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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.
October 21, 2022
google pixel 6a back in hand outdoors
Ryan Haines / 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. Here are the best phones under £500 in the UK!

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

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 CE 2

OnePlus Nord 2 CE review back of the phone 1
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

OnePlus is back in the affordable smartphone game with its Nord CE 2. At £299, this device is significantly cheaper than the brand’s flagships and brings OxygenOS to mid-range hardware. This is the latest device from OnePlus to feature a mid-range chip, and it’s gone with the Mediatek Dimensity 900. Not only does this give the phone good performance, but also 5G capabilities.

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 comes with a silky smooth 6.43-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display, a total of four cameras, up to 8GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, a 4,500mAh battery, and 65W Warp Charging. 

The cameras aren’t perfect, but the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a great competitor in the ever-fierce mid-range space and can keep a headphone jack around for another year, along with true dual-SIM support and a microSD slot.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 specs:

  • Display: 6.43-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Dimensity 900
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE under £500 in the uk
David Imel / Android Authority

We will keep beating our drum for the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE until a new replacement arrives. It packs everything you could ask for in a high-end 2020 device without the high-end pricing.

In fact, the robust spec sheet and reasonable price are what landed the Galaxy S20 FE among our favorite phones of 2020. It carries a Snapdragon 865 chipset, which means you can tap into 5G speeds. With 6GB of RAM, it doesn’t pack the same power as the Galaxy S20, though you should still be able to work through most tasks. Samsung tapped a trio of rear cameras, topped off with 12MP wide and 12MP ultrawide options.

Samsung's blend of quality and pricing made the Galaxy S20 FE our 2020 phone of the year.

Another great reason to check out the Galaxy S20 FE is Samsung’s One UI. The days of TouchWiz are long gone, and One UI is one of our favorite Android skins — flaws and all. Right now, you can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE for just under £500 in the UK.

Samsung has also released its Galaxy S21 FE, but it retails at £599, so we’ll have to wait for a price drop before it makes our list.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

3. Nokia XR20

Nokia XR20 right rear profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Nokia’s XR20 is a slightly different phone for under £500 in the UK — it’s built with a rugged audience in mind. Don’t worry, it’s not a bulky monster of a phone, the XR20 walks a fine line between everyday style and work-ready design.

It packs excellent protection ratings against dust and water, and the battery life is excellent. The 4,630mAh cell is tough to wear through, and 18W wired charging should get you moving again quickly. Nokia opted for an entry-level Snapdragon 480 SoC on the XR20, which offers solid 5G support even if it’s not the most powerful.

Nokia found a perfect blend of style and strength for its latest rugged smartphone.

The XR20 also offers an impressive 6.67-inch Full HD+ display. It’s crafted from Gorilla Glass Victus, so it should put up with some wear and tear throughout your busy life. You’re looking at between 4 and 6GB of RAM as well as up to 128GB of storage that you can expand via a microSD card.

Nokia XR20 specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 13MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,630mAh
  • Software: Android 11

4. Poco X4 Pro 5G

Poco X4 Pro back upright
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Poco has been trying to recapture the success of its original F1 for a few years now. After a few misses, it seems to be back on the right track, and the Poco X4 Pro 5G looks like one of the best phones under £500 in the UK. We praised the display, the battery life, and the build quality in our review, even if the whole package wasn’t perfect.

You’ll get a well-powered Snapdragon 695 to work with, as well as up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Poco added a crisp 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution and smooth 120Hz refresh rate for good measure. The X4 Pro 5G charges at up to 67W, which should fill the 5,000mAh battery in no time.

The Poco X4 Pro's build quality is among the best, even if the software can't keep up.

Unfortunately, we haven’t always had the best luck with Poco’s Android skin. It tends to be buggy and features ads throughout. We weren’t necessarily impressed by the peripheral camera lenses, either, but the 108MP main shooter is a good jumping-off point.

Poco X4 Pro 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 695
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 108, 64, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,520mAh
  • Software: Android 11

5. Motorola Edge 30

Motorola Edge 30 Official Renders

Motorola introduced its Edge series in 2020 as a premium flagship device. The Edge 30 takes a well-rounded, though mid-range, approach instead.

For starters, it runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC and comes with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. You’ll also notice the colorful finishes immediately, thanks to their eye-catching shines. The Edge 30 now comes in Meteor Grey, Supermoon Silver, and Aurora Green. Motorola packed a solid 4,020mAh cell into its Edge 30, and 33W TurboCharge is some of the company’s most efficient yet. After all, this is among the thinnest 5G phones on the market — not a ton of room for a big battery.

Motorola polished the Edge 30's specs, as well as its design.

The Edge 30 offers a pair of sharp 50MP lenses backed up by a 2MP depth option. On the front, you’ll find a 32MP punch hole for all of your selfie needs.

Finally, Motorola capped off the Edge 30 with a massive 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel. It features a remarkable 144Hz refresh rate and a tall 20.5:9 aspect ratio. 

Motorola Edge 30 specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 778G+
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50, 50, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,020mAh
  • Software: Android 12

6. Google Pixel 6a

google pixel 6a home screen
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 year. The Pixel 6a inches closer to true flagship power, and it’s easily one of the best phones under £500 in the UK. Sure, it cuts a few corners to keep the price down, but there’s not much missing from the total package.

See also: Google Pixel 6a review

The Pixel 6a sports a 6.1-inch Full HD+ display that’s vibrant as ever, and it pairs nicely with the Sage, Chalk, or Charcoal back panels. Under the hood, you’ll find 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and Google’s own Tensor chip for the first time at this price point. It adds some punch to the image processing capabilities, as well as boosts the overall power beyond the previous Snapdragon offerings.

On the back, you’ll find a camera bar design topped off by a familiar duo. The 12.2MP primary camera is the same one that Pixel fans have known and loved since the Pixel 3, and the 12MP ultrawide is in the mix for good measure.

Google Pixel 6a specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Tensor
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 1286GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,410mAh
  • Software: Android 12

7. Samsung Galaxy A53

samsung galaxy a53 back panel
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung brings up the rear of our list with its Galaxy A53 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 5,000mAh battery is 5G connectivity, 25W fast charging, and microSD expansion. Samsung’s OneUI 4 makes an appearance on this phone, running on top of Android 12. 

The Galaxy A53 5G is styled as a perfect companion to the S22 family.

If aesthetics are your thing, the Samsung Galaxy A53 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 Peach.

The Galaxy A53 5G is a solid option if you want a cool-looking, 5G-capable smartphone for under £500 in the UK. It offers an in-house Exynos 1,280 processor and 128GB of storage right out of the box.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Exynos 1280
  • RAM: 4/6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, 5, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

8. Nothing Phone (1)

nothing phone 1 white in hand showing lights glyph
Dhruv Bhutani / 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 now offers a well-priced mid-range smartphone, the Phone (1). Nothing’s design is somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 13 or 14, with flat sides and two corner-mounted cameras, but the light-up back panel sets it apart. This is called the Glyph, and it can push different patterns and shapes for different notifications like calls and texts.

Under the hood, you’ll find a decent set of components to back up the sharp 6.55-inch display. It’s a Full HD+ OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, so it should leave little to be desired for the price. The Phone (1) runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G+ chipset with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage to back it up.

We mentioned there are only two rear cameras, but they offer 50MP apiece. The wide and ultrawide lenses are built on the idea that it’s better to have two good lenses than four mediocre ones, and it’s tough to argue. All told, this is one of the best value phones to buy, coming in at well under £500 in the UK.

Nothing Phone (1) specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 778G
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50 and 50MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 12