Best mid-range phones for under $400 in 2022

If you happen to be in a hurry and want to know what we think is the best $400 smartphone currently available, you can quickly read the table below, but if you want more information on our best $400 smartphones, then I recommend you read their entries below or their reviews (where available) before making a purchase.

The best smartphones for under $400


  Editor’s choice Best iPhone Best in Performance  Best Camera   Best Battery
Picture Samsung Galaxy A52s Samsung Galaxy A52s Samsung Galaxy A52s Google Pixel 4a 5G Samsung Galaxy A52s

6.8-inch IPS LCD,

1080 x 2400 (~387 PPI)

4.7 inch IPS LCD,

750 x 1334 (~326 PPI)

6.6-inch Super AMOLED
720 x 1600 (~266 PPI)

6.47-inch AMOLED, HDR 10,

1080 x 2340 (~398 PPI)

6.7-inch PLS LCD, HDR10,
1080 x 2400 (~393 PPI)
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G Apple A13 Bionic Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
Memory 4 / 6 GB RAM | 128 / 256 GB Storage 3 GB RAM | 64 / 128 / 256 4 / 6 / 8 GB RAM | 128 GB Storage 6 GB RAM | 128/256 GB Storage 4 / 6 GB RAM | 64/124 GB
microSD Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Software My UX based on Android 11 iOS 15.3 One UI 4.0 based on Android 12 TCL UI based on Android 11 MY UX based on Android 10
Rear camera
Main camera: 48MP, f/1.7, PDAF

Ultrawide: 8MP, f/2.2

Macro: 5MP
, f/2.2

Depth: 2MP, f/2.4
Main Camera: 12MP, f/1.8, PDAF, OIS Main camera: 48MP, f/1.8, PDAF
Ultrawide: 8MP, f/2.2
Macro: 5MPf/2.4
Depth: 5MP, f/2.4
Main camera: 64MP, f/1.8, PDAF
Ultrawide: 16MP, f/2.4
Macro: 5MPf/2.2
Depth: 5MP, f/2.4
Main camera: 48MP, f/1.7, PDAF
Ultrawide: 8MP, f/2.4
Macro: 8MPf/2.2
Front camera 16MP, f/2.0 7MP, f/2.2 20MP, f/2.2 24MP, f/2.0 16MP f/2.2

5,000 mAh

Charging at 10W

1,821 mAh
Fast charging at 18W
Qi wireless charging
5,000 mAh
Fast charging at 15W
4,500 mAh
Quick Charge 3.0 at 18W
5,000 mAh
Fast charging at 15W
Connectivity 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, 5G, LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, IR blaster. 5G, LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
IP certification IP67
Colors Blue Haze, Grey Sierra (PRODUCT)RED, Black, White Prism Dot White, Prism Dot Gray, Prism Dot Black Gray, Green Frosted Silver, Volcanic Gray
Dimensions and weight 158.9 x 73.2 x 8.25 mm, 189 g 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm, 148 g 164.4 x 75.9 x 8.6 mm, 193 g 158.5 x 72.4 x 9.2 mm, 177 g 166.1 x 76.1 x 9.9 mm, 212 g
Prices (MSRP) $399.99 $399.99 $399.99 $449 $399
  • All-round  features
  • Large battery
  •  Gets Android 12
  • Stylus support
  • Powerful processor
  • Home Button
  • Bokeh effects for both cameras
  • Low price (at the time)
  • AMOLED screen
  • Already on Android 12, with many updates ahead
  • Great performance
  • Balanced camera set
  • Quick charging
  • Big AMOLED display
  • Decent resolution
  • Bright Screen
  • Decent resolution
  • Decent SoC 
  • Large battery with fast charging
  • Falls behind in performance
  • Slow charging
  • Not an OLED screen1
  • Aged LCD display
  • Average portrait
  • Poor audio
  • No storage expansion
  • SoC is slightly behind the competition
  • Battery capacity could be better
  • Android 10
  • Not an OLED screen

Not yet rated

Go to review

Not yet rated

Not yet rated

Not yet rated

To the offer*

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Jump to:

Buying guide: What you can expect from smartphones up to $400

In this section, we summarize what you can expect from smartphones up to 400 USD. Mid-range phones manage a really good balancing act between price and performance in 2022, but in the US, the price point sits awkwardly between the budget phones and the upper mid-rangers and low-end flagships. Considerable concessions need to be made for this price point, like purchasing devices from older years or with weaker specs. Thankfully all of these devices (except the iPhone SE 2020) feature 5G, but cameras, performance, and design lack features of the slightly more expensive $500 price range, where you can find newer technology. 

Best smartphone under $400: Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 

Moto G Stylus 5G
The Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G is among the rare handsets that come with a stylus/ © Motorola

With the oddity of the sub-$400 market, nothing deserves the editor’s choice position more than the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G. The device brings features similar to what the company used to offer about a decade ago. The Snapdragon 480 may not be on par with the Samsung  A42 5G but comes ahead in other aspects. Firstly, you get 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and the stylus is only something we find at super expensive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The 2021 version of the phone also offers support for microSD cards. Like the other Motorola handset in this list, this phone also gets a humungous 6.8-inch display with FHD+ resolution. In that way, the Moto G Stylus 5G makes for a versatile handset that supports features like sketching and doodling with equally decent cameras.

As for the cameras, we’re looking at a triple camera setup is a 48MP + 8MP + 2MB configuration with a 16MP front-facing camera. The battery capacity is 5,000 mAh, and the phone ships with a standard 10W charger in the box. So to conclude, the Moto G Stylus 5G may not be the best in any category but brings a balanced set of features and a novelty that is not found in smartphones anymore. 

