Of course, the flagships of the smartphone manufacturers are particularly popular in the focus of reports and the desire of prospective buyers. But do buyers really always have to spend 800, 1000 or even more euros for a really good smartphone? In the past yes, now no longer. Because excellent smartphones are now also available for less than 400 euros, which are only slightly inferior to the top models.
An important point that buyers of a smartphone between 300 and 400 euros should pay attention to with regard to the software is that it is up to date. Nobody should accept anything less than Android 12 with so much money in 2023 – even if Android 11 would certainly not break a leg in everyday life. However, this is also about the supply of software updates and patches for the next few years. Since we are restricting ourselves to models from at least 2022, a current Android version is not a problem in this top 10. All models on our leaderboard have Android 12, and Android 13 is also represented.
The chipset should at least be an upper mid-range processor. At Qualcomm, this is a chip from the 600 or 700 series, and Mediatek has made a big splash with its new Dimensity chips from the 800 series (and higher). (Former) top chipsets are sometimes already available in this price range, such as the Snapdragon 870 and 888. This update of the leaderboard includes the Dimensity 8100 and the Snapdragon 888 – so it’s going to be really fast!
The following applies to memory: 6 GB of RAM should not be undercut, which is now standard in this price range. In our current version of the leaderboard, smartphones with 8 GB predominate, sometimes there are even 12 GB – which raises the question of whether this is really useful or just whitewashing the data sheet. At least it won’t hurt. The internal memory should not be less than 128 GB, especially if it cannot be expanded. However, 256 GB are also available from time to time for around 400 euros.
The display should offer a lot of space in the price segment mentioned thanks to the punch-hole notch and diagonals beyond 6 inches, and those interested should stay away from resolutions below Full HD Plus (i.e. lower than 2400 × 1080 pixels). Our list only includes panels with FHD+, almost all models also have (P)OLEDs with a higher refresh rate. IPS LCDs are now the exception rather than the rule. There is hardly anything less than 90 Hz, 60 Hz models are inevitably phased out after the upper class and in the middle class. Currently, up to 400 euros, 120 Hertz is increasingly gaining ground over 90 Hertz, with 144 Hz being the exception.
How important other factors such as battery performance, AI or special gaming features are again depends heavily on the usage behavior of each buyer. With the battery, however, less than 4000 mAh should be the exception. If you value water resistance or wireless charging, you should take a particularly good look – both are rare up to 400 euros. This no longer applies to 5G, the currently fastest wireless standard is available in all models of our top 10.
Platz 1: Realme GT 2
It’s true that Realme is having a hard time at the moment, but the Realme GT 2 has everything you need for a number one: OLED technology and a refresh rate of 120 Hz as well as a sampling rate of 1000 Hz. None of the models in this top 10, the GT 2 Pro, have a telephoto lens but has 50 megapixels for the main and 8 megapixels for the wide-angle camera – the main camera even with optical image stabilizer (OIS). Selfies are snapped with the 16-megapixel lens on the front.
Thanks to the fast Snapdragon 888, Wifi 6, NFC and 5G are on board, and 12/256 GB of storage is stunning. The battery has a capacity of 5000 mAh and can be charged quickly with 65 watts, Android 12 is installed on the device.
Platz 2: Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+ (review) is Xiaomi’s most expensive Redmi phone to date, but it’s also so good that it makes it into our top 10 to $400 range. It starts with the 6.7-inch OLED with 120 Hz, the main camera with 200 megapixels and OIS and the properly dimensioned Dimensity 1080 with 8/256 GB of memory are also top. In addition, there is a battery that is absolutely impressive with 4980 mAh and 120 watts of charging power. The smartphone is IP53 certified against splash water.
3rd place: Vivo X80 Lite
Vivo is also currently struggling with the patent disputes with Nokia, but the Vivo X80 Lite is still available in stores. The device offers a comparatively “small” 6.4-inch display and relies on OLED technology with 90 Hz. The main camera has 64 megapixels and OIS, plus a wide-angle. At the front there are a whopping 50 megapixels. The Dimensity 900 is absolutely sufficient as a drive, especially since it is combined with 8/256 GB – and that from 330 euros! The 4500 mAh battery charges with 44 watts – that should be a bit stronger. IP54 promises protection against splash water.
