These 5 phones made our list of the best smartphones in the world, and they all cost $500 or less

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderThe Google Pixel 3a.

Today’s smartphones are more expensive than ever before. While the priciest version of Apple’s newest iPhone would have started at $US770 in 2016, today’s top-of-the-line model begins at $US1,100.

Android alternatives aren’t much cheaper if you’re looking at flagship smartphones from companies like Samsung, LG, and Google. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 started at $US900 when it debuted, for example, while Google’s Pixel 3 was priced at $US800 at launch.

But that doesn’t mean you need to pay close to $US1,000 to get a great smartphone. If you don’t mind sacrificing certain features and opting for an older model, there are several noteworthy options that will only cost about half the price of the $US1,000 iPhone XS, or even less.

Here’s a look at five devices we ranked as being among the 20 best smartphones in the world that you can buy for $US500 or less.


Motorola Moto G7

Motorola

Motorola’s Moto G line often makes you forget you’re using a budget phone, and that’s the case once again with the G7.

With the $US270 Moto G7, Motorola manages to offer paired-down versions of features typically found on more expensive smartphones, such as a dual-lens camera system and fast charging, for a fraction of the price. Plus, it has a nearly edge-to-edge screen like many pricier alternatives, and a water-resistant design.


Apple iPhone 7

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Apple’s iPhone 7 may be nearly three years old, but it’s still a solid option for Apple devotees on a budget.

Now starting at $US450, the iPhone 7 offers a water-resistant design and a sharp screen in a much more compact (and cheaper) package than the company’s newest iPhones. It runs on the same processor that powers the entry-level iPad, which is plenty powerful for basic tasks like web browsing and mobile gaming.


Razer Phone 2

Razer

The $US500 Razer Phone 2 is proof that you don’t have to sacrifice powerful performance if you’re shopping on a budget.

Designed with gamers in mind, the Razer Phone 2 has a super-fast screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, which is noticeably higher than that of your average smartphone display. It also runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, which is now slightly old but is the same chip that powers previous generation flagships from companies like Samsung. And with 8 GB of RAM, it has more memory than other alternatives.


Samsung Galaxy S9

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

It’s not the newest Samsung smartphone, but it’s still among the best. The $US500 Galaxy S9 sports Samsung’s colourful, curved, AMOLED screen and a high-quality camera that can adjust its aperture based on the lighting. Like Samsung’s newer smartphones, the S9 also has the company’s Bixby virtual assistant built into the operating system and the camera.


Google Pixel 3a

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Google’s answer to the industry’s shift toward higher smartphone prices is the Google Pixel 3a, a scaled-down version of its Pixel 3 flagship.

Google sells two versions: a $US400 model with a 5.6-inch screen and a slightly larger one with a 6-inch screen for $US480. Both phones retain many of the characteristics of the pricier Pixel 3, such as Google’s Night Sight feature for taking high-quality photos in the dark. And they both have an OLED screen, which generally produces better contrast than LCD displays.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.