The best mid-range phones to buy in 2024

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The best mid-range phones to buy in 2024
Mid-range phones have become increasingly popular and more impressive throughout the last half of the decade. The main objective of a mid-ranger is to offer premium feel and performance for a price that is considerably lower than that of the current flagship options on the market.

Now, of course, price is a very subjective topic, but if we take a look at the high-end and then the best budget phones, we can assume the middle range fits somewhere between the $400 and $700 mark. So, keeping that in mind, here are our top contenders for the best mid-range phones in 2024.

Keep in mind that, since we are in the beginning of the year, all of the models below are from last year, but we will be updating this list whenever a great new mid-ranger comes along, so make sure you come back once in a while to see which models have made it here.

Which is the best mid-range on the market?


Here is our list:

  • Pixel 8a — Get the latest AI features for $500
  • Galaxy A35 5G — Long software support and a great camera system for a really low price
  • iPhone 13 — The best balance between price and user experience from an Apple phone right now
  • OnePlus 12R — An absolute powerhouse that can easily be mistaken for a flagship
  • Motorola Edge (2024) — Awesome display and thin formfactor
  • Nothing Phone (2) — Most aesthetically unique mid-range phone on the market

Pixel 8a

Get the latest AI features for $500
Google Pixel 8a
What we like
  • Bright and vivid screen
  • Pixel 8-like performance, seven years of software support
  • Affordable
What we don't like
  • Big bezels around the screen
  • Slow charging speeds
6.5
PhoneArena Rating
6.1
Price Class Average
Battery Life
5.8
6.6
Photo Quality
6.4
6.6
Video Quality
5.4
5.4
Charging
5
6.9
Performance Peak
4.2
3.4
Performance Daily
6
5.5
Display Quality
7
7.4
Design
6
6.4
Wireless Charging
4
5.4
Biometrics
7
6.8
Audio
6
6
Software
10
5.3
Why the score?
This device scores 6.2% better than the average for this price class, which includes devices like the Motorola Edge (2024), Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) and Motorola Edge 50 Fusion
User Score
Be the first to review this phone
We may receive a small affiliate commission if you purchase from these offers.

The Google Pixel 8a shines with its camera system, especially considering its mid-range price tag of $499. It boasts a 64MP main camera and a 13MP ultrawide camera, capturing crisp and detailed photos.

The phone features a vivid 6.1-inch OLED display with a high peak brightness of 2,000 nits, ensuring excellent clarity even in bright sunlight. We should mention that the bezels are a bit thick for 2024, but you kind of get used to them with time.

Under the hood, the Google Tensor G3 processor delivers smooth performance, allowing you to tackle everyday tasks and even some light gaming without issues. You also get 8GB of fast LPDDR5 RAM and between 128GB or 256GB storage.

The truly nice thing about the Pixel 8a is that it comes with the new AI assistant called Gemini. It wakes up with a long press of the power button, voice commands ("Hey, Google" or "Ok, Google"), and seems to work similarly to Google Assistant. However, it will likely receive features such as composing and sending emails/texts, transcribing meetings, as well as smart home appliance control.

Battery life is decent, but charging speeds are on the slower side compared to some competitors like the OnePlus 12R or the Motorola Edge (2024).

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Samsung Galaxy A35 5G

Samsung's great camera handset with a vivid display
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G
What we like
  • Awesome camera performance for the price
  • Power-efficient with long battery life
  • Enjoyable display and speakers combo
What we don't like
  • Slow fingerprint reader
  • UI stutters and lag
  • Chipset performance is mediocre
5.4
PhoneArena Rating
5.6
Price Class Average
Battery Life
6.2
6.5
Photo Quality
6.3
6.1
Video Quality
5.2
5.1
Charging
5.9
6.5
Performance Peak
2.4
2.4
Performance Daily
5.1
5.1
Display Quality
7
7.5
Design
4
5.5
Wireless Charging
0
6.3
Biometrics
6
6.3
Audio
5
5.5
Software
6
4.5
Why the score?
This device scores 3.6% worse than the average for this price class, which includes devices like the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2024), Motorola Edge 50 Fusion and Nothing Phone (2a)
User Score
Be the first to review this phone
We may receive a small affiliate commission if you purchase from these offers.

This year Samsung decided to not offer the better specced Galaxy A55 5G midranger in the US market, so we are left with the more budget-friendly Galaxy A35 5G instead.

