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The Best Smartphones for Less Than 500 Euros

July 2021 update. Not too long ago the price bracket between 500 to 600 Euros was occupied primarily by flagship devices. Nowadays, these have moved on and can usually be found in price ranges north of 1,000 Euros, leaving the bracket around 500 Euros for occasional affordable high-end devices as well as older top-of-the-line premium smartphones. The latter may not be up-to-date any longer but can still be a great alternative.
Mike Wobker (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 🇩🇪 🇳🇱 ...

Upper-class smartphones are located in the price range of between mainstream and high-end models and are targeted towards users who are not willing to pay more than 700 Euros (900 USD) for an expensive high-end phone, but still want good performance, good cameras, and nice build quality.

The price range of up to 500 Euros (600 USD) includes both powerful upper-class models as well as old high-end smartphones. The latter are an interesting alternative, because the specifications are usually still very good and often receive at least one major update. The following rankings might be interesting for you as well:

The Best Premium Smartphones

Position
Total Rating
Date
Image
Model
Height
Weight
Screen-Body
Ratio
Size
Refresh-Rate
Resolution
OS
188 %
10/2020
OnePlus 8TOnePlus 8T
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Adreno 650
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
8.4 mm188 g86 %6.55"120 Hz2400x1080Android 11
288 %
03/2020
Samsung Galaxy S20Samsung Galaxy S20
Samsung Exynos 990
ARM Mali-G77 MP11
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
7.9 mm163 g89 %6.20"120 Hz3200x1440Android 10
387 %
05/2021
Xiaomi Redmi K40 ProXiaomi Redmi K40 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
Qualcomm Adreno 660
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
7.8 mm196 g86 %6.67"120 Hz2400x1080Android 11
487 %
12/2020
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5GXiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Adreno 650
8 GB Memory, 256 GB 
9.33 mm218 g85 %6.67"144 Hz2400x1080Android 10
586 %
05/2021
Xiaomi Poco F3Xiaomi Poco F3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G
Qualcomm Adreno 650
6 GB Memory, 128 GB 
7.8 mm196 g86 %6.67"120 Hz2400x1080Android 11
686 %
05/2021
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5GXiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G 5G
Qualcomm Adreno 642
8 GB Memory, 128 GB UFS 2.1
6.81 mm159 g85.3 %6.55"090 Hz2400x1080Android 11
786 %
12/2020
Xiaomi Mi 10T 5GXiaomi Mi 10T 5G
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Adreno 650
6 GB Memory, 128 GB 
9.3 mm216 g85 %6.67"144 Hz2400x1080Android 10
886 %
07/2020
Xiaomi Poco F2 ProXiaomi Poco F2 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Adreno 650
6 GB Memory, 128 GB 
8.9 mm219 g87.2 %6.67"060 Hz2400x1080Android 10
985 %
05/2021
New!
Motorola Moto G100Motorola Moto G100
Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G
Qualcomm Adreno 650
8 GB Memory, 128 GB 
9.7 mm207 g84 %6.70"090 Hz2520x1080Android 11
1085 %
05/2021
Xiaomi Poco X3 ProXiaomi Poco X3 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 860
Qualcomm Adreno 640
6 GB Memory, 128 GB 
9.4 mm215 g85 %6.67"120 Hz2400x1080Android 11

The table above contains an overview over the best smartphones for less than 500 Euros reviewed by Notebookcheck over the course of the past 12 months as well as still relevant and available older products. In cases of identical score the more recent device is listed first. All prices in above table and price comparisons are updated daily and can thus differ.
Link: all devices in this class reviewed

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Editors' Comments

The Motorola Moto G100 reenters this list after the realme X50 had to be removed due to its age.

In addition, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G barely missed this list with a rating of 84 %.

1st – OnePlus 8T

OnePlus 8T
OnePlus 8T

The OnePlus 8T's highlight is its colorful, bright, and high-resolution 120 Hz OLED display thanks to which display contents are always pristine and crisp. Its fast Qualcomm SoC paired with 8 GB of RAM ensure smooth app performance, and its spacious 128 GB of internal storage should suffice most users. And while features such as NFC, Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and even a fingerprint reader are included the devices lacks a microSD slot.

