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 n 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.
- And all the other brands total 20%
- 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.
- Motorola e6s 32GB $149 (not reviewed – info here)
- Nokia 1.3 32GB $149 (review 4.1/5)
- vivo Y12 64GB $199 (review 4.4/5)
- Nokia 2.3 32GB $199 (review 4.2/5)
- Mint A5 32GB $199 (review 4.4/5)
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.
- OPPO A5s 64GB $229
- OPPO A52 64GB $249 (review 4.8/5)
- Samsung A11 32GB $249
- Moto g8 64GB $249 (review 4.6/5)
- Moto g8 Power Lite 64GB $249 (review 4.2/5)
- LG K41s 32GB $259
- Vivo Y30 64GB $269
- Realme C3 64GB $269 (review 4.5/5)
- LG K51s 64GB $279
- Mintt X5 64GB $279 (review 4.4/5)
- Moto g9 Play 64GB $299 (review 4.3/5)
- OPPO A53 64GB $299 (review coming)
- Vivo Y20s 128GB $299 (review 4.4/5)
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.
- Samsung Galaxy A21s 32GB $329
- Nokia 5.3 64GB $329 (review 4.3/5)
- OPPO A9 128GB $349 (review 4.8/5)
- LG K61 128GB $349
- OPPO A53s 128GB $349
- Mintt Y5 128GB $379 (review 4.9/5)
- OPPO A91 128GB $399 (review 4.9/5)
- Moto g8 Plus 64GB $399 (review (5/5)
- Vivo X50 Lite 128GB $399
Typically, we look for 128GB storage and triple camera. This is where you can get a Qualcomm processor.
The clear winner is the Mintt Y5 at $379 with everything including Qi wireless charging that you won’t find in a phone under $800. OPPO’s A91 is excellent and is on run-out at $399 (was $449).
- realme 6 128GB $429 (review 4.9/5)
- Samsung A31 128GB $449
- Vivo Y70 128GB $449
- Telstra Tough Max 3 64GB Bluetick $499 (review 4.4/5)
- Cat S2S IP69/MIL_SPEC 810H 32GB $438 (review 4.4/5)
Action here is cooling because this category presents little extra value over the <$399 category.
The realme 6 is outstanding at $429 with a 90Hz screen. But the Telstra Tough Max 3 is the killer with Bluetick for rural reception.
- Samsung Galaxy A51 128GB $529
- Google Pixel 4a 128GB ($599 review 4.6/5)
- OPPO Reno4 Z 5G 128GB 5G $599 (review 4.4/5)
- Realme 7 Pro 128GB $599 (review 4.9/5)
Google Pixel 4a 4G is the pick here because of its pure Android and terrific computational camera. Having said that Pure Android is not for everyone.
The realme 7 Pro has outstanding features and value with a 6.4″ AMOLED screen, huge 64MP quad camera and the fastest SoC in this class.
Both of these snuck in courtesy massive price reductions from over well $700.
The Samsung A71 is good, but the 5G version has now dropped to $699.
OPPO’s Find X2 Lite 5G is the winner offering everything you expect from a much more expensive device. It is likely on run-out to make way for the OPPO Reno 4 5G at $799.
- realme X3 Super Zoom 4G 256GB $749 (review 4.9/5)
- Pixel 4a 5G 128GB $799 (review 4.1/5)
- OPPO Reno4 5G 128GB $799 (review 4.5/5)
The outstanding 4G camera-phone is the realme X3 Super Zoom. But the OPPO Reno4 5G ticks all the boxes too
- OPPO Find X2 Neo 256GB $899 (review 4.8/5)
- Motorola Edge 5G 128GB $899 (review 4.5/5)
- LG Velvet 128GB 5G $899 (review 4.9/5)
The winner is the LG Velvet because of MIL-STD construction, Qi charge and everything you need – it is perfect. The runner up is the OPPO Find X2 Neo with a 90Hz OLED screen.
- Google Pixel 5 5G 128GB (review 4.1/5)
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) 4G 128GB (review 4.9/5)
- Vivo X50 Pro 5G 8/256GB (review 4.7/5)
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 Flip 5G 256GB $2149 (4G model reviewed 4.4/5
- Motorola Razr 5G 256GB $2299 (review 4.4/5)
- 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.
Best Android phones from $100-1000