If you're in the market for a new smartphone and not looking to spend a lot of money, there's no reason to limit yourself to the flagship models.
There are plenty of less expensive options that can deliver everything you want and more. We sorted through hundreds of devices and found five of the best for $300 or less. Here they are, in no particular order, along with plans to pair them with:
Capacities Available: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Size/Weight: 5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches / 4.87 ounces
Colors: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz
Just as there's often no reason to spend top dollar for a phone when everything you need can be found in a far less expensive package, it's also not always necessary to buy something totally current, especially since the upgrades to the flagship devices get ever more miniscule.
That's why the Galaxy S6 is still a great option in 2017--absolutely top of the line when it was released (cnet called it a "stunner"), it features an attractive all-metal body, sharp display, excellent camera, powerful performance, and wireless charging.
Capacities Available: 32GB
MicroSD: Supports up to 256GB
Size/Weight: 5.86 x 3.00 x 0.39 inches / 5.47 ounces
Colors: Grey, White, Gold, Leather Black, Leather Brown, Leather Red, White/Gold
Here's another flagship device that came out a couple of years ago that you can get for under $300.
LG's G phones are all solid performers, featuring strong specs and at least a couple of "wow" features. The G4 features an excellent 16MP camera, a rich 1440x2560 display, a fast processor and nice software features.
LG is one of the top smartphone manufacturers for a reason, and the G4 is a great option if you're not looking to spend a lot.
Capacities Available: 16/32/64/128GB
Size/Weight: 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches / 3.99 ounces
Colors: Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold
Apple's entry into the midrange market is the iPhone SE, which features many of the bells and whistles you'd expect from this insanely popular line of phones, wrapped up in a small package.
The SE's body is nearly identical to the 5s's, which is to say that it's quite small compared to the bevy of phablets on the market today. But let's not forget that this has its advantages--the phone fits more easily into your pocket, and it's convenient to run or bike with.
The real magic of the SE lies inside though--the phone is compatible with whatever the latest version of iOS is at a given time, meaning that for less than $300 you have access to one of the world's snazziest user interfaces. The SE is driven by a dual-core A9 processor and 2GB of RAM, which is on par with what's in the iPhone 6s performance-wise. The SE's camera is similar to the 6s's as well, featuring the same lens and sensor. To top it all off, the phone is water resistant. Hurray!
Capacities Available: 16GB
MicroSD: Supports up to 256GB
Size/Weight: 5.97 x 2.99 x 0.31 inches / 6.00 ounces
Colors: White, Black, Gold, Rose Gold
The J7 is a great phone for the money. It boasts a rich display, powerful Snapdragon 617 processor, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow software, all features you're likely to find on more expensive devices. And don't worry about being hemmed in by the phone's 16GB of internal storage--you can easily and greatly expand that with a microSD card; the the J7 supports up to 256GB.
Here are a few plans that you can pair with the J7:
Capacities Available: 16GB/2GB RAM; 32GB, 3GB RAM; 64 GB, 4 GB RAM
MicroSD: Supports up to 256GB - single and dual SIM models
Size/Weight: 6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches / 5.47 ounces
Colors: Black, White
Motorola has excelled for years in the midrange to inexpensive mobile market, producing quality phones that should cost much more than they do. The G4 Plus is no exception.
The G4 Plus, like the regular G4, contains a sharp 5.5 inch HD display, snappy 1.5GHz octa-core processor, solid 3,000mAh battery, and water resistant body. The Plus version steps it up a bit with an excellent 16-megapixel camera--one of the best in its price range--along with a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone.
It's hard to go wrong with these Moto phones, and the G4 Plus is the one to buy if you're looking for something between $200 and $300 dollars.