Most attention-grabbing Telephones Beneath $500 for 2023: The total Facets You Need

The ultimate phones under $500 in actuality don’t sacrifice unparalleled in comparability to gadgets with unparalleled increased model tags. Even greater, there is hundreds of competition in this midrange space, making phones in this model fluctuate the first it’s seemingly you’ll perchance presumably also just restful possess if it’s seemingly you’ll perchance presumably presumably be ready to enhance or attempting to rep a reward. These phones on the total model between $400 and $500 while offering aspects esteem high-refresh-rate screens, 5G and images processing instrument. Prepare for some tradeoffs equivalent to decrease-quality cameras or an older processor. 

The ultimate phones under $500 could also just hit most of the aspects to your checklist. Searching out for to rep a broad 6.5-toddle hide? A amount of these phones have that, or there are also smaller displays if that is your need. Need a colossal digital camera? Yow will stumble on that in most of these picks. Most of these phones don’t skimp on instrument updates either, with their makers promising at minimum three years of safety updates.

There are some compromises made to take care of charges low, and every company takes a brand unusual angle to acquire these cuts less noticeable. Apple’s iPhone SE and Google’s Pixel 6A, for instance, have a smaller hide and older digital camera setup, yet encompass unusual processors and instrument from these firms. Samsung’s Galaxy A53 has a broad hide and impressive battery lifestyles, even though it runs on a less extremely efficient processor than the Galaxy S22. And the Moto G Stylus 5G takes nice footage, offers a roomy 256GB of space and throws in a stylus, nonetheless Motorola does no longer present instrument toughen for as long as its opponents.

Photography and video in particular are areas the save the phones in this model bracket take a noticeable hit in comparability to their extra pricey counterparts. However, photo-processing instrument could also just restful help pick up just some of the slack. For instance, while the iPhone SE has a single 12-megapixel digital camera that does no longer toughen night images, its A15 Bionic chip does allow for Apple’s Deep Fusion processing. It be a identical mission for the Pixel 6A, which makes use of a 12-megapixel major digital camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, yet can reinforce these footage with processing powered by the phone’s Tensor chip.

It’s seemingly you’ll possess the pros and cons of each of these phones below, with extra dinky print on hand in our corpulent opinions.

Most attention-grabbing phones under $500


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Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Pixel 6A replaces the Pixel 5A because the $449 funds-pleasant model of its flagship phone. CNET’s Lisa Eadicicco known because it the “handiest Android phone under $500” in her Pixel 6A evaluate, calling out the map in which it keeps the identical Tensor chip viewed within the $599 Pixel 6 and hundreds of its aspects.

The phone is slightly smaller than the Pixel 6, that contains a 6.1-toddle OLED indicate and a refresh rate of 60Hz. And it has a identical digital camera to the Pixel 5A, along side a 12.2-megapixel major digital camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera. But by along side the Tensor chip, footage can have the good thing about its Valid Tone pores and skin tone feature, Face Unblur, Evening Look for darker images and the Magic Eraser for eradicating undesirable ingredients from a photograph.

You are receiving model signals for Google Pixel 6a (128GB, Charcoal)


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Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy A53 entails hundreds of the handiest aspects viewed within the Galaxy S22 line, with just a few tradeoffs to hit that decrease model. The phone entails a 6.5-toddle AMOLED hide with a 2,400×1,080-pixel option, 5G toughen and an enduring 5,000-mAh battery. The phone also comes with a 64-megapixel major digital camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, 5-megapixel macro digital camera and 5-megapixel depth digital camera.

But a particular high level for this phone is Samsung’s pledge to present four years of instrument toughen, to boot to shipping with Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI 4.1. However, Samsung accurate announced a brand unusual model of this phone, known as the Galaxy A54 5G, which we’re awaiting attempting out rapidly. 

Read our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G evaluate.


