Best Phones Under $500: Top Budget Models for Everyone

18 Min Read

Looking to upgrade your phone but hesitant to spend a lot of money? Are you searching for the best mid-range phone? As the price of flagship mobile phones continues to rise, most users are now trying to find alternatives that won’t break the bank but still provide satisfactory performance. Is it still possible to purchase the best phone under $500, even though technology costs seem to be constantly rising? Is there any compromise the companies can make to produce a phone that costs half as much as the premium model? Currently, some of the best phones under $500 are available in the market, and we have listed them below with details and specs.

Even if you might be concerned that low-priced handsets won’t serve well enough, you can find many fantastic choices between $400-$500. For a significantly lower price compared to the more well-known and expensive phones on the marketplace, you may receive the newest powerful chipsets from top brands, regular system updates, fantastic cameras, decent performance & batteries, and many more features in these budget phones.

The best phones under 500 dollars have to skimp in specific areas compared to more expensive models. But there’s nothing so severe that you can’t have virtual meetings, video calls, play games, or even run multiple apps simultaneously. Rather than that, you must think about the device’s strong points and decide if they are enough to compensate for any weaknesses. You will even get strong cameras that can capture the photos with great depth and colors to fulfill your expectations. Furthermore, the batteries of these listed devices can last for more than a day on regular usage. The devices’ processors may be a little sluggish. However, their displays can refresh at 120Hz, making for fluid graphics. However, other brands flip the coin, opting for a smaller 60Hz display while packing a new lightning-fast chipset.

The Best Phones Under $500

So that everyone can find the best phone under $500 that suits their needs, you’ll find links to unlocked models on this page included in our cheap phone guide. Since everyone has different requirements, you should pick the one that can be tailored to your requirements and has the most valuable features. Except in highly unusual cases, unlocked phones are compatible with all four major US wireless providers. We recommend our readers purchase unlocked editions for the most freedom of choice.

1. Google Pixel 6A

Best Android Phone Under $500

Google Pixel 6A: Best Phone Under 500 USD

Thanks to its high-quality camera, sleek design, chipset, and overall features pack, the Google Pixel 6A is our top recommended pick in this list of the best phones under 500 USD price bracket. Even though its camera is decent and acceptable for such a budget, it can’t compare to the sensors we get on Google Pixel 6. Although the camera isn’t quite as good as the Pixel 6, still this affordable device’s camera delivers photographs that are impressively detailed and vivid. Its camera setup appears identical to the Pixel 5A, as the primary sensors on both handsets measure 12.2 megapixels.

What makes the $449 Google Pixel 6A unique and better than other budget phones is the inclusion of the Google-made Tensor processor chip, which powers the premium Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. In terms of performance, you will not get disappointed with this smartphone. This Tensor chipset makes this phone a solid competitor to beat for around $500. Compared to the 90Hz panel of the Pixel 6, the Google Pixel 6A features a 1080p OLED display with a more conventional 60Hz refresh rate. Since LCD screens are so prevalent in the sub-$500 price range, the higher contrast OLED panel is a nice inclusion to be appreciated. Its brightness is good enough for the comfortable use of the phone, but you will face trouble in bright sunlight.

The Google Pixel 6A is a successful budget smartphone because it does what it sets out to do. Pixel-exclusive software functions like Magic Eraser (to erase things from the foreground) and Live Translate (to translate spoken and video text into another language), and Real Tone (to portray skin tones quite precisely) are all included, which you can experience in the phone. Samsung is also making headway on Google in the middle-tier market for Android phones. Samsung excels where Google falls short, primarily in the area of display panels. However, Google offers an overall superior product, in my opinion. The Pixel 6A is still the best option for Android lovers who want to buy a new phone but don’t want to pay more than $500. It is the most acceptable option if you’re looking for the best 5G Android phone under $500.

2. Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

Best Phone Under $500 with Excellent Software Support

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: Best Phone Under $500 with Great Software Support

The Galaxy A53 5G is an excellent option for those in the market for an affordable Android smartphone that doesn’t skimp on features. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G exceeds expectations given its low asking price, particularly compared to the iPhone SE, which has a much smaller display and only a single shooter on the back. It appears that Samsung is settled into a design approach, and that formula is reflected in the Galaxy A53 5G. The phone’s shiny glossy back features a hole for its main cameras, and its practically bezel-less display houses a hole punch for the front-facing lens.

Certain sacrifices were made to keep the Samsung Galaxy A53’s pricing at $450, but it still includes many vital aspects. Among these great features, the 6.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, 5,000 mAh strong battery, and 5G connectivity are the top ones to consider. Given that Samsung is the leader in display technology, the Galaxy A53 screen’s wealthy contrast makes it stand out from the standard LCDs in this price range. Furthermore, the display employs a 120Hz refresh rate, allowing for perfectly smooth animation and a slightly more luxurious feel. Considering the cameras, the primary sensor on this budget $500 phone is 64 megapixels, one 12 megapixels ultrawide camera, and 5 megapixels macro and depth lenses, respectively.

Although the A53 5G’s many notable features set it apart from other low-cost Android phones, its exceptional software support could be its trump card. Samsung has committed to providing system updates for four years and security patches for five years. Battery life on the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is impressive, lasting for an entire workday, and the device’s Exynos chipset makes quick work of routine activities. If you can afford the $450 price tag, the Samsung A53 5G is a fantastic buy. The Galaxy A53 5G offers excellent value for its pricing and has a good set of features that should satisfy most buyers.

