Now, even the sub-$500 rugged phones can provide a great experience, and you do not need to shell out for a flagship to get decent performance. We have seen several excellent affordable rugged smartphones launch this year, and if you are in the market for a new rugged phone, it is a great time to get one.
In this article, we will recommend the Brightest Phones Under 500 Dollars that are available readily in the market and are all the best on their own. The list is based on the camera performance, display quality, battery life, overall performance, and the key features offered.
Brightest Phones Under 500 Dollars
Every single year, new smartphones are getting better, you can either get yourself a cheaper mid-range 2022 phone, or you can just buy a flagship from just a couple of years ago for the same price. We do not recommend buying an old flagship instead of a mid-range phone, because the technology changes every year, and companies use better technology on their models. The phones that we will recommend are up against the flagships from the same companies.
Samsung Galaxy A53
The Galaxy A53 is a mid-range phone that at first glance looks pretty similar to what we saw in last year’s models. The phone feels pretty sturdy and smooth. As we have seen in previous A-Series devices, the A53 has IP67-rated protection against water and dust.
A53 brings a larger 5000mAh battery capacity, but larger does not always mean it is better. Jumping into the numbers, the A53 was able to score a 113-hour endurance rating in our battery life tests.
Charging speed has not changed much, in fact, it is a little slower, going from 0 to 45 percent in half an hour. The Samsung Galaxy A53 does not come with a charger in the box only a cable, this is a disadvantage for us.
This model uses the Exynos 1280 chipset, which is an upgrade over the Snapdragon 750G inside of the Galaxy A52. It provides a solid mid-range level performance and a 5G connectivity.
It has a 6.5’’ super AMOLED with a 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. It also has Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
The cameras include a 64MP main cam, a 12MP ultra-wide unit, a 5MP macro cam, and a depth sensor. Photos from the main cam are decent with a good amount of detail. The A53 shoots video with all of its cameras, and up to 4K resolution at 30FPS. 4K footages have plenty of detail.
The Galaxy A53 has expandable storage on top of the 128 or 256GB built-in. It also has 4 and 8GB of RAM versions. It is overall a pretty solid mid-ranger, providing most of the features in last year’s flagship models.
Redmi Note 11 Pro+
Redmi Note 11 Pro+ is the successor to one of the most popular mid-range smartphones of last year. Outwardly the phone has an identical design to the Redmi Note 11 Pro and the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. Like the Note 11 series, it has a flat plastic frame with a matte finish, a flat glass back, and Gorilla Glass 5 on the front. It is rated as IP53 dust and splash resistant.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ has a 4500mAh battery which is smaller than the other phones in its lineup, but it still scored a great endurance reading of 106 hours of usage on our tests. It is close to the Samsung Galaxy A53.
It comes with a 120W power adapter, which Samsung does not have. The adapter is heavier than the phone but it does deliver good performance. With the boost charge mode on, it got from 0 to 100 in 16 minutes.
The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ has the MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G chipset and either 6 or 8GB of RAM. Thanks to the chipset, the phone supports 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and tri-band GPS.
The Pro+ has excellent performance for the mid-range segment and offered a good gaming experience with no overheating even with prolonged tests, the phone got only slightly warm in a couple of spots.
It has a 6.67’’ super AMOLED with a 1080p resolution and supports a 120Hz refresh rate. You can set the refresh rate to 60Hz, but the default option is set to 120. The Pro+ got a max of 760 nits in auto mode and has excellent display brightness for its class.
That massive camera bump on the back has a 108MP main camera with face detection autofocus, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro cam. Generally, the Pro+ took excellent photos that had plenty of detail.
This model is the only Redmi Note 11 phone to support 4K video capture with its main camera, the footage is great, you can see a lot of details.
Quite frankly, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ easily outshines the rest of the Note 11 series and is the best Redmi smartphone of 2022 so far. The 12 series is not out yet, but if you are excited to see what is coming, we wrote an article about Excellent Features of Xiaomi 12 Series.
Apple iPhone SE 2022
The iPhone SE has exactly the same design and display as the iPhone 8 from 2017. Using this form factor, and screen hardware allowed Apple to keep the cost of the device as low as it has it did not need to invest in a whole new manufacturing process.