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Kevin Heinz/CNET

The $429 iPhone SE is a mixture of an older acquire with the most up-to-date smartphone aspects, along side Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and 5G toughen. It be also one among the few phones within the marketplace that entails a smaller, 4.7-toddle hide.

It be that throwback acquire, which continues the total form that Apple has feeble since 2014, which will seemingly be what you are fervent on or dislike most about this phone. In case you pick to have the next iPhone in this model fluctuate, you will seemingly be ready to also possess the iPhone 11, and earn a bigger hide and Face ID. But that phone does no longer encompass 5G connectivity.

The phone also most productive entails one 12-megapixel major digital camera, which does no longer toughen night mode. Most assorted phones in this roundup encompass just a few cameras and aspects esteem night mode, making the omission noticeable. However, footage acquire up for this by along side the Deep Fusion photo-processing methodology to enhance medium-to-low gentle footage, and Trim HDR4 processing for bettering coloration and difference. CNET Managing Editor Patrick Holland did rep that video shot in 4K option at 60 frames per 2d is namely right on the iPhone SE, nonetheless this can no longer encompass the Cinematic Mode viewed on the iPhone 13.

Read our Apple iPhone SE evaluate.

You are receiving model signals for Apple iPhone SE (64GB, Starlight)


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Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The $500 Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is one among the handiest stylus-equipped phones you will seemingly be ready to earn magnificent now, namely for the cost. You earn Android 12, 5G connectivity, a broad 6.8-toddle hide and a broad 256GB of storage. Sadly, the phone is most productive promised one instrument update and three years of safety updates, which is a unparalleled shorter timeline than the four years promised by Samsung for the Galaxy A53.

Yet if you pick to have a stylus-equipped phone, the subsequent step-up possibility is the severely extra pricey Galaxy S22 Ultra at $1,200.

Read our Moto G Stylus 5G evaluate.


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Angela Lang/CNET

With the start of the iPhone 14 assortment, Apple discontinued the $500 iPhone 11, nonetheless it’s restful widely on hand. It can perchance also just be just a few generations extinct, nonetheless this phone is restful higher than capable, handling gaming successfully and equipped with two amazing rear cameras. It is missing 5G toughen, which is an increasing form of bettering as wi-fi carriers make investments within the community, nonetheless the phone will work swish on LTE and Wi-Fi. The iPhone 11 also does no longer toughen MagSafe accessories, which had been launched alongside the iPhone 12.

Valid indicate that some areas could be promoting refurbished variations of the phone since Apple itself is no longer any longer promoting unusual iPhone 11 models. Most attention-grabbing Prefer does no longer carry any unlocked models, so it’s seemingly you’ll must affix a carrier conception by either AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Speed.

Read our Apple iPhone 11 evaluate.


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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The Nothing Phone 1 is technically on hand within the US for $299, nonetheless most productive by a beta program that is promoting an international model with restricted US carrier compatibility. Whereas the corporate does conception to formally start a future phone for the North American market, this phone is restful rate a undercover agent in international locations the save it’s on hand. It offers a placing acquire and respectable specs for the money, even at its increased £399 UK model (which converts to roughly AU$700).

The Nothing Phone 1 is embellished with LED strips on the help, every of which is called a “glyph,” that gentle up for signals and notifications. That acquire is accompanied by two 50-megapixel cameras: a huge angle and an ultrawide. Across the front is a 6.55-toddle 120Hz indicate with a 2,400-by-1,080-pixel option and a 16-megapixel selfie digital camera. The phone runs on a Snapdragon 778G Plus chip, with models that start with 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage.

All that amounts to a phone that compares successfully throughout the cost fluctuate, namely given its digital camera quality and appears. 

How we check phones

CNET assessments phones by the use of them everyday and evaluating them with competing phones to assess their model. We possess a diversity of components, such because the phone’s hide, cameras, battery lifestyles, instrument, efficiency, aspects and ease of use.

