Smartphones are almost a necessity in the modern era. They connect us with our families, jobs, and the world around us. However, they can also be costly, making it hard for some people to get their hands on a good one.
You need to purchase a phone and a phone plan (from carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon, among others) just to get your device working, and even then, you are left with regular payments.
Premium smartphones are upwards of a thousand dollars, whether shopping in stores or with online retailers like Amazon, which is a significant investment for many people. These options include impressive specs, like fast charging, 120Hz refresh rates or AMOLED displays, ultrawide cameras, fingerprint sensors, and more.
You don’t need to choose the best smartphones to find a suitable device. You can get a new phone for a fraction of the price without sacrificing the quality expected of a smartphone.
What Can You Expect in a Phone Under $500?
While certain aspects of smartphones have to be toned down for them to be functional at a lower price, processing power is not one of them. Many budget phones use high-end chipsets that match much more expensive devices.
For example, Google and Apple utilize the Tensor chip and the A15 Bionic chip in their budget phones, respectively, which they use in their pricier models. This leads to compelling phones at a fraction of the price.
A 1080p display should be expected from your budget phones. While you won’t see many 4K displays in a phone under $500, it is still the norm to have full HD displays with a fast refresh rate.
Camera systems do not need to be that different from premium smartphones either. While there is not as much hardware real estate to accommodate all the other lenses, you will find them in some devices.
Budget phones are still able to have complete camera systems. These include high-quality ultrawide lenses and a variety of other types of camera and video editing features.
Contrary to what you might think, it is very common for cheaper smartphones to have more impressive battery lives than their more expensive counterparts.
Premium smartphones have a ton of advanced hardware and software that needs to be powered, so the simpler smartphones on the market can last much longer in many cases.
Your average smartphone will need daily charging for you to get a lot of use out of it. However, if you are looking at budget smartphones, it is possible to get a full two days of charge even with regular use.
What Are the Best Phones Under $500?
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Coming in at $449, the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is the best Android phone you’ll get for the price. In a line where most of the phones are pricey, with some models even nearing $2,000, the A53 is an extraordinary reprieve.
Unlike its predecessor, which ran on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, the A53 5G utilizes a 1280 Exynos 1280 processor and 6GB of RAM, which is impressive for a phone in this price range.
It runs on Android 12 and comes with 128GB of storage, and unlike many other phones, this is not something you can upgrade. That said, 128GB is a solid space for the price.
The resolution is 1080p, which is as good as expected on a budget. It also sports IP67 dust and water protection, which is exceptional for a mid-range phone.
The 5,000 mAh battery is also at the top of the industry. Given the phone's processing power, this means the battery can last a very long time, even compared to premium Galaxy models.
iPhone SE 2022
Despite its popularity and influence on the industry, Apple is not known for having many options for its iPhones. That is what makes the new version of the iPhone SE so unique.
While we can usually only expect a few relatively similar models within each iteration of the iPhone, the SE breaks the mold by offering a budget option for its premium flagship phone.
Coming in at $429, it is significantly cheaper than any other iPhone on the market. It offers similar features, such as MagSafe chargers and wireless charging, an impressive main camera, and 5G support; however, it comes in at a fraction of the price.
The phone runs on the A15 Bionic chip, the same processing unit you will find in the iPhone 13 models. It has a high-quality 4.7-inch LCD and an impressive camera system for the price. Of course, it offers 5G connectivity, allowing you to utilize apps with speeds comparable to other 5G phones.
Additionally, like other Apple iPhones, the SE comes with one of the best cameras for selfies and a brilliant rear camera. With additional iOS software support, routine software updates, and security updates, the iPhone SE is one of the best budget phones on this list.
A lot of the price comes off because the phone is much smaller than its siblings. Because less material goes into making each device, it is a lot cheaper to manufacture. This also means that you have to be a fan of smaller phones to enjoy this one, as it is comparable in size to the iPhone 13 Mini.
Google Pixel 6a
Google Pixel phones, in general, are known for offering budget prices for premium products. The Google Pixel 6a takes that to the next level, offering a compact version of the Google Pixel 6. It is priced at $450, which also makes it cheaper than the base model.
The Pixel 6a runs on the Google Tensor chip, Google’s in-house processing chipset. This offers AI enhancements for its photos and other features. The device has a 6.1-inch OLED display at 2400x1080 and a 60Hz refresh rate.
One of the standout features of the 6a is the camera system. It outperforms its similarly priced competition, making it an excellent phone for people who like to take pictures. This also applies to its video editing features, which got an upgrade via the Tensor chip.
Which Phone Is the Best for You?
The iPhone SE will give you the best value for your money if you are looking for processing power. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is probably your best bet if you are more interested in battery life. The Google Pixel 6a will give you a jack of all trades experience.
Whichever phone you choose, it is worth noting that all three are premium options offering the very best hardware and software for under $500.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of phones you can buy for under $500, but only a few maintain the high standards set by the smartphone industry. Currently, Google, Samsung, and Apple are the titans of the industry, offering these cheaper options in addition to their phones that go into the four-digit realm.
Of course, there are other terrific options for phones under $500, including:
- Motorola Moto G Stylus
- OnePlus Nord 2T
- Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite
You can use the service to find the plan and phone that will give you everything you are looking for at the lowest price. Use Navi today to choose the best phone under $500 for you.