If you only have up to $400 to spend on a new phone, you won’t be able to get an iPhone XS, Pixel 3 or Galaxy S10. Even the Galaxy S10E and the iPhone XR, Apple and Samsung’s more value-oriented phones, will set you back $750. You could snag the excellent, which costs only $300 but lacks some higher-end features like a great camera, premium screen and wireless charging.
But fret not, you can buy a brand-new high-end phone from the last couple years at a fraction of its original price. I found three phones sold as new that offer premium features and each costs under $400.
Here’s the criteria for my choices:
- A phone that had high-end specs when it came out
- Sold as new
- Not refurbished or “renewed”
- Under $400 on Amazon
At the time of this story, I was able to find a new Galaxy S8, LG V30 and LG V35, each an excellent value for the cost.
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Samsung Galaxy S8
When the Galaxy S8 came out in March 2017,the “most beautiful phone ever.” It is currently available on Amazon for $370, which is an absolute steal for all the features you get.
This particular Galaxy S8 comes with 64GB of storage. It’s unlocked and works on GSM carriers like AT&T or T-Mobile. Out of the box, it runs Android Nougat 7.0 but can be updated to Android 9 Pie. Be warned, if you’re expecting to upgrade it to Android Q later this year, Samsung typically updates its phone software rather slowly.
Original 2017 price: $750
It was only last summer when LG launched the super-fast V35 ThinQ. It’s the newest phone on this list and also has the most premium specs. If you are trying to choose between this and the V30, the V35 is worth the extra cost ($34) to “future-proof” your phone with a newer and much faster processor.
This version of the V35 comes with 64GB of storage with an option to expand it via a microSD card. It’s unlocked and works on AT&T. It comes with Android Oreo 8.0 installed, but LG is expected to make an Android 9 Pie update soon. Still, like Samsung, LG is not the fastest when it comes to software updates.
Original 2018 price: $900
The LG V30 launched in November 2017 as a worthy adversary to the, especially in the camera department. While it lacks the AI smarts found on the newer LG V35, it represents a tremendous value, especially since you can buy a T-Mobile version for $275. But if you’re looking at a GSM unlocked V30 for $334 to use on AT&T, I’d recommend paying $26 more to get the newer and more powerful LG V35.
Both the T-Mobile version and unlocked GSM version of the V30 come with 64GB of storage and run Android Nougat 7.1.2 but can be upgraded to Android Oreo 8.0. Again, LG is not terribly speedy when it comes to software updates, but it is expected to make an Android 9 Pie update soon.
Original 2017 price: $830
Originally published April 18 at 3 a.m. PT
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