​Top 10 best Android and Apple smartphones for around $700

SIM-free and unlocked smartphones that you can buy right now in 2021

Credit: Motorola

In 2021, 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 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, the cost of flagship smartphones has continued to rise. Apple’s top-end recently announced iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro can cost you thousands, and Samsung’s own high-spec Galaxy Z Flip3 and Galaxy Z Fold3 are even pricier.

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 isn't available on any pre or post-paid mobile plans via major carriers however it can be paired with a SIM only plan via the widget below:

Oppo Reno4 5G

Credit: Oppo

The Oppo Reno 4 5G has a premium look and feel and comes with a zingy FHD+ (1080x2400) 6.4-inch AMOLED display. It was launched alongside the Reno4 Z and was the pricier of the two handsets sporting a slicker feature set but its price has finally dropped to make it a really temping offer. 

The Oppo Reno 4 5G is powered by the 5G-enabled Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G with 8GB RAM. It also comes with 128GB storage. It has a highly capable 48-megapixel main camera and and 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera. On the front side a 32-megapixel camera can take  selfies. 

Pros

  • 5G-enabled 

  • 32-megapixel selfie camera

Cons

  • No optical zoom

  • 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 5G on a post-paid plan but you can pair it with a SIM-only plan using the widget below:

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy A90 was one of the first affordable 5G-enabled smartphones on the market and it was designed with a feature set to impress users. 

It's 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 5G on a post-paid mobile plan but you can pair it up with a SIM-only plan using the widget below:

Huawei P20 Pro

Credit: Huawei

Although it doesn't have 5G support, the Huawei P20 Pro still has a lot to offer - especially for budding photographers. The device has a 40-megapixel main sensor coupled with a 20-megapixel black and white camera and an 8-megapixel x3 telephoto camera. It also has a 24-megapixel front-facing camera.

The FHD OLED display measures a compact 6.1-inches and this is powered by a Huawei Kirin 970 processor and 6GB RAM. It features 128GB storage.

At the time of reviewing the Huawei P20 Pro we said "When it comes to the camera it's hard not to praise what Huawei have managed with the P20 Pro."

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

Pros

  • Excellent triple-lens camera
  • Attractive colours and design

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • EMUI Android skin is a weakness

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the Huawei P20 Pro through the following:

The Huawei P20 Pro 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 no longer available on postpaid mobile plans via Telstra however it can be paired with a SIM only plan via the widget below: 

OnePlus 7T Pro

Credit: OnePlus

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 7T Pro features a 6.67-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 7T Pro ditches the iPhone X style notch and tags in a more powerful dual-lens (48-megapixel + 8 +16-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 7T Pro through the following:

The OnePlus 7T Pro 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).

Nokia 8.3 5G

Credit: Nokia

The Nokia 8.3 5G is a mid-range phone that users say is powerful and performs well. It features a large 6.81-inch Full HD+ LCD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor and up to 8GB RAM. It also comes in storage options up to 128GB. 

The Nokia's 64-megapixel rear-facing Quad camera wouldn't be out of place in a more premium handset that you'd expect to pay a lot more for. It also sports a 24-megapixel front-facing selfie camera.

Pros

  • Large display 

  • 3.5mm headphone jack 

Cons

  • The audio 

  • A bit bulky 

Where to buy?

In Australia, you can find the Nokia 8.3 5G through the following:

The Nokia 8.3 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).

Motorola Edge 20

Credit: Motorola

Motorola really focused on improving camera quality in the latest three additions to its Edge line-up and it's evident in the Edge 20's 108-megapixel main camera. The Edge 20 is also 5G-capable and features a large 6.7-inch FHD+ (2400x1080) OLED display powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 8GB RAM. 

The Edge 20 also comes with the Ready For platform that enables you to wirelessly access files from your phone and other devices - like from your PC - simultaneously on the same screen.  

Pros

  •  5G-enabled
  •  108-megapixel camera
  •  Weighs only 165g 

Cons

  •  4000mAh battery 
  • No headphone jack 

Where to buy?

The Motorola Edge 20 will be available on postpaid plans via Vodafone at the end of September 2021. With details to be announced shortly.

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