The flagships of the smartphone manufacturers are clearly the focus of reporting and the desire of prospective buyers. But do buyers really always have to spend 800, 1000 or more euros for a really good smartphone? In the past, not anymore today. Because even for less than 400 euros, excellent smartphones are now available that are only a little inferior to the top models.
The most important point that buyers of a smartphone between 300 and 400 euros should pay attention to when it comes to software is that it is up to date. Nobody should accept less than Android 11 with so much money in 2021 – even if Android 10 would certainly not be a break in everyday life.
With the chipset it should be at least an upper middle class processor, with Qualcomm it is about a chip of the 700 series, Mediatek has made a big hit with its new Dimensity chips of the 700 and 800 series. Even (former) top-of-the-range chipsets are sometimes already available in this price range, such as the Snapdragon 865 (+). Even a model from Qualcomm’s current 800 series made it into our top 10 this time, more precisely: a Snapdragon 870.
The following applies to memory: 6 GB of RAM should not be undercut, which is now lower standard in this price range. In our current version of the best list, smartphones with 8 GB are predominant, there are even 12 GB – which raises the question of whether this is really useful or just whitewashing on the data sheet. The internal memory should never be smaller than 64 GB, especially if it cannot be expanded. For around 400 euros, however, 128 GB are almost normal now and every now and then even 256 GB are available.
The display should offer a lot of space in the mentioned price segment thanks to the notch and diagonals beyond 6 inches, and those who are interested should stay away from resolutions below Full HD Plus (mostly 2400 x 1080 pixels). Our list only contains panels with FHD +, almost all models also have (P) OLEDs or IPS-LCDs with a higher frame rate. This is the new trend, 60 Hz models will sooner or later be phased out in the middle class after the upper class.
How important other factors such as battery power, 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.
1st place: Xiaomi Poco F3
The Xiaomi Poco F3 (review) is pretty new and scores with a powerful Snapdragon 870 and lots of memory. 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory are a real announcement. There is also an OLED panel with 120 Hertz, which was reserved for high-end smartphones a few months ago. You only have to accept slight restrictions with the camera, which is at the typical mid-range level with 48 megapixel main and 8 megapixel wide-angle cameras. Otherwise everything is included: 5G, NFC, IR and the rest of the standards that no ordinary smartphone can be imagined without today. The 4520 mAh battery can be quickly recharged thanks to 33 watts.
Platz 2: Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
The Mi 11 Lite 5G also offers a great overall package. Here, too, OLED is used as a display technology, but the device offers a frame rate of 90 instead of 120 hertz. For this, the main camera snaps pictures with 64 megapixels. A very modern Snapdragon 780G serves as the drive, which, together with 6 GB of RAM, promises good performance data. In addition to standards such as 5G, this is combined with 128 GB of internal memory, which, in contrast to the first-placed Poco model, can even be expanded. A battery with 4250 mAh, which also charges with 33 watts, and an IP53 certification complete the overall picture.
Platz 3: Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
With the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (test report) in third place, the Xiaomi triumvirate is complete. Again, the manufacturer relies on an OLED display with 120 Hertz, in return, with a Snapdragon 732G, things are not slow, but slower than with the two models before. The Redmi model tries to make up for it with 8 GB of RAM, the 128 GB of internal memory is expandable. One of the highlights is also the 108 megapixel main camera, which (in addition to superfluous macro and depth sensors) is combined with a wide angle. Residents of metropolitan areas may miss 5G, otherwise, as usual with Xiaomi, almost everything that is currently feasible is on board in terms of technology. In addition, the 5020 mAh battery is more powerful than the other two models mentioned above, it can also be charged with 33 watts. IP53 certification is also available here.
Platz 4: Oneplus Nord CE 5G
In fourth place we currently see the new Oneplus Nord CE 5G. Here, the update rate of the OLED panel is again sufficient at 90 Hertz, while the smartphone uses 64 and 8 megapixels for the camera – the depth sensor is, as always, rather superfluous. After all, there is no annoying macro sensor again! Oneplus combines the Snapdragon 750 in the large version with a full 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory, but it is not expandable. 5G is included, as is everything else in terms of important technology. The battery can be charged quickly with 30 watts and has a capacity of 4500 mAh.
