Cheap smartphone guide: From iPhone to Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy, here's what $399 and less will get you

iPhone SE
iPhone SE. Credit: Apple

Remember the days of the $1,000 smartphone and all the backlash to those sky high prices?

What a difference two years makes.

After Apple announced the return of its budget priced iPhone SE ($399) and Samsung upgraded the A series, including its lowest-priced entry-level phone, the $109.99 A01, we've pulled together a list of six phones from major manufacturers available for less than $400, starting from the bottom and going to the top.

A little more than $100

Samsung's Galaxy A01 is a bare bones phone with full internet connectivity, a single camera, 5.7-inch screen and a super low price of $109. Con: you get only 16 GB storage, which will handle just a handful of apps and high-resolution photos and videos.

Less than $200

The Samsung Galaxy step-up , the A11, out in the summer, has 32 GB of storage—which is still low but better than 16 GB—a 6.4-inch screen and two cameras.

Less than $300

Google has a sale on the Pixel 3A phone through Saturday at $299. The lower-priced Pixel, like the Samsung phones, runs on the Android operating system. It has a 5.6-inch , a single wide-angle and a hefty 64 GB of storage. The phone is normally priced at $399.

Less than $350

The OnePlus company, which specializes in premium phones that are priced less than competitors, has the 2-year-old 6T at $349, which comes with a more generous 128 GB of storage, a 6.4-inch screen and two cameras.

Samsung's new A51, also $349, is the flagship of the budget A line, and it has 128 GB storage, a 6.5-inch display and two cameras, a wide and ultra-wide. The storage is expandable.

Less than $400

The new iPhone SE, in stores April 24, replaces the original edition, also named SE, that Apple discontinued in 2018. At the time, it was selling for $349, had a 4-inch display, 32 GB of storage and a less powerful A11 chip. The new model bumps display up to 4.7 inches, gets the A13 chip, the same one used on the iPhone 11 line, more generous 64 GB of storage and a battery that Apple says will last 2.5 times longer.

Like the old SE, the new edition ditches the FaceID facial recognition screen unlock for the older TouchID fingerprint sensor.

How does the SE compare with other iPhones?

The next-lowest-priced model is the XR, first released in 2018, which sells for $599. It has 64 GB , a 6.1-inch display, the less powerful A12 chip but better resolution, 1792 x 828, compared with the SE's 1334 x 750.

Apple yanked the 2017 models, the 8 and 8 Plus, which had been in the lineup, to make room for the SE. Also on the roster: the 2019 iPhone 11 ($699) and the 11 Pro models, which start at $999 and $1099.

The top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy models for 2020 start at $799 for the S20 5G and go up to $999 for the S20 + and $1,399 for the S20 Ultra 5G. The lowest-priced Galaxy A with 5G connectivity is the A51 5G, which starts at $499.99.

The new 5G standard offers a step up from 4G, promising super fast speeds. However, the rollout from the major wireless carriers has been spotty. Analysts expect Apple to introduce a 5G-capable iPhone in the fall.

Google has recently slashed prices on all its Pixel phones, with the 5.7 inch Pixel 4 available for $499 through May 9th, and the 4XL for $599. They are regularly priced at $799 and $899.


Explore further

How about a smartphone with dual camera and a $109 price tag? Thanks, Samsung.

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