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Best Premium Smartphones Under $600 to Buy in 2024

NextPit Best Phones Under 500 Dollars 2023
© sodawhiskey / Adobe Stock / nextpit

With smartphone prices trending upwards, and many flagship models way beyond a thousand dollars, sub-$600 phones still offer a good balance between features and performance. Whether you are looking to play games, take great pictures, or simply have a reliable phone that will last you many years, keep reading to find out the best phones on the market for less than 600 dollars.

With true flagship phones costing (way) above $1000, intermediate models started to trickle around the $500 price range. Even then, there are still a couple of smartphones around $600 that still offer a true flagship-level experience, without the tradeoffs found in the intermediate segment.

Editor's note: the prices highlighted in this article may vary depending on discounts offered by the manufacturers.

What to expect from a sub-$600 phone

Different from other price categories, sub-$600 phones don't make specific tradeoffs to reach the price point. Each brand usually chooses different features to distinguish smartphones in this category from the true flagships.

Their software update support is usually on the same level as the high-end devices but you can expect to find sacrifices in camera versatility—e.g. fewer lenses—, slower or fewer charging options, slightly downgraded display, or older generation processors.

The best smartphones under $600

Google Pixel 8a: All-in-one package phone

Google Pixel 8a camera up close
The Pixel 8a has the same excellent camera setup as the Pixel 7a. / © nextpit

Read the full Google Pixel 8a review

Replacing the Google Pixel 7a is its successor for 2024. The Pixel 8a is a steady evolution of the previous model, with significant upgrades to the display, which is not only brighter but also refreshes at a higher rate, processor, and especially a longer update support policy of seven years.

Besides the pure Android experience, the Pixel's software department is enhanced by a few useful AI features (and others not so much), that enhance not only daily tasks but also photo editing.

Speaking of photos, the Pixel 8a keeps the same award-winning combination of sensors and lenses from its predecessor, delivering excellent image quality in day and night photos.

Better yet, Google avoided increasing the price of the Pixel 8a (at least in North America), delivering even better value for the money.

Google Pixel 8a


  • Seven years of security and feature updates
  • Excellent Pixel camera
  • Good everyday performance
  • Good enough battery life
  • Bright and fast 120 Hz display
  • Some AI features that are actually useful


  • Slow charging times and no charger included
Google Pixel 8a
Go to review
Google Pixel 8a

Apple iPhone 13: Ecosystem ties

iPhone 13 Mini
The iPhone 13 is still a very powerful phone / © nextpit

Read the full iPhone 13 review

Replacing the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 is the best (and only?) Apple option in this price range. Of course, Apple offers the humble iPhone SE for even less, but while still very powerful, the SE is too firmly rooted into the iPhone 6 legacy, with its small screen, huge bezels, and a single camera.

With a pretty stable iPhone design since the 12th generation, the iPhone 13 still looks pretty much like any current Apple phone, with the exception of the display notch. Performance-wise, the phone packs a still very capable processor, with enough horsepower for all the latest apps and games. 

The dual camera system is comprised of main and ultra-wide-angle lenses, with excellent image quality in photos, and especially videos. Media consumption happens in the bright and big 6.1-inch OLED display, with sharp colors and excellent viewing angles.

Apple iPhone 13


  • OLED screen with deep blacks
  • Good battery life
  • Good quality main camera
  • IP68 certification
  • Smarter iOS 15


  • 60 Hz refresh rate
  • FaceID is unwieldy to use while wearing a face mask
  • 20W charging speed
Apple iPhone 13
Go to review
Apple iPhone 13

Google Pixel 7: The best camera

Google Pixel 7 review
The dual camera module of the Google Pixel 7 with its main lens can "simulate" a 2x optical zoom and up to x8 in digital. / © NextPit

Read the full Google Pixel 7

The Google Pixel family is well-known for its camera performance, and the Pixel 7 is no exception. The Android flagbearer is usually on top of camera comparisons and offers excellent results from both its main 50 MP camera and the 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens.

Being the Google reference phone, the Pixel 7 gets monthly security fixes and is first in line to receive new Android versions. Performance is top-notch, with the same processor used in the flagship Pixel 7 Pro. And all that with excellent battery life, without software bloat and exclusive software features thanks to the Pixel feature drops.

