Greatest Telephones Underneath $500 for 2022: Upgrades at Low Costs

Telephones that value lower than $500 are among the many first you need to take into account in the event you’re able to improve or in search of a vacation present. These midrange choices, which generally value between $400 and $500, make surprisingly few compromises to maintain their costs low. They typically have spectacular options, like excessive refresh charge screens, 5G and pictures processing software program. However put together for some tradeoffs, resembling lower-quality cameras or an older processor. The vacation purchasing season is an efficient time to offset these drawbacks, as Black Friday reductions can aggressively decrease these telephones’ costs. A few of them have already seen $100 to $150 off in current purchasing occasions. 

Even at their decrease costs, the most effective telephones beneath $500 could will hit many of the options in your guidelines. In search of an enormous 6.5-inch display screen? Many of those telephones have that, or a smaller show if that is your choice. Want an ideal digicam? You will discover that in most of those picks. Most of those telephones do not skimp on software program updates both, with their makers promising at minimal three years of safety updates.

There are some compromises made to maintain prices low, and every firm takes a distinct strategy to make these cuts much less noticeable. Apple’s iPhone SE and Google’s Pixel 6A, as an example, have a smaller display screen and older digicam setup, but embody new processors and software program from these firms. Samsung’s Galaxy A53 has a spacious display screen and spectacular battery life, though it runs on a much less highly effective processor than the Galaxy S22. And the Moto G Stylus 5G takes good pictures, gives a roomy 256GB of area and throws in a stylus, however Motorola would not present software program help for so long as its opponents.

Images and video specifically are areas the place these telephones priced beneath $500 take a noticeable hit compared to their dearer counterparts, however photo-processing software program ought to assist choose up a few of the slack. As an example, whereas the iPhone SE has a single 12-megapixel digicam that doesn’t help night time pictures, its A15 Bionic chip does permit for Apple’s Deep Fusion processing. It is a related state of affairs for the Pixel 6A, which makes use of a 12-megapixel foremost digicam and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digicam, but can improve these pictures with processing powered by the cellphone’s Tensor chip.

You may see the professionals and cons of every of those telephones beneath, with extra particulars accessible in our full critiques.

Greatest telephones beneath $500

Lisa Eadicicco/

The Pixel 6A replaces the Pixel 5A because the $449 budget-friendly model of its flagship cellphone.’s Lisa Eadicicco known as it the “greatest Android cellphone beneath $500” in her Pixel 6A evaluate, calling out the way it retains the identical Tensor chip seen within the $599 Pixel 6 and plenty of of its options.

The cellphone is barely smaller than the Pixel 6, that includes a 6.1-inch OLED show and a refresh charge of 60Hz. And it has an analogous digicam to the Pixel 5A, together with a 12.2-megapixel foremost digicam and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digicam. However by together with the Tensor chip, pictures can profit from its Actual Tone pores and skin tone function, Face Unblur, Evening Sight for darker pictures and the Magic Eraser for eradicating undesirable components from a photograph.

Despite the fact that the cellphone is only some months previous, there are already events during which the Pixel 6A is discounted even additional to $299, which is an unbelievable worth.

You are receiving worth alerts for Google Pixel 6a (128GB, Charcoal)

Lisa Eadicicco/

The $450 Samsung Galaxy A53 contains most of the greatest options seen within the Galaxy S22 line, with a number of tradeoffs to hit that lower cost. The cellphone features a 6.5-inch AMOLED display screen with a 2,400×1,080-pixel decision, 5G help and a long-lasting 5,000-mAh battery. The cellphone additionally comes with a 64-megapixel foremost digicam, 12-megapixel ultrawide digicam, 5-megapixel macro digicam and 5-megapixel depth digicam.

However a specific excessive level for this cellphone is Samsung’s pledge to supply 4 years of software program help, along with transport with Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI 4.1.

Learn our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G evaluate.


Kevin Heinz/

The $429 iPhone SE is a mixture of an older design with the most recent smartphone options, together with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and 5G help. It is also one of many few telephones in the marketplace that features a smaller, 4.7-inch display screen.

It is that throwback design, which continues the overall form that Apple has used since 2014, that might be what you’re keen on or dislike most about this cellphone. If you need a bigger iPhone on this worth vary, it’s also possible to take into account the iPhone 11, and get an even bigger display screen and Face ID. However that cellphone doesn’t embody 5G connectivity.

The cellphone additionally solely contains one 12-megapixel foremost digicam, which doesn’t help night time mode. Most different telephones on this roundup embody a number of cameras and options like night time mode, making the omission noticeable. Nonetheless, pictures make up for this by together with the Deep Fusion photo-processing method to reinforce medium-to-low gentle pictures, and Good HDR4 processing for enhancing shade and distinction. Managing Editor Patrick Holland did discover that video shot in 4K decision at 60 frames per second is especially good on the iPhone SE, nevertheless it won’t embody the Cinematic Mode seen on the iPhone 13.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE evaluate.


