Best Phone Under $500 Review – Flagship Specs for A Mid-Range Price

With 500 bucks, you can easily grab a beast. You just have to look in the right places. We did that for you, with our best phone under $500 review.

OnePlus 7T

The Phones – At A Glance

We touched on our entries’ specs in the following table.

Products

Weight

Dimensions

OS

Display

Processor

RAM

ROM

Battery

OnePlus 7T HD1907, 128GB GSM 4G LTE Factory Unlocked for AT&T...

6.7 ounces (190 grams)

6.33 in x 2.93 in x 0.32 in

 (160.9 mm x 74.4 mm x 8.1 mm)

Android 10

6.5-inch (165.1 mm) Fluid AMOLED 1080 x 2400 pixels

Snapdragon 855+

8GB

128 or 256GB

3800 mAh

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S (128GB, 6GB) 6.67', 4K Camera, 18W Fast Charge,...

7.37 ounces (209 grams)

6.53 in x 3.02 in x 0.35 in

 (165.8 mm x 76.7 mm x 8.8 mm)

Android 10

6.67-inch (169.4 mm) IPS LCD 1080 x 2400 pixels

Snapdragon 720G

4 or 6GB

64 or 128GB

5020 mAh

Samsung Galaxy A71 (128GB, 6GB) 6.7', 64MP Quad Camera, 25W Fast...

6.31 ounces (179 grams)

6.44 in x 2.99 in x 0.30 in (163.6 mm x 76 mm x 7.7 mm)

Android 10

6.7 inch (170.18 mm) Super AMOLED Plus 1080 x 2400 pixels

Snapdragon 730

6 or 8GB

128GB

4500 mAh

Samsung Galaxy A51 (128GB, 4GB) 6.5', 48MP Quad Camera, Dual SIM GSM...

6.03 ounces (172 grams)

6.24 in x 2.90 in x 0.31 in (158.5 mm x 73.6 mm x 7.9 mm)

Android 10

6.5 inch (165.1 mm) Super AMOLED 1080 x 2400 pixels

Exynos 9611

4,6 or 8GB

64 or 128GB

4000 mAh

TCL 10 Pro Unlocked Android Smartphone with 6.47' AMOLED FHD +...

6.24 ounces (177 grams)

6.24 in x 2.85 in x 0.36 in

(158.5 mm x 72.4 mm x 9.2 mm)

Android 10

6.47-inch (164.38 mm) AMOLED 1080 x 2340 pixels

Snapdragon 670

6GB

128 GB

4500 mAh

5.53 ounces (157 grams)

5.97 in x 2.97 in x 0.29 in

 (151.7 mm x 75.4 mm x 7.3 mm)

Android 8 (Upgrade to Android 10)

6-inch (152.4 mm) P-OLED 1440 x 2880 pixels

Snapdragon 845

6GB

64 or 128GB

3300 mAh

6.35 ounces (180 grams)

6.30 in x 2.96 in x 0.33 in (159.9 mm x 75.2 mm x 8.3 mm)

Android 9 (upgrade to Android 10)

6.3 inches (160 mm) IPS LCD 1080 x 2280 pixels

Snapdragon 660

4 or 6GB

64 or 128GB

3500 mAh

The 7T was released in 2019. From all the entries discussed, we think it looks the best. There’s a smooth gradient and it’s made from premium materials – it is a Gorilla Glass 5 and aluminum sandwich.


It weighs 6.7 ounces (190 grams). The more weight a phone has, the more premium it’ll feel. We’re glad that it’s thin as well. Its dimensions are 6.33 in x 2.93 in x 0.32 in (160.9 mm x 74.4 mm x 8.1 mm).


Is it big? Yes. Its front is 6.5 inches (165.1 mm). Manufacturers are all about making phones big these days. If you have small hands, using them might be difficult.


There’s a 3.5 mm headphone jack. That being said, a MicroSD slot is not available. It comes with good storage options, though. More on this in a bit.


The panel on its front is awesome. OnePlus has Fluid AMOLED in place, which is vibrant and the animations are buttery. This is thanks to its 90Hz refresh rate.


