The best $500 Android phones in 2018

The best $500 Android phones

So far, several Android OEMs have unveiled their 2018 flagship phones. Talk of Samsung, LG, Huawei, OnePlus, HTC, Google, Sony, and so on. What this means is that their outgoing models have now received massive price cuts, something that greatly favors bargain hunters. But then again, why go for a 2017 flagship phone when the same amount can earn you a 2018 flagship phone? Well, the choice is yours.

So, let’s check out some of the best Android flagship phones that are now available in the regions of $500, both from 2017 and 2018.

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OnePlus 6T

OnePlus-6T-smartphone

This spot would have easily been occupied by OnePlus 6, but now that the new OnePlus 6T is among is, getting hold of the former is already an uphill task. Yes, the phone costs over $500 ($549 to be precise), but if you can go all the way, you can for sure grab the base model of this handset with zero regrets to follow afterwards.

Specs
  • 6.41-inch 19.5:9 FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB non-expandable storage
  • Dual 16MP + 20MP main camera
  • 16MP front camera
  • 3700mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie
  • Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, In-display FPS, Face unlock, etc.

Note that OnePlus 6T has two other variants of 8/128GB and 8/256GB, but since we are looking at phones priced in the regions of $500 and below, these two are out of our reach. Still, 6/128GB should be enough for most people out there and while the lack of a microSD card slot could be a concern for some; this can in no way be a deal breaker. OnePlus 6T goes for $549 in the U.S., €549 in Europe, £499 in the UK, and INR 37,999 in India.

→ Buy OnePlus 6: USA | UK | Europe | India

RelatedOnePlus 6T software update news

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S

Xiaomi-Mi-MIX-2S

Like its immediate predecessor, Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S comes with a current-gen design featuring an all-screen display that stretches from one edge to the other and has a ceramic back that makes it really pretty cool.

Specs
  • 5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+ LCD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB non-expandable storage
  • Dual 12MP + 12MP main camera
  • 5MP front camera
  • 3400mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo, upgradable to Android Pie

It’s worth noting that the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S has two more variants of 128GB and 256GB storage, but these two are slightly past our $500 target. The base model of 6GB RAM and 64GB storage costs just $445 on Amazon USA, making it one of the most affordable Snapdragon 845-powered smartphones available right now.

Based on what the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S brings to the table, especially compared to close rivals from Samsung and co, you’ll agree that this is one of the best smartphone deals out there. However, you’ll have to learn to work with MIUI, which is not as bad as some reviewers have always portrayed it. Even better is that an update to Android 9 Pie is already available.

→ Buy Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S: USA | UK | Europe 

RelatedXiaomi Mi MIX 2S software update news

Asus ZenFone 5Z

Asus-ZenFone-5Z-e1519798973402Asus ZenFone 5Z isn’t an old phone. In fact, it’s the company’s latest high-end phone and even though it packs powerful specs and features a la Galaxy S9, LG G7, HTC U12+, among others, it can be yours fat just under $500. The phone was launched at the MWC 2018 and so far it’s available in a handful of markets in Asia and Europe and is set to debut in the U.S. soon.

Specs
  • 6.2-inch 19:9 FHD+ LCD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage (expandable up to 400GB)
  • Dual 12MP + 8MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3300mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo

→ Buy Asus ZenFone 5Z: USA | Europe | India

Related: Asus ZenFone 5Z Pie update news

Samsung Galaxy S8

Galaxy-s8-images-IMG_8977

Samsung’s latest masterpiece, the Galaxy S9, is available at about the same price the Galaxy S8 launched back in 2017. For obvious reasons, the two can’t share the same price tag and even though Samsung has also discounted the S8 on its official online stores, other retailers have much better deals in place.

Specs
  • 5.8-inch 18.5:9 QHD+ AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8890 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB expandable storage, up to 256GB
  • 12MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat, upgradable to Oreo and Pie

 For a device that was voted the best in 2017, you can’t go wrong, especially when you can get a new one for as low as $450, depending on how good your hunting skills are.

→ Buy Samsung Galaxy S8: USA | UK | Europe 

Related: Samsung Galaxy S8 Pie update news

Nokia 8

Nokia-8

Since the launch of the overpriced Nokia 8 Sirocco, the OG Nokia 8 has seen a great price reduction, now retailing from $350 depending on where you get it. Despite being a year old, the Nokia 8 still is one of the best you can get out there at this price point. Other than the high-end specs and features it comes with, the phone is one of the few that is guaranteed to receive Android Pie before this year comes to a conclusion.

Specs
  • 5.3-inch 16:9 QHD LCD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB expandable storage, up to 256GB
  • Dual 13MP + 13MP main camera
  • 13MP front camera
  • 3090mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat, upgradable to Oreo and Pie

Besides the guaranteed update to Android Pie, with the Nokia 8, you are also guaranteed to receive timely monthly security updates throughout 2019.

→ Buy Nokia 8: USA | UK | Europe | India

Related: Nokia 8 Pie update news

Huawei Honor 10

Honor-10-07

Huawei took the world by storm by unveiling the world’s first smartphone with three camera lenses on the back. However, this is only true for the Huawei P20 Pro, but the standard P20 has two lenses on the back. It is this standard Huawei P20 that the Honor 10 takes after, coming in with mostly the same specs and features, but also dropping a number of them in order to hit the target price tag of just €400. The Honor 10 is not easy to come by in the U.S., but you can still ship in one from the likes of Amazon or GearBest for less than $500.

