The best phones under $500 in 2024

The best phones under $500 in 2024
While flagship phones are getting more expensive every year, more and more people are looking for a cheaper way to get a good smartphone. A $500 budget used to be more than enough to buy a cutting-edge device, but is that still true, especially considering the ricing prices in the tech industry? What do manufacturers sacrifice in order to make a quality phone for half the price of their high-end flagship? This is what we’re going to find out on this list of the best phones under $500.

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These are the best phones under $500

iPhone SE (3rd gen)

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

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

The iPhone SE 3rd gen offers high-end performance at a competitive price. It's powered by Apple's A15 Bionic, which is the same silicon that powers the whole iPhone 13 lineup. The phone is also compact and easy to carry, which is something we need to appreciate in the era of gigantic smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy A54

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

The Good

  • Nice and clean design styling
  • Improved image quality
  • Solid battery life
  • Has a microSD card slot
  • Improved haptics

The Bad

  • Performance occasionally feels stuttery
  • Video stabilization could be improved
  • No wireless charging
We move on to a much newer phone, the Galaxy A54, which was released very recently. This phone has a great 120Hz refresh rate screen and a nice camera setup. The Galaxy A54 rocks an Exynos 1380 processor, which isn’t a bad chip at all, as it offers plenty of speed. This phone also offers great software experience and a nice design. 

Other pros of the Galaxy A54 include its amazing battery life and good build quality. This is a great phone for all types of people, especially the ones who don't want to change their phone every two years. At a price of $449 the Galaxy A54 is definitely a safe choice. 

Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a

The Good

  • Good value for money
  • Stock Android with tons of AI/ML-powered software features
  • Display finally has a 90Hz refresh rate
  • Compact and user-friendly size
  • Face Unlock on board
  • Wireless charging
  • Capable camera with lots of features

The Bad

  • More expensive than its predecessor
  • Some slight build quality issues
  • Only a single 128GB storage option
  • Uninspiring digital zoom
  • Charges slowly
Google’s new Pixel could become one of the best mid-range phones out there. It has an OLED, 6.1-inch display with an FHD+ resolution. Its refresh rate is only 90Hz, but this isn’t very concerning, as its clean Android software should be fluid enough. It also rocks the processor of its more premium Pixel cousins, the Google Tensor G2 chip. The Pixel 7a has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Like every Pixel phone, this one should be great in the camera department too. It has a dual-camera system consisting of a 64MP main shooter and a 13MP ultrawide one. The new Pixel 7a has a 4,385mAh battery, which should get you trough the day with ease. This phone's fingerprint scanner is located under the display, which is welcome, considering the ones on some phones in this price range are still located on their side. You can count on receiving upcoming Android software first and for years to come, which is very important.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2023

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2023)

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2023)

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At $399.99, the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2023 is a real bargain. The phone delivers solid mid-range performance and takes decent-looking photos. Its biggest feature is, of course, its built-in stylus, which you can use for faster note-taking and even as a paintbrush.

Moreover, retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and even Motorola itself, love to sell the Moto G Stylus 5G 2023 at a sweet discount, so you can easily find an awesome deal on this bad boy, scoring a truly great phone for less.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2023 offers a lot at a lower price, and that's why it's among the best phones under $500 you can buy right now.

TCL 20 Pro 5G

TCL 20 Pro 5G

TCL 20 Pro 5G

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This phone impresses with its good-looking and modern design and its nice specs for the price. It has a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with an FHD+ resolution. Unfortunately, it is a 60Hz panel, so you don't get a high refresh rate with this phone. Still, it should offer plenty of speed thanks to its fast Snapdragon 750G processor. The TCL 20 Pro 5G offers plenty memory. The phone comes with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of expandable storage. This phone has an under-display fingerprint scanner, which is very cool to see considering its price point.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G has a 48MP quad-camera system capable of shooting a 4K 30fps video. A 4,500mAh battery keeps the light on, with the phone supporting 18W fast wired charging and 15W fast wireless charging. The TCL 20 Pro 5G not only has a microSD card slot, but also a 3.5mm headphone jack, which could make it very appealing to audio enthusiasts. 

$500 phones finally offer enough

Why buy a $1000 flagship phone when you can buy a great phone for half this price? Well, it all depends on what you're looking for, but the truth is that you don’t need to spend all of that money to have a device that will last. The phones under $500 on this list will continue being great for years to come, and some are so good that they are even a threat to their more expensive siblings in terms of sales. 

Companies like Samsung have started to give the good stuff to their mid-range phones too, which might be just another explanation for Android's decline in flagship sales. Motorola's game in this segment is also pretty strong, and its phones should definitely be considered when buying. Google's Pixel 7a is a phone that's very well thought out, and if it wasn't for its 90Hz screen, it would've been perfect. Well, there is a reason behind everything, but we customers should be happy - this is our time so spend less on much better. Hurray!

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