Most brands update models on six-monthly or annual cycles. Q3 has produced some outstanding phones. Here is the November 2020 update to the Best Android phones from $100-1000 by $100 price points. We will update it as we review more phones.
How do we know what are the Best Android phones from $100-1000? Simple.
We have written about or reviewed 120 smartphones this year. We test against finely honed paradigms. A PASS mark is 4/5 over about 70 tests. If it EXCEEDs, we add points and FAILs then vice versa. If we have not reviewed a phone, the chances are that we know the brand or a past model well enough to include it in the list.
Australians will buy about six million smartphones in 2020 – down from over 8 million, so there are a lot of desperate sales at present
Apple has about 49% of the overall market, but that includes new and refurbished phones like the iPhone 6 and 7 series and run out deals on the 8/9/10/11 series. However, Apple only supports iOS updates now for four years – currently the 2016 iPhone SE Gen 1
Samsung is next with 23% (which means about 50% of the new Android market) with its range of Galaxy A series and Galaxy S/Note series. Samsung is a safe buy with terrific local support and warranty.
OPPO has about 25% of the Android market. It has won Canstar’s ‘Most Satisfied Customers – Smartphones’ award for the past three years!
Google has about 5%, and its Pixel phones are Pure Android reference devices.
4G remains at 95% of the market due to the great 5G hoax – there is very limited coverage and no killer apps
80% of sales are <$600
15% are between $600-999
5% are >$1000
The average length of ownership has increased to 30 months for <$1000 phones and 36 months for >$1000.
And the vast majority of phones are now bought outright and use a low cost, no lock-in, monthly plan from MVNOs like Boost, Woolworths, Aldi and recently Aussie Broadband.
Refurb or not?
Given that the average battery life is about three years, we cannot recommend refurbished or secondhand phones made before 2018. And with so much value and full manufacturers warranty in the under $500 segment, it simply does not make sense to buy other people’s cast-offs or problems.
Best Android phones from $100-1000 – November 2020 update
The recommendations are subjective – you really cannot go wrong with any of these. What has changed since our last Top Smartphones H1 2020 are some bargain run-out models like the Motorola g8 series to make way for the new g9 series.
Prices are subject to change (3 November 2020) and are from JB Hi-Fi for genuine Australian certified stock.
You won’t find a smartphone here. These are feature phones. Here the Nokia 3310 3G big button phone at $89 is hard to beat.
These typically have social media quality cameras, 32GB storage and low powered processors. If all you have is $149 the Nokia 1.3 with its Pure Android just edges out the Moto e6s. Mintt A5 and Nokia 2.3 are strong contenders with Pure Android a well.
But the winner is the vivo Y12 also on run-out – a worker’s phone with 5000mAh battery, 64GB and a better triple camera.
This is where the hot competition is – a step above a basic phone. This group typically has 64GB, dual or triple rear camera and 1-2-day battery life. If all you have is $229, the OPPO A5s is very good with excellent local warranty and support.
The Moto g8 is on run-out, so it’s the bargain. It was the best phone in this category in H1 2020.
But the star here is the realme C3 with the best camera in class, 5000mAh battery and excellent build quality. Runner up is the Mintt X5 with Pure Android – it has everything you need. Although the vivo Y20s and OPPO A53 are looking promising too.
Google Pixel 5 5G is great as a pure Android device but lacks the micro-SD expansion and camera system of the Samsung. But don’t overlook the amazing camera on the vivo X50 Pro – and its 5G too.
The winner is the 4G version Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. The 5G version is $1149. It gets a 120Hz Super AMOLED screen, 4500mAh battery, and 6/128GB/microSD to 1TB – all in the box.
This is <5% of the market and is dominated by Samsung with its S20, Note20 series and OPPO Find X2 Pro. Here you have a choice of models with extra ram, storage, IP68, stylus etc. Most are 5G with gen two modems meaning sub-6Ghz here and some additional overseas bands.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 256GB $2999 (review coming)
GadgetGuy’s take – a huge list for the Best Android phones from $100-1000 – November Update
You can rightly ask if we have not reviewed a particular model how can we be objective about any recommendation? The answer is that a) we try to review as many as possible (for example we hope to get LG K-series into the mix) and b) where we haven’t we carefully compare specs.
But the real answer is that it is very hard to go wrong with any of these phones. We hope that you pick a price bracket and read our reviews to get a feel for what to look for. Things like screen quality, storage expansion, water-resistance and battery life.
Above all our message is to buy locally from authorised resellers to get genuine Australian stock and ACL warranty.