Cel mai bun telefon cu buget 2021: șapte smartphone-uri pentru sub 500 USD

Dacă cumpărați un telefon nou la un buget, avem vești bune: există mai multe telefoane excelente și accesibile pe piață ca niciodată. Companii precum Apple, Google și Samsung răspândesc bogăția de caracteristici de care se bucură flagship-urile lor până la opțiuni mai puțin costisitoare. Alte mărci precum OnePlus găsesc modalități de a provoca producătorii mai consacrați cu dispozitive bugetare care fac sacrificii inteligente pentru a reduce costurile.

Vestea proastă este că acest lucru face munca de a alege cel mai bun telefon cu buget mult mai dificilă. Rețineți că este imposibil să cumpărați un telefon care face totul la acest preț; în schimb, acordă prioritate caracteristicilor care contează cel mai mult pentru tine. Veți avea o decizie mai ușoară și veți avea un telefon excelent pe care ar trebui să îl puteți folosi pentru anii următori.

Alegerea noastră pentru cel mai bun iPhone ieftin este ediția 2020 a Apple iPhone SE. Chiar dacă vine la un an, credem că este totuși cel mai bun pariu pentru majoritatea oamenilor. Deși face o treabă competentă la toate, caracteristica sa deosebită este că ar trebui să dureze patru sau mai mulți ani dacă este tratată bine.

Dacă sunteți în căutarea celui mai bun telefon Android ieftin, atunci credem că Google Pixel 4A este o opțiune excelentă. Are o cameră excelentă și un software bun, deși ecranul său este mai mic decât o mulțime de concurență în acest moment.

Ceea ce caută majoritatea oamenilor într-un smartphone sub 500 USD sunt aceleași lucruri pe care și le doresc oamenii într-un model mai scump: durată lungă de viață a bateriei, ecran bun, cameră foto bună și performanță decentă. Este dificil să obții A dreaptă înaltă în fiecare dintre aceste categorii, dar dacă poți decide unde vei tolera gradul B ocazional, vei găsi un telefon pe care îl vei iubi.

Google Pixel 4A

Prices taken at time of publishing.

A very inexpensive smartphone with one of the best cameras for photography you can get on any smartphone at any price.

The Apple iPhone SE is a great choice if you want a phone that lasts for years.

The Apple iPhone SE is a great choice if you want a phone that lasts for years.

The best smartphone under $500

The phone that strikes the right balance of camera, build quality, speed, battery life, software, and longevity for most people is the Apple iPhone SE 2020. Even though it’s almost a year old now, it should still give you an excellent return on your investment. We recommend upgrading to the model with 128GB of storage for $449, which is $50 over the base price but well worth it long term.

The iPhone SE follows a very tried and true formula. It has the same body and 4.7-inch LCD screen that Apple has been using since the iPhone 6. That puts the display on the smaller end of screen sizes today and also means the phone’s bezels are bigger than anything else sold on the market.

It’s a familiar design and not one that screams “modern.” But in exchange, you get a lot of value. The 2020 SE is part of the iPhone 11 generation, so its A13 Bionic processor is a year behind the latest and greatest. (That would be the A14 chipset in the iPhone 12 lineup.) However, it’s still one of the fastest processors you can get on any phone, but especially one in this price bracket. Normally, speed isn’t something we prioritize on phones at this price point, but it’s nice to have.

Why that processor really matters, though, is overall longevity. Apple consistently supports its phones for four or more years with software updates. (That’s in opposition to Android, where getting software updates on anything but the Pixel is still a struggle.) So Apple’s choice of a fast processor means, in a few years, the iPhone SE will still feel snappy and still be supported with iOS updates.

Battery life is good but not best in class. It should last about a day. Luckily, this iPhone supports wireless charging, which is still uncommon at this price point. And because it has the exact same shape as the iPhone 6, 6S, 7, and 8, there is a huge ecosystem of chargers and cases for it. Unlike many inexpensive Android phones, finding compatible accessories for the iPhone SE will be a breeze.

The iPhone SE has just one camera on the back and just one selfie camera on the front, 12 megapixels and 7 megapixels, respectively. Neither is great by 2021 standards, but both are significantly better than what Apple shipped in older iPhones. It’s also fairly good by the standards of sub-$500 phones, though the Google Pixel 4A continues to win this category by a knockout. You will get a lot of camera features on the iPhone SE, including portrait and HDR, but unfortunately, there is no night mode.