It can produce a range of colours as well. You’re looking at an HDR10+ rated mobile.


There is very little bezel action going on. Its screen-to-body ratio is a testament to this, being almost 87%. It’s also quite sharp and its resolution is 1080 x 2400 pixels.

Like its back, Gorilla Glass 5 is on its front.


Its system runs Android 10. It is powered through OxygenOS 10.0.7. If you’ve read our reviews before, you’d know we’re fans of Oxygen. It’s close to Stock Android.


The 7T houses the Snapdragon 855+. It was considered one of the most powered processors around. Considering you’re not paying a lot, this is what you want. The memory it comes with makes moving through its systems even smoother. You can pick it up with 8 GB of RAM.


Remember how we said it doesn’t come with a MicroSD slot? You’re getting either 128 or 256 GB of space.


Its battery is not big. It has a 3800 mAh one. The 7T lasts a little over a day. No, its battery is not removable. You’ll be plugging a 30 W fast charger. It’ll go from 0-50% in around 30 minutes. Sadly, reverse and wireless charging aren’t present.


Let’s talk about its camera. There is a triple set-up on its back. It consists of a 48 MP wide lens, a 12 MP telephoto lens, and a 16 MP ultrawide one. On its front, it comes with a single shooter. It is a 16 MP wide sensor.


Pros:

  • Smooth animations
  • Vibrant screen
  • Large display
  • Powerful processor
  • Great memory
  • Premium build

Cons:

  • Small battery
  • No microSD slot

Its screen stretches 6.67 inches (169.4 mm) across. It’s big but thin. The following are its dimensions, 6.53 in x 3.02 in x 0.35 in (165.8 mm x 76.7 mm x 8.8 mm). The unit is heavy. It weighs 7.37 ounces (209 grams).


It feels great in your hands. There’s Gorilla Glass 5 on its back which makes it durable.


The Note 9S has a waterproof coating, so it will keep off dirt as well.


Looking across its sides, you’ll see a headphone jack and microSD slot. The latter isn’t seen in more expensive mobiles these days - its presence is appreciated.


There’s a fingerprint sensor. It’s not on its back. It is side mounted and opens in the blink of an eye.


On its front, an IPS LCD panel was placed. It’s not vibrant. The device is HDR10 rated, though. This means it can produce a range of colours.


You don’t have to worry about using it outside, its screen is bright. 500 max nits is the gold standard. Xiaomi made its display close, at 450 nits.


Its front is super immersive thanks to its 84.5% screen-to-body ratio. We’re fans of its resolution as well, it is 1080 x 2400 pixels.


Like its back, Gorilla Glass 5 is protecting its display.

Out of the box, it runs Android 10. It is powered through Xiaomi’s MIUI 12. The system has many themes. What about its chipset? The Snapdragon 720G is housed. It’s quite powerful.


The memory you can get it with is 4 or 6 GB. As you can imagine, the 6 GB variant would be more expensive. Depending on which one you pick, the ROM it comes with would differ. They are 64 and 128 GB.


Although the storage it comes with is large, we love that there’s a microSD slot.


As it’s so thin, you wouldn’t expect a large battery. Xiaomi decided to surprise us. The unit inside is 5020 mAh. No, it isn’t removable. The Note 9S lasts around 2 days.


You’ll be using a USB-C port to charge it. An 18 W fast charger would have to be attached. It’ll go from 0-100% in an hour and a half.


Its primary camera is fabulous. You’re looking at a quad set-up which consists of a 48 MP wide lens, an 8 MP ultrawide lens, a 5 MP macro lens, and a 2 MP depth sensor. They take excellent photographs in low-light. There’s LED flash of course – it’s powerful.


On its front, there is a single shooter. It is a 16 MP wide lens. It’ll always keep you Instagram ready.


Pros:

  • A lot of RAM
  • Huge screen
  • Quad camera
  • Large battery
  • Very little bezel action

Cons:

  • Not the brightest display

The A71’s screen stretches 6.7 inches (170.18 mm) across. It’s slim – much thinner than the entry above. The following are its dimensions, 6.44 in x 2.99 in x 0.30 in (163.6 mm x 76 mm x 7.7 mm). It’s got some weight too; 6.31 ounces (179 grams).


