Compare: Best Mobile Phones Under $500

Date Nov 15, 2021
Blog category Mobile Phone
By Khristine Eusebio
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Mobile phones today can cost at least $1000. But the truth is, you don't need to spend that much money on a trusty smartphone. There are plenty of good options that won't have you splurging your hard-earned money.

Are cheaper smartphones worth it?

There are heaps of good choices out there that won't break your wallet. Sure, they don't have ridiculously big storage capacity or futuristic camera features, but you can still get the good, more practical features like long battery life and durability.

Here are other things to consider:

Pros:

  • Designed to be durable
  • Affordable
  • Has basic functionalities like calling and messaging
  • Less to lose in case you break or misplace it
  • Cheaper to replace parts
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • Does not have special features such as being waterproof, or having a much bigger memory, etc.
  • The camera is not as high-quality as its premium counterparts
  • Smaller displays
  • Lesser software/OS updates
  • Might not be able to handle most mobile games
  • May have performance issues in the long run due to lower memory

Read: Best Unlimited Mobile Data Plans In NZ

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See the rundown of the best cheap mobile phones here:

Mobile Phones Below $500 Price Screen Size Screen Resolution Operating System CPU Camera Resolution (Rear; Front-Facing)
OnePlus Nord N200 5G from $240 6.49 inches 1080 x 2400 pixels Snapdragon 480 5G Octa-core  Rear: 13MP (f/2.2) Front: 16MP (f/2.1)
iPhone SE from $256.99 4.7 inches 1334 x 750 pixels Original: iOS 9.3 Current: iOS 15.1 A13 Bionic Rear: 12MP (ƒ/1.8) Front: 7MP (ƒ/2.2)
Motorola Moto G Play from $170 6.5 inches 720 x 1280 pixels Qualcomm SM4250 Snapdragon 460 Octa-core Rear: 13MP (ƒ/2.0) Front: 5MP (ƒ/2.2)
Google Pixel 4a from $349 5.81 inches 1080 x 2340 pixels Snapdragon 730G Octa-core Rear: 12.2MP (ƒ/1.7) Front: 8MP (ƒ/2.0)
Samsung Galaxy A02s from $110 6.5 inches 720 x 1600 pixels Mediatek MT6739W ARM Cortex-A53 Rear: 13 MP (f/2.2), Front: 5 MP (f/2.2)
Moto G Power from $169.99 6.6 inches 1080 x 2300 pixels Android 10 Snapdragon 662 Rear: 16MP wide (ƒ/1.7); 8MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.2) Front: 16MP (ƒ/2.0)
Galaxy A32 5G from $280 6.5 inches 1,600 x 720 pixels Android 11 Dimensity 720 Rear: 48MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth; Front: 13MP
Moto G Stylus from $299 6.4 inches 1080 x 2300 pixels Android 10 Snapdragon 665 Rear:48MP main (ƒ/1.7); 16MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.2) Front: 16MP (ƒ/2.0)

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OnePlus Nord N200 5G

This model may be made of plastic, but it doesn't look cheap at all. It has a sleek design and a good performance, all thanks to its Snapdragon 480 processor. This makes it one of the most affordable 5G phones in the market.

If you're after the quality and display, it has a 1080p display and a long-lasting battery life. It also has the Oxygen OS and an easy-to-use version of Android 11.

Price: from $240

Key features:

  • Screen Size: 6.49 inches
  • Processor: Snapdragon 480 5G
  • Size / weight: 6.42 x 2.95 x 0.33 inches / 6.67 ounces
  • Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:28
  • 5G networks supported: T-Mobile
  • Camera: Rear: 13MP (f/2.2) Front: 16MP (f/2.1)

Pros:

  • 90Hz display
  • Good battery life
  • 5G

Cons:

  • The camera quality may not be as good as high-end phone models
  • Subpar performance

iPhone SE

If you're looking for a cheap iPhone with quality features, iPhone SE is your best option. It has the same performance as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro with its A13 Bionic processor. This chip also gives a high-quality camera that most budget Android phones are missing.

It has Portrait Mode for both front and rear cameras, Smart HDR, and an extended dynamic range to give you quality videos.

Price: from $256.99

Key features:

  • Display: 4.7-inch LCD (1334x750)
  • CPU: A13 Bionic
  • RAM: Unknown
  • Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No
  • Camera: Rear: 12MP (ƒ/1.8); Front: 7MP (ƒ/2.2)
  • Weight: 5.22 ounces

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • A13 Bionic performance
  • Supports wireless charging

Cons:

  • Big bezels
  • Camera has no night mode

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Motorola Moto G Play

This model isn't as fast as the other mobile phones on this list, but it has an excellent battery life and may last for three days. The camera quality is subpar and will only get two years of security updates. It has a 720p display and may have slow performance occasionally.