Nevertheless, we are still looking at quite to good phone for the starting price of $400. For that money, you get a capable main camera, great battery life thanks to a 5,000 mAh battery and the power-efficient Exynos 1380 chipset, as well as a stellar display.

Apple iPhone 13

The best balance between price and user experience from an Apple phone right now

The base 128GB storage version of the iPhone 13 will cost you $599 brand new at Apple right now, and it is arguably one of the best bargain there has ever been for an iPhone. Why do we say that? Because the iPhone 13 is regarded as one of the best generations, thanks to its massive jump in battery life that continues to be impressive and even beat (in some cases) newer generations.

There is also the absolute solid camera performance, especially when it comes to video, as well as the (still) very powerful A15 Bionic, which will handle games much better than most of the other phones on this list. All in all this is a no-brainer choice if you are coming from an older iPhone but don't want to spend massive amounts of cash for a new one.

The $599 price Apple is asking is pretty good, but we would recommend you find yourself a second hand iPhone 13 that is in good condition. That way you can save even more, and contribute to slowing down the e-waste that accumulates from mobile phones.

Read more: Apple iPhone 13 review

OnePlus 12R

An absolute powerhouse that can easily be mistaken for a flagship
OnePlus 12R
What we like
  • Great battery life
  • Gorgeous display that stands out
  • All the performance you will need
What we don't like
  • Short software support window
  • No wireless charging
  • No telephoto camera
6.7
PhoneArena Rating
6.1
Price Class Average
Battery Life
8.1
6.6
Photo Quality
6.7
6.6
Video Quality
5.4
5.4
Charging
9.4
6.9
Performance Peak
5.5
3.4
Performance Daily
6.4
5.5
Display Quality
7
7.4
Design
7
6.4
Wireless Charging
0
5.4
Biometrics
8
6.8
Audio
7
6
Software
5
5.3
Why the score?
This device scores 9% better than the average for this price class, which includes devices like the Motorola Edge (2024), Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) and Motorola Edge 50 Fusion
User Score
Be the first to review this phone
We may receive a small affiliate commission if you purchase from these offers.

The OnePlus 12R boasts a large and gorgeous 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. This means the display is not only big and beautiful, but also super smooth for gaming and scrolling.

To help with the smooth experience, OnePlus has equipped its latest mid-range phone with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which is a flagship-level processor. This ensures the phone can handle even the most demanding tasks with ease.

Another highlight of the OnePlus 12R is its massive 5,500mAh battery. This battery can easily last a full day on a single charge, taking the 7th place in our battery life tests, according to which the phone can last about 8 hours of regular use. You also get 100W wired charging, so you can quickly get back up and running when you do need to recharge.

In summary, the OnePlus 12R offers a large, beautiful display, a powerful processor, a long-lasting battery, and super fast charging, all at a very competitive price point of $500. However, it's important to consider that it skimp on the camera department by lacking a telephoto lens and also has a shorter software support window of only 3 years.


Motorola Edge (2024)

Awesome display and thin formfactor

The Motorola Edge (2024) is a mid-range phone that recently launched in the US. It boasts a large 6.6-inch P-OLED display, a decent Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 processor, and a capable camera system with a 50MP main sensor and a 13MP ultrawide sensor.

The phone excels in battery life with its long-lasting 5,000mAh battery that supports both speedy 68W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. That said, its processor and camera system are not the best at this price range. So, if these are your top priorities, you might want to consider exploring other options like the OnePlus 12R or Pixel 8a.

The Motorola Edge (2024) will cost you $549 for a 256GB storage variant.


Nothing Phone (2)

Most unique mid-range phone
Nothing Phone (2)
What we like
  • Unique, quirky, interesting design
  • Good display and performance at great price point
  • Nothing OS offers great homescreen customization
What we don't like
  • Speakers are a bit tinny
  • The UI needs more reskinning to keep the feel consistent throughout phone
  • Camera improvements are noted, but it still needs work
6.4
PhoneArena Rating
6.4
Price Class Average
Battery Life
6.5
7
Photo Quality
6.9
6.7
Video Quality
5.8
5.7
Charging
7.6
7
Performance Peak
4.3
4.2
Performance Daily
6
5.9
Display Quality
8
7.6
Design
7
6.8
Wireless Charging
5.9
5.6
Biometrics
7
6.9
Audio
6
6.6
Software
5
6.1
Why the score?
This device scores average for this price class, which includes devices like the Motorola Edge (2024), OnePlus 12R and Google Pixel 8a
User Score
Be the first to review this phone