The 4.7 inch screen with the chunky bezels above and below feels like it belongs to the past. Despite those chunky bezels, the iPhone SE still reasonably compact, compared with many Androids. As it is kinda smaller phone, one-handed use is just about comfortable enough. It also comes with IP67 water and dust resistant.
The display is IPS, whereas most Android mid-ranges and even some half the price now pack an all LED display. What you can expect here is weaker contrast colors that do not really pop and visual quaality that is just all around is not strong well.
It has Apple’s iOS 15 on board with all of its various pros and cons. Pros include some very strong security and privacy features, and you have got long-lasting support with this model. Cons include the usual lack of customization and personalization.
Its base model comes packing just 64GB, which frankly is not enough, but the price changes if you want higher storage.
This model is powered by the Apple A15 SOC, same as the most expensive iPhones right now. So, everyday performance is absolutely perfect. Only problem there is if you are downloading anything with one of the apps like Deezer or Audible or anything, you will have to have them front and center until the downloads have completed.
When it comes to gaming, we played Genshin Impact on maxed out detail settings, playing is absolutely possible, but playing for a long period is not particularly comfortable.
Battery life with 2018mAh is not enough compared with most rivals. It only supports 20W charge, and it does fill up reasonably fast.
There is a single 12MP camera similar to the more expensive iPhones, but only in the MP count. You do not get the same wide aperture, the image stabilization, etc. Detail levels are good enough to make your pics look nice.
OnePlus Nord N200 5G
The company’s one of the latest models is the Nord N200 5G, which offers 5G support and a 90Hz screen for just under the $500. It has a dense sturdy build, a modern all-screen and huge 5000mAh battery.
This model is not made out of metal and glass, but the plastic back with the matte finish feels, and looks really premium.
It has an LCD panel, which means colors are not as accurate and the phone has got pretty bad viewing angles, but the screen gets pretty bright, and the 90Hz option is really nice to see at this price point. Overall display looks pretty clean with a whole punch display on the upper left, and it is a flat display.
It comes with the 4GB RAM, and 64GB internal storage, but has a micro SD slot. It has Snapdragon 480 processor, which is a newer 5G chip designed for budget devices.
As it has Snapdragon 480 processor, in everyday use, you will not experience any sluggishness or stutters, its performance is smooth.
Nord N200 has a triple lens system featuring a 13MP main camera, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth lens. It handles outdoor photos pretty well with good contrast and detail. Sometimes color gets a little bit shifted to magenta but this has only happens a few times. HDR performance is not perfect, but overall it is good to go.
The 5000mAh battery life is plenty for a daily usage. With this huge battery, you are probably going to average around two days of usage. It also has fast charging up to 18W with the included charger in a box.
Google Pixel 5A
The Google Pixel 5A is the solid, budget-friendly A series Pixel. It looks stylish, elegant, and it is affordable. It also comes with IP67 water resistance, a first for an A series Pixel.
This model is similar to the Pixel 4A 5G in its size and weight. It supports a 6.34inch display and weighs a reasonable 183g. While the phone does have an aluminum construction Google gave it the grippy back, so it is less likely to slip out of your hand.
The display on the Pixel 5A is a 2400×1080 OLED panel with a 413ppi density and holepunch selfie camera. Text looks crisp, and colors look good.
The Pixel 5A has the largest battery of any Pixel to date. The battery life is just solid, you can see about a day and a half battery life with 4690mAh.
It gets the exact wide an ultrawide cameras that the Pixel 5 got last year, and you get Google’s excellent HDR+ technology which performs very well in situations like a sunset or sunrise. You get Google’s Nightsight, which is handy for taking photos of objects in dark or low light conditions.
This model has Snapdragon 765G, and has 6GB of RAM. It comes with 128GB of storage with non-expandable storage. It feels pretty snappy, you will not see any freezes, or stutters. It also can easily handle some of the demanding games.
Which Phones Should you Buy?
We recommended the Brightest Phones Under 500 Dollars and both of them are the best mid-rangers of the season. They are stylish, has an excellent screen, fast charging, good battery life, good photo and video quality, and even good performance.
If you think that you should get the charger when you buy a smartphone, you should not buy A53, but overall both phones will be a great choice. You can buy the Samsung Galaxy A53, Redmi Note 11 Pro+, iPhone SE, OnePlus Nord N200, and Google Pixel 5A on Amazon, Aliexpress, or Apple Store.