Smartphone prices are getting ridiculous every passing year. If you want to get your hands on a flagship product, you need to shell out $700 at the very least. This doesn’t mean that there’s a dearth of smartphone options in other price brackets. We’ve seen ‘flagship killers’ over the years that are priced moderately and offer tremendous performance. Let’s take a look at the best 5G smartphones you can buy for under $500 in USA.
Google Pixel 7a
Every year Google puts out a spec-laden midrange Pixel smartphone that offers quite the bang for the buck. This year’s Pixel 7a continues that tradition by replicating the design and main camera performance of its flagship counterpart while also improving upon previous year’s Pixel 6a by adding wireless charging and updating the display to a 90Hz panel. It rocks the same Tensor G2 processor as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro but ditches the glass back for a plastic one. With the Pixel 7a, you are guaranteed one of the best camera performances across the board along with a stock Android experience. Currently, the Pixel 7a is priced at $499 in the US but if previous trends are anything to go by, the smartphone will see several price drops as the year goes on.
Samsung Galaxy A54
|Display||6.4-inch Super AMOLED|
Samsung has multiple smartphones under $500 but the one that stands out is the Galaxy A54. This 5G smartphone features a glass back (something you rarely get in this price range), an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and a triple camera unit. We reviewed the Galaxy A54 last month and were impressed by what it has to offer. The highlight of the smartphone is the stunning 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The smartphone delivers a good camera performance as well. But what really won us over was Samsung’s promise of four years of OS upgrades along with five years of security patches. The longevity of upgrades leaves even the Pixel behind.
Nothing Phone 1
Last year’s Nothing Phone 1 generated a lot of hype before its launch. The Glyph interface along with the see-through design of the back panel attracted a lot of eyeballs towards Nothing’s debut smartphone. While many expected it to be a gimmick with little chance of surviving in a cut-throat segment, the Nothing Phone 1 surprised everyone with its serious chops. The Snapdragon 778G+ SoC on this smartphone is a respectable processor that can expertly handle heavy tasks without breaking much of a sweat. The 50MP main and ultrawide cameras also deliver a decent performance. You also get wireless charging with the Nothing Phone 1, a first in this category until the Pixel 7a came along. Read our review here.
Motorola Edge 30 Fusion
|Chipset||Snapdragon 888+ 5G|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
There is a lot to like about the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion. This mid-ranger from Motorola boasts flagship-grade specs. The smartphone gets a glass back and aluminium frame, massively elevating the in-hand feel. The 6.5-inch OLED display with 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support is a stunner as well. With 68W fast charging support, this smartphone can juice up to 50% in just 10 minutes. Handling processor duties is the Snapdragon 888 SoC, which may not be the flagship chipset but it still matches the other smartphones in this category. The 50MP rear camera lets you record up to 8K videos at 30fps. The 13MP ultrawide lens and a 2MP depth sensor also put up a decent performance.
OnePlus Nord N30 5G
|Display||6.72-inch IPS LCD|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 695 SoC|
At $300, the OnePlus Nord N30 5G is an excellent deal. The smartphone gets a 6.72-inch IPS LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Powering the smartphone is the Snapdragon 695 SoC, while OS duties are handled by Android 13. The two camera cutouts on the back panel hold 3 lenses – the primary 108MP sensor, a 2MP macro lens, and another 2MP depth sensor. Up front, the 16MP selfie camera is housed in a punch-hole cutout. The smartphone gets a 5,000 mAh battery and 50W fast charging support.
iPhone SE 2022
|Display||4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
If you absolutely must have an iPhone under $500 then the iPhone SE (2022) is your only choice outside of refurbished iPhones. If you’re willing to look past the massive bezels surrounding the display, the iPhone SE is a decent smartphone. One of the highlights of this device is the A15 Bionic chip from the flagship iPhone 13 series. There are only two cameras on this phone, a 12MP rear lens and a 7MP selfie camera. We tested the iPhone SE last year and it surprised us with its hardware and performance. You also get up to 5 years of software updates for this device, which is really good. If you’re looking for a compact smartphone and don’t want to compromise on the Apple branding, this should be your pick.
Google Pixel 6a
While it may be last year’s smartphone, we couldn’t help but mention the Pixel 6a in this list, solely because of the sheer value it provides for the price. At $349 you’re getting an amazing 6.1-inch OLED display, stock Android experience, and one of the best camera performances in any smartphone – including the flagships. Google’s computational photography is a class apart. We reviewed the smartphone last year and you can see the results for yourself. We also like that Google has retained the signature Pixel design on the A series as well. If you don’t mind one less year of software updates, the Google Pixel 6a should be a no-brainer purchase.
Samsung Galaxy A34
|Display||6.6-inch Super AMOLED|
|Chipset||MediaTek Dimensity 1080|
Launched alongside the Galaxy A54, Samsung Galaxy A34 is a low-budget midrange smartphone from Samsung that ditches the more premium features but manages to deliver a solid performance. The smartphone has a plastic frame and a plastic back. There is a notch in the display housing the selfie camera. However, the A34 still offers IP67 protection and the 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display is a delight to use. Being a low-budget mid-ranger, the Galaxy A34 has a hybrid SIM slot for expandable storage but a headphone jack is still nowhere to be found. Read our full review here.
These are our picks for the best 5G smartphones you can buy for under $500 in USA. For $500 you should also look into flagship devices from a few years back that are retailing at a lower price now. If you’re willing to wait, you can also get good deals on premium products as the year advances. Which smartphone do you feel offers the best value for money at this price range? Let us know in the comments!
For the latest gadget and tech news, and gadget reviews, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For newest tech & gadget videos subscribe to our YouTube Channel. You can also stay up to date using the Gadget Bridge Android App. You can find the latest car and bike news here.