The Galaxy Note 8 is a tremendous phone, but it also comes at a tremendous price — $930-$960, £869 and AU$1,499. 

So long as you actually use all the standout features — the dual cameras for portrait mode, and the S pen stylus to write, draw and navigate the phone — the Note 8 is worth the investment. But if you’re lukewarm on those extras, you could try one of these other dependable phones instead.

One thing to note: We’ve gone ahead and listed the full retail price announced for each alternative phone. Prices might be lower in your area based on carrier discounts and promotions.

Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus

  • Galaxy S8 price: Roughly $750 (depends on carrier); £689; AU$1,199
  • Galaxy S8 Plus price: Roughly $850 (depends on carrier); £779; AU$1,349

Samsung’s flagship phones from spring are all-around excellent. They don’t have the Note 8’s integrated pen, or the second camera for portrait mode, but the S8 phones have the same beautiful, curved display and very narrow bezels. They also share top-of-the-line hardware and all the extra goodies, including waterproofing, wireless charging and iris scanning. The S8 Plus screen size is just one-tenth of an inch smaller than the Note 8; 6.2 inches versus the Note 8’s 6.3.

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  • Price: $600-$720; £649; AU$1,008

Tall, with whittled bezels, the G6 is a lot like Samsung’s Galaxy S8, but cheaper. The S8 draws a lot of attention and has more features on paper, but don’t discount LG’s take. It’ll reward you with an attractive, solid, day-to-day Android driver that gives you two 13-megapixel cameras so you won’t feel left out of the trend.

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OnePlus 5

  • Price, 64GB version: $479; £449; AU$599
  • Price, 128GB version: $539; £499; AU$699

This one topped the charts of money for value. An excellent all-around Android phone, the OnePlus 5 rivals the Note 8 with its own dual-camera setup, and the same fast Snapdragon 835 processor (although some regions get Samsung’s house-made Exynos version instead). There’s fast charging, plentiful storage, great battery life and a fingerprint reader that’s easy to hit every time.

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Moto Z2 Force

  • Price: Starts at $730; converts to about £614; converts to about AU$1,007

Motorola’s premium phone ain’t cheap, but with it comes two 12-megapixel cameras, the same Snapdragon 835 processor and an easy-to-reach fingerprint reader that you can also use as a navigational track pad. While the Note 8 has its S Pen, Moto’s Z2 Force makes its name on its shatter-resistant screen and magnetic Mods, which snap on to give the phone some extra battery life, for example, or maybe a little more style.

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Moto Z2 Play

  • Price: $499; converts to £390; converts to $AU670

Even cheaper than the Z2 Force, the Z2 Play still has an extremely long-lasting battery and a good set of specs. It’s a really likable, really good midrange phone. It comes with Motorola’s extra software tricks, and supports the same snap-on Mods as the Moto Z2 Force.

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  • Price: $649; £679; AU$999

We may not be sold on this phone’s squeezable sides, but who cares? It’s a gorgeous, water-resistant device that performs just as well as any other. And if the Google Pixel 2 makes its own rumored squeezy sides popular, you can bet the HTC U11’s street cred will rise.

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iPhone SE

  • Price, 16GB version: $399; £359; U$679
  • Price, 64GB version: $499; £439; U$829

If you’re into smaller screens and open to iOS, iPhone’s cheapest phone has recently gotten a storage boost that makes 2017’s SE redux more worth your money. One of the few compact phones left in the wild, the 4-incher is a more than decent performer. Just be aware that you won’t get a modern design (say hello to those thick bezels) or Apple’s most modern features, like 3D Touch. You know what you do get? A headphone jack.

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Expensive phones about to become more so 

Fancier cameras, flashy new materials, higher-resolution screens. The price of our premium phones is projected to rise as phones become even more capable. 

Expect the LG V30, next iPhone and next Google Pixel phone to see their retail costs creep up. But that also means that phone fans looking for a deal should seek last year’s model. As new devices debut, prices on last year’s top dog drop. Soon, the LG V20, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and Google Pixel and Pixel XL might look like better deals than ever before.

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