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The Best Phones Under $500 in 2022

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The Best Phones Under $500 in 2022

Cellphones used to be for calling or messaging only, but it has evolved tremendously over the years. Phones are now smartphones with helpful features like a camera, internet browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a massive app store. Some of the most famous products on the market come with a hefty price tag, but you can still find more budget-friendly options that will impress you with their performance. These phones are powerful enough to load social media apps, watch videos, and make video calls. It might not be as fast and advanced as the Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones, but its affordable price is its primary selling point. When choosing a budget smartphone, you have to be picky because others are made with lousy parts and have many negative reviews. Brands always let you know what the technical specs of their product are, so a quick look will help you go for the best option that fits your budget. Here are the best smartphones under $500 as of 2022.

01 Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Apple has always been a frontrunner in the smartphone industry. Their phones always offer good specs, and users have a fantastic experience because of how their phones make many aspects of their lives easier. Their top-of-the-line models are pricey, but they never forget those unwilling to pay a considerable sum for a phone. Their Apple iPhone SE (2020) is an attractive budget option you can go for. The 64 GB variant sells for $399, while the 128 GB version costs $449. The phone has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, which is dust and water-resistant. Dropping the iPhone SE in water isn’t a problem as long as it doesn’t go deeper than 1 meter and doesn’t stay there longer than 30 mins. It doesn’t have Face ID, but you get their old-school touch ID. It comes with a 12 MP wide camera that takes stunning photos, and you’ll also get amazing selfies under the sun with its 7 MP front camera with Portrait mode. You’ll also get to find many ways to make use of its 4K Full HD video shooting capabilities. All the apps and games you’ll load in the phone will load and operate smoothly thanks to its A13 Bionic chip. The smartphone’s battery is also powerful because you can watch videos for up to 13 hours per charge. Other attractive features are the Haptic Touch, stereo audio recording, augmented reality, True Tone, and dual sim compatibility.

Pros

  • 4.7-inch Retina HD display
  • 12 MP wide camera that shoots 4K Full HD video
  • Touch ID
  • Water & dust resistant

Cons

  • Still doesn't have a full screen with a notch like more high-end models
  • No Face ID

Specification

  • Price $399.00
  • Processor Apple A13 Bionic
  • RAM 3 GB
  • Storage 64 GB/128 GB
  • Display 4.7 inches
  • Camera 12 MP
  • Battery Li-Ion 1821 mAh battery (6.96 Wh)
Apple iPhone SE (2020)

02 Google Pixel 5A 5G

The Google Pixel 5A 5G is among the best, affordable options on the market because of its 5G capability. It comes with 6 Gb RAM and 128 GB of storage. The OLED display measures 6.34 inches, and it doesn’t have any notch. It only has a small circle in the upper left corner of the screen for the front-facing camera. It’s equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, which makes every app on the phone run smoothly. On the back of the smartphone, there’s a 12.2 MP camera that has autofocus with a dual-pixel phase-detection feature. It also has an ultra-wide lens, Night Sight, and Portrait mode. Unlike Apple, who puts its touch ID in front of the phone, the Pixel 5A 5G has its fingerprint reader on its back. The phone is equipped with stereo speakers, but some say it lacks a clear, rich sound. You can confidently bring the smartphone with you to the beach because it’s water and dust-resistant with an IP67 rating. The Pixel 5A 5G has a 4,620 mAh battery, and you get fast charging with its 18-watt USB-C charger. Google says that the phone can last an entire day without having to recharge. Of course, you can expect the battery to last longer if you don’t watch videos or use many heavy apps during the day.

Pros

  • 5G capable
  • Fast and powerful
  • Water and dust resistant
  • Large screen

Cons

  • 5G support in the US needs improvements

Specification

  • Price $439.40
  • Processor Snapdragon 765G 5G
  • RAM 6 GB
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Display 6.34 inches
  • Camera 12.2 MP
  • Battery 4680 mAh Li-Po
Google Pixel 5A 5G

03 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is an excellent choice for those who want 5G connectivity without spending their entire savings. This phone would cost you less than $300, and it promises outstanding performance thanks to its MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G chip. You get fantastic 5G coverage with this phone using different major carriers, and it will be compatible with the upcoming C-band spectrum, so you can expect the 5G performance of Verizon or AT&T to improve tremendously. The Galaxy A32 has a 6.5-inch HD+ Infinity-V LCD, which has a 90 HZ refresh rate. You can expect games and videos to run smoothly because of it. The phone’s 5,000 mAh battery makes it possible for you to last two full days without plugging it in. Once you run out of juice, you’ll be amazed by its 15 W fast charging capability. The phone comes with an internal memory of 64 GB, which is pretty low, but the good is that you can purchase a MicroSD card and enjoy up to 1 TB of storage. The A32 has four camera lenses behind it, and its primary camera is about 48 MP. There’s also a tiny notch on the front of the phone, which is the 13 MP front camera. Unlike Apple, this phone from Samsung comes with a headphone jack and card slot. It even has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and NFC capabilities. Samsung made sure to give their phones a modern and minimalist design, so you won’t easily tell that it’s a budget phone.

