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The ReviewGist pick for the best cellphone under $300 is the Motorola Moto X Play. Even though the Moto X Play is listed at a slightly higher $350 at the time of this writing, we believe that you should be able to get a good deal on it at Amazon to price it just below $300.

The sub-$300 price point is fit only for the mid-range of the best smartphones in the market and the Moto X Play fits the all rounder mid-range phone tag to the tee. That being said, the Moto X does not stand out w.r.t. anything else apart from the the big battery:

  • 'A solid mid-range handset that has nothing to shout about, but equally has no complaints.' - ITPro
  • 'The Moto X Play is an excellent mid-range smartphone with a camera and battery life that can compete alongside this year's flagships' - ExpertReviews
  • 'With best-in-show battery life around and solid features, the X Play is the workhorse phone you will want.' - DigitalTrends
If you are looking for an everyday phone and don't want to spend too much, and because of the class leading battery life and a great camera pixel count, we recommend the Moto X Play as the best buy below $300 for August 2016.


Browse All Top Cell Phones Under $300 - 2016 »

Motorola Moto X Play

Motorola Moto X Play


Top Contenders for the Best Cell Phone Under $300 - 2016 Compared:

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

Motorola Moto X Play
OnePlus X
Samsung Galaxy J5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Oppo F1
Motorola Moto X Play
OnePlus X
Samsung Galaxy J5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Oppo F1
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Release Date
Sep 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Dec 2015
Feb 2016
Digital Camera Resolution
21.0 MP
13.0 MP
13.0 MP
16.0 MP
13.0 MP
Installed RAM (GB)
2.0 GB
3.0 GB
1.5 GB
2.0 GB
3.0 GB
Screen Size(Diagonal)
5.5 inch
5.0 inch
5.0 inch
5.5 inch
5.0 inch
Front Webcam Resolution
5.0 MP
8.0 MP
5.0 MP
5.0 MP
8.0 MP
Processor Type
Quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53
Quad-core 2.3 GHz, Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 & Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A72
Quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53
Battery Capacity
3630.0 mAh
2525.0 mAh
2600.0 mAh
4000.0 mAh
2500.0 mAh
Operating System
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop), planned upgrade to v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)

  • The Moto X Play does a lot right with an impressive camera, superb battery life and attractive price, but there's a frustrating number of missing features and options.


  • Overall, the Moto X Play is a decent mid-range phone. But, it's not the great upgrade which Moto X owners were looking for. The camera is good, as is the screen, but performance could be better - as could battery life. Had Motorola offered the dual-SIM version in the UK and made the phone waterproof, it would have had enough to be a decent alternative to the OnePlus 2. For many, this more powerful rival will be more appealing. It's also cheaper and has optical stabilisation and the option to shoot 4K video.


  • The Moto X Play is a headset that appears to have one primary focus: long-lasting battery life. If you want an endurance champion, then the Moto X Play could well be the handset for you. There are other positives too. The design can be personalised, the camera experience is improved over the last generation, and the minimal bloatware on board makes for a solid handset with slick performance as mid-range handsets go.


  • Prior to having the chance to use the OnePlus X as a daily driver, we were genuinely excited about this phone. It seemed like a killer mid-range offering – one with great design, decent specs, no-nonsense UI, and, above all, a very tempting price tag. Perhaps we had our expectations set too high as we're now convinced that the OnePlus X is not the ultimate mid-ranger. But it is not a bad phone either. It is a good-looking handset with very responsive software and a fitting price.We did run into a number of issues, however.


  • OnePlus have just done it for a third time and created a good phone for those on a budget. It doesn't have as many fancy features as the OnePlus 2, but for the price it's an impressive set up.

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    Build quality is top-notch, the metal frame looks good and provides great grip, while the onyx glass/ceramic rear are what makes the OnePlus X look stunning, we do wish the navigation keys were backlit;
    The display is excellent: it isn't among the brightest AMOLED displays we've seen, but offers very deep blacks, excellent viewing angles and chart-topping sunlight legibility.

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    - The autofocus can also be quite slow and unreliable at times, especially while shooting macros.
    - Video recording quality is average.
    - The buttons are easy to access and provide good feedback.
    - Despite the overwhelming plasticky feel of it, the phone seems solidly built with no audible creaking of the body when pressed.
    - The flash at the back works well with decent brightness and coverage.


  • The camera on the Galaxy J5 is really the phone's only issue, though, as the rest of it is great value. Its excellent screen and amazing battery life far exceed anything else in this price range, and it's certainly got enough speed to get you through most of your daily smartphone tasks. The only other slight downside is that it's unlikely to receive an upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is something new 3rd Gen Moto G owners can download right now without delay.


  • The Samsung Galaxy J5 is a real surprise package, giving the mighty Moto G a run for its money.


  • There's no denying that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is a great deal in its homeland. For a phone costing the equivalent of $150 to $180, it delivers plenty of value for its money. Importing one to Europe or the U.S. makes less sense, however, and this is the standpoint from which I'll draw my conclusion. In this case, a buyer is likely to end up spending between $250 and $300 due to shipping fees and taxes.

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    Build quality is top-notch, the metal shell is a welcome change.
    The display is decent: it isn't among the brightest we've seen, but offers deep blacks, very good viewing angles and contrast. The sunlight legibility however is only average.
    Battery life is very good with an endurance rating of 72h.
    Rich wireless and wired connectivity options.
    MIUI 7 is a clean and light Android Lollipop launcher but with rich customization options. Unfortunately the bootloader is locked and will require an official Xiaomi tool for unlocking, thus preventing the user from installing custom ROMs.


  • The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 may not be best suited to UK users out of the box, but with some simple setup tweaks it is an excellent budget Android phone with a fantastic design and performance for the price.


  • The Oppo F1 is a top phone for those after a budget handset that most people won't be familiar with, especially as it can pass for something a lot more expensive. Its software may take a while to get used to though.

  • Rating Unavailable

    - The camera app looks fairly simplistic on the surface, with a hassle-free default auto interface, but hidden away is a vast array of powerful advanced features.


  • The Oppo F1 is a neat phone, particularly if you're after something that'll keep you away from pricey contracts. It's a slim yet slick performer for the cash - one that doesn't reveal its affordable roots too quickly. However, with just a 720p screen and ColorOS software you might be put off. If not then the only real remaining question is whether you're enough of a hardware veteran to make upgrading to a 1080p phone like the OnePlus X worthwhile. Does the F1 achieve pole position in the budget phone rankings?


Buying Tips for picking Smartphones under $300

The best cellphones under $300 are some of the best smartphones in the market. Specifically looks for larger and crisper displays, great processing power and good camera support.

Your best at a sub-$300 price point are some of the latest Android phones. With the latest releases of the Android operation system, Google has optimized their software to run on phones with lower processing power also. Combined with the fact that phone hardware is becoming cheaper by the day, 2016 is probably the time when the sub-$300 smartphone has come of age and can probably offer you some of the most capable smartphones out there.

Mobiles under $300 offer some of the great features found in the best cellphones in the market today. These include larger and crisper displays (AMOLED etc) with super 5 inch screens and great resolutions in excess of 250 PPI. Also on the offer will be higher processing power with multiple cores. Expect the best smartphones under $300 for June 2016 to routinely hit the quad core mark. Under 300 dollars is also a great price point to look for camera phones having single or dual LED flash for good quality photos.