Phone ~ $300 to $400 Mark | Priorities Camera, NFC, Battery, Smaller Hands - Replace Samsung Note 8 Smashed Screen

Outcome: We settled on buying the Realme pro 7 for camera performance/price… Thx for all the help!

An even better silver lining was a mate dropped off a Samsung S9 Plus he no longer needed (bonus - as we were placing the order)…. and I'll drop him a few cases of beer instead.

Thx for all the tips. Made it so much easier. The Pixel 3a was the next best choice in value (for us) and the pixel 4a highly desired (more storage) but needing a deal… to clinch it.

iPhone SE V2 (2020) worthy option and only removed as we are on google ecosystem at home (speakers/displays)

My dearest wife drop tested the Note 8 Plus (X-large) I gave her some time ago because "too big for my hands" - put it in another casing and it lasted for quite some time, but now has this weird mode where the screen slowly fades to full brightness white and no useful response. Samsung Dex works fine on my mac USB-C screen and keyboard setup, so just screen or light sensor or something else.

Repair quote > $400 (backglass small crack too). Doesn't sound worth it for a 3.5-year-old phone

She loved the camera. Before that, she had the Xiaomi 5s.

Priorities - in order:
* Camera (Kids and stuff
* NFC (payments)
* Smaller hands friendly
* Battery
* Durability
Apps: Mail, Signal (Whatsapp), text, various basic apps.

Not so important: Screen. Processor. RAM. Etc. no gaming.

So I thought the Pico X3 NFC could be a good replacement, but the camera appears average to not great from reviews.

Maybe this Redmi Note 10 plus deal? Size may be an issue. and wait time too long…
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 US$169.40 (~A$218.53) & Redmi Note 10 Pro US$246.40 (~A$317.87) Delivered @ Hong Kong Goldway AliExpress

Motorola G9?
Samsung A51?

Any other phone/deal suggestions that are a balance between waiting and the best price? We will pay a bit more than best price to source the phone sooner.


  • +2 votes

    wife drop tested the Note 8 Plus

    How else is she going to get another phone? :)

  • What about iPhone SE. Ticks all your boxes and will perform much better than any Android for the same price.

    • we have been off apple for so long after they sued samsung for the rubber band patent…. have ipads. so totally out of whack with iphone range.

      Worth a look as I see you got quite a few votes here. What is a good price?

      man, just checked, well over 600 bucks… nope… just in case she does more drop tests

  • Google Pixel 3? small, compact, good camera. Probably the best camera phone in it's price range.

    Good phone in all areas except for battery life (2915mAh Battery)

    • novel. and older phone with a camera that still holds its own…
      Had the pixel 1. loved it. Pixel 4 was so disappointing I abandoned the range but never looked at the 3.

      Will scope it out. A shame the pixel 4a with battery life is just out of budget range

  • I've got the Poco X3 NFC, awesome value phone. The camera is great outdoors and during the day but can be average in low light (and no night mode). Battery life is strong and if you're not fond of MIUI there's plenty of custom ROMs. Google Pay works well with my bank (CUA). I would not describe it as small hands friendly due to the massive screen (notchless and you can get rid of the back, home and app switcher bar by enabling gestures). It handles all mobile and medium games just fine (the only game I play is Pokemon Go).

    The Poco comes with a TPU case and pre-installed plastic screen protector in the box which is a bonus because you won't find cases for it at the shops.

  • Google Pixel 3a/3a XL, or Pixel 4a?

  • If the camera is the top priority, maybe have a look at the realme 7 Pro. A bit over budget but you did say you'll pay a bit more ;) Reviews seem to put the camera above most phones at this price point. Big battery and 65W charging (50% in 12mins, 100% in 34mins). Only downfall seems to be the 60Hz screen although most reviews say it's still very good, if not the best for the price.

    I'm confused about the "smaller hands friendly" part when you're looking at 6.4" phones?
    All this said, the Note 10's are well priced.

  • She had the note 8 plus which is like 6'7 inches I think

  • If you can get a Mate 20 Pro I'd recommend that. I've had mine for 2 years now, has everything and still lasts me the day with battery life

    Edit: my prior phone was a note 8, and honestly wouldn't go back, garbage phone in comparison.

  • Used S10, is a solid option.

  • Thx!
    We got a used S9 Plus (close to what @alreadytaken suggested)

    We were very close (as in on the JB HIFI website) buying the realme pro when a mate dropped off the phone. A few cases of beer will be left at his door as he didn't want anything for it.