Best mid range affordable flagship phones in 2022 - PhoneArena

Best mid range affordable flagship phones in 2022

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Best mid range affordable flagship phones in 2022
These days, you can get a phone with a flagship-grade look, feel and even performance for just about $400 to $600. And since this trend has been taking over in the last couple of years, many people would just call these phones "affordable flagships". The word flagship actually suits the phones on this list pretty well, as they check all the important boxes, just like more premium devices.

The price on these phones has fluctuated a bit, but generally has hovered around these prices, and considering the quick astronomical growth of phones from Apple, Samsung and even Motorola, these phones look like an even better value for the money today.

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Unlike proper flagship phones, affordable flagship phones usually have to make a compromise or two to achieve the lower price. It's up to you to decide which things you're comfortable missing out on and which are must-haves for you.

How to buy the best budget flagship phone for you


Generally, smartphones have four main aspects:
  • Build quality
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Battery life

Even the best mid range phones can't deliver top results in all four, so you have to prioritize. If you take a ton of photos, then go for the mid range phone with the best camera. If you game on your phone a lot or use heavy apps, performance and battery life is what you should focus on. And if you don't use your phone much but want something that looks and feels nice then go for the fanciest one. 

No matter what your preference is, here is what you can expect to find in a mid range phone:

What should I look for in a mid range smartphone?


Here are some common specs for mid-range phones:
  • Full HD+ 1080p OLED display
  • 120Hz screen refresh rate
  • A fresh and powerful processor 
  • 6-8 GB of RAM
  • 128-256GB of storage
  • 4500-5000mAh battery
  • At least two rear cameras (not counting depth sensors)

If your mid range phone of choice delivers more than these specs than you're getting excellent value..

Best affordable flagship phones, a summarized list:


Samsung Galaxy A53 5G


Samsung's refresh of the Galaxy A52 takes the model even closer to its flagship cousins but keeps the price about half of theirs. The design and feel of the Galaxy A52 5G is very close to that of its predecessor and its capabilities are not far behind the Galaxy S22. You still get a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display, four cameras on the back, including macro lens and ultra-wide lenses and the distinct hole for the front-facing camera. 
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
9.0

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G


The Good

  • Great 120Hz screen
  • Dual speakers do a great job
  • Cameras produce solid image and video quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Clean design
  • Has microSD expandable storage

The Bad

  • Disappointing haptics
  • Slow fingerprint reader
  • No more headphone jack
  • Gaming experience is a bit of a let down
The battery of the A53 5G exceeds expectations with a 5,000mAh capacity and the phone even supports 25W super-fast charging. For its price, the Galaxy A53 5G is undoubtedly the best affordable flagship phone from Samsung.


Apple iPhone SE (2022)


Apple just released its newest version of the iPhone SE. Aesthetically, it is basically the same as its predecessor from two years ago. What's different is on the inside. The new 3rd Gen iPhone SE rocks a very powerful Apple A15 processor with 4GB of RAM. The phone has also received a slight bump in battery, which combined with its newer more efficient chip means the battery life should be much better than before. 
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
8.0

Apple iPhone SE (2022)


The Good

  • Affordable price
  • Light, thin and compact
  • iPhone with a button classic vibe
  • 5G connectivity with C-band support
  • Super fast processor
  • Camera is great for day shots, video

The Bad

  • Feels dated
  • LCD screen instead of AMOLED
  • Screen feels too small for a modern phone
  • Battery life is improved, but still below average
  • Camera lacks night mode, has no ultra-wide lens
  • Only 64GB base storage
If you are a fan of this now nostalgic-looking iPhone design with a physical home button, then this phone is your best bet. It is also pretty cheap, which makes it an even easier choice. 