You are receiving worth alerts for Apple iPhone SE (64GB, Starlight)

Mike Sorrentino/

The $500 Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is among the greatest stylus-equipped telephones you may get proper now, particularly for the worth. You get Android 12, 5G connectivity, a big 6.8-inch display screen and a spacious 256GB of storage. Sadly, the cellphone is simply promised one software program replace and three years of safety updates, which is a a lot shorter timeline than the 4 years promised by Samsung for the Galaxy A53.

But in order for you a stylus-equipped cellphone, the following step-up possibility is the considerably dearer Galaxy S22 Extremely at $1,200.

Learn our Moto G Stylus 5G evaluate.


Angela Lang/

With the launch of the iPhone 14 collection, Apple discontinued the $500 iPhone 11, nevertheless it’s nonetheless broadly accessible. It is likely to be a number of generations previous, however this cellphone continues to be greater than succesful, dealing with gaming effectively and geared up with two excellent rear cameras. It’s lacking 5G help, which is more and more enhancing as wi-fi carriers spend money on the community, however the cellphone will work high quality on LTE and Wi-Fi. The iPhone 11 additionally doesn’t help MagSafe equipment, which have been launched alongside the iPhone 12.

Simply notice that some locations could also be promoting refurbished variations of the cellphone since Apple itself is not promoting new iPhone 11 fashions. Greatest Purchase doesn’t carry any unlocked fashions, so you will have to join a service plan by means of both AT&T, Verizon, T-Cell or Dash.

Learn our Apple iPhone 11 evaluate.


You are receiving worth alerts for Apple iPhone 11 (Yellow, 128GB)

Andrew Lanxon/

Nothing Cellphone 1

Flashy and reasonably priced

The Nothing Cellphone 1 is not accessible within the US. However for international locations the place the cellphone is accessible, it gives a putting design and first rate specs for the cash. The £399 cellphone (which converts to roughly $480 or AU$700) is adorned with LED strips on the again, every of which is named a “glyph,” that gentle up for alerts and notifications. That design is accompanied by two 50-megapixel cameras: a large angle and an ultrawide. Across the entrance is a 6.55-inch 120Hz show with a 2,400-by-1,080-pixel decision and a 16-megapixel selfie digicam. The cellphone runs on a Snapdragon 778G Plus chip, with fashions that begin with 8GB of reminiscence and 128GB of storage.

All that quantities to a cellphone that compares effectively throughout the worth vary, particularly given its digicam high quality and appears. However for now, we’ll need to see if future Nothing cellphone fashions find yourself getting a launch within the US.

How we take a look at telephones assessments telephones through the use of them every day and evaluating them with competing telephones to evaluate their worth. We take into account a wide range of elements, such because the cellphone’s display screen, cameras, battery life, software program, efficiency, options and ease of use.

For low-priced telephones, we be sure that these gadgets persistently work effectively when utilized in a variety of conditions. This contains many day-to-day actions like studying the information, listening to music, watching movies, texting, enjoying video games and multitasking. 

We take a look at cellphone cameras in a spread of environments, taking take a look at pictures outside within the daytime and nighttime, and indoors in darker settings. We use cameras in lively environments, like a live performance or a sports activities recreation, and with a wide range of topics together with individuals, objects and pets. We additionally take a look at accessible digicam settings, particularly these which are rarer in these worth ranges resembling Evening mode and Portrait mode.

These anecdotal cellphone experiences are additionally mixed with benchmark assessments resembling Geekbench efficiency testing and battery testing. We monitor battery life in two methods: By seeing how a lot energy is often left after a day of regular utilization and by seeing how a lot battery is depleted throughout a extra intensive hour with the cellphone. For the latter take a look at, we’ll examine how the cellphone’s battery holds as much as a collection of video calls, gaming, video streaming and internet shopping.

Telephones beneath $500 FAQs

Are cheaper telephones price it?

For many individuals, a cellphone that prices lower than $500 will doubtless have the whole lot you want for communication, pictures and leisure. In some instances, the telephones even present a few of the newest options seen on higher-end telephones like easy 120Hz refresh charges and a number of cameras.

Nonetheless, try to be conscious of — and OK with — the constraints a cellphone could have in comparison with its dearer counterparts. As an example, in order for you an iPhone with an even bigger display screen than the iPhone SE and iPhone 11’s screens, your subsequent best choice is the $899 iPhone 14 Plus. That is far outdoors the $500 worth vary, however you additionally get further advantages like an improved digicam. 

Then again, in order for you a cellphone with an even bigger display screen and if working Android is ok, you will have loads of choices which are beneath $500.

Are you able to get a very good digicam on a less expensive cellphone?

Sure, you could find a number of cheaper telephones that take nice pictures, whether or not it is by means of the digicam accessible on the gadget, picture processing software program on the cellphone or — is most frequently the case — a mix of each. 

Apple’s iPhone SE contains the A15 Bionic chip, which helps Good HDR4 processing and Apple’s Deep Fusion processing. Good HDR4 helps with enhancing shade and distinction, whereas the Deep Fusion processing helps with medium- to low-light environments. Managing Editor Patrick Holland put collectively a sampling of pictures and movies taken on the cellphone throughout his evaluate, which might be watched on the Highlights YouTube channel. Nonetheless, the iPhone SE additionally has just one 12-megapixel digicam, and that digicam doesn’t help night time pictures.