As a total package, the 2020 iPhone SE is the best smartphone under $500 for most people. If you think of it on a cost-per-year metric, it ends up being significantly less expensive than the competition because it’s likely to last four or five years if you take care of it. Just as importantly, it’s a great phone on its own merits. You get access to the vast array of iOS apps, Apple’s strong support network, and a huge ecosystem of accessories.

The Google Pixel 4A has an incredible camera.

The Google Pixel 4A has an incredible camera.

The best inexpensive Android phone

If you prefer Android, want to spend a little less money, or just want the best camera, then the Google Pixel 4A is the obvious choice. Its screen is on the small side, and it doesn’t have the fastest processor, but it does have a clean version of Android and is first in line for updates from Google. The 4A came out in August last year, but it’s still guaranteed to get software updates until at least August 2023. It comes in either black or baby blue with 128GB of storage for $349.

The Pixel 4A’s main claim to fame is its camera, which can go head-to-head with smartphones that cost $1,500 or more. That’s because Google does so much of the image processing in software. (The sensor itself is actually quite old and not very special.) That means the Pixel 4A can take night photos, do astrophotography, and has a passable portrait mode. It can’t hang with the iPhone SE for video but beats it for photos every time.

The rest of the Pixel 4A’s specs are good but not great. It has a 5.8-inch screen, just enough RAM to keep apps from closing in the background, and a headphone jack. There’s no wireless charging, no fancy face unlock, and the body is made out of plastic instead of something more premium like glass. The Pixel 4A doesn’t even offer any IP water resistance ratings (but a splash of water is probably fine).

The Pixel 4A uses Google’s version of Android, which means it’s easy to navigate and free of extra stuff you probably don’t want. More importantly, it means that Google can supply the software updates directly instead of waiting for another manufacturer or carrier to approve it. That puts you first in line for Android updates and also guarantees you’ll get them for three years.

Unfortunately, in a couple of years, it’s quite likely that the Pixel 4A will be on its last legs. Android phones generally don’t last quite as long as iPhones do because Android tends to bog down on older hardware more quickly. The Pixel 4A’s processor is fast enough today to not be a bother, but over time, it’s possible that it won’t age well.

But for all that, the Pixel 4A is probably the safest bet if you want to get an Android phone for less than $500. You’ll get better software support and a better camera for $350. Not a bad deal.

The OnePlus Nord has very good specs for its price.

The OnePlus Nord has very good specs for its price.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

The best all-around Android phone outside the US

Technically, saying the OnePlus Nord costs less than $500 doesn’t make much sense because it’s not available in the US, and the company doesn’t plan to sell it in the States. But if you live in a market where it’s available, the OnePlus Nord is the kind of phone that aims for a solid B grade in every category instead of trying to ace one or two. For £379 / €399, it’s a safe Android bet.

The OnePlus Nord has a couple of features that are normally reserved for much more expensive phones: support for sub-6 5G networks and a high refresh rate 90Hz display. If you live in an area where 5G is built out, you may notice faster download speeds. But it’s the display that’ll have a bigger impact on your day-to-day experience. It makes everything feel smoother and better.

You will miss out on wireless charging and a headphone jack with the Nord, but they’re really the only big things that are lacking. Battery life is strong, the 6.44-inch screen is big and beautiful, and the software is less annoying than some competitors (though not as clean as Google’s). The £379 / €399 model comes with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, both plenty good for this price point.

As for cameras, there are a bunch of them — maybe even too many. There’s a standard, an ultrawide, and a macro camera on the back as well as a couple of selfie cameras on the front. As is the norm with most smartphone cameras these days, they will get you decent photos in decent light but fall down a bit in the dark. You’ll mostly want to use the main camera, as the ultrawide has a noticeable drop in quality, and the macro is only good for, well, macro or close-up shots.

All too often, phones at this price point have some critical compromise you’re forced to make in order to get the feature you really want. With the OnePlus Nord, there’s no big flaw you’ll have to work around. Again, though, it’s not available in the US. You can import it, but it’s not recommended as it won’t work correctly on US LTE networks.

OnePlus Nord

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The OnePlus Nord has better specs than you’ll find on almost any other Android smartphone in this price range.

You probably don’t need 5G yet, but the Google Pixel 4A 5G has other strong benefits.

