Jul 19, 2018

Best Android Phone Under $700 in 2018

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You don't have to spend a grand to get a great phone. These are the best phones you can buy under $700 in 2018

Best For Battery Life: Moto Z3 Play


From the beginning, Motorola's Z Play lineup has been all about battery life, and the latest Moto Z3 Play is no exception. With a sealed 3000mAh battery and a power-efficient Snapdragon 636 processor, the Z3 Play is able to last though the day with ease as-is - but once you attach the included 2220mAh Moto Power Pack Mod, its battery life stretches even further, reaching as far as eight hours of screen-on time.

The Moto Z3 Play isn't a one trick pony, either; when you don't need the extra battery life, you can attach other Mods to the phone that add better speakers, Polaroid printers, pico projectors, and more. If you don't mind carrying a few Mods around, the Moto Z3 Play is an incredibly versatile device that can morph to fit your needs.

Maybe best of all, Motorola's software experience is clean and simple, with a near-stock build of Android 8.1 that gains a few useful shortcuts thanks to the Moto Actions suite. Just don't get your hopes up for Android P any time soon, since Motorola's track record for software updates is a bit shaky.

Moto Z3 Play Specs

  • Body: Gorilla Glass 3 front and back, aluminum frame; p2i water repellent nano coating Display: 6.01-inch, 18:9, FHD+ 2160x1080, Super AMOLED, MAX Vision
  • OS: Android 8.1
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, 1.8GHz octa-core Kryo 260 CPU, Adreno 509 GPU, 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 32/64GB internal, microSD expansion
  • Rear Camera: 12 megapixels, f1.7, dual pixel PDAF, two-tone LED, 4K video
  • Front Camera: 8 megapixels, f2.0, 1080p video
  • Connectivity: 4G VoLTE, Dual SIM (optional), Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, A-GPS/GLONASS, NFC, USB-C port
  • Battery: 3,000mAh non-removable, Motorola TurboPower fast charging support
  • Misc: Fingerprint sensor, Moto Display, Moto Mod support

Bottom line: The Moto Z3 Play doesn't have the most powerful processor, but the included battery Mod makes it the longest-lasting phone on the list.

One more thing: You can grab the Z3 Play for less than $500 through Amazon's Prime Exclusive program.

See at Amazon: Moto Z3 Play

Best For Less: OnePlus 6


There's no better value for the spec-obsessed than the latest OnePlus smartphone. Even as prices gradually rise year over year, the OnePlus 6 is an incredible deal at just $529 - for that money, you get a Snapdragon 845, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. For just $50 more, you can bump up the RAM to 8GB and double the storage.

OnePlus's OxygenOS software is a amazingly fast and customizable take on Android 8.1, and lag is basically nonexistent thanks to the phone's top-of-the-line specs. Add to that great front and rear cameras, a huge and vibrant display, and a sleek glass design available in a myriad of finishes, and the OnePlus 6 is pretty tough to beat at its price point.

OnePlus 6 Specs

  • Body: Aluminum frame, glass back, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 display glass. Mirror Black, Midnight Black, Silk White color schemes.
  • Display: 6.28" Optic AMOLED, 2,280x1,080px resolution, 19:9 aspect ratio, 402ppi; sRGB/DCI-P3 color space support.
  • Rear cameras: Main camera: Sony IMX519 1/2.6" sensor, 16MP, 1.22µm pixel size, f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus, OIS, EIS. Secondary camera: Sony IMX376K sensor, 20MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/1.7 aperture. 2160p/60fps video recording, 1080p/240fps or 720p/480fps slow motion
  • Front camera: Sony IMX371 sensor, 16MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture; 1080p/30fps video recording.
  • OS/Software: Android 8.1 Oreo; OxygenOS custom overlay.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: octa-core CPU (4x2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), Adreno 630 GPU.
  • Memory: 6/8GB of LPDDR4X RAM; 64/128/256GB UFS 2.1 storage.
  • Battery: 3,300mAh Li-Po (sealed); Dash Charge proprietary fast charging (5V/4A).
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM; 4-Band carrier aggregation, LTE Cat.16/13 (1024Mbps/150Mbps); USB Type-C (v2.0); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0.
  • Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint reader; single speaker on the bottom; 3.5mm jack; tri-position Alert Slider.

Bottom line: The OnePlus 6 offers flagship-tier specs and performance for hundreds of dollars less.

One more thing: It doesn't work on CDMA carriers, so Sprint and Verizon customers will have to look elsewhere.

See at OnePlus site: OnePlus 6

See at Amazon: OnePlus 6

Best in Compact Size: Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Sony's new Xperia XZ2 comes in a "Compact" size, and that also brings with it a smaller price — just $649 retail. The 5-inch 18:9 display and rounded body make this feel like a more modern phone than previous Sony models, albeit at the cost of some of that distinctive Sony design language. On the other hand we get water resistance, a rear fingerprint sensor and stereo speakers — making this a phone with very few compromises.