The OnePlus 8T keeps its focus on its core functionality: high performance and great features at a low price.

The OnePlus 8T’s camera did not disappoint either. Its photos are at a level expected of a high-end smartphone and rich in detail. Additional camera sensors ensure the computation of extra image information, and with a macro and a wide-angle lens the camera features two additional lenses.

At the time of writing the OnePlus 8T had dropped below 500 Euros in Europe and was available for between $500 and $600 through the usual retail channels, such as for example Amazon

Pricecompare

2nd – Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20
Samsung Galaxy S20

When it was first released the Samsung Galaxy S20 base model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage was priced at around $1,000. However, now that the Samsung Galaxy S21 has been released prices have dropped significantly, and the device can be had for less than 500 Euros already. Even in its European Exynos variant the SoC continues to outperform many brand-new smartphones.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 offers increased battery life, an extremely bright display, and good cameras.

One of its most popular features was its 6.2-inch display that resisted the seemingly omnipresent urge to grow. Not only did its case remain comparatively small but its weight also followed suit. Most software bugs have been patched over time, and camera performance was improved significantly since the device was first released. The S20 comes with a very good display that is not only extremely bright but also very color accurate to boot.

If you can live without support for 5G the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition can be purchased for around $515 on Amazon.

Pricecompare

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3rd – Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro

It will be hard to beat the Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro’s overall package in this price class. Its SoC offers excellent performance, its 128 GB of storage are blazingly fast, its 8 GB of RAM are aplenty, and the 64 MP camera takes excellent photos. And while it may lack an optical zoom it does come with an ultra-wide angle and a macro lens instead.

If you prioritize display and performance, you will be hard pressed to find a better smartphone than the K40 Pro in this price class.

Thanks to its Super AMOLED display the Android smartphone offers great colors and an extremely high contrast ratio. Its maximum brightness is also very high, which means it can be easily used in bright environments. Battery life is very good, and it even supports 5G.

The Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro is not officially sold in North America.

Pricecompare

4th – Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G

Thanks to ist high-end SoC the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G is capable of all sorts off shenanigans and neither limited by its 8 GB of RAM nor its 256 GB of internal storage. It also comes with NFC, a fingerprint reader, Wi-Fi 6, and support for 5G.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro delivers a great experience in almost all areas.

We also liked its large 144 Hz 6.67-inch HDR display as well as its good 108 MP camera. The latter took amazing photos rich in color and details. Despite its high performance its battery life remained very good.

The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is not officially sold in North America.

Pricecompare

5th – Xiaomi Poco F3

Xiaomi Poco F3
Xiaomi Poco F3

The Xiaomi Poco F3 offers a great price-performance ratio. Thanks to its Snapdragon SoC and 6 GB of RAM it is capable of running through most tasks very smoothly, and its 128 GB of internal storage are not too skimpy either. It also features fast Wi-Fi 6, LTE and 5G, NFC, a fingerprint reader, and face recognition.

Xiaomi’s Poco F3 offers a high-end display and plenty of performance.

We also liked its extremely bright 120 Hz AMOLED display a lot. Colors are not only powerful but also well balanced. And finally, its camera takes decent photos with its three sensors. Overall, a well-balanced overall packaged at a low price that has just become even more attractive thanks to recent price drops.

The Xiaomi Poco F3 is not officially sold in North America. 

Pricecompare

6th – Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G

The Mi 11 Lite 5G is a very lightweight and thin smartphone with plenty of performance for churning smoothly through everyday tasks thanks to its fast and powerful Qualcomm SoC. It offers 8 GB of RAM as well as 128 GB of internal microSD-expandable storage. Supported communication standards include 5G as well as Wi-Fi 6.

The Mi 11 Lite offers competitive hardware housed in a slim case.

Its great display features a 90 Hz AMOLED panel with great picture and, thanks to support for HDR10, also excellent color representation. Its camera takes decent photos, and the device’s battery life as well as its support for fast charging ensure proper power delivery at all times.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite is not officially sold in North America.

