Top 10 favorite phones under $500

 cnet.com  02/27/2020 11:00:05   Lynn La

With top-tier phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra andiPhone 11 Pro Max starting at more than $1,000, it's easy to feel that great phones aregetting more expensiveand out of your budget. But as some phones are getting pricier, budget phones are getting more advanced and packing premium features of their own. There are lots of affordable devices that are fast, take great photos and offer modern-day software features that won't break the bank. While many of our picks for the best phone under $500 came out in the past several months, some handsets in this roundup launched before that, in 2018. That doesn't mean they're obsolete -- most of them still have high-end processors and a good camera that you can get for way less than when they first launched.

Note that we've linked to the unlocked version of each phone, and they should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers (unless specified otherwise).

Read more:

Now playing: Watch this: Best cheap phones to try now
Angela Lang/CNET

The Galaxy A50 is part of Samsung's A-series, which is much cheaper than the top-tier S-series of phones. At around $300, this budget smartphone is one of your cheapest Galaxy smartphone options and features 6.4 inches of display, an in-screen fingerprint reader and a headphone jack. On the back are three cameras that include a wide-angle lens as well as a "depth lens," which is used to take portrait shots with blurry, dramatic backgrounds. Read our Samsung Galaxy A50 review.

Read more:Which Samsung Galaxy phone should you buy? We compare all 9 of them

Read more:Moto Z4 is a midrange phone and a Verizon 5G early-adopter machine

Angela Lang/CNET

LG is selling its premiumLG G8with Alexa for $500 -- a big discount from its original $850 launch price. As one of the last few high-end phones with a headphone jack, the G8 stands out as a rarity. But the device also has a bright, sharp screen, a second wide-angle rear camera, a fast processor and water resistance. Read our LG G8 ThinQ review.

Read more: LG G8 ThinkQ is LG's dual screen bid to win over the high-end phone market

Sarah Tew/CNET

Theoften discountedMoto G7 Play is one of our favorite affordable Android phones. Like the pricier Moto G7 (which we'll get to later), it has a Snapdragon 632 processor and a water-repellent coating. But the G7 Play features a smaller 5.7-inch display and a single 13-megapixel camera. For those who like to take a lot of selfies, on the front of the phone you'll find a selfie camera flash to brighten up all those memorable moments. Read more about the Moto G7 Play.

Read more: Moto G7 for $300, and all the rest: How to tell all four new Moto G7 phones apart

Angela Lang/CNET

ThePixel 3A shaves a few features off of 2018's Pixel 3: It's not water resistant, doesn't have wireless charging, and it maxes out at 64GB of storage. But it costs $399, adds a headphone jack and keeps the same amazing Night Sight camera that can shoot great photos in the dark. (Daytime photos and video recording look amazing, too.) The device is compatible with all the major US phone carriers as well. Read our Google Pixel 3A review.

Read more: Sorry Samsung, the Google Pixel 3A is 2019's most important phone

Josh Miller/CNET

It's been three years since its launch but the Galaxy S8 is still a phone worthy of consideration. It's water resistant, has wireless charging, expandable storage and a headphone jack. Plus, its curved OLED display screen lends the phone a modern-day look that still endures. Read our Samsung Galaxy S8 review.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Moto G7 may not be as cheap as its G7 Play counterpart, but at $300, it's still a good deal. Though its single speaker doesn't offer the greatest sound, and it takes mediocre low-light photos and video, the Moto G7 has dual rear cameras, an enduring battery life and a sleek design. It also charges quickly, which is useful when you need to juice up while on the go. Read our Motorola Moto G7 review.

« Go back