Specs
  • 5.84-inch 19:9 FHD+ LCD display
  • Hisilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB non-expandable storage
  • Dual 16MP + 24MP main camera
  • 24MP front camera
  • 3400mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo

→ Buy Honor 10: USA | UK | Europe | India

Related: Honor 10 Pie update news

Huawei Nova 3

Alternatively, there’s also the Huawei Nova 3 that boasts flagship specs matching the likes of Huawei P20 and Honor 10 and has an asking price of INR 34,999 in India and about $450 in the U.S. Looking at the specs, there is no doubt the Nova 3 is also a great option. Although bigger in size with its 6.3-inch FHD+ display screen, the Nova 3 also takes lots of design cues from the P20, which is a good thing considering how impressive the latter is well-built. Unlike other Huawei phones, though, you get dual-lens cameras on both sides alongside a huge 3750mAh battery unit. You also get a massive 6GB RAM mated with a Kirin 970 chipset and 128GB of storage. The phone has Oreo out of the box.

Huawei-Nova-3-1

To get to know the Huawei Nova 3 and the entry-level Huawei Nova 3i better, check out this link.

→ Buy Nova 3: USA | India

Related: Huawei Nova 3 Pie update news

LG G6

lg-g6-displayLike last year, LG was at this year’s MWC event to unveil a new smartphone with yesteryear specs. However, these two devices – the LG G6 and LG V30S ThinQ – are no slouch, but at the moment, the latter is in a no-go zone in terms of price. As for the former, well, it’s now selling at just $400.

Specs
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 QHD+ FullVision LCD display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB expandable storage, up to 512GB
  • Dual 13MP + 13MP main camera
  • 5MP front camera
  • 3300mAh non-removable battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat, upgradable to Oreo

→ Buy LG G6: USA | UK | Europe | India

Related: LG G6 Pie update news

Motorola Moto Z3

Motorola-Moto-Z3

Well, despite being a 2018 release, the Motorola Moto Z3 comes with flagship specs from yesteryear thanks to a hardware configuration that resembles that of the Moto Z2 Force, but housed in a body resembling that of the Moto Z3 Play. This combination means that Motorola had to outrightly price the Moto Z3 like a depreciated flagship handset from yesteryear, which is why it can be had for just $480.

Specs
  • 6.01-inch 18:9 FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB expandable storage
  • Dual 12 + 12MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, Face unlock, side-mounted scanner, fast charging, water-repellant coating, Moto Display, Voice, Actions, etc.

The major issue with the Moto Z3 is its availability in markets outside the U.S. If and when Motorola plans to take the phone for a trip outside the U.S. is not known, at least for now.

→ Buy Moto Z3: USA 

Related: Moto Z3 Pie update news

Xiaomi Mi 8

Xiaomi-Mi-8Like the ZenFone 5Z and Honor 10, the Xiaomi Mi 8 is a 2018 smartphone. However, this device’s availability in markets like the U.S. is a problem although you won’t miss one on Amazon. If you can be able to get hold of one, there won’t be much to regret about other than the heavy MIUI customization, but if you are a fun, the latest MIUI 10 has some cool features on board.

Specs
  • 6.21-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • Dual 12MP + 12MP main camera
  • 20MP front camera
  • 3400mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo

Xiaomi Mi 8 is officially sold in some parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa, but it isn’t available officially in the U.S. Still, with platforms like Amazon and GearBest, you won’t be short of options to ship in one of these. The phone, like others before it, has a decent price tag of just $475 in the U.S. or about £360 in the UK. Heck, you can even snag the 2017 Xiaomi Mi 6, the Mi 8’s immediate predecessor that shares hardware specs with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8 and Nokia 8, for an even cheaper price tag of somewhere between $300 and $400.

→ Buy Xiaomi Mi 8: USA | UK

Related: Xiaomi Mi 8 Pie update news

Motorola Moto Z3 Play

Moto-Z3-Play-8Motorola took the wraps off the Moto Z3 Play in June 2018 and being a successor to the highly impressive Moto Z2 Play, the device does tick most of the boxes you’d want to be checked before buying a phone.

Specs
  • 6.01-inch 18:9 FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB storage, expandable up to 256GB
  • Dual 12MP + 5MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo

For the first time, the Play variant now has a dual-lens camera on the back, a change that promises great photography for its price. Although the Moto Z3 Play comes with a fingerprint scanner, it’s mounted on the side of the phone, much like what Sony used to do before 2018. If fingerprint authentication isn’t enough for you, the phone also supports facial recognition, but it’s not as safe as the former.

Like many other 2018 smartphones, the Moto Z3 Play comes with an 18:9 display aspect ratio alongside a USB-C port, but the result of the latter feature is that you miss out on the 3.5mm audio jack. If you can live with the few compromises, the Moto Z3 Play can be yours for $500, but in terms of raw power, it is still far from matching other offerings on this list.

→ Buy Moto Z3 Play: USA  | UK 

Related: Moto Z3 Play Pie update news

Other notable mentions

In addition to the above devices, you might also want to check out other great devices that can easily be purchased for a price in the regions of $500. High on the list is the smaller Google Pixel 2 that has now been succeeded by the even more expensive Pixel 3. The phone, besides packing high-end specs from 2017, it also promises timely software updates for at least another year or so, including an OS upgrade to Android Q.

LG also has two impressive phones in the LG G7 One (Android One) and LG G7 Fit. These two have 2017 and 2016 hardware specs, respectively. While we expect the duo to command affordable price tags, details about their prices and availability in vari0us markets remain unknown. Although not carrying flagship specs, the Samsung Galaxy A9 2018 may also prove to be an interesting proposition, although it might come at a slightly steeper price compared to the premium offerings in this post.

Note: This article will be updated regularly to remove aging models and replace them with newer flagships available at about $500.

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