The arrival of Chinese manufacturers has shaken up the market before splitting it in two. On one side, there are enthusiasts and wealthy consumers ready to spend more than 1000 euros on a smartphone. On the other, there are users with more limited budgets or with fewer needs.
In 2021, the latter are spoilt for choice. The majority of smartphones launched each year are priced between 200 and 700 euros. And their price does not mean they meet your needs less. If you’re on a budget, we suggest you read our guide to the best smartphones under 300 euros. If you are ready to invest a little more, here is our selection of the best smartphones under 500 euros.
Top 5 best smartphone under 500 euros 2022 :
- OnePlus Nord 2
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
- Google Pixel 4a 5G
- Oppo Find X5 Lite
1- OnePlus Nord 2
The best smartphone under 500 euros that has everything of a high-end
After focusing its strategy on the premium segment, OnePlus returned last year to the basics. With the OnePlus Nord, the manufacturer offered probably the best smartphone under 500 euros. Marketed at 399 euros at its release, the Nord had almost everything you’d expect from a high-end smartphone for a contained price. Obviously, OnePlus is very proud of its work and launched in June 2021 the Nord 2, its successor.
Behind its sleek design and its sublime 90 Hz AMOLED screen, the Nord 2 hides a Mediatek Dimensity 1200 chip. The smartphone honors the reputation of its predecessors and displays an excellent autonomy. OnePlus delivers it with a Warp Charge 65W fast charger that can charge the smartphone to 70% in just a few minutes.
Buy OnePlus Nord 2
If it is not the best in photography, it does not have to be ashamed of its talents. Its trio of lenses (wide-angle, ultra wide-angle, macro) combined with a monochrome provide some versatility. Its only weakness lies in the average quality of night photos but in clear improvement compared to the first North of the name.
Other sacrifices made by the brand include the lack of waterproofing and wireless charging. Small defects that we accept without flinching as the OnePlus Nord 2 is attractive. The most interesting model of this comparison, without a doubt.
OnePlus Nord 2 128GB at the best price Base price: € 399
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OnePlus Nord 2 256 GB at the best price Base price: € 499
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2- Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
The best smartphone under 500 euros in terms of compromise
These are undoubtedly the real stars of 2022. The Redmi Note 11 Pro 4G are basically the same features as the Redmi 11. We have a beautiful 6.67″ AMOLED display compatible with 120 Hz refresh rate that gives a real user experience fresher, responsive and modern, a Helio G96 chip from MediaTek more powerful than the Snapdragon 680 chip, combined with 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of internal storage.
The model offers theThis is the most polished set of photo sensors in the range. There is a main sensor 108 Mp to sublimate your photos with technologies like pixel binning. The selfie sensor offers 16 Mp. The smartphone also exists in a 5G version. The chip then switches to a Snapdragon 695 even more powerful, and less energy-consuming – in other words the smartphone lasts slightly longer with the same battery with this chip.
In any case, Xiaomi has integrated on these models a particularly generous battery. All compatible with 67W fast charging – count less than 30 minutes for a full charge.
Redmi Note 11 Pro at the best price Base price: €259
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3- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
The best smartphone under 500 euros
As you know, Samsung’s best-selling smartphones are neither the Galaxy S nor the most expensive and premium Galaxy Z, but the Galaxy A. And among the latter, all eyes are on the A53 5G, the latest super-balancer of the brand. For the price offered by Samsung the performances are up to the mark.
We have a beautiful Infinity-O AMOLED screen with 120 Hz refresh like the most premium ranges. The chip is an Exynos 1280 engraved in 5 nm, which, together with the 5000 battery of the device deliver a simply exceptional autonomy. The device offers a RAM swap space that allows you to dynamically add 6 to 8 GB of additional RAM depending on the needs of the most demanding applications.
The photo and video part is quite good. We have a 64 Mp main sensor with a wide-angle lens (f/1.8), a 12 Mp sensor with an ultra-wide-angle lens (f/2.2), a 5 Mp sensor for portraits and another 5 Mp for macro photography. On the selfie side, you can count on 32 Mp. It is WiFi 6 and Bliethooth 5.1 compatible and comes with Android 12 (OneUI sauce that is).
Galaxy A53 5G at the best price Base price: €459
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4- Google Pixel 4a 5G
The best smartphone under 500 euros for the photo
After the excellent Pixel 3a, Google launched the Pixel 4a and then the Pixel 4a 5G. If both deserve their place in this top, our choice fell on the 5G version for obvious reasons of durability. The Pixel 4a 5G, like the OnePlus Nord, is equipped with a Snapdragon 765G chip, which is more powerful than that of the Pixel 4a.