Price: from $170

Key features:

  • Processor: Qualcomm SM4250 Snapdragon 460
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Display: 6.5 inches
  • Camera: Rear: 13MP (ƒ/2.0) Front: 5MP (ƒ/2.2)
  • Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh

Pros:

  • Good performance for its price
  • Clear call quality
  • Long battery life
  • Big display

Cons:

  • Subpar camera quality
  • Only two years of security updates

Google Pixel 4a

The Pixel 4a is a good option for a good phone. It's a little bit more expensive, but its great features make it worth buying. It has one of the best camera quality out there and can even compete with phones that cost twice as much.

The software also gives a smoother experience than the other phones on the list. The updates for both security and Android software are guaranteed until 2023.

Price: from $349

Key features:

  • Display: 5.81-inch OLED (2340x1080)
  • CPU: Snapdragon 730G
  • RAM: 6GBStorage / Expandable: 128GB / No
  • Camera: Rear: 12.2MP (ƒ/1.7) Front: 8MP (ƒ/2.0)
  • Weight: 5.04 ounces

Pros:

  • Great camera quality
  • Sleek design
  • Affordable for its features

Cons:

  • Subpar battery life

Read: New iOS And Android Data Privacy Settings: What’s The Catch?

Samsung Galaxy A02s

The Galaxy A02s is Samsung's cheapest phone from its latest lineup. For only $110, its performance is impressive and fast enough to use the web browser, send messages, and play lightweight mobile games. Aside from that, you'll get four years of support, including two OS updates which are not common on cheap phones like this model.

The build quality may not be as good as other models like G Play and Nord, but the battery life is great. It even has a USB-C port.

Price: from $110

Key features:

  • Processor: Mediatek MT6739W
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB
  • Display: 6.5 inches
  • Camera: Rear: 13 MP (f/2.2), Front: 5 MP (f/2.2)
  • Battery: Li-Po 5000 mAh

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Compact design
  • Decent photography during daytime
  • MicroSD slot to expand storage

Cons:

  • LCD doesn't get as bright and may be hard to use outdoors.
  • Lacks an oil-resistant coating
  • Not for heavy gaming
  • Average processing speed

Read: Best Smartphones For Every Budget And Use

Galaxy A32 5G

For as low as $280, you can get a Samsung phone with a decent camera. The only downside is its subpar display, but if it's something that you can put up with, it's a good choice of phone. It has a big 6.5-inch screen and a 5,000 mAH battery, making it great for watching videos.

It can last up to 12 hours, longer than other budget phones

Price: from $280

Key features:

  • Screen size: 6.5 inches
  • Android version: 11 with One UI 3.1
  • Processor: Dimensity 720
  • Cameras: Rear: 48MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth; Front: 13MP
  • RAM/Storage: 4GB/64GB

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • 4 years of security patches
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • 90Hz refresh rate

Cons:

  • Subpar display

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Moto G Power (2021)

If you want an affordable phone that will last for hours, Moto G Power can last up to 14 hours, making it one of the best phone battery life available today. Aside from that, it has a 6.6-inch display and a decent camera. It's 5,000 mAh makes it a little heavier than other phones, but overall, Moto G Power is a good option if you're looking for an affordable phone that has everything you need.

Price: from $169.99

Key features:

  • Display: 6.6 inches (1600 x 720)
  • CPU: Snapdragon 662
  • RAM: 3GB, 4GB
  • Storage / Expandable: 32GB, 64GB / Yes
  • Camera: Rear: 16MP wide (ƒ/1.7); 8MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.2) Front: 16MP (ƒ/2.0)

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Affordable price
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Has only one Android update
  • Subpar display

Moto G Stylus

If you've been eyeing the Galaxy Note 10 but don't have the budget for it yet, you might want to consider the Moto G Stylus. It comes with a  stylus, which you can easily use to take down notes, take screenshots, or edit photos on your phone. It comes with bigger storage and main camera sensor compared to last year's Moto G Power. The only possible downside is its 4,000 mAh battery, but despite that, it can last up to 12 hours.

Price: from $299

Key features:

  • Display: 6.4-inch LCD (2300x1080)
  • CPU: Snapdragon 665
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes
  • Camera: Rear: 48MP main (ƒ/1.7); 16MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.2); Front: 16MP (ƒ/2.0)
  • Weight: 6.8 ounces

Pros:

  • Comes with a stylus
  • Triple rear cameras
  • Long-lasting battery life

Cons:

  • The display is not as vibrant
  • Doesn't have optical zoom or ultra wide-angle lens

Can't decide? Take a look at the best mobile phone deals here at CompareBear!

About the author
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Khristine Eusebio

Khristine E. is an all-around creative who has dabbled in different fields, including advertising and social media. She spends her free time exploring TikTok and the weird corners of the internet.

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