Looking for a new smartphone ? Wait, hold on ! Before you end up buying a full fledged flagship smartphone, and give away your hard earned $1000 or $1300 or may be $1500 on a smartphone, have a look at some of our top picked best budget smartphone(s).
After you are done reading this article, you’ll be knowing it’s not a good idea to go for a flagship smartphone and buying a super expensive smartphone unless you are a pro techy !
Clearly, these days budget smartphones are super value for money. And certainly these best budget smartphones are not lagging that much behind than the super expensive flagships. If you are looking for an amazing display, you can get that in this budget. In addition to that, the most powerful chip, the best camera setup and even if you are more into productivity, you can get stylus too with your smartphone in this budget segment.
Some of these smartphones cost under $500, some under $400 and some even under $300. So, here we are presenting the best budget smartphone(s) that are worth buying under $500.
iPhone SE 2022
iPhone SE 2022 starts at the $429 , clear-cut this is one of the most powerful smartphone you can think of as it comes with A15 Bionic chip that you can find in iPhone 13 series. So, you are gonna get the flagship level performance in this little sized smartphone.
Speaking of size, it comes with 4.7 inch LCD retina display with very outdated and ugly looking bezels. That’s because Apple tried to give you latest hardware in the old form factor and design of iPhone 8 which is quite outdated in 2022.
But apart from the slightly outdated design, you can’t ignore the fact that under $500 you’ll be getting almost a flagship smartphone. If you are not that much into looks and can live with slightly thicker bezels, this is most value for money smartphone.
iPhone SE 2022 comes with a single 12 MP rear camera and A15 Bionic chip magic continues to put a smile on your face as it can shoot video upto 4K 60 fps. Then there’s Apple’s forth generation HDR for high dynamic photos. In addition to that, there’s deep fusion for much crispier photos, making it one of the best camera phone that can go neck to neck with over thousand dollar flagships.
Although, there’s no ultra wide angle lens & telephoto lens for wider & closer shots. But, think about this, how many times are you gonna be using telephoto or ultra wide shots ? For normal users, we don’t think this should be a deal breaker ! If it is, flagship options are always there.
Also, there’s no dark mode too, but again what would be the probability of you taking photo in a absolute dark ? Apple could have given dark mode via software in this iPhone but we think Apple strategically didn’t add this dark mode to iPhone SE 2022.
Battery performance is better than the previous generations SE, should get you through a day on a normal usage. There’s a 20W fast charging support along with almost 7.5W wireless charging support. Also, there is a 5G with low and mid band 5G including C-Band which AT&T and Verizon using to make their 5G better.
Cleary, iPhone SE 2022 is the most powerful machine in budget segment and super value for money smartphone. One of the best option under $500 !
Google Pixel 6a
The next option other than iPhone SE 2022 that you should definitely consider is Google’s own Pixel 6A. Google’s ‘A’ series phones are meant for those who are looking to witness android’s purest form at affordable price. Just like iPhone SE, this Pixel 6A is Google’s own offering to provide most of the flagship-ish features at significantly lower price.
Available at just $449, the highlight of the phone is Tensor chip inside the phone. The same chip can also be found in its elder siblings, the flagships – Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. So, the performance is quite impressive considering the budget phone. The app opening time, daily general day to day task, you won’t be noticing any hiccups as everything goes smoothly.
Display is 1080p OLED panel – 60Hz. Not the best in this segment as there’s one smartphone which comes with better display which we’ll come to in a bit, it’s actually our next smartphone in the list. So, display is good and under the display there’s indisplay fingerprint sensor which is bit slower.
Indisplay fingerprint sensor can take almost a second to unlock your phone. But, again for most of the users it shouldnt be the deal breaker as it is useable.
Google’s software magic is something most people buy pixel phones for. And software experience is quite the same as the flagships Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The stock UI, Widgets, Dynamic colours, Live Translate, Google Assistant, especially Speech to Text could be a life saving feature especially for the students who want all the lectures to be written on notes. And it does work without internet.
Speaking of software magic, this is something which makes Pixels 6A camera sometimes better than the iPhones available at the same price. Pixel 6A uses dual 12 MP camera setup as there is a main camera and ultra wide angle lens available at the back. Despite the lower resolution camera sensor, Google’s computational photography impresses with the results.
Due to the tensor chip available, the photos processing happens fast, photos turn out to be clear, detailed with good dynamic range. Also, the photos color are quite accurate and doesn’t produce over processed color to please you. It basically sticks to the natural colour. Like iPhone SE 2022, It can too shoot videos upto 4K 60 fps and that’s wonderful being a budget smartphone.
Pixel 6A is backed by 4410 mAh battery which does good in terms of day to day usage, should easily get you through a day. But there’s no wireless charging. But, there’s IP67 rating making this the water resistant phone.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
You know it , you don’t wanna spend a crazy amount to buy a smartphone but you certainly wish to have a smartphone that just woos you with it’s super smooth , high refresh rated display.
Its possible under $500 in the form of Samsung Galaxy A53 5G.
Starting at just $450, its biggest highlight is its display as it flaunts a 1080p OLED panel. But the biggest difference is the refresh rate as it comes with 120 Hz refresh rate which gives this a premium feel as you start interacting with the display.
And it’s just not on the paper, if you are using a normal 60Hz panel , you’ll definitely gonna feel it. The phone performs buttery smooth, probably the best display you can get under $500. If display is something you are gonna be spending a lot of time on, then this is the smartphone you should go after. This phone flaunts a big 6.5 inch display, good for those who likes playing game and watching content on phone.