Nothing made a solid entrance with its Nothing Phone (1) last year, so the company decided to stick to its guns and play it safe with the Nothing Phone (2). Its higher price was a bit of a controversial topic because of the rather hefty increase in price (from $299 to $599), but in return the second generation came with a much more capable chipset, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

The company also doubled down on the iconic Glyph system that the Nothing Phone is so well known for, making it more customizable by adding more LED lights. Now users can track things like a timer or delivery with one of the lights functioning as a progress bar, or assign a very specific notification to be presented via one of the Glyph LEDs on the back.

The third part that makes the Nothing Phone (2) stand out from other mid-rangers is its software support. Nothing has promised 3 years of major OS updates and 4 years of security patches. Nothing OS, which is what the Nothing Phones run on, is almost as unique as the phone's hardware, and it is bound to improve much more in the coming years given how early in its development it still is.


How to choose the best mid-range phone?

Even though they try to steal the thunder from the more premium flagship models, mid-range phones still need to make some sacrifices in order to achieve the lower price tags they come with. In other words, there usually is some areas that they are best at and others that have room for improvement, so you would have to really pinpoint what you want from your new phone.

If you're looking for the best battery life in a mid-ranger


If battery life is the most important thing for you, you may want to think about the OnePlus 12R. In our extensive battery tests, the phone fares extremely well compared to the other handsets in the list.

Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 8a13h 53 min
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G14h 40 min
Apple iPhone 1313h 43 min
OnePlus 12R15h 41 min
Nothing Phone(2a)13h 33 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 8a8h 34 min
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G8h 15 min
Apple iPhone 138h 15 min
OnePlus 12R12h 35 min
Nothing Phone(2a)10h 5 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel 8a7h 16 min
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G9h 55 min
Apple iPhone 137h 28 min
OnePlus 12R13h 37 min
Nothing Phone(2a)8h 47 min

If camera quality is your thing


Pixels are really popular with their incredible image processing software and the fact that these devices are rarely challenged by lighting conditions. If you're looking for a great camera, going for the Pixel 8a will likely leave you pretty happy. Alternatively, the iPhone 13 or the Galaxy A35 5G are also great for camera quality, with the former capable of great video quality too.

If you want to play games


A good gaming experience on a smartphone is determined by three main aspects: battery life, display, performance. Although none of the handsets above are dedicated gaming phones, you can still enjoy nice gaming sessions on some of them. One such example is the OnePlus 12R, given the fact that it has a very powerful and fast chipset and any game you'd like to play on it is bound to run smoothly.

Here are the performance benchmark results for the phones we have tested:

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Google Pixel 8a1621
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G1027
Apple iPhone 132240
OnePlus 12R1975
Nothing Phone(2a)1132
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Google Pixel 8a4277
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G2937
Apple iPhone 135213
OnePlus 12R5051
Nothing Phone(2a)2579
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Google Pixel 8a2419
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G811
Apple iPhone 132357
OnePlus 12R3702
Nothing Phone(2a)1154
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Google Pixel 8a1624
Samsung Galaxy A35 5G807
Apple iPhone 131712
OnePlus 12R2464
Nothing Phone(2a)1148

If you're looking for solid audio performance


Your best bets are either the OnePlus 12R or the iPhone 13. Both phones offer a great audio experience with some umph and lots of richness to the sound. The Pixel 8a is not bad either, but the Samsung is lagging behind in this segment.

What software support do mid-range phones get?


It depends on the maker. For example, Apple devices get around 6-7 years of software updates. As for the Android phones, the Galaxy A35 5G gets four years of OS updates and five years of security patches, the same as the OnePlus 12R. Pixel 8a, on the other hand, gets 7 years of updates, making it the best option on the Android side as far as software support goes.

In conclusion


All the mid-rangers we talked about above are great phones and choices. No matter which one you go for, it would offer you a pleasant user experience. The question is which one fits your needs and tastes more? Only you can answer that question.

Best way to start is by figuring out how much cash you are willing to spend on a so-called "mid-range" phone. If you know your budget, then all that is left is to weigh in your personal pros and cons for each device. Are you looking for long battery life? Or maybe it is maximum performance?

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