The best midrange smartphones for 2024

As one of Engadget’s resident mobile geeks, I’ve reviewed dozens of mid-range phones and found that a great smartphone doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Years of commoditization have brought features once unique to high-end devices, including large batteries, multi-camera arrays, and high-refresh-rate displays, to their more affordable siblings. Although there are still some things, you will only find flagship smartphones, you don’t need to compromise much if you want to find the best buy at a lower price point. If you have less than $600 to spend, I can help you figure out what features to prioritize when trying to find the best mid-range smartphone.

Editor’s Note (05/09/24): Google has announced its latest mid-range smartphone, the Pixel 8a. The 6.1-inch phone starts at $499 and, as expected, carries many of the specs from last year’s phone. the flagship Pixel 8 series. We will do a full review in the coming days and update this guide accordingly. For now, you can check out our hands-on preview for more information on what to expect. Google said it would continue to sell Pixel 7aour current superior choose at a low price, so it can continue to be valuable. Most will have to hold off until they get the new Pixel up to speed.

Although the term appears frequently in articles and videos, there is no agreed-upon definition for “mid-range” outside of a phone that isn’t a flagship or entry-level option. Our recommendations for the best mid-range smartphones are between $400 and $600 — any less and you should expect significant discounts. If your budget is higher, you should consider flagships like these Apple iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S22.

Buying a new device can be intimidating, but a few questions can help guide you through the process. First: what platform do you want to use? If the answer is iOS, that narrows your options down to exactly one phone. (Thankfully, it’s great.) If you’re an Android fan, there’s no shortage of compelling options. Both platforms have their strengths, so you shouldn’t rule them out.

Obviously, also think about how much you’re comfortable spending. Even increasing your budget by $100 can get you a better product. Manufacturers tend to support their more expensive devices for longer. It’s definitely worth buying something towards the high end of what you can afford.

Having an idea of ​​your priorities will help inform your budget. Want long battery life or fast charging speeds? Do you value fast performance above all else? Or do you just want the best cameras possible? While they continue to improve every year, even the best mid-range smartphones still require some compromises, and knowing what’s important to you will make choosing one easier.

Finally, pay attention to wireless bands and network compatibility. If you don’t want to worry about this, your best bet is to buy directly from your carrier. To make things easier, all of the phones we recommend are compatible with all major US wireless carriers and can be purchased unlocked.

Every year, the line between mid-range and high-end phones gets more blurred as higher-end specs and features trickle down to more affordable models. When we first published this guide in 2020, it was hard to find $500 devices with waterproofing or 5G. The biggest thing you might miss now is wireless charging. Just don’t forget to budget for a power adapter too – many companies have stopped including chargers in their smartphones. Performance has improved in recent years, but it can still be hit or miss as most mid-range phones use slower processors that can struggle with multitasking. Thankfully, their cameras have improved dramatically, and you can usually expect at least a dual-lens system on most mid-range smartphones under $600.

Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

500 dollars Pixel 7a it delivers everything we’re looking for in a great affordable phone. New features include a faster Tensor G2 chip, a smoother 90Hz display and, for the first time on one of Google’s A-series phones: wireless charging support. It looks and feels like the standard Pixel 7, with an updated design with IP67 water resistance, but costs $100 less. You also get great support with five years of security updates and at least three OS upgrades. The phone’s only downsides are pretty minor, and include the lack of a dedicated zoom lens and mmWave 5G support (unless you buy a slightly more expensive $550 model from Verizon).

$499 at Google


If you can get past its dated design and small 5.4-inch display, Apple iPhone SE It’s the fastest phone you can buy under $600. No other device on this list has a processor that comes close to the SE’s A15 Bionic. Furthermore, we can expect Apple to support the 2022 model for years to come. The company is ending support for the first-generation SE after just six years. The company hasn’t said how long it plans to stock the latest SE with the new software, but it’s likely to support the device for a similar amount of time.

Despite all its strengths iPhone SE stored by the dated display. Not only is the SE’s screen small and slow, but it uses an IPS panel instead of an OLED display, meaning it can’t deliver deep blacks. Additionally, this screen is surrounded by some of the largest bezels you’ll find on a modern phone. This is not surprising. The SE uses the design of the iPhone 6, which will be a decade old in two years. And if the SE looks old now, it will feel even more tired in just a few years.

$400 at Walmart

Photo: Mat Smith / Engage

Look no further for the best display possible at this price Samsung’s $450 Galaxy A53 5G model. It has a 6.5 inch Super AMOLED display which is ideal for watching TV shows and movies. Plus the 120Hz panel is the fastest on this list. Other outstanding features of this Samsung phone include a 5000 mAh battery and a versatile camera system. The A53’s three shooters may not deliver photos with the same detail and natural colors as the Pixel 7a, but it can capture larger scenes with its two wide-angle rear cameras.

Like the other Android smartphones on this list, the Samsung Galaxy A53 isn’t the fastest performer. At best, Samsung’s Exynos 1280 is a side-step from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G found in the Galaxy A52 5G. While the A53 is $50 cheaper than its predecessor, this Samsung phone no longer comes with a power adapter and headphone jack, so the difference might not be that big.

$395 on Amazon

Photo by Brian Oh / Engadget

If you only have $200 to spend on your next phone, you could do a lot worse OnePlus Nord N200. To begin with, this budget phone has a large 5000 mAh battery that will easily last a full day. The N200 it also has a 90Hz display and 5G connectivity, which is hard to find at this price. The best part is that it doesn’t look like a cheap phone.

But the N200 is also a good example of why you should spend more on a budget phone. It is the slowest device on this list due to its Snapdragon 480 chipset and a paltry 4GB of RAM. Its triple primary camera setup is serviceable during the day, but struggles in low light and doesn’t offer much versatility other than a disappointing macro lens. OnePlus also doesn’t plan to update the phone beyond the soon-to-be obsolete Android 12. In short, the N200 is unlikely to serve you as well as other budget phones on this list.

$141 on Amazon

Chris Velazco contributed to this report.

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