Galaxy A53 5G is powered by Samsung’s own processor Exynos 1280 processor. It has enough power to do your daily tasks like a little bit gaming, streaming online, taking calls , chatting etc. But if you are someone who likes to put your phone to heavy usage conditions, you must go for iPhone SE 2022 as it is powered by Apple’s last year’s flagship processor.
You are offered multiple cameras at the back as the main camera is 64 MP, 12 MP Ultrawide angle lens, 5 MP micro sensor , 5MP depth sensor. Camera performance is good not the best under $500 as the photos turned out a little washed out, detailing is not as good as on the iPhone SE and Pixel 6A. But again those phones dont have the versatile camera setup as they lack Ultrawide ( iPhone SE ), micro & depth sensor. If you are not expecting the bestest detailed, crispier and close to natural look like photos, this camera setup will do the job for you.
Battery performance is impressive as it is backed by 4000 mAh battery which will easily get you through a day with a lot of juice remaining in the battery. With this smartphone under budget segment Samsung is paying attention to the basics like amazing display, good cameras and very good battery life.
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G starts at $500. As the name tells itself, it’s one of the advantages is it’s built in stylus. If you are someone who likes to use a stylus or has a need to use stylus and you don’t wanna spend over thousand dollars to buy a Samsung flagship phone then this is the phone for you in budget segment.
Although the older Moto G stylus available at $300, but remember, that one is a 4G smartphone, but this latest one is 5G enabled smartphone.
There are two major differences between these two cheaper and more expensive smartphone. The older Moto G stylus 4G comes with a less efficient Mediatek processor. On the other hand the latest Moto G Stylus 5G is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor.
The second difference is the fact that latest Motorola Moto G stylus 5G comes with a stabilised camera. And it really makes a difference as the photos taken by the 5G Moto phone turn out to be less shaky and clearer. So, you are not going to get blurry photos with this smartphone even with the subject moving.
There is a triple camera setup at the back and the main camera is 50 megapixel shooter along with 8 megapixel ultrawide angle lens and 2megapixel depth sensor.
The phone is backed by a 5000 mAh battery with the support of 15 Watt charging, but the charger included in the box can only charge up to 10 Watt.
So, this is a good smart phone at $500 but if there is one thing, which set this apart from the crowd is the fact that it comes with a built in stylus.
This smart phone made this list just to let you know that you don’t need to buy a $1200 Samsung smartphone to get a built-in stylus as you can get that kind of a phone in budget segment too.
OnePlus Nord N20 5G
If you are on a very tight budget and want to get a phone at as low as possible price with as good as possible features you should definitely have a look at OnePlus Nord N20 5G which is available at just $239.
This is a 5G smartphone so obviously it checks the first box because if you are buying a smartphone, you will definitely want to be buying a phone that is 5G enabled.
This is a smartphone which should charge a little more as the features it has to offer, are amazing. It comes with 6.4 Inch 1080p OLED panel which again checks the box because there are plenty of phones in this budget segment which still offer LCD panel (iPhone SE). Speaking of display, there’s a under the display fingerprint sensor which is quite fast as the OnePlus phones.
Nord N20 is sold unlocked that works on T-mobiles 5G but doesn’t work on Verizon and AT&T. Also, there’s NFC available, so you can do contactless payments with this phone. Most of the even more expensive phones lack this to do some cost cutting.
This phone is powered by a quite powerful possessor in this budget segment i.e Snapdragon 695. This phone handles your day to day task very smoothly. You won’t be noticing any major hiccups and delaying in opening apps as there’s a 6GB of ram.
There’s a triple camera setup at the back with 64 MP main camera and 2MP micro and 2MP Depth. There’s a 16 MP selfie camera. The camera performance is decent according to its price. You can’t expect something amazing as you get the decent photos that look good until you don’t zoom in. If you want better camera, Pixel 6A and iPhone SE 2022 are the options for you.
One of the highlight of this phone is its battery and charging technology. It comes with 4500 mAh battery that too with 33W wired charging technology. There’s no phone in this budget segment that charges this fast.
Also, the fast 33W wired charger is including in the box. So you don’t need to buy any third party fast charger to be able to charge faster. The phone goes 0-30% in just 20 minutes which is quite fast in this segment.
You can see there are lot of amazing smartphones in the budget segment and certainly you don’t need to buy a flagship smartphone. Remember, no smartphone is perfect even the $1500 phone has something that one can complain about. So, you always need to set your priorities then buy a smartphone.
If you want a have a smartphone the gives you a flagship-ish performance, you can blindly trust iPhone SE 2022. Along with performance, it also happens to offer you amazing camera performance especially at this price. But, ofcourse you have to live with those ugly and outdated broad bezels.
If don’t want to own a outdated looking smartphone because let’s be honest iPhone SE 2022 does look like a atleast 5 year old phone, then the best option is Pixel 6A.
With its flagship siblings like camera performance and Google’s computational photography qualities this phone performs like a flagship. And it’s quite good looking smartphone unlike iPhone SE 2022. Overall tensor performance, camera performance and amazing display, pure android experience Pixel 6A is probably the best smartphone under $500.
If you want a decent all rounder but the display is something you want to have the best possible in this budget segment, Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is the option for you. The display performance of OLED 120 Hz panel will make you feel like you are using a much expensive flagship smartphone.
For some reasons, if you need to have a phone with built-in stylus in a budget segment, Moto G Stylus 5G is the only option here. But if you want a best value for your money at very low price, OnePlus Nord N20 5G won’t disappoint you.
If we left any phone that should have been included in this list of best budget smartphone, let us know in the comment section below.