Apple iPhone 11


When the iPhone 13 generation was released, the iPhone 11 wasn't discontinued but instead got a price reduction. That makes it a great mid range option for those looking to join Apple's ecosystem or people that have held onto their old iPhones for a while. It has Apple's secure and convenient Face ID, performance smoother than most other phones on this list and decent battery life. All of this makes the aging iPhone 11 one of the best budget flagship phones out there.
Apple iPhone 11
8.5

Apple iPhone 11


The Good

  • Snappy performance
  • Versatile dual-camera setup with Night Mode
  • Speakers are LOUD
  • Cool design and colors
  • Face ID is fast and reliable
  • Affordable pricing

The Bad

  • Display leaves a lot to be desired
The only thing you'll be missing is the OLED screen of most phones on this list. If your budget is capped at $500 and you have to be on iOS, the iPhone 11 is the clear choice.


OnePlus 8T


The OnePlus 8T has a 120Hz display which is great and it packs some nice specs for the price. Currently, the 8T can be purchased for just $499 from the OnePlus store. The phone has a very good quad camera system capable to produce some nice pictures. The battery is 4,500mAh which is more than enough to get you through the day. The 8T supports 65W fast wired charging, which is pretty cool.
OnePlus 8T
9.0

OnePlus 8T


The Good

  • Fastest charging on a mainstream phone
  • Industry-leading display quality
  • Great value for the money
  • Impressively fast and smooth performance
  • First non-Google phone with Android 11
  • Dual SIM

The Bad

  • Camera still a bit behind the very best
  • No telephoto zoom lens
  • Tends to get warm with intense apps and games
  • No wireless charging
  • No IP water protection rating

The 8T remains true to the OnePlus fundamentals: extremely zippy performance thanks to the Snapdragon 865 chip under the hood, the clean, clutter-free experience and the improved camera quality. Add to that its flagship-grade design and 5G connectivity, and the OnePlus remains the best option for most buyers that don't want to spend $800+ on a flagship and look for the best budget flagship phones.


Google Pixel 5a


Google Pixel 5a
8.9

Google Pixel 5a


The Good

  • Big battery can last you 2 days between charges
  • Clean software
  • 3 years of software updates (updates arrive right after release too)
  • Excellent camera
  • Affordable price

The Bad

  • Annoying camera bugs
  • 60Hz screen, no fast refresh rate
  • Same Snapdragon 765G chip as last year, slower than some rivals
  • Boring design
  • No expandable storage, No wireless charging (if you care)
  • Only available in US and Japan, in the US you cannot purchase it at a carrier
This year's budget Pixel is an even better deal than the Pixel 4a. The one-size-one-color-fits all Pixel 5a comes at just $449 and it manages to outdo most other mid-range phones when it comes to picture quality with its 12.2MP dual camera setup.
Google makes a few compromises to get the 5a to be so affordable: first and foremost the 4a is made of plastic and doesn't quite have the solid build quality of a modern flagship. The chip also isn't as powerful as the ones some of the other phones here have. At least the phone looks nice with its hole-punch OLED display. Unfortunately there is no high refresh rate here, but at least you get a great battery life with the Pixel 5a. It is still among the best affordable flagship phones though.

Besides the Google Camera magic this phone relies on to make its mark, the overall software support is another ace up its sleeve. You'll get at least 3 years of software updates and a bunch of features exclusive to Google's own phones.


Motorola Edge (2021)



Once again, Motorola is proving that it can cram a bunch of premium features in a phone and still sell it at an affordable price. This phone definitely deserves to be on any "affordable flagship" list, especially now that its successor is announced, and its price is plummeting. For starters, it has Qualcomm's Snapdragon 778G chip, something no other Android phone on the list can brag about. The chip is meant to give you all the FPS you can get and show them on the phone's 144Hz display. Yes, the display is an LCD one, probably the phone's biggest drawback. 
Motorola Edge (2021)

Motorola Edge (2021)


View full specs
And if you think that display will drain the battery rather quickly, think again. The Motorola Edge (2021) comes with a 5,000mAh battery, more than enough to get you through many hours of gaming, making it one of the best affordable flagship phones out there.

The camera array is nothing to frown upon, either. The main sensor is a 108MP just like on last year's Motorola Edge Plus, and is paired with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle one and a depth sensor mostly for numbers' sake.



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