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The best mid-range phones to buy - updated August 2021

The best mid-range phones to buy - updated August 2021
Soon after the smartphone revolution began with the original iPhone, a wide range of similar devices appeared. This range only grew with time, creating a bunch of different price categories in the smartphone world. Mid-range phones are one of those categories. These devices try to bring the flagship experience at a lower price point, and these days they often succeed. There are plenty of excellent mid-range phones in the $400 to $600 price range, and you will find the best of them on this list.

Galaxy A52 5G — Samsung's great camera phone with a vivid display
OnePlus Nord 2 — a phone with modern design and fast performance at an affordable price
iPhone XR — Apple's cheapest big iPhone that has almost everything you need
Motorola Edge — an overall great smartphone with a nice display
TCL 20 Pro — TCL's 2021 mid-range proposition with a stand out design
Motorola G100 — a true performance champ at a decent price
Pixel 4a 5G — stock Android experience with great camera performance

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52

Samsung Galaxy A52

The Good

  • Beautiful, big, 90 Hz AMOLED screen
  • Good camera, OIS helps a lot
  • Stereo speakers sound good
  • Heyyy, headphone jack

The Bad

  • All around plastic
  • A bit bulky
  • Performance can have a few hiccups

Samsung’s A series has been really successful in the last couple of years, and this success speaks volumes when it comes to how good these phones are. The fresh Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is no exception to this rule. This phone has a modern design, a great 6.5-inch 120Hz AMOLED display with an FHD+ resolution, and an efficient Snapdragon 750G processor with 5G connectivity. The Galaxy A52 5G comes with either 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage. We know the widget above mentions different specs, but these are for the non-5G version.

Camera-wise this phone doesn’t disappoint, with its great quad-camera system with a 64MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide shooter. The front camera is a 32MP punch-hole unit that takes great selfies with lots of detail. No need to worry about battery life with this one, as its 4,500mAh battery with 25W fast wired charging will easily get you through the day.

Read more:  Samsung Galaxy A52 review

OnePlus Nord 2 

OnePlus Nord 2 5G

OnePlus Nord 2 5G

The Good

  • One of the faster phones in this price class
  • Designed like a flagship with a premium glass back
  • Epic charging speeds: full charge takes around 30 minutes
  • Big improvements to the camera
  • Solid battery life
  • Incredible value

The Bad

  • Tends to heat up with heavier use
  • No microSD card support, no IP water protection rating
  • No wireless charging
  • No headphone jack
  • Only 2 years of software updates (3 years of security updates)

This phone was just released recently, and our review is praising it for addressing the small weaknesses of its predecessor. OnePlus is serious about taking the mid-range market by storm. The new Nord 2 has a good 6.43-inch 90Hz AMOLED display with an FHD+ resolution. The camera setup is also improved, with the phone having a new 50MP main camera sensor.

You might be concerned about this phone being powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor... Rest assured, we think this chip suits the OnePlus Nord 2 quite well. The new phone comes with 5G connectivity and a 4,500mAh battery with flagship-class 65W fast wired charging. Other specs include a 32MP front camera and 8 or 12GB of RAM. The OnePlus Nord 2 might be one of the best phones Android enthusiasts can buy in 2021, making it a wise choice.

Read more:  OnePlus Nord 2 review

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

The Good

  • Very large display
  • Intelligent design and fresh colors
  • Industry-leading performance
  • Exceptional camera
  • Superb speakers
  • Excellent battery life

The Bad

  • There is no compact option
  • Screen resolution could be higher
  • Bundled charger is SLOW

Yes, you might be surprised to see an iPhone in a mid-range phones list, but hear me out. Even though this phone was never really in the mid-range segment, it has been almost three years since its release, and Apple still sells it like hotcakes. Wonder why? Well, this phone keeps on being a great iOS device to have, especially considering its price has dropped to $499.

The iPhone XR is almost identical to its newer successor, the iPhone 11. It has the same 6.1-inch LCD screen with an HD+ resolution, the same display bezels, size, and weight. What’s different is the fact that the iPhone XR is powered by a slightly older Apple A12 chip. Another difference is that it doesn’t have an ultrawide camera. This processor is still plenty fast, and with Apple’s software optimization, it will stay that way for years. Although it has a single 12MP camera, the iPhone XR is still competitive in this segment as well. So what’s not to like about the iPhone XR? After all, it is what a mid-range phone should be - a device with flagship-grade features and quality at an affordable price.

