The list of the best Android phones under $500 has matured a lot over the last couple of years, and it has a lot more compelling options now than ever. You don’t need to shell out for a flagship to get good performance or the best features because a lot of sub-$500 Android phones deliver an equally good experience now. So if you are in the market to buy a good budget Android phone without burning a huge hole in your pocket, then here are some solid options to consider right now.
Our favorite Android phones under $500 right now:
Samsung Galaxy A53
The Galaxy A53 offers a beautiful AMOLED display, Exynos 1280 chipset, and five years of software support.
- Beautiful AMOLED display
- Long lasting battery
- Affordable price tag
- No 4K 60fps video recording
- Could use a better processor
Galaxy A53 5G is a fantastic smartphone in this price range and, thankfully, is still available to purchase in the U.S. If you want the best smartphone that can do it all and will continue to receive software updates for a long time, look no further than this one right now.
The Galaxy A53 5G picks up where the Galaxy A53 left off. It packs a bigger battery, a faster chipset, and a tweaked design. The Galaxy A53 is a minor refresh, so if you are rocking the Galaxy A52, there’s probably no need to upgrade. What makes the Galaxy A53 so great is that it backs up the amazing hardware with equally great software support. Samsung promises up to four years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates, which is not only unheard of in this price range but also beats the best flagships out there, including Google’s own Pixel 6 series.
Launched at $449, the Galaxy A53 has now come down to $349, making it even more attractive. You get a beautiful 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 800 nits brightness. It gets plenty bright and offers punchy colors. This is one of the best panels you can get for under $500.
Under the hood, the Galaxy A53 packs Samsung’s in-house Exynos 1280 chipset, paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It also houses the same camera setup as its predecessor, featuring a 64MP primary shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and two 5MP depth and macro shooters. The phone’s large 5,000mAh battery won’t quit in the middle of the day and supports 25W fast charging.
Google Pixel 6a
The Google 6a packs Tensor SoC and excellent cameras.
- Reliable performance
- Good camera
- Great software
- Only a 60Hz display
- Slow charging speeds
The Pixel A series has long offered the best features of flagship Google phones at an affordable price tag. The new Pixel 6a is no different. It’s the best cheap phone from Google yet, bringing several notable improvements over previous phones. While old Pixel A series phones featured unassuming designs, the Pixel 6a packs a bold design that stands out from the crowd. The Pixel 6a also packs Google’s in-house Tensor SoC, the same chipset that powers the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 6a was launched at $449 but has already seen price drops several times, bringing it down to $300. The Pixel 6a’s biggest strength is the flagship Tensor SoC, providing fast performance and enhancing features like voice dictation and Now Playing using on-device machine learning. The camera performance is excellent, as always, but it’s sad to see Google not equipping the phone with the same camera sensors as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. You get the same 12MP primary shooter found on all previous Pixel A series phones.
The display is one of the weakest links of the Pixel 6a. While the 6.1-inch OLED panel offers good saturation, deep blacks, and sufficient brightness, it lacks a higher refresh rate. If you’re coming from a phone with a 60Hz display, this is unlikely to notice this difference, but it is nevertheless an odd omission given every phone at this price point at least offers a 90Hz display.
The phone packs a 4,410mAh battery which will easily last a whole day. However, the 18W charging speed is nothing to write home about, and it also doesn’t help that Google doesn’t include a charger inside the box. Software is also a strong suit of the Pixel 6a. The phone runs a near-stock version of Android 12 with the Material You theme and is guaranteed to receive OS updates at least until Android 15.
OnePlus 10T 5G
The OnePlus 10T 5G, just like the OnePlus 10 Pro, is available to purchase in only two colors -- Jade Green and Moonstone Black.
- Super fast charging speed
- Reliable performance
- Affordable than most flagships out there
- Weaker cameras than OnePlus 10 Pro
- No support for wireless charging
The OnePlus 10T is one of the best-performing phones you can buy under $500 in the U.S. right now. It's an easy recommendation for us in this particular list because it gets a lot of things right while keeping the price low. It may not be the newest OnePlus flagship out there right now, but it's worth considering if you're hellbent on buying a phone under $500.
The OnePlus 10T is somewhat of a downgrade when you compare it with the OnePlus 10 Pro or the newly launched OnePlus 11, but it's not as bad as you think. You only get a full HD display on the OnePlus 10T instead of a QHD+ panel on the OnePlus 11. It also comes with a plastic frame around the body as opposed to the more premium metallic one. But none of these things are deal-breakers, especially when you consider the asking price.
