Most phone buyers would be delighted with last and best models, if it were not for budgetary constraints, the lack of convincing new features or the fact that their daily driver only works enough to not require replacement. Also, new Android and iOS flagships tend to get more expensive every year with minor performance improvements, at least on the surface. With rapidly rising global inflation, there’s even more reason to look to older models that can still offer a good mix of features and performance without breaking your wallet.
You won’t get the latest SoCs, camera technology, and a few other bells and whistles with our great price picks, however, these phones are capable of handling pretty much everything you have to offer them. From social networking applications to content consumption and connectivity, photo/video shooting and gaming, these phones are only slightly behind in terms of battery life and charging speeds, as phone manufacturers can still offer noticeable improvements in these areas by installing more efficient chips. and cram big batteries into new devices.
You also need to manage expectations when it comes to software support. While these phones won’t become obsolete for at least a few years, they will eventually run out of software and security updates faster due to the fact that they just have old hardware. However, that’s a future issue with our great options that offer ample performance and features right now for less than $500.
- Best features dollar for dollar
- Affordable 5G
- Budget pixel, but…
- mid-range samsung
- Best affordable iPhone
Best features dollar for dollar
Redmi Note 10 Pro was already very good value when it came out in 2021 and now it looks even more attractive to $238. In many key areas, this phone matches or outperforms other midrange and flagship devices that cost significantly more.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro will amaze you with its huge, bright and sleek 6.67-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, octa-core Snapdragon 732G SoC coupled with 6GB/128GB expandable microSD storage and 108MP quad camera, including capable macro photography. There is no 5G connectivity, but for many this may be a minor issue.
Xiaomi has also crammed a massive 5020mAh battery into a dust- and splash-resistant body, and added niceties like a 3.5mm jack and an IR blaster so you can use this Redmi as a universal remote control.
The slightly bloated Xiaomi MIUI 12 Android skin doesn’t shine like the hardware it runs on, but its iOS-inspired look and feel is enhanced with unique features like Super Wallpapers, advanced battery saver mode, and intuitive gestures. As a mid-range Android phone that still offers a great price, the Redmi Note 10 Pro deserves a look.
Affordable 5G, OnePlus fans rejoice
The OnePlus Nord line has garnered more interest from the company’s mainstream audience than its latest flagship offerings, simply because the mid-range series delivers better value for money. Although $385 Nord 2 5G can’t compete with Xiaomi above in terms of sheer specs and price, it supports 5G and packs a solid list of features in a smarter, more reasonably sized body.
The Nord 2’s 6.43-inch AMOLED display refreshes at 90Hz for optimal performance and efficiency. Its 8-core MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC is a powerful platform paired with 6GB or 128GB of non-expandable storage. The triple camera system on the back uses the same 50-megapixel Sony IMX 766 sensor in the main lens as on the back. One Plus 9 Pro flagship, and a 32-megapixel selfie camera in a punch-hole display for your social needs.
You also get a more attractive optical under-display fingerprint sensor, as opposed to side-mounted devices that are more common in this segment, including Xiaomi. Another highlight of the Nord 2 is a long-lasting 4500mAh battery with 65W charging support for fast, fast recharging.
Minor shortcomings of the Nord include the lack of a headphone jack and OxygenOS, which is slowly becoming more like Samsung and Oppo than OnePlus. However, this fading originality only annoys hardcore OnePlus fans and won’t be a problem for most casual users, who will find the Nord software more than adequate. This phone will be officially supported until Android 13 and is expected to receive security updates until mid-2024.
Solid, but the Pixel 6a is just around the corner
Google’s phone ambitions took a big and bold leap with the advent of Pixel 6 as well as 6 pro, making the Pixel 5a the company’s latest pixel to sport a discreet Nexus-inspired stylish look. While the aesthetics lack excitement, the Pixel 5a 5G excels in almost every other area with an enticing design. $379.
You might want to save that money, given that this phone’s successor, the Pixel 6a, is coming out very soon and at the same price. However, in the current situation, the Pixel 5a 5G is the only affordable Google phone that comes with stock Android, 5G connectivity (sub-6GHz only), superior camera performance, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
There’s also the question of what small (or big) annoyances the Pixel 6a might have. Given that the Pixel 6/6 Pro has been plagued with numerous issues since its release, mostly related to Google’s move from Qualcomm’s SoC to its own Tensor chip, the Pixel 5a with its Snapdragon 765G 5G and 6GB/128GB of storage and storage is a relatively safe buy. , which received universally positive reviews for its long battery life, strong performance, excellent value for money and excellent cameras.
The Pixel 5a’s 6.45-inch OLED display is crisp and bright, though it refreshes at a slower 60Hz rate (like the upcoming Pixel 6a). However, it also has a larger battery than its successor and has an all-metal construction – as opposed to the 6a’s plastic back – for a more premium feel.
With at least 3 years of software and security support, the Pixel 5a 5G is guaranteed to receive official updates until August 2024. While not an industry leader, getting two more years of coverage for an affordable Pixel doesn’t seem like a bad deal, especially when the rest of the phone leaves little room for complaint.
Possibly Samsung’s best mid-ranger.
Samsung has introduced a Fan Edition for its S-series flagships as a way to regain some of the loyalty and interest it has lost from its most hardcore flagship audience. With the Model S following that year’s iPhone, the more affordable FE variant quickly became a better value for money phone. Case in point: The 2020 Galaxy S20 FE 5G is currently on sale on Amazon for $499 (or $424 for non-5G version).
Samsung is newer Galaxy S21FE or average level A53 5G While this may seem like the best buy at first, they are more expensive and make a slightly nasty change to the successful S20 FE formula. For example, the S21 FE lacks microSD expansion, while the A53 uses an Exynos 1280 chip known for its slow performance.
The Snapdragon 865 in the S20 FE remains a powerful SoC, and the rest of the phone is littered with flagship components including 120Hz FHD AMOLED, 6GB/128GB microSD expandable storage, a capable triple camera system, IP68 dust resistance. water resistance, an under-display fingerprint sensor and a capacious 4500 mAh battery.
There’s also wireless and reverse wireless charging, a feature you’re unlikely to find on a phone in this price range. Combine that with Samsung’s feature-rich Android experience and decent software support including 3 years of OS updates (probably up to Android 13 for the S20 FE) plus 4 years of security patches and you have an attractive rugged Android phone. until at least 2024.
Best affordable iPhone
The iPhone 11 isn’t just a smart upgrade for those still holding on to their aging (and already obsolete) iPhone 6s and 7 series. It’s also a relatively affordable entry point for those who want to try iOS on a big display without a 5G connection.
Despite using an older A13 Bionic chip, iPhone 11 for $499 overall still better and therefore more expensive than $430 iPhone SE-2022which simply requires too much sacrifice in terms of an outdated, low-res display and form factor for its powerful internals.
While the 6.1-inch LCD on the iPhone 11 can’t compete with Android’s high refresh rate OLED displays, it’s still a decent experience for an iPhone where users generally care more about Apple’s ecosystem than pixel count and performance. . While you’re unlikely to notice performance hiccups with just 4GB of RAM, the 64GB of storage in the $499 base model will feel mean once photos and videos start to pile up from the phone’s 12-megapixel dual camera setup.
Luckily, Apple has been a bit more generous in terms of battery capacity and packed a larger unit into this model (even larger than the previous model). iphone 12), which means you’ll charge it less frequently, either through 18W wired charging or slower Qi wireless charging. It’s also the only phone on this list that has the most value in terms of software and security. Apple’s typical six-year support means you can expect OS updates through 2025, making it the best iPhone under $500.
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