There are a lot of great phones out there, but the reality is many of them cost well over $500 and in 2017 we are even seeing flagships reach closer to the $1000 mark. During the holiday season, we’re already spending a ton of money, making these prices well out of reach for most of us.
If a loved one on your holiday list has their heart set on a new phone, don’t worry — you can get a great phone experience for under $500.
Looking for even more gift options? Check out the following guides:
- 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
- These gifts look like they come from Star Trek
- 11 cheap secret Santa gifts
- 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore
If you want to give the gift of a high-end phone experience without spending a fortune, you really can’t do better than the OnePlus 5T.
The first thing you’ll notice with the 5T is its big 6.01-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This makes the device look more in line with other high-end 2017 devices. The end result is a phone that’s absolutely gorgeous.
The under-the-hood specs are mostly the same as the older OnePlus 5’s, but OnePlus decided to switch up the camera setup this time around. Now, in place of the OnePlus 5’s telephoto lens, the 5T sports a secondary 20 MP sensor that uses a fancy new technology called Intelligent Pixel Technology. Basically, it takes better low-light photos than before.
The other big change with the 5T is in regards to biometric security. Not only has the fingerprint sensor moved around to the back, you can also unlock the 5T using face recognition. It’s super fast and works perfectly 9 times out of 10.
Bottom line, the OnePlus 5T is a great phone — especially because it costs a fraction of the price of most competing smartphones.
- OnePlus 5T review
- OnePlus 5T specs
- OnePlus 5T price, release date, and deals
- OnePlus 5T vs OnePlus 5: worth the upgrade?
- OnePlus 5T vs Samsung Galaxy S8 quick look
- OnePlus 5T vs LG G6 quick look
The Honor 7x is the latest budget phone from Huawei’s Honor brand, yet it still has high-end features that make it an attractive phone for any buyer — and a perfect gift thanks to its low price tag. O
ne of its biggest features is its 5.93-inch display with very little in terms of bezels, along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 1080p resolution. Inside, it has Huawei’s in-house Kirin 659 octa-core processor, running four cores at 2.36GHz and four at 1.7GHz and with a Mali T830 GPU.
In terms of software, you are getting Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 interface on top. Depending on the market, you will get either 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM inside, along with either 32 GB or 64 GB of onboard storage, with a microSD card to expand it up to 256 GB. The rear camera setup has a 16 MP primary sensor, along with a secondary 2 MP sensor that can handle features like portrait mode. It also has a 8 MP front facing camera. Finally, it has a 3,340 mAh battery, which should last up to a day with regular phone use.
In the US, you can buy the Honor 7x right now for just $199.99.
- 5.91-inch display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution
- Kirin 659 octa-core processor
- 3/4 GB of RAM
- 32/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
- Dual 12 and 2 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
- Non-removable 3,340 mAh battery
- Android 7.0 Nougat, EMUI 5.1
- 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm, 165 g
Moto G5 Plus
Not sold on the Honor 7X? The Moto G5 Plus is a great alternative. Lenovo’s Moto G5 Plus is one of the best cheap Android phones on the market, and for good reason.
The 1080p display is vibrant and perfect for watching YouTube videos and surfing the web, and the big 3,000 mAh battery will help keep you going all day long. Plus, with the Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 2-4 GB of RAM, this thing can basically handle everything you throw at it.
And for those of you interested in a bare-bones software experience, you’ll be happy to hear that the G5 Plus runs a very slimmed-down version of Android 7.0 Nougat. The Moto G5 Plus is reliable, sleek, and inexpensive.
Okay, but what if you want to spend very little on a phone? The Motorola Moto E4 is the latest ultra-cheap phone from Lenovo-owned Motorola, and it continues the Moto tradition of bringing solid performance for as little money as possible.
The Moto E4 is an Android 7.1 Nougat handset that won’t break the bank. The 5-inch phone has a plastic body, and inside it has the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, with a clock speed of 1.4 GHz. The display has a 1,280 x 720 resolution, and a decent amount of memory, with 2 GB of RAM. It has 16 GB of onboard storage, with a microSD card slot for adding up to 128 GB of additional storage.
The front-facing camera is pretty good at 5 MP, while the rear camera has 8 MP, with features like autofocus, a four-piece composite lens, and LED flash. The Moto E4 has a removable 2,800 mAh battery that is supposed to offer a full day’s worth of use on a single charge. It even has a fingerprint sensor, which is something most new phones that are priced under $100 don’t have.
Overall, the Moto E4 won’t win any performance or design awards, but it manages to pack in some decent hardware specs in a package with a near rock bottom price tag.
If you’re looking for a cheap phone to pick up as a gift, or looking for an affordable phone for yourself — these are some of the best options you’ll find for under $500. Did we miss anything? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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