Over on the Android aspect, the Google Pixel 6A contains the corporate’s Tensor chip, which brings pictures options like Actual Tone for capturing extra correct pores and skin tones, Face Unblur for fixing an individual’s face and Magic Eraser for eradicating undesirable objects. Nevertheless it has a 12-megapixel foremost digicam paired up with a 12-megapixel ultrawide digicam, which takes good pictures however is a transparent step down from the 50-megapixel foremost digicam seen on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7.

Samsung’s Galaxy A53 is an fascinating case: Iit has a foremost 64-megapixel digicam alongside a 12-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel macro digicam and 5-megapixel depth digicam. Whereas that is extra megapixels than the 50-megapixel foremost digicam on the Galaxy S22, the picture element is a step down with the S22 in a position to produce pictures with higher distinction and sharpness.

What makes these telephones cheaper?

Every firm takes a distinct strategy towards cheaper telephones.  

The iPhone SE, for instance, has a current Apple processor packed inside an in any other case dated cellphone design. Google’s Pixel 6A likewise contains the brand new Tensor processor, however makes use of an older 12.2-megapixel foremost digicam as a substitute of the 50-megapixel foremost digicam discovered on the $599 Pixel 6.

Samsung’s Galaxy A53 takes the other strategy. It features a processor that is slower than the Galaxy S22’s however contains different fashionable options like a display screen with a excessive refresh charge.

Telephones beneath $500 comparability

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs. Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Google Pixel 6A vs. Apple iPhone SE (2022) vs. Nothing Cellphone 1 vs. Apple iPhone 11

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) Google Pixel 6A Apple iPhone SE (2022) Nothing Cellphone 1 iPhone 11
Show dimension, decision 6.5-inch AMOLED (2,400×1,080 pixels); 120 Hz 6.8-inch LTPS LCD FHD+; 2,460 x1,080 pixels; 120 Hz 6.1-inch OLED; (1080 x 2400); 60Hz 4.7-inch LCD; (1,334×750 pixels); 60 Hz 6.55-inch OLED show, 2,400 x1080 pixels; 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792×828 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi TBD 429 ppi 326ppi 402ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.28 x 2.94 x 0.32 in 6.65 x 2.98 x 0.37 in 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 in 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 in 5.94×2.98×0.33 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm 168.9 x 75.8 x 9.3 mm 152.2 x 7.18 x 8.9 mm 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm 150.9×75.7×8.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 6.67 oz; 189g 7.58 oz; 215 g 6.3 oz; 178g 5.09 oz; 144g 193.5g 6.84 oz; 194g
Cell software program Android 12 Android 12 Android 12 iOS 15 Android 13 iOS 13
Digital camera 64-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth) 50-megapixel (extensive), 8-megapixel (ultrawide/macro), 2-megapixel (depth) 12.2-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel extremely extensive) 12-megapixel (extensive) 50-megapixel (foremost), 50-megapixel (ultra-wide) 12-megapixel (extensive), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)
Entrance-facing digicam 32-megapixel 16-megapixel 8-megapixel 7-megapixel 16-megapixel 12-megapixel with Face ID
Video seize 4K 1,080p 4K 4K 4K at 60fps 4K
Processor Exynos 1280 Snapdragon 695 5G Google Tensor Apple A15 Bionic Snapdragon 778G+ Apple A13 Bionic
RAM/Storage 6GB/128GB 8GB/256GB 6GB RAM/128GB storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 8GB + 128GB, 8GB +256 GB, 12GB RAM + 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Expandable storage As much as 1TB As much as 1TB None NA None None
Battery/Charger 5,000 mAh (charger not included, doesn’t help wi-fi charging) 5,000 mAh (10W charger included) 4,410 mAh capability; 18-watt quick charging (adapter bought individually) Battery NA (20W charging — charger not included), 7.5W wi-fi charging) 4,500 mAh (33W charging, 15W wi-fi charging, 5W reverse charging) Not disclosed, however Apple claims it should final 1 hour longer than iPhone XR
Fingerprint sensor In-display Facet Underneath show Dwelling button In-display None (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB C Lightning USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack None Sure None None None No
Particular options 5G-enabled; IP67 score; helps 25W quick charging, Samsung Pay 5G-enabled; OIS for foremost digicam; NFC for Google Pay; 5G-enabled, 18W quick charging, WiFi 6E, safety updates for five years, Android OS updates for 3 years, twin SIM, IP67 water resistance 5G-enabled; helps 25W quick charging; Water-resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging 5G, IP53, Three years of Android updates, Twin Sim, 120Hz adaptive refresh charge Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging
Worth off-contract (USD) $450 $500 $449 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB) N/A $499
Worth (GBP) £399 NA however converts to £405 £399 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB) £399 £489
Worth (AUD) AU$699 NA however converts to AU$715 A$749 AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB) N/A AU$849

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