Best 5G Smartphones Under $500 in the US (2023)

Smartphone prices are getting more ridiculous every year. If you want to get your hands on a flagship product, you’ll need to spend at least $700. That doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of smartphone options at other price points. We’ve seen “flagship killers” over the years that are well priced and offer tremendous performance. Let’s take a look at the best 5G smartphones you can buy in the US for under $500.

Also Read: Nothing Phone 2 Global Launch Scheduled For July, More Specs Announced

Google Pixel 7a

Price: $499

brief specifications

Display 6.1-inch OLED chipset Tensor G2 RAM 8 GB Storage 128 GB Battery 4,385 mAh

Every year, Google launches a mid-range Pixel smartphone that’s packed with specs and offers good value for money. This year’s Pixel 7a continues that tradition, mimicking the main camera design and performance of its flagship counterpart, while improving on last year’s Pixel 6a by adding wireless charging and updating the display to a 90Hz panel. It features the same Tensor G2 processor as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, but replaces the glass with a plastic model. With the Pixel 7a, you’re guaranteed one of the best camera performances across the board, as well as a premium Android experience. The Pixel 7a is currently priced at $499 in the US, but if you go by previous trends, there will be several price drops for the smartphone throughout the year.

Samsung Galaxy A54

Price: $449

brief specifications

Display 6.4-inch Super AMOLED chipset Exynos 1380 RAM 6 GB, 8 GB Storage 128 GB, 256 GB Battery 5,000 mAh

Samsung has several smartphones under $500, but the standout is the Galaxy A54. This 5G smartphone features a glass back (something you rarely get at this price point), an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, and a triple camera unit. We reviewed the Galaxy A54 last month and were impressed with what it had to offer. The highlight of the smartphone is the stunning 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The smartphone also performs well when it comes to camera performance. But what really won us over was Samsung’s promise of four years of OS upgrades and five years of security patches. The longevity of the upgrades even outperforms the Pixel.

Nothing phone 1

Price: $429

brief specifications

Display 6.5-inch OLED chipset Snapdragon 778G+ RAM 8 GB, 12 GB Storage 128 GB, 256 GB Battery 4,500 mAh

Last year’s Nothing Phone 1 caused a lot of hype before its launch. The Glyph UI and see-through back design drew a lot of attention to Nothing’s debut smartphone. While many expected it to be a gimmick with little chance of survival in a highly competitive segment, the Nothing Phone 1 surprised everyone with its serious quirks. The Snapdragon 778G+ SoC in this smartphone is a respectable processor that can handle heavy tasks expertly without breaking a sweat. The 50 MP main and ultrawide camera also deliver decent performance. You also get wireless charging with the Nothing Phone 1, a first in this category until the Pixel 7a came along. Read our review here.

Motorola Edge 30 Fusion

Price: $449

brief specifications

Display 6.5-inch P-OLED chipset Snapdragon 888+ 5G RAM 8GB, 12GB Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB Battery 4,400mAh

There’s a lot to like about the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion. This mid-range model from Motorola has top-notch specs. The smartphone has a glass back and an aluminum frame, which greatly increases the hand feel. The 6.5-inch OLED display with 144 Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support is also a stunner. With 68W fast charging support, this smartphone can charge up to 50% in just 10 minutes. Processing tasks are handled by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, which may not be the flagship chipset but can still compete with the other smartphones in this category. With the 50 MP rear camera, you can record up to 8K videos at 30 frames per second. The 13 MP ultra wide-angle lens and a 2 MP depth sensor also deliver decent performance.

iPhone SE 2022

Price: $429

brief specifications

Display 4.7-inch Retina IPS LCD chipset A15 Bionic RAM 4 GB Storage 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB Battery 2,018 mAh

If you absolutely must have a sub-$500 iPhone, the iPhone SE (2022) is your only choice alongside refurbished iPhones. If you’re willing to look past the massive display bezels, the iPhone SE is a decent smartphone. One of the highlights of this device is the A15 Bionic chip from the flagship iPhone 13 series. This phone only has two cameras, a 12 MP rear lens and a 7 MP selfie camera. We reviewed the iPhone SE last year and it surprised us with its hardware and performance. You also get software updates for this device for up to 5 years, which is really good. If you’re looking for a compact smartphone and don’t want to compromise on Apple branding, this should be your choice.

Google Pixel 6a

Price: $349

brief specifications

Display 6.1-inch OLED chipset Tensor RAM 6 GB Memory 128 GB Battery 4,410 mAh

While it may be last year’s smartphone, we can’t help but mention the Pixel 6a in this list simply because of the sheer value it offers for the price. For $349, you get an amazing 6.1-inch OLED display, stock Android experience, and one of the best camera performances of any smartphone—including the flagships. Google’s compute photography is in a class of its own. We tested the smartphone last year and you can see the results for yourself. We also like that Google has kept the characteristic pixel design even with the A-series. If you don’t mind a year less software updates, buying the Google Pixel 6a should be a no-brainer.

Samsung Galaxy A34

Price: $260

brief specifications

Display 6.6-inch Super AMOLED chipset MediaTek Dimensity 1080 RAM 6 GB, 8 GB Storage 128 GB, 256 GB Battery 5,000 mAh

Launched alongside the Galaxy A54, the Samsung Galaxy A34 is a low-budget mid-range smartphone from Samsung that sacrifices the premium features but delivers solid performance. The smartphone has a plastic frame and a plastic back. There is a notch in the display where the selfie camera is located. However, the A34 still offers IP67 protection and the 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display is a joy to use. Being a low-budget mid-range model, the Galaxy A34 has a hybrid SIM slot for expandable storage, but it still misses a headphone jack. Read our full review here.

Also Read: Google’s Chrome Desktop Web Browser Gets New Customization Features


These are our picks for the best 5G smartphones to buy in the US for under $500. For $500, you might also want to look around for flagship devices from a couple of years ago that are now retailing at a cheaper price. You can also get good deals on premium products throughout the year if you are willing to wait. Which smartphone do you think offers the best value for money in this price range? Let us know in the comments!

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