As a tradeoff, the Pixel 7 is limited to a 90 Hz OLED display—while its Android rivals go up to 120 Hz—and the performance of the Tensor G2 chip is not on par with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and 8+ Gen 1.

Google Pixel 7


  • Well-calibrated 90Hz Full HD+ OLED display
  • Premium design (Gorilla Glass Victus, aluminum frame, IP68)
  • Efficient dual camera module
  • Android 13 with lots of exclusive features
  • Excellent battery life
  • Competitive price


  • No 120 Hz refresh rate
  • 20W wired charging is too slow
  • Back design is less beautiful than last year
  • No significant performance gain between the Tensor G1 and G2
Google Pixel 7
Go to review
Google Pixel 7

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Long-term support

The Galaxy S23 FE is one of the better smartphones out there, actually.
Despite what the critics say, the Galaxy S23 FE is actually a really great smartphone... / © nextpit

Read the Galaxy S23 FE review

After testing the European model, my colleague Casi Drees actually had a lot of good things to say about the phone, despite some questionable choices made by Samsung. The North American version of the Galaxy S23 FE solves the main issue we had in general, replacing the power-hungry Exynos chip used globally with the more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the US.

But what makes the Galaxy S23 FE an easy choice in this price range, especially when compared to similar options from Xiaomi and Motorola, is the much better software support provided by Samsung. The S23 FE is promised to receive five years of security updates, with four Android upgrades. And in the past years, Samsung has been delivering on its promise to past models, even retroactively extending support to some.

The result is that not only you will get a capable phone for 2024 in the S23 FE, but it will also stay usable for years to come. Even if your needs outgrow the phone, you will be able to use it as a backup phone, give it to a friend or relative, or even resell it.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE


  • Great workmanship
  • Great AMOLED display
  • Versatile camera
  • Android 14 with One UI 6.0
  • Solid performance


  • Too expensive and released too late
  • Too much internal competition
  • Thick bezels
  • Only average battery life
  • No charger included
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
Go to review
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

 OnePlus 12R: The right compromises

OnePlus 12R back cover in detail
The OnePlus 12R makes a few hardware cuts from the flagship model to reach its excellent pricepoint. / © nextpit

Read the OnePlus 12R review

The OG flagship killer, OnePlus slowly crept into flagship territory over the years. To counteract that, the company offers its T or R models, with some hardware compromises to reach the $500~$700 price sweetspot. And by all accounts, they nailed it with the OnePlus 12R in 2024.

You will find 2023's flagship processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a big and crisp OLED display, excellent battery life, and a capable main camera. In return, you will give up some water protection, and high-resolution secondary cameras.

But the main selling point for the OnePlus 12R in the sub-$600 category is probably the battery department. Not only does it come with a big 5500 mAh battery, but it also includes a powerful and fast 100W charger in the box which reaches full charge in less than 30 minutes.

OnePlus 12R


  • Sleek Design
  • Alert Slider Onboard
  • Bright and Vivid Screen
  • Dependable Performance Stability
  • Flexible Photography Options
  • Two Days Battery Life
  • 100W Fast Wired Charging


  • Bulky Charger Adapter
  • Only IP64 rating
OnePlus 12R
Go to review
OnePlus 12R

Tips to upgrade your phone and save money

Contract discounts

Flagship and premium phones are the models with the biggest (and best) discounts when buying with a phone contract. That's why we added contract options in the deals links above, in case you are a customer of one of the mentioned carriers, be sure to check them out!  

Refurbished and used smartphones

If removing the protective film on your new device does not spark joy, you can pick up more expensive smartphones from the second-hand or refurbished market. It is particularly advisable to use devices that carry a refurbished guarantee.

These are used smartphones that have been checked and refurbished by reputable companies to ensure that they are in tip-top condition. Refurbished devices are particularly worthwhile to check out when they come with an extended warranty. This is how you protect yourself when picking one up just in case the handset gives up the ghost just a few weeks down the road.

Do you think we forgot a phone model? What would you change on this list? Share your opinion in the comments below!

Our 'Best Smartphones Under $600' list was updated in May 2024 to include a new top suggestion.

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Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Having written about technology since 2008 for a number of websites in Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and Germany, I specialize in the mobile ecosystem, including various models, components, and apps. I tend to not only value performance and specifications, but also things like repairability, durability, and manufacturer support. I tend to prioritize the end-user's point of view whenever possible.

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