Great Phones For Less Than $500: Affordable Choices, Excellent Value

DZillaXx

Posts: 535   +683
Problem with some of these phones is the lack of cellular bands the phones support. Which is why the pixel/samsung/iphone are the best choices here.

What is the point if you are missing a chunk of bands your carrier supports.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,881   +4,387
Xiaomi 11T Pro should be slightly below $500 but it depends where you live and all that. It has Snapdragon 888, 120Hz AMOLED display, 108 MP decent camera but no headphone jack.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,304   +2,904
I know this is a "global" site, but when you put up a list of phone, how about including
what countries they work in. Some won't work inside the USA, some won't work in other
countries.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,630   +833
I know this is a "global" site, but when you put up a list of phone, how about including
what countries they work in. Some won't work inside the USA, some won't work in other
countries.
Thought about this when I saw Xiaomi on the list. I read reviews on Chinese phones on Amazon occasionally. They usually work well, but sometimes not.
I really want to try some attractive models that go cheaper than Samsung or Apple, but knowing I will have this problem always stopped me.
 

Humza

Posts: 1,025   +171
Staff member
This article is inaccurate in claiming the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy A53. The A53 is about $350, which is $150 cheaper than the S20 which still goes for about $500 retail.
The cost comparison is with the S21 FE, not the mid-range A53. The latter is being discussed for its choice of sluggish SoC.
 

jamesphones

Posts: 20   +4
Samsung guy here, got the latest one for absolutely no reason because 90% of what I do on the phone is just surfing on the web and social apps.
 

thewelshbrummie

Posts: 6   +4
Problem with some of these phones is the lack of cellular bands the phones support. Which is why the pixel/samsung/iphone are the best choices here.

What is the point if you are missing a chunk of bands your carrier supports.

Arguably the key point at the cheap end of the market, which most phones completely miss, even at the midrange part of the market.

I've bought some very cheap phones over the last 10 years that were designed for the UK market and work perfectly there, but even in Europe just flat out don't work. In the US, 3g on AT&T used different frequencies to Optus Australia and O2 UK - not an issue anymore as it's only phones from 10 years ago that lacked US support, and it's academic now that AT&T have dropped the 3g network to repurpose the frequencies. But it's been an ongoing problem for years, keeping the cost down in part by supporting only certain bands, rather than everything that you might need to throw at it. And I'm not convinced that it's a genuine cost saving.

Taking my old Sony XA2, it has support for 2 of 4 LTE 4g bands I need in the US and 3 of 5 for use on Optus. It's part of the reason I've stuck with the Pixel 3a for so long, as it supports basically every 4g network that I could possibly need and it is a factor in what I may get going forward.

It certainly eliminates the Xiaomi phone as an option for anyone in the US, and it makes buying a phone far more difficult unless you're happy to go with an iPhone, which is one of the things that I have to give Apple credit for getting right.
 

y6Tq2RGXEejb

Posts: 53   +68
"too much of a sacrifice in terms of the outdated, low-res display" - who wrote this?
iPhone 11 has a resolution of 1792x828, and it's the exact same pixel density as the iPhone SE with its slightly smaller 1334x750 display. The 11 also doesn't have a touch ID which to some people is still unacceptable.
The SE should have been in this list.
 

Humza

Posts: 1,025   +171
Staff member
"too much of a sacrifice in terms of the outdated, low-res display" - who wrote this?
iPhone 11 has a resolution of 1792x828, and it's the exact same pixel density as the iPhone SE with its slightly smaller 1334x750 display. The 11 also doesn't have a touch ID which to some people is still unacceptable.
The SE should have been in this list.
You're correct on the pixel density part, but then the SE looks and feels outdated when placed alongside the iPhone 11 that has much narrower bezels and a larger, easier to use screen. It's why Apple has had more success with bigger iPhones because a majority of users consider screen estate (and more battery life) a worthy trade-off to pocket-friendliness/compactness.

The iPhone SE would have been an easier recommendation had Apple utilized the modern iPhone 'mini' form-factor for it (much better display-to-body ratio), while retaining the LCD panel to keep the price in check. As for Touch ID, that's a plus for the SE (for some people as you say), but not a big enough reason to swing the verdict in its favor.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,612   +3,196
TechSpot Elite
I generally pay $500 for a craptop. I'm not going to pay it for a bloody phone!

I got my Moto-G Power brand-new for under $300 about two years ago and it's still just fine. It would take about a week for the battery to drain if I didn't charge it every day. :laughing:
 

trgz

Posts: 404   +179
Bought a second hand Motorola G5S - near mint and handles everything I need and was <£45. I simply can't see the need to pay out on a comparatively useless cheap new phone (1 GB RAM can't cut it) or splash out on something new with a decent amount of memory that can actually run stuff - and as a bloke who doesn't carry a bag/wear a jacket in summer, most new phones are simply too big to be convenient (or use with one hand - and I have long fingers).
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 437   +338
I've been rocking a Samsung A50 for the past five or six years now but I'm looking for a new phone seeing how the camera on mine sucks. That Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G in the link looks like a bargain as in I want one.
 
I'll never purchase a 'google phone' again, after what they did to the thousands/tens of thousands of Pixel 3XL owners whose devices bricked without warning last year.

What did they do? In a word, nothing. They ignored them. Refused to provide any compensation, remediation, nothing. Plus, it was definitely a software problem that could have been fixed - I can confirm that, as after learning of the problem, I immediately installed LineageOS, and more than a year later, it's still running just fine (as my backup phone).

Google is way too hostile to customers after the sale.