For low-priced phones, we acquire sure that these gadgets consistently work successfully when feeble in quite just a few instances. This entails many day-to-day actions esteem studying the news, paying attention to music, staring at videos, texting, playing video games and multitasking. 

We check phone cameras in quite just a few environments, taking check footage originate air within the daytime and midnight, and indoors in darker settings. We use cameras in appealing environments, esteem a reside efficiency or a sports actions game, and with a diversity of subject issues along side of us, objects and pets. We also check on hand digital camera settings, namely these which will most seemingly be rarer in these model ranges equivalent to Evening mode and Portrait mode.

These anecdotal phone experiences are also combined with benchmark assessments equivalent to Geekbench efficiency attempting out and battery attempting out. We video display battery lifestyles in two programs: By seeing how unparalleled energy is on the total left after a day of popular usage and by seeing how unparalleled battery is depleted throughout a extra intensive hour with the phone. For the latter check, we’ll compare how the phone’s battery holds up to a assortment of video calls, gaming, video streaming and net looking out.

Telephones under $500 FAQs

Are more cost-effective phones rate it?

For a broad selection of folk, a phone that charges less than $500 will seemingly have every thing you wish for verbal replace, images and leisure. In some cases, the phones even present just some of the most up-to-date aspects viewed on increased-live phones esteem soft 120Hz refresh charges and a pair of cameras.

However, you ought to be attentive to — and OK with — the boundaries a phone could also just have in comparison with its extra pricey counterparts. For instance, if you pick to have an iPhone with a bigger hide than the iPhone SE and iPhone 11’s screens, your subsequent handiest possibility is the $899 iPhone 14 Plus. That’s a long way outdoors the $500 model fluctuate, nonetheless you furthermore may perchance earn additional advantages esteem an improved digital camera. 

On the assorted hand, if you pick to have a phone with a bigger hide and if working Android is swish, it’s seemingly you’ll perchance presumably have a good deal of choices which will most seemingly be under $500.

Are you able to earn an valid digital camera on a more cost-effective phone?

Yes, it’s seemingly you’ll perchance presumably rep several more cost-effective phones that take colossal footage, whether or no longer it’s by the digital camera on hand on the tool, photo processing instrument on the phone or — is most most frequently the case — a aggregate of each. 

Apple’s iPhone SE entails the A15 Bionic chip, which helps Trim HDR4 processing and Apple’s Deep Fusion processing. Trim HDR4 helps with bettering coloration and difference, while the Deep Fusion processing helps with medium- to low-gentle environments. CNET Managing Editor Patrick Holland place collectively a sampling of footage and videos taken on the phone throughout his evaluate, which will seemingly be watched on the CNET Highlights YouTube channel. However, the iPhone SE also has most productive one 12-megapixel digital camera, and that digital camera does no longer toughen night images.

Over on the Android aspect, the Google Pixel 6A entails the corporate’s Tensor chip, which brings images aspects esteem Valid Tone for capturing extra right pores and skin tones, Face Unblur for fixing a particular person’s face and Magic Eraser for eradicating undesirable objects. But it indubitably has a 12-megapixel major digital camera paired up with a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, which takes right footage nonetheless is a clear step down from the 50-megapixel major digital camera viewed on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7.

Samsung’s Galaxy A53 is an energetic case: Iit has a prime 64-megapixel digital camera alongside a 12-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel macro digital camera and 5-megapixel depth digital camera. Whereas that is extra megapixels than the 50-megapixel major digital camera on the Galaxy S22, the image element is a step down with the S22 ready to form footage with greater difference and sharpness.

What makes these phones more cost-effective?

Each company takes a brand unusual angle in the direction of more cost-effective phones.

The iPhone SE, for instance, has a most up-to-date Apple processor packed interior an in any other case dated phone acquire. Google’s Pixel 6A likewise entails the unusual Tensor processor, nonetheless makes use of an older 12.2-megapixel major digital camera as one more of the 50-megapixel major digital camera stumbled on on the $599 Pixel 6.