Internally, the Xperia XZ2 Compact has top-notch specs despite its smaller size. A Snapdragon 845 processor runs the show, and all of the supporting cast is here to offer up a flagship-level experience - and a 2870mAh battery should be enough for most people. The 19MP rear camera is a good improvement over the last generation as well, even though it still lacks OIS.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact Specs

  • Body: Aluminum frame, Polycarbonate back, Gorilla Glass 5 front; IP65/68 waterproof
  • Screen: 5.0-inch, 18:9, FHD+ IPS LCD, HDR, 483 PPI
  • Rear Camera: 19MP, 1/2.3" Sony IMX400 camera, f/2.0 lens, predictive hybrid laser/phase detection/contrast AF, burst AF, IR sensor for white balance, LED flash, dedicated hardware shutter key, BIONZ for mobile image-processing engine; ISO 12800
  • Video Recording: 4K video recording @30fps, HDR video up to 4K, 1080p @60fps, 1080p @960fps, 720p @960fps, Steady Shot; Stereo audio recording; Predictive capture; ISO 4000
  • Front Camera: 5MP, 1/5" Exmor RS for mobile, 23mm wide angle lens, 90-degree FOV, f/2.2; 1080p video
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Kryo 385 (8x custom Cortex-A75 @ up to 2.8GHz), Adreno 630GPU
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB UFS + microSD (up to 400GB)
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Battery: 2870mAh; Quick Charge 3.0
  • Connectivity: Hybrid dual SIM (4G), 4G VoLTE, 4CA LTE Cat.15, 4x4 MIMO, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS, NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Audio: High-res audio, DSEE HX, LDAC, Stereo speakers with S-Force surround, aptX HD audio
  • Misc: Fingerprint sensor, 3D creator scan on back and front cameras, SDR to HDR up conversion

Bottom line: For a lower price, you get a little less phone — but this is absolutely a flagship in every way but screen real estate, and some may even prefer its manageable size.

One more thing: The Xperia XZ2 Compact is only available unlocked in the U.S., and won't be fully available until mid-May.

See at Amazon: Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Best Overall: Google Pixel 2

The smaller of Google's Pixel phones is fantastic, thanks to a no-nonsense design and plenty of features to get enthusiasts and average users alike excited. For a starting price of $649, the Google Pixel 2 mirrors the last 5-inch flagship with a manageable size and sleek hardware.

But it has a laundry list of upgrades, including a faster processor, more default storage, a better-calibrated OLED display, and, of course, a stupendous 12MP camera that beats just about everything else on the market. Plus, the latest version of Android first - and for three years.

The battery life can be a little weak compared to larger phones, but considering it's $200 less than the Google Pixel 2 XL it's easy to say the standard Pixel 2 is a better overall value.

Google Pixel 2 Specs

  • Body: Metal body with matte Premium Hybrid Coating; "2.5D" Gorilla Glass 5 on front; IP67 water resistance
  • Display: 5.0" AMOLED, 1,080 x 1,920px resolution, 441ppi
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP, 1/2.6" sensor size with 1.4µm pixel size, f/1.8, OIS, dual LED flash and Google's HDR+ algorithm
  • Front camera: 8MP, 1/3.2" sensor size, f/2.4, 1.4µm pixel size
  • Video: 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720@240fps; front camera:1080p @ 30fps
  • OS/Software: Android 8.0 Oreo with updates directly from Google
  • Chipset: 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU - Octa-core (4x2.35 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo); Adreno 540 GPU; dedicated image processing chip to be enabled via OTA Android 8.1
  • Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64/128GB of internal storage (non-expandable)
  • Battery: 2,700 mAh Li-ion (sealed); USB-C Power Delivery 2.0 (5V @ 3A or 9V @ 2A with included 18W adapter)
  • Connectivity: nanoSIM; eSIM for Project Fi (US); Cat 15 LTE 800/75 Mbps; Bluetooth 5.0 LE, A2DP, aptx HD; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi-Direct, DLNA; NFC; USB-C 3.1
  • Misc: Fingerprint scanner, dual stereo speakers, Always-on/Ambient display, Active Edge squeeze detection.

The Good: Google's Pixel 2 has a superb camera with OIS and excellent low-light shooting. It's water-resistant and Google Lens calls up a trove of information to help you explore your surroundings.

Bottom line: There's nothing quite like the Pixel, which marries hardware and software into an exceptional Android experience.

One more thing: Verizon touts the Pixel 2 as an "exclusive" device, but you can buy it unlocked to use on whatever carrier you wish.

See at Amazon: Google Pixel 2

Why the Google Pixel 2 is best?

If you weren't a fan of the first Pixel's looks but enjoyed everything else about it, the Pixel 2 is for you. Available in three awesome colors with a soft-touch metal finish that's perfect to hold without a case, the Pixel 2 is easy to use in one hand, extremely performant and reliable, and easily has one of the best cameras on the Android market today.

Not only does Google give its Pixel phones first dibs on updates to the latest version of Android, but it's also promising three years of updates, which is unprecedented in the Android space. Google has done a lot to improve the reliability of the Pixel 2 (despite some early software issues) and battery life has also improved considerably over the first version.


The Google Pixel 2 is a fantastic phone with so much going for it, and it happens to be under $700 as well. For a larger size and longer battery life you can pick up a Moto Z3 Play for about the same price, and for something smaller you can go with the Xperia XZ2 Compact.

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