Battle of the sub-$450 Android phones: ZTE Axon vs OnePlus 2 vs Moto X Style

Three new Android smartphones were recently announced that are designed to challenge the more expensive flagships.

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(Image: Motorola)

Over the past two weeks we have seen three new Android phones announced that are priced to challenge Samsung, LG, and HTC devices typically found starting at $600.

The ZTE Axon is a ZTE device targeted for the US market, the OnePlus 2 has killer specs and will be hard to purchase due to the limited invite system, and the Moto X Style (aka Moto X Pure Edition) brings the latest from Motorola at a sub-$400 price. Let's take a look at the tale-of-the tape:

Specification ZTE Axon OnePlus 2 Moto X Style
Display 5.5 inch 2560x1440 pixels 5.5 inch 1920x1080 pixels 5.7 inch 2560x1440 pixels
Processor 2.0 GHz Snapdragon 810 1.8 GHz Snapdragon 810 1.8 GHz Snapdragon 808
RAM 4 GB 3GB/4GB 3GB
Storage 32GB 16GB/64GB 16/32/64 GB with microSD
Rear camera 13 MP/2 MP dual camera 13 MP with OIS 21 MP
Battery 3,000 mAh 3,300 mAh 3,000 mAh
Price $449.98 $329 3GB/16GB and $389 4GB/64GB $399.99

The ZTE Axon looks to be a very interesting device that has top notch specifications. 32GB of integrated storage, with no microSD card slot, is a bit of a disappointment, but for $450 with no contract it's understandable that something had to be cut. We will have one to test soon.

The OnePlus 2 is advertised as the 2016 flagship killer so is intended to compete with products releasing later this year and into 2016. It also has very high end specifications that include 4GB and RAM and USB Type C. There is no quick charging, wireless charging, or NFC onboard, which may be an issue for some folks. I rarely use NFC on my Android phones, but have come to rely on quick charging.

The 2013 Moto X was one of my favorite smartphones ever so the new Moto X Pure Edition is likely to be my next Android purchase. It stands out as the top choice of these three new sub-$450 Android phones with custom design options, ample internal storage and microSD card support, front-facing stereo speakers, global LTE, and the fastest Turbo Charging available. I need to see the battery and camera performance to make a final choice, since Motorola isn't known for long-life batteries and this camera doesn't have OIS.