The 6 best smartphones for under $500

The 6 best smartphones for under $500

Are you looking for a cheap, unlocked smartphone for under $500? In our list, you will find solid smartphones for well under 500 bucks. For each model, we will tell you its strengths and weaknesses.


Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 is one of the currently few Android smartphones that offer top hardware in a handy format. Here you get one of the currently best smartphones with pure Android, fast updates, and again one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. In addition, there are reasonable speakers, wireless charging, good voice quality when making calls and good performance, and special features related to the new Soli Radar chip.

AndroidPIT 100 Days With Google Pixel 4 Front 1
The Pixel 4 is handy, fast, and takes great photos. / © NextPit

Traditionally, the greatest strength, apart from the early software updates, is the outstandingly good camera. However, the battery is considered a weakness, which quickly runs out of power quickly if you force the phone's display to run at 90Hz.

Xiaomi Mi 9

The Xiaomi Mi 9 is a worthy competitor in the current race for the best smartphone. The then latest Qualcomm processor, a fingerprint scanner under the screen, face recognition, triple camera with a 48-megapixel sensor and a wide-angle camera, fast charging, wireless charging, NFC: these are all the ingredients of a premium smartphone. And Xiaomi once again makes what was previously reserved for those with enough money in their pockets accessible to the masses.

AndroidPIT xiaomi mi 9 se hero
Top hardware at a top price: everything is n the Xiaomi Mi 9. / © NextPit

Apple iPhone SE 2020

We wouldn't recommend an old iPhone before now, but with the launch of the iPhone SE for 2020, this latest Apple model is a top draw buy at just $399. The best part about this phone is that you get the company's latest A13 Bionic processor, meaning your 400-dollar smartphone has the same computing power at the crazy expensive iPhone 11 Pro Max. You can't ask for much more than that!

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The iPhone SE is primarily compact. / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy A80

Just like its siblings, the Samsung Galaxy A80 has a very special feature of its own. This time it's a rotating pop-up camera paired with a bezel-less display. As this is a Samsung device, you can expect to find an incredible display on offer. It looks amazing!

androidpit samsung galaxy a80 full front camera
The Galaxy A80 is literally an eye-catcher. / © NextPit

The A80 has an excellent, uninterruptible full-screen display, built as well as long battery life. In terms of performance, it is unfortunately not quite at the high-end level, but you get a lot of smartphone for your money here.

Redmi Note 8 Pro

The Note 8 Pro offers several flagship features and a promising 64-megapixel camera. In our review, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro proved to be a reasonably priced all-rounder. Only the user interface MIUI is not everyone's cup of tea.

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The Redmi Note 8 Pro measures 6.5 inches. / © NextPit

The Redmi Note 8 Pro is not widely available in every market, but for those of you in The UK, Europe, and parts of Asia, the smartphone is one hell of a bargain.

Nokia 8.1

We're big fans of what HMD Global is doing with the Nokia brand of late. The smartphones come with completely stock Android and, thanks to the Android One program, software updates always arrive in a timely fashion. The Nokia 8.1 is, for me, one of the stars of the lineup. Its build quality is superb, and the phone feels great in your hand. It's not small, but its still a handy size. For the money, you can't get a more Google Pixel-like experience than this. Only the camera suffers in terms of true premium quality.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 1 front
The Nokia 8.1 is a great choice for fans of pure Android. / © NextPit

What are your recommendations for buying a cheap smartphone? Share your tips in the comments with the whole AndroidPIT community!

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  • bill m 5 months ago Link to comment

    At this time I say shame on you for writing about any phone from a Chinese manufacturer.

  • in europe, and soon globally, Fairphone 3.
    mostEthical phone in the world
    c. £400 - 440

  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    5 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Redmi 8 and am very happy with it. Also the Miui interface is no problem as there are ample possibilities to tweak it and do all the modifications one wants

  • storm 5 months ago Link to comment

    Xiaomi has been caught routing handset web traffic via their servers now too. Do you really trust these companies that blindly

  • storm 5 months ago Link to comment

    We value phones very differently. At this price point, you've already compromised enough that its worth going even lower.

    Maybe the pixel is worth it but the other phones, no. Too locked down. If you're going to compromise, include rootability for long term value outside of official support. Moto g stylus was the clear pick in the US; Power if you want to scrimp a bit more.

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