Pricecompare

7th – Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G

Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G
Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G

The Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G comes with a 6.67-inch large display running in FHD+ resolution at a refresh rate of 144 Hz. It is powered by a Snapdragon 865 supported by 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Its triple-camera took decent photos as long as the main lens was used. Neither the ultra-wide nor the macro lens proved to be particularly good.

Its 5,000 mAh battery allows for very long battery life, and the Xiaomi smartphone offers a decent overall connectivity including IR blaster. It lacks a headphone jack as well as a microSD card slot. Another downside is the fact that it uses PWM to regulate display brightness.

Pricecompare

8th – Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro

Poco F2 Pro

The Poco F2 Pro is Xiaomi’s attempt to continue the first Pocophone’s legacy, which offered flagship quality components at mid-range prices. It comes with an extremely bright super AMOLED display with decent color accuracy and support for HDR content running at 60 Hz. The smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 865 with either 6 or 8 GB of RAM and either 128 or 256 GB of non-expandable storage. It continues to feature an IR blaster as well as a 3.5-inch headphone jack.

The smartphone’s quad-camera array performed fairly well in our test. Unfortunately, it lacks optical zoom capabilities, and the ultra-wide angle lens was not the greatest either. In return, premium features such as IP certification and wireless charging, are supported.

Pricecompare

9th – Motorola Moto G100

Motorola Moto G100
Motorola Moto G100

The Moto G100 is a fast smartphone with 128 GB of fast storage. Its performance is high enough for smooth gaming at 60 FPS, and its 6.7-inch display performed very well in our test. We also found no evidence of performance throttling under sustained load.

The Moto G100 is unique due to its desktop mode but it is also a very fast smartphone to boot.

One of the G100’s unique features is its ability to be converted into a desktop-mode computing device by using the appropriate dock. This worked well in our test and can be a very useful alternative should a full-fledged computer not be available. In addition, the device also supports 5G networks.

The Motorola Moto G100 is not available in North America.

Pricecompare

10th – Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro

Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro
Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro

The Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro offers high performance at an affordable price. Its high-end SoC ensures smooth system and application performance, and it supports the most important communication standards including NFC, LTE, and Wi-Fi. Additional features include a fingerprint reader and face recognition. Its very bright display offers a well-balanced way to look at its 48 MP camera’s overall good photos.

Xiaomi’s Poco X3 Pro is a well-equipped and very fast mid-range smartphone at a low price.

Battery life is on par with other smartphones in its price range, and the Poco X3 Pro’s case is IP-certified and splash as well as dust proof.

The Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro is not officially sold in North America. 

Pricecompare

Best Smartphones for Less Than 500 Euros in Comparison

Size Comparison

168.4 mm / 6.63 inch 74 mm / 2.91 inch 9.7 mm / 0.3819 inch 207 g0.4564 lbs165.3 mm / 6.51 inch 76.8 mm / 3.02 inch 9.4 mm / 0.3701 inch 215 g0.474 lbs165.1 mm / 6.5 inch 76.4 mm / 3.01 inch 9.33 mm / 0.3673 inch 218 g0.4806 lbs165.1 mm / 6.5 inch 76.4 mm / 3.01 inch 9.3 mm / 0.3661 inch 216 g0.4762 lbs163.3 mm / 6.43 inch 75.4 mm / 2.97 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 219 g0.4828 lbs163.7 mm / 6.44 inch 76.4 mm / 3.01 inch 7.8 mm / 0.3071 inch 196 g0.4321 lbs163.7 mm / 6.44 inch 76.4 mm / 3.01 inch 7.8 mm / 0.3071 inch 196 g0.4321 lbs160.7 mm / 6.33 inch 74.1 mm / 2.92 inch 8.4 mm / 0.3307 inch 188 g0.4145 lbs160.53 mm / 6.32 inch 75.72 mm / 2.98 inch 6.81 mm / 0.2681 inch 159 g0.3505 lbs151.7 mm / 5.97 inch 69.1 mm / 2.72 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 163 g0.3594 lbs
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Mike Wobker (Update: 2021-07-13)