OnePlus Nord Rear of the device sat in the users hand
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

There are a lot of great phones on UK store shelves today, but many either cost £800 or more to buy outright or are tied to expensive two-year contracts. That might be a way to get hold of the latest and greatest, but it’s certainly not for everyone. These days, you don’t have to spend a fortune to pick up a great handset.

Read more: Where to buy phones in the UK | Best UK mobile network

So if you’re looking for a more reasonably priced phone under £500, this guide has you covered. Here are the best phones under £500 in the UK!

Best phones under £500:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best phones under £500 regularly as new mid-range devices launch.

1. OnePlus Nord

OnePlus is back in the affordable smartphone game with its recently released Nord. At £379, this device comes is significantly cheaper than the OnePlus 8 and brings the firm’s brilliant OxygenOS to mid-range hardware. This is the first device from OnePlus to feature a mid-range chip, and it’s gone with the very capable Snapdragon 765G. Not only does this give the phone good performance, but also 5G capabilities in both mmWave and sub-6GHz form.

The OnePlus Nord comes with a silky smooth 6.44-inch Full HD+ 90Hz AMOLED display, a total of five cameras, plenty of RAM and storage, a 4,115mAh battery, and 30W fast charging. 

It’s not perfect, but the OnePlus Nord is a great competitor in the ever-fierce mid-range space and you can snag the top-tier 12GB RAM and 256GB storage model for just £479. 

For those looking for an even more affordable option, OnePlus has announced its Nord CE. This is a cut-down variant of the Nord with the Snapdragon 750G, up to 12GB RAM, and 30-watt fast charging.

OnePlus Nord specs:

  • Display: 6.44-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, 5 and 2MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,115mAh
  • Software: Android 10

2. Xiaomi Poco F3 5G

The Poco F3 had big boots to fill as a true successor to the Pocophone F1.

Xiaomi took a different approach with the F2 Pro, but it seems to have returned to the original formula. It’s now got a Gorilla Glass 5 back, four total cameras, a 6.67-inch AMOLED display, and a large 4,520mAh battery. On paper, it’s fantastic value for money.

The build quality on the Poco F3 far outweighs its asking price.

The F3 5G packs a remarkable Snapdragon 870 processor for its price, and the IP53 rating is a nice addition for those wet weather days. Wi-Fi 6 offers a speedy alternative to your 5G connection, and Poco tapped 33W wired charging to get you back on the go in a hurry.

MIUI won’t be for everyone, but for under £500, very few phones can match the Poco F3 5G’s premium build.

Xiaomi Poco F3 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD
  • SoC: Snapdragon 870
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,520mAh
  • Software: Android 11

3. Realme X3 Superzoom

Realme X3 SuperZoom - best uk phone under 500 pounds

Periscope zoom cameras have become more popular in flagships in recent years, but how about in a sub-£500 phone?

The Realme X3 Superzoom packs in a high-end processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, and a 4,200mAh battery into a phone with an equally impressive set of camera specs. The capable 64MP main camera is backed up by a solid 8MP 5x optical periscope zoom camera. 

The Realme X3 superzoom is feature-rich, but Realme UI won't be for everyone.

The device comes with 30W fast charging, a Full HD+ 120Hz IPS display, UFS 3.0 storage, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. There are two colors to choose from: Glacier Blue and Arctic White.

For £469 on Amazon, the Realme X3 superzoom is incredibly feature-rich and spec-filled, but Realme UI won’t be for everyone. You can also check out the Realme X50 Pro 5G with its Snapdragon 865 processor. However, the device is due for its annual upgrade, so it may be worth waiting a little while for the next generation.

Realme X3 Superzoom specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, 8, 2MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,200mAh
  • Software: Android 10

4. Google Pixel 4a

Google’s Pixel 4a impressed us in our review and is one of the best phones that you can buy for under £500 in the UK.

Read more: Google Pixel 4a buyer’s guide

It takes what made the Pixel 3a great and improves on it in almost every way. Still present is a quality Full HD+ OLED panel, a fantastic pair of cameras, Pixel Experience running on top of Android 10, and even the headphone port! 

What’s new is a fresh new look with minimal bezels and a punch hole in the top left, a larger battery, more RAM and storage, and an updated Snapdragon 730G processor. The spec sheet is rather underwhelming compared to the others on this list, but don’t let the numbers deceive you.

The Pixel 4a's user experience is among the best in this price bracket.

The user experience that the Pixel 4a delivers is among the best in this price bracket. For £349, you shouldn’t expect the world, but the Pixel 4a is a great phone for the money.

Google Pixel 4a specs:

  • Display: 5.8-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 730G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,140mAh
  • Software: Android 10

5. Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google’s Pixel 4a 5G is a bigger and better version of the firm’s mid-range device. Compared to the regular Pixel 4a, it has a bigger screen, a faster chipset, 5G support, an ultra-wide camera, and a far bigger battery. It retains the Pixel 4a’s main design elements like a polycarbonate built, single punch-hole, and rear capacitive fingerprint reader, but beefs up the core internals.

Google's Pixel 4a 5G is a bigger and better version of the Pixel 4a.

It might not have a high refresh-rate display, wireless charging, or a hyper-premium build, but it has a stunning camera, fantastic software, and a headphone port! The Pixel 4a 5G is a great middle-ground option between the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 5.

Google Pixel 4a 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,885mAh
  • Software: Android 11

6. Apple iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE back slight angle

Yes, that’s right, one of the best phones under £500 you can buy is an iPhone. What bizarre times we live in. The iPhone SE is a strange phone that takes the (kind of outdated) form factor of 2017’s iPhone 8 and packs it with top-end specs.

Read more: Tested: Is a $400 iPhone SE really faster than the most powerful Android phone?

While you lose out of Face ID and gesture controls and have to live with a small 1,812mAh battery, a singular camera lens, and a sub-1080p display, the iPhone SE packs in Apple’s high-end A13 Bionic chipset, as well as premium-tier features such as water resistance and wireless charging.

If you’re OS agnostic and want to make the jump to iOS, there’s no cheaper option than the iPhone SE (2020) at just £399.

Apple iPhone SE specs:

  • Display: 4.7-inch, HD
  • SoC: Apple A13 Bionic
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Camera: 12MP
  • Front camera: 7MP
  • Battery: 1,821mAh
  • Software: iOS 13

7. Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung brings up the rear of our list with its Galaxy A52 5G. There’s a lot to like about the phone. Along with a quad-camera array, a 6.5-inch AMOLED display, and a sizable 4,500mAh battery is 5G connectivity, 25W fast charging, microSD expansion, and a headphone port. Samsung’s OneUI 3.1 makes an appearance on this phone, running on top of Android 11. 

The Galaxy A52 5G is styled as a perfect companion to the S21 family.

If aesthetics are your thing, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G doesn’t disappoint. It has thin bezels all around and a centered punch-hole at the top. It also comes in a myriad of “Awesome” colors: Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, and Awesome Violet.

The Galaxy A52 5G is a solid option if you want a cool-looking, 5G-capable smartphone for under £500 in the UK.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 750G
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, 5, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11