Not to mention, it also comes with a lot of great things, including faster charging speeds and a new chipset. One of the highlights of the OnePlus 10T is its support for 150W charging speeds. OnePlus even bundles the phone with a 150W charging brick, meaning you don't have to buy one separately. The US variants of the phone are limited to just 125W charging speed, but even that's faster than a lot of other phones on the market in this price range.
Another highlight feature of this phone is the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. This particular chipset is an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip powering the OnePlus 10 Pro. It may not compete with the new OnePlus 11, but it's plenty for most users out there. It's both fast and reliable for day-to-day usage.
Overall, it's a solid phone that'll serve you well for many years to come. It's one of the best-performing phones in this price range, and you can't go wrong with it if you're chasing the best-performing phone.
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)
The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is one of the cheapest stylus-equipped Android phones.
- Stylus support
- Affordable price tag
- Good battery life
- Could've used a different processor
- Large form-factor
Looking for an Android phone with a stylus but don’t want to pony up $1,500 on the Galaxy S23 Ultra? Meet the Motorola G Stylus (2022). Motorola’s budget stylus-equipped phone delivers a great mid-range smartphone experience for just $249. The large 6.8-inch display is great for drawing and doodling and offers a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Even if you don't care about stylus support, there's plenty to like about the Moto G Stylus hardware package.
The Snapdragon 695 ensures the phone handles everyday tasks without breaking a sweat, and 8GB of RAM means there’s plenty of room to hold multiple apps for an extended time.
The Moto G Stylus packs a triple camera setup on the back, featuring a 50MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP depth shooter. The camera performance isn’t as good as something like the Pixel 6a, but you won’t be complaining much as long as the lighting conditions are favorable.
The Moto G Stylus is also a battery champion. As we noted in our review, the phone’s large 5,000mAh battery can easily keep the show running for two days. While the battery life is stellar, it’s a shame the phone charges at a snail’s pace thanks to the super slow 10W charger.
The phone runs a near-stock version of Android 12 out of the box. However, Motorola's software promise is not that great. The company only commits to one major Android update and three years of bi-monthly security updates. For reference, the Galaxy A53 promises up to four years of OS updates and five years of security updates.
OnePlus Nord 2T
The OnePlus 2T is an updated version of the well-received Nord 2, offering a more powerful chipset, new design and faster charging speed.
- Solid performance for the price
- Fast 80W charging
- Affordable price tag
- No IP rating
- The cameras could've been better
The OnePlus Nord 2T is an updated version of the highly successful Nord 2. It's a fantastic mid-range smartphone. The only problem is the phone is restricted to Europe and India, like its predecessor. So instead of being one of our top picks, the phone has been relegated to honorable mentions. However, if you want the phone in the US, you can purchase it on Amazon, but it won't work on CDMA networks like Verizon., which is a hassle.
From a 6.43-inch AMOLED FHD+ 90Hz display to 65W fast charging support, the Nord 2T comes with all the right things. The new model packs an even faster chipset. It's powered by MediaTek 1300 SoC, a tiny step up from the MediaTek 1200 on the Nord 2. The camera system is unchanged, with the phone still packing the same 50MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. While the Nord 2T packs the same 4,500mAh battery, the charging speed has been boosted from 65W to 80W.
The phone's software, which now includes the elements of Color OS, also doesn't disappoint and will be appreciated by many people.
Best Android phones under $500: The bottom line
Samsung's Galaxy A53 is currently our pick for the best Android phone you can buy in the U.S. for less than $500. It checks all the right boxes to come out on top, and it offers a reliable experience for its asking price. From a beautiful OLED display with support for a 120Hz refresh rate to a long-lasting battery, the Galaxy A53 has a lot going for it, especially when you compare with it other phones in its price range. It's also frequently discounted now, so you may be able to snag it for a significantly cheaper price.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
The Galaxy A53 5G is a capable mid-range phone that offers a vibrant display, a solid main camera, and long lasting battery life.
Google's Pixel 6a also comes very close to matching the overall experience of the Galaxy A53 5G, but it misses out on a few things like the display and performance. We've also added some other interesting options in this collection, including the OnePlus 10T, the OnePlus Nord 2T, and more, so be sure to check all of them before making a purchase decision.