Unfortunately, it’s not made from glass. But the plastic on it doesn’t feel cheap.


It comes with a MicroSD slot. A 3.5 mm headphone jack is also available.


You can pick it up in many colours. The option we’re reviewing is the Prism Black. In different lightings, it sparkles.


There isn’t a fingerprint sensor on its back. Instead, It’s under its display and very fast. The cherry on top would’ve been face-unlock but Samsung decided to disappoint us.


There’s a Super AMOLED Plus panel. It’s extremely vibrant. Not only is it colourful, but it’s sharp too. How do you feel about a 1080 x 2400-pixel resolution? Of course, it comes with an expert screen to body ratio. It is 87.2%.


Although its back is plastic, there’s Gorilla Glass on its front. It’s not as strong as the one on the Note 9S, though. You’re getting Gorilla Glass 3.

The OS it runs is Android 10. It is powered through Samsung’s One UI 2.5. We have to say, One UI is quite good-looking. It’s one of the most attractive systems around.


You might think that its processor is more powerful than the above phone’s. It is the Snapdragon 730 after all. However, that’s only on paper and it beats its counterpart.


You’ll be getting it with a lot of RAM, 6 or 8 GB. The one we’re reviewing comes with the former. ROM wise, 128 GB are available. You’ll be able to expand it, there’s a microSD slot.


Considering how thin it is, we’re surprised to see a 4500 mAh battery inside. The A71 lasts around 2 days. You can prolong it longer with its expert power-saving modes. To charge it, you’ll be using a USB C port. A 25 W fast charger would have to be placed. The mid-ranger goes from 0-100% in around 80 minutes.


It does well in the camera department. There is a quad set-up on its back. It consists of a 64 MP wide lens, a 12 MP ultrawide lens, a 5 MP macro lens, and a 5 MP depth sensor. They take vibrant and colour accurate shots. Even in low-light, the set-up doesn’t disappoint.


In terms of its front camera, a 32 MP wide shooter is present. We’re more than pleased with it.


Pros:

  • Large screen
  • Super vibrant display
  • Very little bezel action going on
  • Large battery
  • Powerful battery
  • Slim

Cons:

  • Made from plastic

You’re looking at another giant handset. Its display is 6.5 inches (165.1 mm). It’s quite thin. The following are its dimensions, 6.24 in x 2.90 in x 0.31 in (158.5 mm x 73.6 mm x 7.9 mm). There’s some weight to it, at 6.03 ounces (172 grams).


Just like the A71, it’s made from plastic. Thankfully, the plastic on it feels decent. There’s a prism-like effect, similar to its sibling’s. It is the most apparent on the black version of the A51.


The panel on is front is Super AMOLED. As you’re aware, it’s very vibrant. It’s colourful as well as sharp. It sports a 1080 x 2400-pixel resolution. There’s barely any bezel action, which is good. Its screen-to-body ratio is 87.4%.


Gorilla Glass 3 is protecting its display. You don’t have to worry about banging it up.


Its chipset is superb. It houses the Exynos 9611.

Although powerful, it doesn’t hold a torch to the Snapdragon 855+.

The memory available influences how easily the systems will work. You can pick it up with either 4,6 or 8 GB of RAM. The option we’re reviewing is the 6 GB one.


In terms of ROM, 64 or 128 GB are available. Although there is more than enough space, you’re also getting a MicroSD slot.


Its chipset powers Android 10. It is brought to you via One UI 2.5. It’s the same system we saw in the A71.


A 4000 mAh battery is inside of it. You can expect the A51 to last a little over a day. You’ll be charging it with a 15 W fast charger. Nothing about how long it takes to charge is fast, however. It reaches 100% in around 2 hours. Once again, its battery is nonremovable.


There is a quad-camera set-up on its rear. It consists of a 48 MP wide lens, a 12 MP ultrawide lens, a 5 MP macro lens, and a 5 MP depth one. Shots are great, even in low-light. Its selfie camera consists of a 32 MP wide lens.


