If you are shopping for a new smartphone, you’ll be happy to know that you can get some excellent phones under just $500. These phones have everything to get a good experience without shelling out the big bucks. So let’s dive into my recommendations for the best phones under $500.
As many consumers have an affinity to one brand or the other, I am also suggesting the best phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and Motorola. If you don’t care about the brand, you can pick from the best overall Android phone or the best iPhone.
Best phones under $500
|Best Android phone||Best iPhone||Best Samsung phone||Best OnePlus phone||Best Motorola phone|
|Google Pixel 5a||Apple iPhone 11||Samsung Galaxy A52 5G||OnePlus 8T||Motorola Moto G100|
Overall best Android phone: Google Pixel 5a
Google’s Pixel 5a is the best Android phone you can get for less than $500. It offers a smooth and snappy experience and has terrific photography capabilities. As the phone comes directly from Google, you can expect to get the software updates quickly and for a long time. It currently runs on Android version 12, which is the latest.
In terms of raw specs, there is a 6.34-inch OLED screen, 4,680mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC, and 6GB of RAM. In addition, 5G support is also present, but the phone lacks the faster mmWave 5G radios. That said, the lack of mmWave 5G support is not a big deal as it is available at very few locations.
Unfortunately, Google only sells the phone via its own store or Google Fi.
> Buy the Pixel 5a from Google
Best iPhone under $500: Apple iPhone 11
iPhones are pretty expensive, so if you want an iPhone under $500, you get two options—the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE (2020). Although the iPhone SE (2020) is a relatively newer phone, I suggest going with the iPhone 11. It’s still capable and has better hardware than the SE model, though the two phones share some of the specifications.
The iPhone 11 has two rear cameras—wide and ultra-wide—and a higher resolution selfie shooter. You also get a larger screen than the iPhone SE and a bigger battery.
With the iPhone 11, you’ll get a snappy performance, fantastic camera performance, tons of great apps, and long software support.
The iPhone 11 is available in 64GB and 128GB models. But only the 64GB model retails under $500.
> Buy the iPhone 11 from Apple
Best Samsung phone under $500: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Samsung makes some of the best Android phones on the market, and if you are looking for a mid-range device, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy A52 5G. It will soon be a year old, but the phone has good hardware that will easily last a few years.
You get a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Higher refresh rate displays aren’t widespread in the mid-range segment, so getting 120Hz on the A52 is very good. The Snapdragon 750G processor keeps everything running smoothly. As it’s not a flagship-grade processor, you can expect occasional slowness while doing heavy tasks. The built-in cameras take good photos, although a bit over-saturated. But some people prefer the oversaturated look. Additionally, 5G support is another positive.
> Buy the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G from Amazon
Best OnePlus phone under $500: OnePlus 8T
Although OnePlus has launched several cheaper and mid-range phones in the last couple of years, I would suggest going for the OnePlus 8T if you want a OnePlus phone under $500. It’s much more powerful than the company’s so-called affordable phones and is capable of delivering a great experience.
The phone has a 6.55-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, and up to 12GB of RAM. It also packs a quad-camera setup that takes decent photos, and its 4500mAh battery is enough to last one full day on a single charge.
Unfortunately, there is no 5G support. So if 5G is a priority for you, you are better off with one of my other recommendations.
Best Motorola phone under $500: Motorola Moto G100
If you are a fan of Motorola and want a new Moto phone under $500, the G100 is your best bet. It’s an excellent phone that has a lot going for it. The phone offers solid battery life, flagship-grade performance, and a decent display. The screen isn’t OLED like my other recommendations, but you get a 90Hz refresh rate.
Among other features, the primary camera takes good photos in most situations, and the phone has two selfie shooters on the front. Additionally, the phone has 5G support with access to sub-6GHz networks.
> Buy the Moto G100 from Motorola
These are my recommendations for the best phones under $500. If you think I missed a great phone that you can buy in North America, let me know in the comments section. Meanwhile, check out my picks the best USB-C data cables and the best USB-C charging cables to get quicker charging and data transfer on your devices.