras and a solid design.
The Micro-USB charging port feels a little dated and despite being a good price, the Honor 20 Lite doesn’t offer much more power than the cheaper last generation model however, so you might be better to consider the Honor 10. As with the other Honor devices though, there are currently some issues between Google and Honor’s parent company Huawei so be aware of that.
Sony Xperia 10 Plus
The Sony Xperia 10 Plus is the larger of Sony’s mid-range handsets featuring a 21:9 aspect display. Like the smaller Xperia 10 model, the 10 Plus isn’t priced as competitively as its competition but it offers an attractive and minimal design with interesting form factor that is great for watching specific movie content.
The camera isn’t the best out there and there is a little lag in speed here and there, but the Xperia 10 Plus offers a good battery life, some useful software additions and a clean experience overall, making it a worthy consideration especially if the 21:9 aspect ratio display is appealing to you.
The Honor Play is one of the best affordable phones on the market. It features an accomplished metal unibody design, an outstanding battery life, plenty of power on tap, a GPU Turbo for gaming extras and all for an incredible price point under £300.
You get a huge 6.3-inch display but within a manageable footprint thanks to the 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and there are dual rear cameras, a fingerprint sensor and NFC all on board. The Honor Play won’t beat all flagship smartphones for load and speed but it is a serious handset well worth considering.
As we mentioned above on the Honor 20 and Honor 20 Lite, there are currently some issues between Google and Honor’s parent company Huawei that may affect this device’s software and security updates going forward though, so bear that in mind when considering this device.
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) offers an excellent screen for its price, along with a triple camera on the rear that offers a variety of extra options, including wide-angle.
The camera loses detail in some situations and Micro-USB means no fast charging, but the 18:9 aspect ratio screen means you get plenty of screen within the footprint, along with a solid build quality.
The Honor 10 – now succeeded by the Honor 20 further up this list – features a striking design with a glass back that is available in a flashy Phantom Blue finish. It delivers a solid performance from a powerful chipset and a more accomplished dual camera setup than the Honor 10 Play.
Its battery life isn’t as impressive as the Honor Play and its under-the-glass fingerprint sensor isn’t as good as it could be but this is still an excellent device worth considering if your budget doesn’t stretch to the Honor 20 and you can find the Honor 10 cheaper.
It’s also worth considering the Honor View 10, which is now available for under £400 too with a great offering, though as with the other Honor devices – there are some ongoing Google/Huawei issues worth bearing in mind.
Apple IPhone SE
Apple’s iPhone SE is the only iPhone to fall under the £400 mark and it’s also the smallest iPhone of the lot. That’s not to say it compromises though, as plenty of good things come in small packages and for some, one of the best things about the iPhone SE will be its small size.
The iPhone SE offers the majority of the same feature set as 2016’s iPhone 6S meaning it brings plenty of power, along with a great design and an excellent user experience, if you like iOS. You miss out on a few things compared to the newer and larger iPhones, such as 3D Touch and Face ID, but overall the iPhone SE is a great smartphone with an accessible price point.
The Honor 8X offers great value for money with a price tag of just over £200. It features a quality design, some great camera features and a great battery life.
The display could be better and the EMUI software is a little bloated but you get a lot of phone for your money with this device. As with the Honor Play and Honor 10 though, be mindful of the Google issues currently ongoing.
The Nokia 6.1 is a solid, good-looking device that offers a great build quality and powerful hardware for its price. It runs on Android One too for a bloat-free and great experience.
It doesn’t offer an 18:9 aspect ratio display like some devices on this list, dating it slightly, and its low light camera performance isn’t as good as others either, but the Nokia 6.1 offers a lot for its asking price with a Full HD screen and a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, delivering good value for money.
Nokia 7 Plus
The Nokia 7 Plus offers a lovely solid design, coupled with a large display and a capable camera, making for a great mid-range device. It also delivers a capacious battery and 2x zoom that few others have.
The design is perhaps a little bigger than necessary, the speakers aren’t brilliant and the camera is a little slow to launch, while similar devices with comparable specs exist at this price point, but the Nokia 7 Plus is still one to consider.