If you’re shopping for a new smartphone but don’t want to spend more than $500, the right phone can still be found on the cheap. This year, there’s more high-quality options than ever on the market, even for budget-minded shoppers.
In fact, we’ve seen some of our favorite flagships dip down to under $300 when on sale. This is because manufacturers make certain concessions to offer a budget-friendly option, such as opting for plastic cases instead of metal ones or using LCD screens rather than OLED ones. Other tradeoffs may include less storage and slower processors, but most of these phones can run most apps just fine.
One of our favorite options is the OnePlus Nord N20 5G, which offers top specs for a cheap price. The phone has a gorgeous edge-to-edge display, an outstanding battery life and a pop-out stylus, making it more of a premium device than other budget phones. Unfortunately, the phone also brushes up against our ceiling for what’s considered a cheap phone at $498, which is a little too close to the $400 mark for many of our readers.
Another great budget phone is the Google Pixel 6a, which packs a lot of its parent’s best features into a more compact design and less expensive chassis. Its peppy processor and excellent cameras are hard to beat at this price point, and it’ll get years of Android updates. However, it won’t support 5G on AT&T or Verizon, and its 4.7-inch screen may feel cramped in five years when most apps and webpages will be designed for larger displays.