Read more:  Apple iPhone XR review

Motorola Edge

Motorola edge

Motorola edge

The Good

  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable to hold and operate with one hand
  • Good call quality and punchy speakers
  • Display curves can be used for game triggers and other tasks
  • Comes with headphone jack and official case
  • Good macro shots with the wide camera
  • Loud and clear stereo audio recording while shooting video

The Bad

  • The new MyUX interface lacks consistency, and feels like an afterthought
  • 'Fast' charging is rather slow
  • Erratic vibration motor
  • No water-resistance rating or wireless charging

The Motorola Edge is now a year old phone, and its successor will reportedly be announced soon. But that shouldn’t stop you from purchasing, as it is still a great phone which often sees major discounts. The Motorola Edge has a great 6.7-inch 90Hz OLED display. It is powered by a Snapdragon 765 processor which is 5G enabled. As for its memory, it has 6GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage.

Camera-wise the Edge isn’t bad either, packing a 64MP main sensor and a 16MP ultrawide one. The battery life of this phone is good too, so no worries there. If you want more power, you can always go for its sibling, the Motorola Edge+, which often sees discounts as well.

Read more:  Motorola Edge review

TCL 20 Pro 5G

TCL 20 Pro 5G

TCL 20 Pro 5G

View full specs

TCL recently released its new 20 series smartphone, and the high-end model is the 20 Pro 5G. The company has done a great job with this phone. It has a pretty design that stands out from the crowd and a nice 6.67-inch AMOLED display with an FHD+ resolution. It surprisingly also has a headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot. Yes, the screen is only 60Hz, but if you don’t care about refresh rates this is a pretty good mid-range phone.

The TCL 20 Pro 5G is powerful too, with its Snapdragon 750G processor coupled with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. This device has 5G connectivity and a 4,500mAh battery. The cameras aren’t bad either, with the 20 Pro 5G having a 48MP main camera and a 16MP ultrawide shooter. Like every TCL phone, this one’s price is pretty appealing, so you should definitely consider it.

Read more:  TCL 20 series released in the US

Motorola Moto G100

Motorola Moto G100

Motorola Moto G100

The Good

  • Great performance, fast and snappy
  • Decent main camera
  • Close to stock Android experience
  • Good battery life

The Bad

  • Bulky plastic design
  • Display brightness not great
  • Mono loudspeaker
  • Heating issues
  • Slow charging speeds

This Motorola device is pretty much everything one should expect from a good mid-range phone. The Moto G100 checks all the boxes, with its 6.7-inch 90Hz LCD display with FHD+ resolution, fast Snapdragon 870 processor, and a beefy 5,000mAh battery. Design-wise it isn’t bad either. This phone comes with 8 or 12GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage.

As for the camera department, the Moto G100 has a 64MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide shooter. It can shoot a video not only in 4K but also in 6K. It has two punch-hole-style front cameras, with one being a 16MP wide shooter and the other an 8MP ultrawide sensor. The Motorola Moto G100 is another excellent choice for your average Android enthusiast with its performance and clean software experience.

Read more:  Motorola Moto G100 review

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The Good

  • Top-notch still photo quality
  • Polished software and user experience
  • Lightweight design
  • Smooth performance
  • Excellent value
  • 5G support

The Bad

  • No waterproofing
  • Plasticky build

Google’s mid-range Pixel is now almost a year old, but it still holds its ground. It has an OLED, 6.2-inch display with an FHD+ resolution. Its refresh rate is only 60Hz, but this isn’t very concerning, as its clean Android software is fluid enough. This fact is helped by its fast and efficient Snapdragon 765G processor, coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Like every Pixel phone, this one performs exceptionally well in the camera department too. It has a dual-camera system consisting of a 12MP main shooter and a 16MP ultrawide one. The front camera is an 8MP punch-hole unit. The Pixel 4a 5G’s biggest weakness is its rather average battery life. This is thanks to its modest-sized 3,885mAh battery. Also, its fingerprint scanner is located on the back, which might’ve been acceptable in 2018 mid-range phones, but not anymore. At least you can count on receiving upcoming Android software first and for years to come.

Read more:  Google Pixel 4a 5G review

In conclusion

The day has come when there is no need to spend all that extra money on a flagship phone. Mid-range phones have become more than enough for almost everyone's needs. The slowing innovation in smartphones has enabled affordable phones to catch up to their premium cousins, and that’s great news for any buyer. Of course, if you wanna have the best of the best, you can always go for a flagship device, but at least now you know the truth - you don’t really need to.

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