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The best phones under £500 in the UK

Save yourself a nice stack of cash without sacrificing too much in the way of performance.
By

Published onMarch 21, 2024

Google Pixel 7a
MSRP: $499.00
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Positives
The best sub-$500 camera phone
Solid performance and plenty of RAM
Neat size and design
Smooth, feature-rich software
Improved 90Hz display
Great upgrade commitment
Negatives
Slow wired charging, even slower wireless charging
Mediocre battery life
Tensor G2 runs hot
Pixel 7 and Pixel 6a are better value
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G
MSRP: $470.00
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Positives
Premium, water-resistant design
Long battery life
Vivid 120Hz AMOLED display
Good update policy
Highly durable screen
Great sustained performance
Negatives
Photos can be oversaturated
No 4K/60fps video (yet again)
Plenty of bloatware
No wireless charging
No Galaxy AI
Not officially available in the US
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
MSRP: $429.00
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Positives
A15 Bionic chipset
Touch ID
Improved battery life
Negatives
Extremely dated design
Cramped, low-res display
Inflexible camera
Poco F5
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Positives
Powerful
Great display
Long battery life
Negatives
Bloatware
No update pledge
Poor secondary cameras
Realme GT3
MSRP: $649.00
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Positives
240W charging
Large display
Good value
Tap anywhere NFC
Negatives
Limited availability
Older processor
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite
MSRP: €329.00
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Positives
Great price
Fun design
Awesome specs for the price
Negatives
Hard to get in the USA
Nothing Phone 2a
MSRP: $349.00
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Positives
Quirky design
Crisp AMOLED display
Punchy speakers
Decent cameras
Quick wired charging
Negatives
Poor US support
Limited IP rating
Weak camera zoom
HONOR 90
Check price
Positives
Fantastic display
Great camera setup
Good performance
Long-lasting battery
Negatives
No wireless charging
No IP rating
Mediocre mono speaker
Disappointing update strategy

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. Here are the best phones under £500 in the UK!

The 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.


Google Pixel 7a

google pixel 7a hero outdoors
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google’s Pixel A series has long been among the best affordable phones, and it’s getting a solid boost this time around. The Pixel 7a inches closer to true flagship power, and it’s easily one of the best phones under £500 in the UK. Fewer corners are cut this time around, which is why the price went up. While the Pixel 6a used to cost £399, the Pixel 7a is £449.

This is because the Pixel 7a is much closer to high-end smartphone territory this time around. For starters, it gets wireless charging, which Pixel A series fans have been asking for. It also comes with a much improved 64MP primary camera. Google also upgraded the screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. And everything else about the phone is pretty impressive for the money you are paying.

The Pixel 7a sports a 6.1-inch Full HD+ display that’s vibrant as ever. Under the hood, you’ll find 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and Google’s own Tensor G2 chip. We’ve found that the Tensor G2 can get a bit too hot for comfort with heavier loads, but it performs beautifully.

The 4,385mAh isn’t huge, but it is good enough, thanks to Google’s software and Tensor optimizations. We easily made it last a whole day with casual use, with 20% left to go when it was time to sleep. Not exactly one of the best phones with the best battery life, but plenty good for most users.

Google Pixel 7a
Google Pixel 7a
AA Editor's Choice
Google Pixel 7a
The best sub-$500 camera phone • Solid performance and plenty of RAM • Improved 90Hz display
MSRP: $499.00
The essential Pixel experience
The Pixel 7a delivers more premium features than ever for under $500, such as wireless charging support, a 90Hz refresh rate display, and a 64MP camera.

Pixel 7a specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Tensor G2
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 64 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 13MP
  • Battery: 4,385mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G

Samsung’s mid-range devices are among the best you can get. They often feature flagship-level features, and the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G further proves this. We previously recommended the Galaxy A54 5G, but the new model is among the best phones under £500 in the UK.

For starters, the Galaxy A55 5G’s design looks very similar to Samsung’s S series, including its clean lines and muted colorways. It’s sleek, employs an aluminum mid-frame, and features glass back and front.