Still dressed in plastic, the 4a 5G has a beautiful OLED screen of 6.2 inches, it is the largest of the Pixel family. With this smartphone Google confirms its expertise in optimizing mid-range chips. The Pixel 4a 5G has a battery life of almost two days and is fully charged in 1.5 hours.
Of course, the real originality of this model lies in its photo module. Google opts for a dual module (wide-angle and ultra-wide angle) that could seem very light compared to the competition.
And yet. Thanks to the expertise of the American in algorithm development, the Pixel 4a 5G wins the title of king of the photo. It even rivals the Pixel 5, Google’s top-of-the-line model, equipped with the same algorithm.photographic equipment.
Of course, Google has to sacrifice some features to contain costs. Also the Pixel 4a 5G is not certified waterproof and is not compatible with wireless charging, like the OnePlus Nord. But for 499 euros, these small flaws are more than acceptable. As far as we are concerned, the Pixel 4a 5G is our little darling.
Google Pixel 4a 5G at the best price Base price: € 499
5- Oppo Find X5 Lite
The best smartphone under 500 euros compact
The Find X5 Lite © Oppo
The Oppo Find X5 Lite is clearly the least ambitious smartphone of the X5 series. Nevertheless, the manufacturer shows its know-how, to deliver a sound and light show almost as convincing – while cutting quite a few corners.
First, we start with a very good point: the screen of the Find X5 Lite is AMOLED and delivers a refresh rate of 90 Hz (higher than the 60 Hz of the competition). We have a 64 Mp main sensor associated with 8 and 2 Mp sensors more “gadget” which are mainly used from time to time to take beautiful macro photos, or to improve the outlining of the subjects necessary for the bokeh effect.
The selfie sensor is 32 Mp to sublimate your Instagram account. It does not have stereo speakers, but remains 5G compatible and equipped with advanced technologies like NFC, WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. In addition, it packs a fairly powerful chip from MediaTek, the Dimensity 900 5G (instead of the Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 + MariSiliconX of the more expensive models.
Oppo Find X5 Lite 8/256GB at the best price Base price: €499
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6- Oppo Reno 6
The best smartphone under 500 euros from Oppo
Built around a Snapdragon 730G chip (8GB of RAM) the Oppo Reno 6 is a convincing 4G smartphone with great performance. It has a nice 90 Hz AMOLED display (a step above the overwhelming majority of smartphones).
The photo part is led by a 64 Mp main sensor associated with an 8 Mp wide angle, a 2 Mp macro sensor and a 2 Mp depth sensor to improve the Bokeh effect. The selfie sensor is 44 Mp, to seduce your fans on social networks.
It also offers excellent endurance thanks to its 4310 mAh battery compatible with fast charging 50W (SuperVOOC 4.0 technology).
Buy Oppo Reno 6
Also check out our other smartphone buying guides:
Conclusion: how to choose the best smartphone under 500 euros
Competition is good. Because of an over-saturated market, manufacturers are forced to stand out in the mid-range, which corresponds to the selection of this best smartphone under 500 euros. As a result, many models adopt many features that are normally only found on flagship models. It is precisely these models that we advise you to choose.
A good smartphone in this price range is powered by a chip delivering performance close to the latest Snapdragon 888 chips – like the MediaTek Dimensity 1200. They usually have 5G connectivity and a screen that is easy to read.
an AMOLED that sublimates everything that is displayed on the screen. They also usually have a very efficient fast charging system and a big battery – between 4000 and 6000 mAh – that ensures you never worry about running out of power.
These models often have a better selfie sensor than many of the flagship phones available in 2022. On the other hand, the main photo sensors are generally well below what is offered on the best smartphones for photography. The materials are still generally premium, but it is possible in some cases that you end up with a plastic back. Most brands, especially Chinese, do not certify these models for water and dust resistance.
The advantage of having a budget around 500 euros to buy a smartphone is that you will find excellent options from almost all major manufacturers. At this price you can even afford an iPhone SE, a Google Pixel or a Samsung Galaxy. The key to making the right choice is to look at your needs straight in the eye, and accept some concessions, provided that these secondary features are not the key to your overall user experience.
The models in this price range are sometimes smartphones released a year ago.
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