Platz 4: Xiaomi 12T
The Xiaomi 12T again has 6.7 inches with OLED and 120 Hz, the main camera offers 108 megapixels and OIS. The built-in Dimensity 8100 Max is one of the strongest in this leaderboard and 8/256 GB of storage is also decent. The battery has a capacity of 5000 mAh and charges at 120 Hz – great. However, the device is not waterproof and – like the other smartphones so far – there is only Android 12.
Platz 5: Oneplus Nord 2T 5G
This is different with the Oneplus Nord 2T 5G (test report), here there is already Android 13. The OLED display only offers 90 Hz, but the camera with 50 megapixels and OIS offers more than the mere numbers suggest. The built-in Dimensity 1300 is not bad either, but up to 400 euros there is usually only 8/128 GB, sometimes also 12/256 GB of memory. The battery has a capacity of 4500 mAh and charges with 80 watts.
Platz 6: Xiaomi Poco F4
The Xiaomi Poco F4 (test report) has the large memory, here there are 8/256 GB at the time of the article. The rest is great too, the OLED display offers up to 120 Hz, the camera has 64 megapixels plus OIS and wide angle and a Snapdragon 870 is used as the drive. He meets a battery with 4500 mAh and 67 watt charging speed.
Platz 7: Xiaomi 13 Lite
The Xiaomi 13 Lite has almost 6.6 inch OLED with 120 Hz, 50 megapixels in the main and 8 in the wide-angle camera and the front cam offers 32 megapixels. Drive is a modern Snadragon 7 Gen 1, flanked by 8/128 GB. If you exceed the 400 euros by almost 7 euros, you even get 8/256 GB. The battery has a capacity of 4500 mAh and charges with 67 watts.
Platz 8: Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
The world market leader’s Samsung Galaxy A54 5G came in eighth place. It offers a 6.4-inch OLED display with 120 Hz, the main camera with 50 megapixels is kept steady by an OIS. There are also 32 megapixels for the front camera. The drive is Samsung’s own Exynos 1380. Currently you can get the mobile phone for 402 euros with 8/256 GB of memory. The 5000 mAh battery only charges with 25 watts, the A54 is waterproof according to IP67.
Platz 9: Nothing Phone 1
Nothing Phone had set out to shake up the smartphone market with the former co-founder of Oneplus as the new boss. As with Oneplus years before, the Nothing Phone 1 (test report) came onto the market with a lot of noise. In the test, it could not completely convince us – measured against the full-bodied promises of the company – but it is still a great smartphone. The visual highlight is certainly the eye-catching LED design on the back, but the device has more to offer.
It convinces with a decent OLED display and 120 Hz, the honest double camera without macro and depth sensor frills delivers good pictures with 50 megapixels each, even in wide angle and the Snapdragon 778G ensures decent performance in everyday life. Unfortunately, there is currently no 8/256 GB of storage for 400 euros, which costs 414 euros at the time of the article. Instead, it is 8/128 GB. When it comes to protection against water, the device with IP53 has more to offer than most smartphones in this price range. In addition, there is a battery with 4500 mAh, which can be charged not only with 33 watts by cable, but also with 15 watts wirelessly – no other smartphone in this list offers that.
10th place: Honor 70
The Honor 70 (test report) came in tenth. It relies on OLED with FHD+ and 120 Hz, with the camera on an unusual lens with 54 megapixels plus a wide-angle with 50 megapixels. The built-in Snapdragon 778G is fast with 8/256 GB and the battery with 4800 mAh can be charged just as quickly thanks to 66 watts. Again, only Android 12 is currently available.
Even in the middle class, interested parties occasionally find high-end performance, at least the gap to the absolute top models is surprisingly small in some cases. 5G is now regularly available for around 400 euros and there are even smartphones with (high) IP certification. The refresh rate is now also easily available at 120 Hz, and nobody should go below 90 Hz – all the beautiful top features are increasingly being passed on to the middle class.
Only for special requests, such as wireless charging, do buyers usually have to dig deeper into their pockets, even if the first models are now available with it. Only in the camera there are sometimes noticeable differences to flagships, so a usable telephoto lens is still missing up to 400 euros. In addition, most devices in this price range only offer USB-C 2.0 instead of the faster 3.0 standard.