Up front you’ll notice the 6.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED, which is arguably the star of the show. Powering this panel is an Exynos 1480 SoC, up to 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Notably, Samsung retains the microSD card slot, allowing a further 1TB of boot space if required. A 5,000mAh is also retained, and its paired with 25W charging.

Camera-wise, you’re looking at a 50MP primary lens paired with a 12MP ultrawide and a 5MP macro sensor. A 32MP sensor sits up front for selfies.

We wish it had wireless charging, but Samsung’s new mid-ranger somehow costs less than its predecessor, making it an even better value proposition.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G
Premium, water-resistant design • Long battery life • Vivid 120Hz AMOLED display
See review
MSRP
SAVE
$470.00
$33.00
See review

Galaxy A54 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Exynos 1480
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 12, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 14

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

iPhone SE rear showing camera with a green plant in the foreground
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

This is an Android-focused website, but save your pitchforks for a bit and open your mind. If you’re looking for a mid-tier smartphone at a reasonable price under £500 in the UK, the 2022 version of the iPhone SE should be on your list of options.

The design may be a bit outdated, following the iPhone 8 look, but this is still a great phone for most casual users, especially those who happen to like iPhones. And despite being the cheapest modern iOS handset, it has a surprising amount of power.

For starters, it comes with an Apple A15 Bionic, which is the same chip you’ll find in the iPhone 13 series and the non-Pro versions of the iPhone 14. Other specs include 4GB of RAM, at least 128GB of storage, and a smaller 4.7-inch Retina display. It only has a single camera, but it’s a pretty good one. Overall, it’s the best iPhone you can get at a lower price.

See price at Amazon
Apple iPhone SE (2022)
Guaranteed long-term software updates • Improved battery life • Powerful A15 Bionic chipset
MSRP: $429.00
See review
See review

iPhone SE (2022) specs:

  • Display: 4.7-inch, 1,334 x 750
  • SoC: Apple A15 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12MP
  • Front camera: 7MP
  • Battery: 2,018mAh
  • Software: iOS 15.4

POCO F5

Poco F5 in hand
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

POCO has a reputation for offering plenty of bang for your buck, so we’re not surprised to see it make the list of best phones under £500. More specifically, we’re adding the £449 POCO F5 to the list.

Some of the complaints in our POCO F5 Pro review apply to the standard model, such as ho-hum secondary cameras, loads of bloatware, and the lack of an update pledge. We still found plenty to like about the device though, such as the powerful Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 chip, a pleasant and relatively light design, and a slick 120Hz OLED screen.

We also thought the POCO F5 delivered a capable main camera, good endurance thanks to that 5,000mAh battery, and pleasantly fast 67W wired charging. All in all, this isn’t a bad deal if you value performance in your smartphone.

POCO F5 specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Realme GT3

Realme GT3 standing back white - Best phones under £500
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Realme’s latest launch, the GT3 is still hot off the presses. So hot that you can’t get it in all markets yet. However, we’re expecting the device, which costs around $650, to come in at just under £500 in the UK.

It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset and offers several configurations that reach as high as 16GB of RAM — though you won’t get that type of memory for under £500. You’ll also get a solid 4,600mAh battery with blistering 240W wired charging and updated Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity standards.

There’s always a chance that the Realme GT3 will arrive and bust our budget, in which case we’ll swap it out and hope for a price drop in the future. You can also look at the Realme GT5, though that figures to be even more expensive.

See price at Realme
Realme GT3
240W charging • Large display • Good value
MSRP: $649.00

Realme GT3 specs:

  • Display: 6.74-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Cameras: 50, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Software: Android 13

OnePlus Nord 3

OnePlus Nord 3 in hand
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

OnePlus fans on a budget will love this one. It’s not just one of the best phones under £500 in the UK; it’s probably the best value that OnePlus has fit into its Nord series and comes in just under the limit at £499.

The OnePlus Nord 3 comes with premium features like a 120Hz 6.74-inch screen with a sharp 1,240 x 2,772 resolution. You’ll also get a large 5,000mAh battery that can charge at 80W, and the primary camera is respectable at 50MP. It comes with a Dimensity 9000 and up to 16GB of RAM, so performance is pretty good for a phone at this price.