Pros

  • 5G connectivity
  • Headphone jack, MicroSD card slot, and fingerprint sensor
  • 15 W Fast Charging
  • 48 MP main camera

Cons

  • LCD display
  • Build feels plastic-y

Specification

  • Price $267.31
  • Processor Dimensity 720 5G
  • RAM 4-8 GB
  • Storage 64 GB, microSDXC
  • Display 6.5"
  • Camera 48 MP
  • Battery 5000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

04 Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

If you have more money to spend and find the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G too basic, you can go for the more upgraded Samsung Galaxy A52 5G. Its display is also 6.5 inches, but you get an Infinity-O Full HD+ display. It features an Octa-core processor and has 6 GB RAM. The phone’s initial storage capacity is 128 GB, but it’s upgradeable to 1 TB because of the MicroSD slot. The A52’s cameras are also better than the A32’s because its main camera at the back is 64 MP OIS, and its front camera is 32 MP. You have to compromise when you opt for the A52 because while you get a better display, processor, and camera, its battery capacity is only 4,500 mAh. This might be smaller than the Galaxy A32, but you get super-fast charging thanks to the 25 W charging capabilities. The Galaxy A52 also comes with 5G connectivity, and it’s water-resistant up to 3 feet for about 30 minutes. Instead of a full-on notch, the A52 only has a small circle on the top portion of the screen, which is the front-facing camera lens. The phone uses a nano-sized sim and has a handy dual-sim feature.

Pros

  • 64 MP back camera, 32 MP front camera
  • 25 W super-fast charging
  • 5G connectivity
  • Dual sim

Cons

  • Build quality could be improved

Specification

  • Price $499.99
  • Processor Snapdragon 750G 5G
  • RAM 6 GB
  • Storage 128 GB, microSDXC
  • Display 6.5 inches
  • Camera 64 MP
  • Battery 4500 mAh Li-Po
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

05 OnePlus Nord 2 5G

If you don’t mind when your phone isn’t from a famous brand, you might get shocked by all the other valuable options on the market. The OnePlus Nord 2 is a fantastic smartphone that sells for under $500. Gamers will love this phone because of its 6.4-inch fluid AMOLED display with a fast refresh rate of 90 Hz. You get 8 GB of RAM and internal storage of 128 GB. The phone also has 5G connectivity and dual nano sim capabilities. There are three cameras behind the phone, the Sony IMX766 50 MP, 8 MP, and 2 MP. The front-facing camera is 32 MP, and the phone is capable of recording 4K video at 30 fps, and it has image stabilization. The phone promises a smooth performance with its AI-powered brainMediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI Chipset. The Nord 2 also excels in the charging department because its Warp Charge feature allows you to get a ton of juice in just 15 minutes.

Pros

  • 5G connectivity
  • Dual sim
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 50MP camera with OIS

Cons

  • Brand is not that popular

Specification

  • Price $399.50
  • Processor Dimensity 1200 5G
  • RAM 6 GB RAM
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Display 6.43 inches
  • Camera 50 MP
  • Battery 4500 mAh Li-Po
OnePlus Nord 2 5G

06 Apple iPhone 11

You don’t always have to go for the budget options of Apple because since they release new phones yearly, you’ll see that the price of their phones from the previous years depreciates at a shocking speed. As of 2022, you only need to spend about $499 for their 64 GB iPhone 11. You get a multi-touch 6.1-inch liquid Retina HD display that has IPS technology. Everything runs smoothly on the phone, thanks to the A13 Bionic chip. The phone will help you step up your social media game because of its impressive camera. You get a dual 12 MP camera system and their cool wide and ultra-wide cameras. You’ll enjoy their camera features like portrait mode with six lightning effects, 5x digital zoom, panorama photo, night mode, smart HDR, and 4K video recording up to 60 fps. The iPhone 11 also doesn’t make use of the TouchID anymore, and your life will become 100x easier with its FaceID capabilities. This iPhone isn’t 5G ready, but you get to use up to two sims (physical nano sim + eSim). The phone has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that gives you 10-17 hours of video playback per charge. Phones from Apple have always been worth the price because of all the extra features and apps you can use with it, and such phones are the ideal choice for you if you plan to use them with other Apple devices.

Pros

  • A13 Bionic chip
  • Superb image and video quality
  • Wide and ultra-wide cameras
  • Dual sim

Cons

  • Not 5G-ready
  • Low storage

Specification

  • Price $499.00
  • Processor Apple A13 Bionic
  • RAM 4 GB RAM
  • Storage 64 GB/128 GB
  • Display 6.1 inches
  • Camera 12 MP
  • Battery 3110 mAh Li-Ion
Apple iPhone 11

Brett Clarke

Feb 17, 2022

82 Articles Published

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We're not just tech junkies, but we're also tech experts. Each and every "Best of.." list on TechJunkie is curated by our content-area subject matter experts to provide a well-rounded, unbiased perspective to help and inform you, our reader. Our lists are constantly reviewed and updated, so you can be sure you're reading relevant and up to date information.

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