Awesome 5G smartphones under $500


fastest 5G smartphones - 5G battery life
Source: smartprix

Inflation is an undeniable reality, and although the latest cutting-edge smartphones showcase glamour and sophistication, it might be in your best interest to consider purchasing a more budget-friendly 5G phone.

Historically, the sweet spot for 5G smartphones has ranged between $400 and $700. However, there are instances where you can acquire a reliable device for $200 or even less. Are there compromises? Certainly, with the cameras typically experiencing the most significant downgrade compared to pricier alternatives. Nonetheless, most mid-range devices excel in capturing great photos under regular conditions, and they offer additional features like expandable memory, smooth OLED displays, and prolonged battery life.

As smartphone manufacturers persist in bringing flagship features to more affordable models, we have compiled a list of the best 5G phones available for under $500. Our top pick is the Samsung Galaxy A54.

The best 5G phones available for under $500

Galaxy A54

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

This device underscores that acquiring an exceptional smartphone doesn’t necessitate a substantial investment. Priced just under $400, the Samsung Galaxy A54 is our recommended choice for most users, offering essential features such as a spacious display, extended battery life, and software stability that sets it apart from similarly-priced phones in this category.

For this price, you receive 128GB of internal storage, expandable up to 1TB via the microSD card slot. The 6.4-inch display delivers FHD+ resolution, ensuring more detailed photos and videos. Additionally, the integrated Knox Security feature safeguards your personal data from unauthorized access.

The Samsung Galaxy A54 boasts the following specifications:

  • Price: $400
  • Display: 6.4 inches
  • CPU: Exynos 1380
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Internal storage: 128GB, expandable to 1TB
  • Rear camera: 50MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Dust/water resistance: Not specified
pros
  • Expandable memory up to 1TB
  • Under $400
  • Integrated Knox Security

cons

  • No UHD display option
  • No integrated voice controls

iPhone SE  (2022)

iPhone SE+

Apple, perhaps somewhat belatedly, entered the 5G arena, especially when compared to some of its Android counterparts. Although it has been a couple of years since the company introduced the latest networking protocol to its flagship line, it has now incorporated this technology into its more budget-friendly iPhone SE line with the release of the third edition.

Priced at $429, the iPhone SE stands out as the most economical 5G option for iPhone enthusiasts. However, it’s worth noting that the third-gen iPhone SE lacks support for mmWave 5G services and the 3.45GHz band planned for use by AT&T in its future 5G expansion. Consequently, users in areas with only mmWave or 3.45GHz 5G available will experience significantly limited top-end speeds. Nevertheless, the iPhone SE does support other C-Band-based 5G services on Verizon and T-Mobile, offering the potential for substantial speed increases compared to its LTE-only predecessor.

The reduced cost of the latest iPhone SE does come with the trade-off of potential FOMO for iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 owners, who may have broader 5G band support. Nonetheless, the cost savings could outweigh the potential concern, making it a pragmatic choice for many.

iPhone SE Specifications:

  • Price: $429
  • Display: 4.7 inches
  • CPU: A15 Bionic chip
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Internal storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
  • Rear camera: 12MP rear f/1.8 wide
  • Front camera: 7MP f/2.2 camera
  • Weight: 144g
  • Dust/water resistance: IP67
pros
  • A 5G iPhone for under $450
  • Same chip as Apple’s latest flagships for a fraction of the price
  • Home button access to TouchID remains preferable to FaceID for some
  • Seamless integration within the Apple ecosystem

cons

  • Starts at 64GB
  • Doesn’t support some of the fastest 5G bands
  • Old-fashioned design

Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a Thick Bezels

The eagerly awaited Google Pixel 7a 5G smartphone has made its debut with a price tag of $499, but its affordability doesn’t compromise on premium features. Packed with high-end functionalities, including a Titan M2 security chip, a built-in VPN, and a formidable 64MP rear camera, this smartphone stands out. It marks the first in the A-series Pixel lineup to feature a 90Hz display, closely aligning it with the capabilities of the higher-tier Pixel 7.

For capturing moments, the 13MP front camera, with its expansive field of view, is ideal for selfies, group photos, or creating short videos for social media. The rear main sensors, fine-tuned by the same engineers responsible for the Pixel 7 Pro’s acclaimed cameras (considered the best camera phone to date), further enhance the device’s photographic prowess.

Biometric security is robustly addressed with both fingerprint and facial recognition locks, ensuring secure access to your phone and safeguarding personal data from unauthorized entry. Additionally, the inclusion of dual SIM trays facilitates the convenience of having two numbers on a single device‚ÄĒperfect for mobile professionals consolidating their communication or international travelers seeking a reliable phone across diverse locations.