All things considered, you’re getting a lot more than what you paid for with the OnePlus Nord 3.

See price at OnePlus
OnePlus Nord 3
Large 120Hz display • Fast 80W charging • Flagship-level performance
See review
MSRP
SAVE
€499.00
€5,000.00
See review

OnePlus Nord 3 specs:

  • Display: 6.74-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Dimensity 9000
  • RAM: 8/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Camera: 50, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus

Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus home screen
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Redmi makes our list with its Note 12 Pro Plus. There’s a lot to like about the phone. It kicks off with a massive 200MP camera sensor, a 6.67-inch AMOLED display, and a sizable 5,000mAh battery. Mix in 5G connectivity from the MediaTek Dimensity 1080, 120W fast charging, and 256GB of onboard storage and you have a value that’s tough to top. Redmi’s MIUI 14 makes an appearance, running on top of Android 13.

The Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus packs a lot of value into a budget-friendly package.

The Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus might not put aesthetics at the top of the list, but the all-white design feels good in the hand. It might pick up it’s share of fingerprints, but you get a clear case in the box in case you want to keep things a little cleaner. Oh, and it still has a headphone jack.

The Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus is a solid option if you want a super-sized, 5G-capable smartphone for under £500 in the UK.

See price at Amazon
Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus
Detailed 200MP primary camera • Sharp and snappy 120Hz, AMOLED display • Super fast 120W charging
MSRP: $469.99
See review
See review

Note 12 Pro Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Dimensity 1080
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 200, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Nothing Phone 2a

Nothing Phone 2a cameras close up
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

You’ve probably heard more than a little bit about Nothing by now. The company, started by former OnePlus mastermind Carl Pei, has branched out from its first set of wireless headphones and launched a well-priced mid-range smartphone, the Phone 1, in 2022. In 2024, it followed this device up with the Nothing Phone 2a — its latest mid-range handset.

Nothing’s design is somewhat reminiscent of older iPhones but remains distinctly Nothing. The Phone 2a features flat sides, a mid-mounted dual-lens camera array at the rear, and a light-up back panel that is now a customary feature. This version of Nothing’s Glyph lights are toned down slightly but remains a unique aesthetic choice and a useful notifications feature.

The Nothing 2a features a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro under the hood, paired with up to 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage. All this is powered by a 5,000mAh battery topped up via 45W wired charging. All this supports the phone’s larger 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED.

Nothing’s mid-ranger retains the Nothing Phone 1’s dual 50MP camera arrangement at the rear, but boasts an updated 32MP sensor up front.

Nothing has since released the Phone 2 ($699 at Amazon), which follows many of the same design trends as the original. However, it packs a bit more punch under the hood and will run you a bit beyond our limit, so we can’t feature it here.

See price at Amazon
Nothing Phone 2a
Quirky design • Crisp AMOLED display • Punchy speakers
MSRP: $349.00
See review
See review

Nothing Phone 2a specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50 and 50MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 14

HONOR 90

honor 90 emerald green back 4 in hand
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Bringing up the rear on our list, we have the HONOR 90. However, we might have saved the best for last. HONOR’s updated mid-ranger is a solid improvement over the previous HONOR 70, packing a brilliant display and a solid primary camera while remaining comfortably under the £500 mark in the UK.

The HONOR 90’s 200MP primary camera punches above its weight class, especially when shooting outdoors. We also came away impressed with the phone’s video stabilization during our time with it. Of course, HONOR had to cut a few other corners to keep the cost down, meaning that the phone comes with a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor under the hood and uses plastic on the back rather than a tougher material like Gorilla Glass.

All told, your main deciding factor might come down to the software of your £500 device. HONOR’s latest platform is built on Android 13, and yes, it comes with Google Play services installed.

See price at Honor
HONOR 90
Big camera • Powerful mid-range phone • Big battery • Rapid charge
See review
See review

HONOR 90 specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 200, 12, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 50MP
  • Battery: 4,900mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Are you trying to find more options? We also have a list of the best budget phones for even more alternatives.

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