The Moto X4 is the best phone you can buy for under $400
The Moto X4 is one of the most well-rounded phones on the market. A combination of excellent performance, a great design, and unique camera features give it a leg up in the sub-$400 space.
-$260 from Amazon
-$350 from Motorola
If you have $400 budget, the Moto X4 is your best bet right now.
The Moto X4 is the long-awaited sequel to the Moto X Pure Edition and it’s the best phone you can buy for under $400. It has a striking design, clean software, a great display, and a pretty good pair of cameras on the back.
Who should buy this phone?
The design of the Moto X4 is just as nice to hold as it is to look at, thanks to its gentle curves, and it’s durable with IP68 water and dust resistance. The software is as close as it gets to stock Android without bearing the Pixel brand (even more so with the Android One variant on Google Fi), but you still get all of Motorola’s useful motion gestures for quickly launching functions like the camera and flashlight.
You won’t get support for Motorola’s extensive collection of Moto Mods like on the Z2 Play, nor is the battery life from its 3,000 mAh cell the best we’ve seen. But the display is terrific, performance with its Snapdragon 630 chipset is smooth and speedy, and its dual cameras can take some really great photos.
The carrier compatibility makes it worth it
There’s something about Motorola’s phones that just scream “versatile.” The Moto X4, like many of the company’s unlocked phones, works on every carrier in the U.S., including Verizon and Sprint, something that’s difficult to come by in this price range.
Is it a good time to buy this phone?
Yes, but only at its discounted price. The Moto X4 was released in October 2017, which puts it in line for a refresh soon. At the same time, Amazon’s discounted price of $260 makes it extremely compelling.
Reasons to buy
- Excellent performance
- Great camera quality
- Up-to-date software
- Awesome design and build quality
Reasons not to buy
- Due for a refresh soon
There are other great phones in this price range
You don’t have to look far to find a bunch of great options under $400. While Motorola clearly has the edge here (you’ll see the Moto G6 & G6 Plus in this list, too), there are lots of other choices to pick from, and they’re all very good.
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
$360 from Amazon
The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is a huge phone with plenty to like.
Sony’s excellent Xperia XA2 Ultra has a 6-inch 1080p panel with slim bezels and a fingerprint sensor on the back. Its Snapdragon 630 platform, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage are equal to the Moto X4, but its 3,580mAh battery is ginormous.
Sony may not be super popular in the high-end space these days, but its bread and butter is in the mid-range. The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is big and well-designed, and has everything you’d need from a sub-$400 phone. Better yet, the massive battery will definitely last a full day and then some.
Best for outside the U.S.
Moto G6 Plus
£369.00 at Amazon UK
If you can buy it, the Moto G6 Plus is an outstanding, affordable phone.
The Moto G6 Plus is basically a taller, skinnier Moto X4. You get a Snapdragon 630 platform, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and a great 12MP rear camera with a secondary sensor that does portrait mode and more.
Best for even less
$235 from Amazon
You can’t go wrong with the Moto G6, which is far better than its $249 price tag would suggest.
The Moto G6 is the best budget phone you can buy, and at $249 it’s way below our $400 budget. With Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and back, a dual camera setup, and a spritely but power-efficient Snapdragon 450 processor, the Moto G6 is beautiful and capable.
Both the Moto G6 and the G6 Plus are cut from the same cloth, but because they are so similar, the G6 Plus is only sold in markets the Moto X4 isn’t available. Yes, it’s confusing, but that’s fine: all you need to know is that you’ll probably be happy with whichever model you like.
The Moto G6 series is a bit more modern-looking than the Moto X4, but neither are better phones overall. If you want a phone with a taller screen, you should choose the G6 or G6 Plus over the Moto X4.
The sub-$400 market is both extremely competitive and a little confusing, but there’s never been more great options readily available, and with the emergence of Android One, you can finally count of getting consistent updates without having to buy a flagship phone straight from Google. The Moto X4 and Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra are both great examples of attractive, affordable phones with premium features like water resistance and fast fingerprint sensors. At the same time, devices like the Moto G6 and G6 Plus redefine what it means to be a top-tier budget device.
But if you have a maximum budget of $400, the Moto X4 is the best phone for you.
Updated August 2018: The Moto X4 is still our best phone under $400, while the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra is our runner-up, and the Moto G6 Plus is now our non-U.S pick. We’ve replaced the Moto G5 Plus with the Moto G6.