Google Pixel 7a Specifications:
– Price: $499
– Display: 6.1 inches
– CPU: Google Tensor
– RAM: 8GB
– Internal storage: 128GB
– Rear camera: 64MP
– Front camera: 13MP
– Weight: Not specified
– Dust/water resistance: IP67

pros

  • Built-in VPN and Titan M2 chip
  • Smooth-looking 90Hz OLED display
  • Best-in-class cameras

cons

  • Capped at 128GB of internal storage
  • No microSD card support
  • Display may not be bright enough for some

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

Motorola Moto G Stylus

So, breaking away from the usual budget contenders like Samsung and Google, Motorola steps into the spotlight with the Moto G Stylus 5G (2023). Priced just under $250, this mid-range phone stands out with distinctive features and specifications, including a convenient pop-out stylus and an impressive 256GB of built-in storage.

Motorola deserves recognition for elevating the Moto G Stylus 5G’s design, giving it the appearance of a premium phone rather than a compromised budget device. Notably, it boasts an edge-to-edge display that surpasses the aesthetics of $400 Pixels and Galaxy phones. The back panel, treated with a frosted matte finish, adds to its sophisticated appeal.

Beneath the surface, the Moto G Stylus 5G houses a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor, the latest mid-range chipset from the manufacturer, complemented by a substantial 5,000mAh battery and 6GB of RAM. This combination ensures reliable performance and endurance, enhancing the overall appeal of this mid-range offering.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G Specifications:
– Price: $249
– Display: 6.6 inches (2,400 x 1,080-pixel resolution) LCD
– CPU: Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
– RAM: 6GB
– Internal storage: 256GB
– Rear cameras: 50MP rear f/1.9 wide, 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide
– Front camera: 16MP f/2.5 camera
– Weight: 202g
– Dust/water resistance: N/A

pros

  • Superb battery life
  • Smooth 120Hz display
  • Competitively priced among 5G budget phones

cons

  • Lack of water and dust resistance rating
  • Vibration motors aren’t the best

Galaxy A14

Galaxy A14 Colors 5g

Also, the Samsung Galaxy A14 stands out as an ultra-budget smartphone, making it ideal for individuals seeking a straightforward device or for youngsters venturing into the world of smartphones. Despite its just-under-$200 price tag, this device doesn’t compromise on features. It offers compatibility with voice control platforms such as Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Bixby, Cortana, and Hey Google, allowing for convenient hands-free interactions. Additionally, for those who prefer wired headphones, the inclusion of a headphone jack caters to that preference.

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The Galaxy A14 is particularly suitable for users who dislike frequent charging, offering an impressive battery life that can last up to three days on a single charge. This makes it a practical choice for users looking for a reliable and low-maintenance smartphone experience without breaking the bank.

Samsung Galaxy A14 Specifications:
– Price: $200
– Display: 6.6 inches
– CPU: Mediatek Dimensity 700
– RAM: 4GB
– Internal Storage: 64GB
– Rear camera: 50MP
– Front camera: 13MP
– Weight: 7.2 ounces
– Dust/water resistance: Not specified

pros

  • Voice controls
  • Great cameras
  • 3-day battery life
  • Under $200

cons

  • Very low internal storage
  • No AMOLED display option

How to choose the best 5G smartphone for you

Choosing a good but affordable 5G smartphone can be tricky, but it’s definitely doable! Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the market:

Prioritize your needs:

  • Heavy user?¬†Focus on processor and RAM (6GB+ recommended).
  • Photography enthusiast?¬†Prioritize camera quality and megapixels.
  • Streamer/gamer?¬†Look for a good display refresh rate (90Hz+) and long battery life.
  • Casual user?¬†Battery life,¬†basic performance,¬†and a decent camera might suffice.

Set a realistic budget:

  • Under $200:¬†Expect compromises on performance,¬†camera,¬†or build quality.
  • $200-$400:¬†You can find decent cameras,¬†processors,¬†and build materials in this range.
  • $400-$600:¬†Starts offering flagship-lite features at a lower price.
  • Above $600:¬†Flagship territory with the best specs and features.

Research and compare:

  • Read reviews:¬†Tech websites and YouTube channels offer in-depth analyses.
  • Compare specs:¬†Online comparison tools help you weigh different options.
  • Check user feedback:¬†Forums and social media provide real-world experiences.

Consider alternatives:

  • Unlocked vs. carrier contracts:¬†Unlocked phones offer flexibility but can be pricier upfront.
  • Refurbished phones:¬†Often great deals with manufacturer warranties.
  • Last year’s flagships:¬†May offer similar performance to newer models at a discount.