Pros:

  • Large screen
  • Slim
  • Vibrant display
  • Very little bezel action

Cons:

  • Made from plastic
  • Doesn’t have a beastly processor
Samsung Galaxy A51 (128GB, 4GB) 6.5", 48MP Quad Camera, Dual SIM GSM...
Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass

No one would blame you if you haven’t heard of TCL before. The 10 Pro is good, though. It made our list for a reason.


It is large, having a 6.47-inch (164.38 mm) screen. It’s not slim. But it’s not thick either. Its dimensions are 6.24 in x 2.85 in x 0.36 in (158.5 mm x 72.4 mm x 9.2 mm).


It is made of glass. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t made it public what kind of glass was used. We’d bet on the regular strengthened type.


The panel it rocks is AMOLED which packs a punch. It also produces a range of colours. You’re looking at an HDR10 unit.


From all of our entries, it has the least bezel action going on. Its screen-to-body ratio is 89.5%. It’s also pretty sharp– its resolution is 1080 x 2340 pixels.


We would’ve loved if Gorilla Glass was on its front, but you don’t always get what you want.


Out of the box, it runs Android 10. What’s noteworthy is that TCL has announced that it’ll receive the Android 11 update. This is incentive enough to purchase it. Android 10 is run through TCL UI.


To be honest:


We’re not fans of how it looks.


Its processor isn’t the best either. It houses the Snapdragon 675. It gets annihilated by the 855+ in the OnePlus 7T.

You can only pick it up with one memory option. It has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of space. Although you’ll be more than happy with 128 GB, you can expand it.


It has a 4500 mAh battery inside. You’ll be using a USB-C port to charge it. An 18 W fast charger would have to be placed. It goes from 0-50% in around 30 minutes.


No, its battery is not removable.


It comes with a quad-camera set-up. Its primary sensor is a 64 MP wide lens, its secondary sensor is a 16 MP ultrawide lens, its tertiary sensor is a 5 MP macro lens, and its fourth one is a 2 MP depth sensor.


Its selfie camera houses a single shooter. It is a 24 MP wide lens.


Here’s the deal:


Its camera set-up is powerful. That being said, we don’t think it was placed well. TCL placed the four lenses in a way that makes the 10 Pro dated.


Pros:

  • Large display
  • Vivid screen
  • Barely any bezel action going on
  • Android 11 ready

Cons:

  • Not the most powerful processor
  • Thick
TCL 10 Pro Unlocked Android Smartphone with 6.47" AMOLED FHD +...
Up to 128GB of internal memory, expandable up to 256GB via microSD card (sold separately).

The phone is big, but it’s the smallest on our list. Its display is 6 inches (152.4 mm). It was made well – there’s Gorilla Glass 5 and aluminum on its rear. It is super thin, being 5.97 in x 2.97 in x 0.29 in (151.7 mm x 75.4 mm x 7.3 mm).


It doesn’t have the most weight. It comes in at 5.53 ounces (157 grams). Heavier phones feel more premium.


Wrecking it won’t be easy. As you know, Gorilla Glass 5 is tough, but the mobile is also IP68 rated and dust resistant.


Its display is vibrant. You’re getting P-OLED. It’s a type of AMOLED. The ThinQ produces a range of colours too. It’s HDR10 rated.


It barely has any bezel action going on. Sadly, its screen-to-body ratio is not as immersive as the rest – it is 80.9%.


That being said, it’s sharp. It has the most pin-sharp screen in our article. How do you feel about 1440 x 2880 pixels?

On its front, Gorilla Glass 5 is present. Who wouldn’t want that?


The mobile isn’t the newest. It was released in 2018. That’s why it runs Android 8 out of the box. Thankfully, you can upgrade it to Android 10.


The chipset that powers Android is the Snapdragon 845. Keeping in mind that it’s from the 800 series, it’s flagship worthy. The RAM available makes using it even easier. You can pick it up with 6 GB of memory. Its ROM would be either 64 or 128 GB. Whichever option you choose, you’d be getting a MicroSD slot.


There is a 3300 mAh battery inside. The LG unit lasts a little over a day. No, it’s not removable. You’ll be using a USB-C port to charge it. An 18 W fast charger would have to be placed. It’d go from 0-50% in half an hour. We love that it comes with wireless charging.