Samsung’s Galaxy A53 takes the reverse approach. It entails a processor that is slower than the Galaxy S22’s nonetheless entails assorted unusual aspects esteem a hide with a high refresh rate.

Telephones under $500 comparability

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs. Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Google Pixel 6A vs. Apple iPhone SE (2022) vs. Nothing Phone 1 vs. Apple iPhone 11

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) Google Pixel 6A Apple iPhone SE (2022) Nothing Phone 1 iPhone 11
Demonstrate dimension, option 6.5-toddle AMOLED (2,400×1,080 pixels); 120 Hz 6.8-toddle LTPS LCD FHD+; 2,460 x1,080 pixels; 120 Hz 6.1-toddle OLED; (1080 x 2400); 60Hz 4.7-toddle LCD; (1,334×750 pixels); 60 Hz 6.55-toddle OLED indicate, 2,400 x1080 pixels; 6.1-toddle LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792×828 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi TBD 429 ppi 326ppi 402ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.28 x 2.94 x 0.32 in 6.65 x 2.98 x 0.37 in 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 in 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 in

5.94×2.98×0.33 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm 168.9 x 75.8 x 9.3 mm 152.2 x 7.18 x 8.9 mm 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm 150.9×75.7×8.3 mm
Weight (oz., grams) 6.67 oz; 189g 7.58 oz; 215 g 6.3 oz; 178g 5.09 oz; 144g 193.5g 6.84 oz; 194g
Mobile instrument Android 12 Android 12 Android 12 iOS 15 Android 13 iOS 13
Camera 64-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultra-huge), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth) 50-megapixel (huge), 8-megapixel (ultrawide/macro), 2-megapixel (depth) 12.2-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel ultra huge) 12-megapixel (huge) 50-megapixel (major), 50-megapixel (ultra-huge) 12-megapixel (huge), 12-megapixel (ultra-huge)
Front-going by digital camera 32-megapixel 16-megapixel 8-megapixel 7-megapixel 16-megapixel 12-megapixel with Face ID
Video snatch 4K 1,080p 4K 4K 4K at 60fps 4K
Processor Exynos 1280 Snapdragon 695 5G Google Tensor Apple A15 Bionic Snapdragon 778G+ Apple A13 Bionic
RAM/Storage 6GB/128GB 8GB/256GB 6GB RAM/128GB storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 8GB + 128GB, 8GB +256 GB, 12GB RAM + 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Expandable storage Up to 1TB Up to 1TB None NA None None
Battery/Charger 5,000 mAh (charger no longer integrated, does no longer toughen wi-fi charging) 5,000 mAh (10W wired charger integrated) 4,410 mAh ability; 18-watt rapid charging (adapter sold one by one) Battery NA (20W wired charging — charger no longer integrated), 7.5W wi-fi charging) 4,500 mAh (33W wired charging, 15W wi-fi charging, 5W reverse charging) No longer disclosed, nonetheless Apple claims this can final 1 hour longer than iPhone XR
Fingerprint sensor In-indicate Aspect Beneath indicate Home button In-indicate None (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB C Lightning USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack None Yes None None None No
Special aspects 5G-enabled; IP67 rating; helps 25W wired rapid charging, Samsung Pay 5G-enabled; OIS for major digital camera; NFC for Google Pay; 5G-enabled, 18W rapid charging, WiFi 6E, safety updates for five years, Android OS updates for 3 years, dual SIM, IP67 water resistance 5G-enabled; helps 25W wired rapid charging; Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging 5G, IP53, Three years of Android updates, Twin Sim, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate Water resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging
Model off-contract (USD) $450 $500 $449 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB) N/A $499
Model (GBP) £399 NA nonetheless converts to £405 £399 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB) £399 £489
Model (AUD) AU$699 NA nonetheless converts to AU$715 A$749 AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB) N/A AU$849

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