Apple iPhone SE ($400+)
Well folks, it happened. An iPhone made it on a “best budget phones” list. The newly released iPhone SE is Apple’s attempt at a more affordable iPhone, and it’s obviously the best choice if you’re more of an iOS fan than an Android lover. The device doesn’t just excel in software, though, it also offers above par hardware. Under the hood you’ll find an A9 processor, which just so happens to be Apple’s flagship chip, coupled with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 64GB of storage. The rear-facing camera is 12-megapixels and the front-facing is 1.2-megapixels, a little low, to be sure, but Apple products are known for offering a great image quality despite a low megapixel count. All that is housed in a classic iPhone 5S-style body. Read our full review here.
Motorola Moto X Style Pure Edition ($335+)
Motorola’s $400 flagship phone may be the most expensive on our list, but it’s a great option for those who can spend a bit more. We do recommend waiting until the 2016 Moto X arrives — rumors point to a launch this summer. The Moto X Style delivers all the high-end specs you’d expect to find on a $600+ phone, but for $200 less. The 5.7-inch screen sports a 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution, and it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 with 3GB of RAM. A 21-megapixel camera sits on the back, and Motorola popped a 5-megapixel cam on the front for selfies. It comes in 16, 32, and 64GB storage options, all of which have a MicroSD card slot. A 3,000mAh battery with fast charging rounds out the specs. You can even design your own phone with Moto Maker. Read our full review here.
Amazon Best Buy Motorola Walmart
OnePlus 2 ($350+)
OnePlus has done it again with the OnePlus 2. It may be a little more expensive than the previous model, but it also touts better specs and offers a refined experience. A 5.5-inch Full HD screen adorns the front of the OnePlus 2, and the back plate comes with several different styling choices, including wooden options and the classic Sandstone Black. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1, which shouldn’t overheat, and 3GB of RAM. The OnePlus 2 has a zippy fingerprint sensor on the front of the device for added security and comes with either 16 or 64GB of storage. A 13-megapixel back camera and 5-megapixel front shooter round out the specs. Read our full review here.
ZTE Axon Pro ($350+)
The all-metal body of the Axon Pro from ZTE looks and feels gorgeous, and it has a set of features and hardware specs to match. There’s a 5.5-inch display with an impressive 2,560 x 1,440 pixel-resolution, a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery. The dual-lens on the back combines a 13-megapixel and a 2-megapixel camera, but there’s also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It can record 4K video, and there’s even support for high-quality audio through the front-facing speakers. The only thing that isn’t top end about this phone? The price tag. Read our hands-on review here.
Amazon B&H Best Buy Newegg