Best iPhone under $400: Apple iPhone SE (2020)

IMG 1536
The iPhone SE (2020) is tiny! It is also our pick for the best smartphone under $400!/ © NextPit

The 64GB phone variant can be bought for $399, but we do not recommend purchasing a $400 phone with 64GB storage in 2022. Anyway, the reasons we chose the Apple iPhone SE 2021 as our pick for the best iPhone for $400 are multiple. But with the release of the latest iPhone SE (2022), we are in an awkward position since the new phone is priced a little over $429, voiding it from this list.

Anyway, the iPhone SE 2020 remains our top pick for Apple. The hardware is relatively modern in comparison to the other offerings in this list – if you ignore the fact that it does not support 5G, and the phone gets Apple’s powerful A13 Bionic chip which can handle most tasks, you throw at it with aplomb. Thanks to Apple’s tight-knit ecosystem, rest assured, you can use the iPhone SE (2020) for a couple of years without having to worry about (the lack of) software updates.

The powerful hardware ensures that you get features like 4K video recording, excellent camera capability, and support for wireless charging. Some of the negatives include the dated design, the small size of the phone, and the fact that it ships with a 5W charger.

The iPhone we really wanted to recommend: iPhone SE (2022)

Apple event peak performance 15
The iPhone SE (2022) missed a top spot in the category by $29 / © Apple

If the pricing was not as it is today, at $429, we would have recommended the iPhone SE (2022) without any second thought. Coming two years after the iPhone SE (2020), the new budget iPhone sports a powerful A15-bionic but sees little improvement ocer the previous device. You get a 12MP camera inside a virtually similar casing with the iPhone SE 2022 and IP67 resistance.

The real upgrade aside from the SoC (and the extra GB of RAM at 4GB) is the 5G connectivity, which makes the device finally capable of enjoying the latest connectivity technology like the rest of the sub-$400 devices you see in this list. So while we have not tested the iPhone SE (2022) we believe that it will be a great solution for anyone looking at an affordable iPhone.

Best smartphone in performance under $400: Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

Galaxy A42 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is a good option for less than $400 / © Samsung`

Samsung released the Galaxy A42 5G for the US market in November 2020. The phone, as evident from the name, is a 5G capable mid-range handset. The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chipset and is offered in combinations of 4/6/8 GB of RAM coupled with 128GB of storage. Users so get the option to expand the storage further using a microSD card.

The camera setup on the Galaxy A42 5G includes a 48MP primary camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. The selfie camera is at 20MP. While the Super AMOLED display measures 6.6-inches across, it only supports HD+ resolution – something that would be unacceptable in any other smartphone market save the US. The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G gets a massive 5,000 mAh battery and it supports 15W fast charging as well.

Best smartphone camera for under $400: TCL 10 Pro

TCL 10 Pro
The only (new) smartphone to offer an AMOLED panel under $400 in the US! / © TCL

The TCL 10 Pro is another handset that you should definitely be considering if you have a sub $400 budget. Made by Chinese smartphone maker TCL, this handset comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC and is offered in a single variant that has 6 GB of RAM and 128GB storage. The phone does get a microSD card slot for memory expansion.

Among the reasons you should consider getting this phone is the large 6.4-inch display, which is AMOLED. The panel also supports FHD+ resolution, which brings it ahead of the other AMOLED device, the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G. The camera setup is also among the best we can find in 2022 at this price range, thanks to a 64MP main camera, a 16MP ultrawide camera, a 5MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor.

The phone also gets a 4,500 mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. The phone runs Android 10 at launch and can be upgraded to Android 11 and maybe Android 12.

Best smartphone battery for under $400: Motorola One 5G Ace

Motorola Ace
The Motorola One 5G Ace is a 5G capable sub-$400 offering from Motorola worth considering / © Motorola

The Motorola One 5G Ace was officially announced in February 2021 and has been on sale in the US since then. This mid-range smartphone is powered by the 5G-ready Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC and ships with 6GB RAM and two storage options (64 GB/128GB). Memory expansion is supported using microSD cards.

The Motorola One 5G Ace is a large phone with a massive 6.7-inch LTPS display with FHD+ resolution. The phone gets triple cameras at the rear, with the primary camera using a 48MP sensor. The two other cameras on the phone include an 8MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP depth sensor. The front-facing camera on the Motorola One 5G Ace uses a 16MP sensor.

The Motorola One 5G Ace houses a large 5,000 mAh battery that can easily power the phone through two days of normal use. The phone ships with a 10W charger but does support 15W fast charging.

Alternatives to purchasing a more expensive smartphone

Getting a device with a plan, discounted or for free

Getting a device with financing is the easiest way to get yourself a good new device without breaking the bank. This is because carriers will go to great lengths to claim and maintain customers. Aside from the normal financing options that break in 24 or 36 installments (alongside an eligible plan), you can get a device either for a good discount when getting a new line in one of their plans or even completely free on some occasions. Here are some examples.

Refurbished and used smartphones

If removing the protective film for the first time on your new device does not cause you to jump for joy, you can pick up more expensive smartphones from the second-hand or refurbished market. It is particularly advisable to use devices that carry a refurbished guarantee.

These are used smartphones that have been checked and refurbished by reputable companies to ensure that they are in tip-top condition. Refurbished devices are particularly exciting to check out when they come with an extended warranty. This is how you protect yourself when picking one up just in case the handset gives up the ghost just a few weeks down the road.

What do you think of this selection? Which models do you think we have forgotten and which deserve to be included? Do you find the advice sections and our testing process useful? What do you think of this new format? We look forward to your feedback! 

This article has been updated on March 16th, 2022. Old comments have been maintained and may look out of context.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Twelve 27 Shop
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart