The arrival of Chinese manufacturers shook the market before splitting it in two. On the one hand, there are enthusiasts and affluent consumers willing to spend more than 1000 euros on a smartphone. On the other hand, we find users with more limited budgets or with fewer needs.
In 2021, they are spoiled for choice. The majority of smartphones launched each year are marketed between 200 and 700 euros. And their pricing doesn’t mean they meet your needs less. If you are on a budget, we recommend that you read our guide to the best smartphones under $ 300. 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 :
- OnePlus Nord 2
- Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro
- Xiaomi Mi Note 10
- Google Pixel 4a 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
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 to fundamentals last year. With the OnePlus North, the manufacturer undoubtedly offered the best smartphone under 500 euros. Marketed at 399 euros when it was released, the North carried almost everything that we expected from a high-end smartphone for a low 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 lives up to the reputation of its predecessors and displays excellent battery life. OnePlus delivers it with a fast charger Warp Charge 65 W allowing the smartphone to be recharged to 70% in just a few minutes.
If he’s not the best at photography, he doesn’t have to be ashamed of his talents. Its trio of lenses (wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, macro) associated with a monochrome ensure a certain versatility. Its only weakness lies in the average quality of the 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 flaws that we accept without flinching as the OnePlus Nord 2 is attractive. The most interesting model of this comparison, without a doubt.
OnePlus Nord 2 128 GB 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 Mi 9T Pro
The best smartphone under 500 euros in terms of compromise
Launched just a few months after the Mi 9 (the brand’s top-of-the-range), the Mi 9T Pro has some welcome improvements for a low price. For less than 400 euros, the Mi 9T Pro ships a good package of high-end technologies: Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM and up to 128 GB of storage.
It stands out especially with its 6.39 inch Full HD AMOLED display without notch or punch. The front sensor is housed in a mechanical system commonly called a “pop-up”. The multimedia experience is only better. Photo side, the Mi 9T Pro is armed with a triple sensors of 48 + 8 + 13 megapixels, or a less muscular arsenal than its predecessor. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see the difference in quality between the two models.
As enduring as the Mi 9, the Mi 9T Pro inherits fast charging. However, to distinguish it from the premium model, Xiaomi took away wireless charging. Not enough to weaken our enthusiasm. The Mi 9T Pro is a very complete model for its price, and logically remains in the lead of our guide to the best smartphone under 500 euros.
3- Xiaomi Mi Note 10
The best smartphone under 500 euros with 108 megapixel sensor
Xiaomi, again, stood out this year with the Mi Note 10, a smartphone equipped with a 108 megapixel photo sensor. If the figure impresses, it is above all the versatility of the photophone that is emphasized. In addition to the possibility of shooting 108 megapixel shots, the Mi Note 10 incorporates an ultra-wide-angle lens, a macro sensor and a telephoto lens capable of zooming up to 5x.
Good photographer, the Mi Note 10 is also a durable smartphone. With a 5260 mAh battery, the opposite would have surprised us. So allow more than two days of autonomy for versatile use before going through the charging box. Xiaomi also provides a 30 W fast charger.
Note all the same that the performance of this smartphone remains average since it has a mid-range Snapdragon 730 processor. The 6 to 12 GB of RAM handle multitasking and resource-intensive uses well. Good point on the other hand for 6.47-inch display based on Amoled technology. Offered less than 400 euros, the Mi Note 10 does not lack arguments to seduce, and is one of the best.
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. Indeed, the Pixel 4a 5G embeds, like the OnePlus North, a Snapdragon 765G chip, more powerful than that of the Pixel 4a therefore.
Always dressed in plastic, the 4a 5G displays a beautiful 6.2-inch OLED screen, it is as such the largest of the Pixel family. With this smartphone Google confirms above all its know-how in optimizing mid-range chips. The Pixel 4a 5G displays a autonomy of nearly two days and fully recharges in 1h30.
Obviously, the real originality of this model lies in its photo module. Google opts for a double module (wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle) which could seem very light compared to the competition.
And yet. Thanks to the expertise of the American in terms of algorithm development, the Pixel 4a 5G won by hand the title of king of the photo. It even rivals the top-of-the-range Pixel 5 from Google, equipped with the same photographic equipment.
Of course, Google has to sacrifice a few features to contain the costs. Also the Pixel 4a 5G is not not certified waterproof and is not compatible with wireless charging, like the OnePlus Nord. But for 499 euros, these little 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- iPhone SE 2020
The best compact smartphone under 500 euros
2020 is arguably one of the busiest years for Apple. If at the end of the year all eyes were on the four new iPhone 12s, the American relaunched an iconic model earlier last year. The iPhone SE 2020 has landed in all humility on the official website of Apple. Yet this compact model has its followers.
For this new edition, Apple uses the ingredients for the success of the first version. The iPhone SE 2020 is therefore based on the design of an old model (here the iPhone 8) with the latest components. Under its glass shell, it contains the A13 Bionic chip, the same that powers the iPhone 11 Pro. Suffice to say that the performances are there.
If it has a single photo sensor, the iPhone SE 2020 enjoys a software optimization onions. Also, it captures excellent shots. However, it lacks versatility compared to the competition, especially in more difficult conditions (from afar, in low light). Another weak point: its autonomy is very poor and its charging system (5 W charger) is from another time.
Still, it is the only compact model so complete. Above all, it comes with iOS 14 and will benefit from incomparable monitoring. Also, the iPhone SE 2020 can accompany you for 4 to 5 years. Finally, the iPhone SE 2020 is one of the few smartphones in its category IP68 certified and compatible with wireless charging. Real assets.
iPhone SE 64 GB at the best price
Base price: 489 €
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6- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
The best smartphone under 500 euros from Samsung
As every year, Samsung has renewed its Galaxy A range to respond to very aggressive Chinese competitors. To succeed the Galaxy A51 (the company’s best seller in 2020), Samsung has therefore launched the Galaxy A52 in 4G and 5G version. Of course, it is this latest version that wins its place in our comparison of the best smartphones under 500 euros.
First of all for its design of rare elegance in this price segment. Samsung chooses plastic but opts for a matte coating of the most beautiful effect. Clearly inspired by the design of the Galaxy S21, that of the Galaxy A52 has it all.
To this attractive design is added a beautiful OLED screen that Samsung has the secret. If the performance is not the best on the market, it provides the essentials and even allows a few pleasant gaming sessions. Added to this is good battery life, a fast charging system and, above all, a formidable camera.
Marketed at less than 400 euros, the Galaxy A52 5G has its place in this comparison of the best smartphones for less than 500 euros.
Galaxy A52 5G at the best price
Base price: 449 €
7- Motorola Edge 20
The best smartphone under 500 euros for premium features
The Motorola Edge 20 deserves its place in this comparison of the best smartphone under 500 euros for a multitude of reasons. It is de facto the best smartphone because of its premium facets. The design is neat, with quality materials and a very successful design. Photo sensors are surprisingly convincing.
There is also a beautiful screen that has a 144 Hz refresh rate, like the best gaming smartphones, to deliver smooth scrolling, and a sense of modernity in the user experience. Especially since all this is coupled with excellent autonomy.
In other words, for its price below 500 euros, it is undoubtedly one of the best value for money in this comparison.
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Conclusion: the best smartphone under 500 euros has nothing to envy to flagships
Competition is good. Because of an ultra-saturated market, manufacturers are forced to stand out on the mid-range which corresponds to the selection of this comparison best smartphone under 500 euros. As a result, many models adopt a lot of features that are normally only found on flagships. It is precisely towards these models that we advise you to direct your choice.
Our comparison of the best smartphones under 500 euros ends here. We will update it regularly according to the announcements of the manufacturers. In the meantime, please let us know which model you prefer in the comments area.