Its front and back camera are more than decent. There’s a dual set-up on its rear. It consists of a 16 MP lens and a 16 MP ultrawide one and the selfie camera consists of an 8 MP wide sensor.


Pros:

  • Powerful processor
  • Premium build
  • Wireless charging

Cons:

  • Small battery
  • Small display
  • Not the best camera

The Nokia was released in 2019. It’s a giant – its screen is 6.3 inches (160 mm). It’s thin as well, at 6.30 in x 2.96 in x 0.33 in (159.9 mm x 75.2 mm x 8.3 mm). There’s a Gorilla Glass 3 build. It looks the best in the phone’s emerald green variant.


The manufacturer placed an IPS LCD panel on its display. As you’re aware, it’s not the most vibrant. However, the device is HDR10 rated. Its resolution is also good, at 1080 x 2280 pixels. Its screen-to-body ratio is 82.4%. There’s barely any bezel action going on.


What’s the glass protecting it? Gorilla Glass 3.


It runs Android 9 out of the box. You can upgrade it to Android 10. One of the things we like about Nokia is that they make handsets run Stock Android.


The processor isn’t worth writing home about. It comes with the Snapdragon 660. It’s a mid-range unit that can’t handle extensive tasks. You can pick it up with either 4 or 6 GB of memory. The variant we’re reviewing is the former.

Its fingerprint sensor is fast, though, and is placed on its rear.


In terms of space, you’re either getting 64 or 128 GB. There’s a MicroSD slot on it.


A 3500 mAh battery is inside. It’ll last a little over a day. 10 W regular charging would have to be used. The mid-ranger takes well over 2 hours to fully charge. You’ll be placing the charger into a USB-C port.


A quad set-up is on its back. It consists of a 48 MP wide lens, an 8 MP ultrawide one, and a 5 MP depth sensor. Nokia’s known to do cameras well, and they didn’t disappoint. There’s a single shooter on its front. It is a 20 MP wide lens.


Although it’s at the bottom of our review, it earned a top spot in our best phones under $300 review.


Pros:

  • Large display
  • Barely any bezel action going on
  • Premium build
  • Superb camera

Cons:

  • Small battery
  • Not the best processor

Buying Guide

Now that you know what the best handsets for your budget are, let’s go through some features that the best cell phone under $500 would have.

RAM

RAM is important no matter the type of device you’re interested in. It influences how fast applications load, and whether you can run many apps in the background. With a budget of $500, you’ll be able to pick phones with 4 GB of space minimum.

ROM

With a lot of ROM, you’ll be able to download more files, videos, and software. Even if your mobile doesn’t have a lot of space, it may have a MicroSD slot. You’ll be able to expand its storage to almost double.

Processor

A powerful processor would let you handle graphic extensive tasks. This is what you want if you’re a gamer.

A chipset equivalent to something in the Snapdragon 700 or early 800 series is ideal.

Build

$500 is not a small sum. You’d expect the mobile you’re buying to feel premium. It should have a glass and aluminum build.

Battery

Who doesn’t want a large battery? For the amount you’re paying, there is no specific battery size to expect. It all depends on the manufacturer you choose to work with.

Tips for The Best Purchase

To make the smartest purchase, make note of the below points.

Warranty

Your unit needs to come with an extensive warranty. Phones are electronic, so there are many ways to wreck them.

Return Policy

Although the handset may be great, it may not suit your daily routine. You’ll only know this when you try it out for a couple of days. Hopefully, the seller has a return policy.

Final Thoughts

What did you think about our best smartphone under $500 review? For how much you’re willing to pay, you can grab a great device but you have to look around. From the many we talked about, it’s clear that the OnePlus 7T is the best. It comes with the Snapdragon 855, which annihilates the other entries in our review. It looks and feels good too.

The Note 9S snagged our number 2 spot as for its price, its features are fabulous. The Snapdragon 720G is a powerhouse.

The OnePlus dominated our list. If you want to learn more about the brand, you can check our Facebook out. We regularly update it with lists and reviews.


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Converged Devices is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon (.com, .co.uk, .ca etc) and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Follow us here