Focus on key features, not just brands:

  • Processor:¬†Snapdragon 700/800 series or Dimensity 800/900 series offer good performance in mid-range.
  • RAM:¬†6GB minimum for smooth multitasking.
  • Storage:¬†128GB is ideal,¬†expandable if possible.
  • Camera:¬†Look for megapixels,¬†sensor size,¬†and software features.
  • Battery life:¬†Aim for 4000mAh+ for heavy users.
  • Display:¬†AMOLED offers richer colors but might be pricier.

Additional tips:

  • Don’t overpay for 5G: If your area has limited 5G coverage, prioritize other features.
  • Beware of bloatware:¬†Some manufacturers pre-install unnecessary apps.
  • Check software updates:¬†Long-term software support is crucial.
  • Physical stores vs. online:¬†See and feel the phone in person before buying online.

By following these tips and doing your research, you can find a good but affordable 5G smartphone that meets your needs and budget. Remember, prioritize your essential features and don’t get swayed by marketing hype. Good luck!

best mid-range smartphones 5g

Deep Dive on Specific Categories:

  • Camera Savvy:

    • Consider Pixel phones (great software processing),¬†OnePlus Nord series (decent cameras with flagship-like features),¬†or Samsung Galaxy A series (reliable performance and good low-light capabilities).¬†Look for features like OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) for sharper handheld photos and night modes for impressive low-light photography.
    • Research camera samples online to compare real-world performance in different lighting conditions.
  • Gaming Enthusiast:

    • Prioritize high refresh rate displays (90Hz or above) for smoother visuals and powerful processors like Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Lite or Dimensity 9000 for handling demanding games.¬†Consider phones with dedicated gaming modes that optimize performance and battery life.
    • Check if the phone has liquid cooling to prevent overheating during intense gaming sessions.
  • Battery Life Champion:

    • Look for large battery capacities (5000mAh+) and efficient processors that consume less power.¬†Phones like Motorola Moto G Power 5G or Samsung Galaxy M series are known for their long-lasting batteries.
    • Consider factors like screen brightness and background app activity that can impact battery life.
  • Budget-Friendly Options:

    • Explore brands like Xiaomi,¬†Redmi,¬†and Realme,¬†which offer good value for money.¬†Consider last year’s flagship models like OnePlus 9 or Samsung Galaxy S21 that might be discounted but still offer decent performance.
    • Look for deals and promotions from retailers and carriers to get the best price.

Bonus Tips:

  • Waterproof/dustproof rating:¬†Important for protecting your phone from accidental spills or drops.
  • Expandable storage:¬†Crucial if you take a lot of photos or videos.
  • Biometric authentication:¬†Fingerprint scanners or facial recognition for added security.
  • Warranty and customer support:¬†Choose a brand with a good reputation for after-sales service.

So, remember, the best phone is the one that fits your specific needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to explore different options and compare features before making your final decision. Happy hunting!

Beyond Specs: Unconventional Approaches

Think beyond specs: While specs are important, don’t get tunnel vision. Consider these alternative strategies:

  • Community-recommended gems:¬†Look for phones praised by specific user communities,¬†e.g.,¬†photographers might recommend camera-centric models like the Asus Zenfone 8 Flip.
  • Hidden gems from emerging brands:¬†Explore lesser-known brands like Pocophone or Nothing Phone (1) that offer compelling features at competitive prices.
  • The power of mods:¬†Consider phones with modular accessories like the Motorola Moto Z series,¬†allowing you to customize features like battery life or camera capabilities.
  • Think sustainability:¬†Opt for eco-friendly phones made from recycled materials or with fair labor practices,¬†like Fairphone.

Lifestyle Hacks:

  • Upgrade your plan, not your phone:¬†Sometimes,¬†a data plan upgrade with 5G access might be more affordable than buying a new phone entirely.
  • Repurpose an old phone:¬†If your current phone is still functional,¬†consider gifting it or using it as a dedicated device for music,¬†games,¬†or travel.
  • Embrace the used market:¬†Certified pre-owned phones from reputable retailers offer significant savings on high-end models.
  • Subscription services:¬†Explore phone subscription services that offer access to the latest models without upfront costs.

Remember:

  • Test the phone in person:¬†If possible,¬†visit a store to hold the phone,¬†check the display,¬†and get a feel for its size and weight.
  • Don’t chase the latest tech:¬†The newest features might not be worth the premium price tag if your needs are basic.
  • Focus on long-term value:¬†Consider durability,¬†software updates,¬†and resale value when making your decision.

So, by thinking outside the box and using these unconventional approaches, you can find a 5G smartphone that fits your lifestyle and budget without compromising on quality or performance. Good luck!

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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