Skip to Content
© Oleksandr Lutsenko | Dreamstime.com
Deals

Great smartphones well under $500

There are tons of smartphone options to choose from when you’re looking to upgrade or replace your phone — some with multiple HD cameras, others with high-end, top-notch displays. But while there are plenty of options to choose from, most brand-new smartphones available for purchase will make a serious dent in your wallet.

In many cases, the price you’ll pay to upgrade starts at about $700 and can go as high as $2,000 or more. Take, for example, the all-new foldable Samsung smartphone that was recently announced. This phone is being billed as “a VIP Experience” — and you’ll pay VIP prices for it, too, as it comes with a jaw-dropping $2,000 price tag attached to it. Looking for more practical items that won’t break the bank? Tap or click here for our list of must-have stuff.

But not everyone wants to shell out a couple of thousand dollars for a new smartphone. What options are there for the rest of us, who are looking for a great smartphone for less than $500? Here are some great options that we’ve found.

The best smartphone options under $500

iPhone SE

As with most smartphones, buying a new iPhone will often make a big dent in your wallet, with prices starting at about $800 for most newer models. However, there is one version of the iPhone that won’t break the bank: the iPhone SE.

One of the main selling points of the iPhone SE is that looks just like 2017’s iPhone 8 — but it costs significantly less than the other models. You can snag an iPhone SE for around $400 for the 64GB version, and it comes loaded with a ton of features for the price.

Related: Samsung’s new smartphone comes with an ultra-high price tag

The SE is powered by the same chip that powers the iPhone 11, and the other features include a Retina HD display, Touch ID security, a single camera system that includes portrait mode, and it’s water-resistant for up to half an hour in depths up to 1 meter deep. The SE is available in three colors — black, white, and red — and will run you $399 for the 64GB version, $449 for the 128GB version, and $549 for the 256GB version of the SE.

Google Pixel 4

Another smart option to consider is the Google Pixel 4a. This smartphone was just released in August is one of the newest editions in the Pixel family of phones, and it retails for around $350.

One of the main selling points for this device is that while it doesn’t offer all of the features that come with the higher-end Pixels, it has great front and back cameras with a triple telephoto lens that rivals iPhone cameras. It also offers an adaptive battery that lasts up to 24 hours and learns your favorite apps to reduces power to the ones you rarely use.

Add that to the personal safety features of the 4a — including the Google Personal Safety app that senses if you’ve been in a car accident and will help reach 911 for you — and this budget smartphone is a solid option for Android fans who aren’t ready to shell out $800 for the regular Google Pixel 4.

Related: 5 things you didn’t know your smartphone could do

Samsung Galaxy A51

Budget smartphone shoppers may also want to check out the Samsung Galaxy A51. This smartphone retails for under $300 for the 128GB option and offers a solid battery, a camera that rivals the ones offered by high-end smartphones, and safety features — along with an FM radio, which is an interesting addition to the feature lineup.

With the Galaxy A51, you get a larger display than is offered with some of the other budget phones on this list, and the FHD widescreen display powered by Super AMOLED technology that has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. Not bad for a phone under $300.

This smartphone also comes with four cameras, including an ultra-high-resolution 48-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens. Plus, the 4,000mAh battery life on the A51 is solid.

Motorola Moto G Stylus

If you’re a fan of the Note 20 but aren’t ready to shell out the money for that device, you might want to look into the Motorola Moto G Stylus. This smartphone is a cheaper Note 20 alternative, and it offers quite a few features for the price.

With the Moto G Stylus, you get a 6.4-inch full HD display, which is a pretty impressive screen for a phone that costs under $300. It also comes with a selfie camera, a triple-rear camera, a macro camera for taking close-up videos and photos, and Night Vision mode to take photos in low-light situations.

There’s also a ton of storage thanks to the Moto G Stylus’ 128GB of storage that can be expanded up to 512 GB. That’s a massive amount of storage for a budget smartphone — even without the optional expansion.

The battery life on this phone is solid, too, thanks to the 4,000-mAh battery. It can last up to two days on a single charge with light use, making it one of the better batteries available for budget smartphones. Plus, as you may have gathered from the name, you’ll also get a stylus with built-in storage at the bottom of the phone.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research, as we may earn a very small commission. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

Ask me your digital question!

Navigating the digital world can be intimidating and sometimes downright daunting. Let me help! Reach out today to ask your digital question. You might even be on my show!

Ask Me