3. Apple iPhone 11

Best iPhone Under $500

Apple iPhone 11 Black Unlocked

From now onwards, Apple will not offer more shipments for Apple iPhone 11 models as the latest iPhone 14 lineup has appeared in the market. But that doesn’t mean you cannot grab 2019’s iPhone 11 for now, as it’s still the best iPhone for under $500 budget for all iPhone lovers who don’t have an enormous amount to spend on the newest models. Even though it’s a bit of an older model, this phone has plenty of power to handle modern games and features two excellent primary cameras. Its A13 Bionic chip is competitive, thanks to its Hexa-core processor chipset and quad-core GPU.

The 6.1-inch LCD panel is great for watching movies and playing games, and the phone performs admirably for regular chores like web surfing and video calling. The iPhone 11 has an improved ultrawide shooter, enhanced low-light shooting with Night Mode, and improved indoor photos with Deep Fusion technology. These enhancements allow quicker autofocus, better overall sharpness, and more true-to-life color replication in your photos. Aside from a telephoto lens, I believe the base iPhone 11 model covers all your areas for the money.

Apple’s iPhone 11 features a stunning LCD Liquid Retina display, a testament to the company’s excellence in this area. Unless at seeing primarily darkish photos with only minimal light, it does not look like a trade-off. Furthermore, you can also charge your Apple iPhone 11 wirelessly, and it is protected from dust and water to the IP68 standard. Usually, you will get the $500 model with limited 64GB or 128GB storage. So, if your primary purpose for buying a new device is gaming, you should face trouble installing different games while keeping other apps and personal data simultaneously. Remember, the unlocked version is only available on Amazon, but you will not get this one from Best Buy. So, you will have to get a service plan on Best Buy from one of these four major carriers: Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

4. OnePlus 8 5G

Best Gaming Phone Under $500

OnePlus 8 5G Unlocked: Best $500 Budget Phone

The OnePlus 8 is a perfect synthesis of recent developments. It gets the company’s renowned budget handsets nearer to the slickness of many other high-end smartphones, if not exactly there. It also demonstrates that OnePlus is following the lead of its rivals in numerous respects by borrowing ideas from them in terms of design. The curved-edge display and front camera’s punch-hole are this phone’s best design features, giving it a more premium look. It helps that the OnePlus 8 swaps out the gigantic main camera bezel found on the OnePlus 7T and uses a more aesthetically pleasing vertical bar line that is also featured on the OnePlus 8 Pro.

The OnePlus 8 5G has high-end specifications at a price that’s easy on the wallet. On paper, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the clear winner between the two devices as it has advanced features such as a 120Hz refresh rate display and a telephoto lens. However, the budget-friendly OnePlus 8 nonetheless gives an excellent overall performance and experience thanks to its features including the leading Snapdragon 865 chipset, a 90Hz display, 5G connectivity, and a decent battery with good timing. Over the years, OnePlus has consistently utilized a cutting-edge, yet straightforward approach to design for its products. The OnePlus 8 is a logical continuation of this line of development with expanded form factors and brighter hues.

The OnePlus 8 delivers outstanding results at both the 60Hz and 90Hz refresh rates. The phone’s performance on benchmarks was excellent, with scores on par with other handsets having 865 processors and crushing those models powered by the Snapdragon 855 or 855 Plus. In terms of hardware specs, there are all the necessities, including a Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB storage, a 6.55-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, and a massive 4,300mAh battery that can be refilled entirely within an hour by the quick 30T Warp Charge. The OnePlus 8 is not similar to the Pro or Plus variant, although it has what matters when compared to the competition. It’s an understated phone that outperforms its rivals while being highly functional.

5. Apple iPhone SE 2022 (3rd Generation)

Best Mini $500 iPhone

Apple iPhone SE 2022 Unlocked Model

The iPhone SE combines elements of Apple’s latest smartphones, such as the A15 Bionic CPU and 5G connectivity, with a more traditional form factor. Assuming it continues to receive software updates for many years after purchase, the $429 price tag is a great value. The 5G connectivity and the fastest chip from Apple are included in the iPhone SE 2022, making it ready for modern technology. The SE had received many significant upgrades, including a larger battery and software improvements for cameras, which ensure that it remains a strong competitor in the list of top budget phones under $500. It is an excellent option if upgrading from an iPhone 8 or earlier and prefer to preserve the same form factor.

The iPhone SE (2022) costs $429 and has a wonderful blend of traditional and modern elements. The latest iPhone SE 2022 has used the same glassy chassis as iPhone 8 and the powerful chipset included in iPhone 13. However, it’s not for people who need or want features like Face ID or MagSafe because you will not get them in this model. The 64GB storage variant of the iPhone SE costs $429. But, if you plan to keep that phone for an extended period, then 64GB will be limited, and you will have difficulty storing photos, apps, games, and other essential data. We recommend you should go with the 128GB edition by spending just $50 extra.

Apple’s “mashing up” strategy has resulted in an updated iPhone that retains the home button and the familiar appearance of previous models while adding cutting-edge capabilities like 5G compatibility, strong battery, and iPhone 13’s processor for best productivity. The new iPhone SE 2022 is still among the smallest handsets on the market, regardless of the operating system. The curvy design and glassy chassis make holding the phone a little trickier. The iPhone SE showcases Apple’s deftness at leaving out several features in favor of keeping others, a must for any phone under $500. If you like to keep the small size phones and don’t have any problem in this regard, this iPhone SE (2022) is quick, supports all important 5G channels, and should last over the next few years without forcing you to buy a new handset.

So, these are the top 5 best phones under $500 which we recommend to you for now. We will keep testing and analyzing new models to update the list according to the best available options. So, keep connecting with us to stay up to date!

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