5th place: Samsung Galaxy A72
The Samsung Galaxy A72 made it to our 5th place. Here, too, the manufacturer relies on an OLED panel with 90 Hertz and a camera combination of 64 and 8 megapixels (main and wide-angle camera). In addition, this smartphone has an optical (and optically stabilized) telephoto lens – that is rare in this class. For camera fans, the A72 should be placed higher up in this top 10. A Snapdragon 720G in combination with 6/128 GByte memory ensures sufficient performance, another highlight is the IP67 certification of the device. The battery has an output of 5000 mAh and can be charged fairly quickly with 25 watts. 5G does not exist in this version of the A72 – we still do not consider this to be absolutely necessary due to the still patchy expansion of the 5G network.
Platz 6: Samsung Galaxy A52
The Samsung Galaxy A52 (test report) also comes without 5G, but with OLED including 90 Hertz and largely the same camera as the A72 – except for the missing telephoto lens. The chipset is the same as in the A72, but the A52 has a large memory version with 8/256 GByte for up to 400 euros. The A52 also offers the IP67 certification of the A72, the battery is slightly smaller at 4500 mAh – but the display is also 0.2 inches smaller.
7th place: Oppo A94 5G
Those who want 5G will be happy with the Oppo A94 5G. Although the device comes with 60 Hertz OLED and the 48/8 megapixel camera combination typical for this price range, it scores with its powerful and modern Mediatek Dimensity 800. It is combined with 8/128 GB, which gives the smartphone a lot of power. In addition to 5G, the device has a 4310 mAh battery that can be charged with 30 watts.
Platz 8: Oppo Find X3 Lite
When it comes to the chipset, the Oppo Find X3 Lite with the slightly older Snapdragon 765G is slightly behind, but the device is in seventh place on the display in front of the A94. Because the Find X Lite has an OLED with a 90 Hertz refresh rate, and the manufacturer also relies on a camera combination with 64/8 megapixels. There is enough memory with 8/128 GB, 5G is missing. But the 4300 mAh battery with 65 watts recharges particularly quickly.
Platz 9: Oppo Reno 5 Lite
The second trio in this leaderboard is completed by the Oppo Reno 5 Lite. Like the Oppo A94, the device comes with 60 Hertz OLED and uses 48/8 megapixels for the camera. In terms of performance, the Helio P95 does not quite come close to the more modern Dimensity 800. With 8/128 GB, the Reno 5 Lite is on par in terms of memory. 5G is missing and the battery with 4310 mAh can only be charged with 30 watts.
Platz 10: Nokia X20
The last device in the group is the Nokia X20 (test report) in the version with 8/128 GB of memory. The company uses 64/5 megapixels for the camera and is therefore on a class level. With the Snapdragon 480, the Nokia X20 clearly offers the weakest chip in this list of the best. The battery is quite powerful thanks to 4470 mAh, but can only be charged with 18 watts. Manufacturer HMD Global attaches particular importance to sustainability in the Nokia X20. The enclosed protective cover is compostable and a charger is missing in the scope of delivery. Anyone who still buys one from the manufacturer can be sure that the money will be donated in full to a good cause. This is different with other manufacturers – they simply save money by eliminating a charger.
Even in the middle class, those interested will find high-end performance every now and then, at least the gap to absolute top models is sometimes astonishingly small. You can even get 5G more and more often for 400 euros and there are now even smartphones with IP certification. The average refresh rate is now also higher than 60 Hertz – all the beautiful high-end features are increasingly being passed through to the middle class. Buyers only have to dig deeper into their pockets for a few special requests, such as wireless charging, and there are sometimes noticeable differences to top models when it comes to the camera. In addition, most devices in this price range only offer USB-C 2.0 instead of the faster 3-pack standard.