Even without considering 5G, the Pixel 4A 5G has other strong benefits.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

A big screen with timely software updates

The Pixel 4A 5G is good for all the reasons that the Pixel 4A is good: it has a great camera, good battery life, and clean Google software. Maybe most importantly, it has a bigger 6.2-inch screen, which is spacious but doesn’t make the phone feel too gigantic. It also uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G processor, which means it’s faster than the Pixel 4A and nearly all the rest of the sub-$500 Android phones you can find. And there’s support for 5G, of course, which is largely underwhelming in the US right now, but might actually be good toward the end of this phone’s lifespan. It all adds up to a $499 price that’s just under the wire for this category, though the Verizon version, unfortunately, costs $100 more.

The Pixel 4A 5G has a slightly better camera system compared to the Pixel 4A, thanks to the inclusion of an ultrawide sensor. Google has also made its excellent Night Sight mode automatic and improved video with some new stabilization modes.

Otherwise, it follows the standard low-cost Pixel formula. It has a plastic back with a fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack. Google doesn’t load down the software with extra crapware you don’t want, but it does include some nice little touches like a voice recorder that automatically creates a transcription as it records.

Someday, not having 5G will be a serious downside for smartphones, but that reality is still at least a year or two away. Even if you ignore the potentially faster network speeds, the Pixel 4A 5G is a surprisingly great phone.

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Priced at $499, Google’s Pixel 4A 5G is a slightly bigger, 5G-ready version of the 4A.

The N10 5G is priced well under $500.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

If you want 5G for the least amount possible

At $299, the N10 5G is well below the threshold for this category. Given its price, you might expect to see some significant sacrifices compared to a $400 or $500 phone, and OnePlus has made a few. But they’re smart sacrifices that add up to a device that’s really quite good for the money.

You won’t find a fantastic screen here, although its large 6.46-inch LCD does come with a faster-than-average 90Hz refresh rate. Worth noting is the device’s somewhat “tall” 20:9 aspect ratio, which is a little unusual at first glance but makes the phone slightly narrower and easier to use with one hand. Its processor is capable enough, though it sometimes shows its limits. It also ships with Android 10, which OnePlus says it will update to 11, and is only offering two years of security updates in addition to that.

On the camera side, the N10 offers a 64-megapixel main camera that’s surprisingly good in daylight and even moderately low light. There’s an 8-megapixel ultrawide, too, along with macro and monochrome cameras that aren’t really worth talking about. It’s not Pixel 4A-level good, but if you don’t push it too hard, the N10’s main camera takes good photos in the right light.

If you can afford to spend a little more, you probably should. A device with better support in the long run will save you some money later. But if budget is a major consideration, the N10 5G is about as good as it gets at this price. It offers the future-proofiness of sub-6GHz 5G support, a thoroughly decent camera, good battery life, a capable processor, and a fairly clean implementation of Android. It’s not a standout in any one way, but as a total package, it’s very hard to argue with its capabilities at this price.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G

Prețurile luate în momentul publicării.

N10 5G oferă o performanță generală bună și 5G ca bonus.

Samsung Galaxy A51 are un ecran imens și altfel este un telefon destul de decent.

Galaxy A51 oferă un ecran excelent la preț.

Cel mai bun telefon dacă vrei un ecran mare

Telefonul Android Samsung Galaxy A51, de 399 USD, se poate dovedi cel mai bine vândut telefon din 2020. Predecesorul său, Galaxy A50, a depășit toate așteptările. Pentru A51, Samsung s-a concentrat pe cuplarea unui ecran mare, o durată bună de viață a bateriei și camera. Ecranul a fost corect; celelalte două sunt bine.

Afișajul OLED de 6,5 inci de pe A51 este luminos și viu și ar trebui să fiți destul de persnickety pentru a găsi defecte în acesta. Nu oferă aceeași rată de reîmprospătare ridicată pe care o puteți obține pe OnePlus Nord, dar compensează acest lucru cu calitatea excelentă a Samsung. Dacă există un lucru ciudat la ecran, este faptul că Samsung a pus o ramă cromată în jurul orificiului pentru camera selfie frontală. Este distractiv.

A51 are o calitate excelentă a construcției, deși puteți simți cu siguranță că este din plastic pe spate. Are o mufă pentru căști și 128 GB de stocare, care este numărul pe care ar trebui să-l urmărești pe orice telefon în aceste zile. Durata de viață a bateriei ar trebui să fie superbă, datorită unei baterii de 4.000 mAh, dar pentru că trebuie să alimenteze acel ecran mare, se consideră că este atât de reală.

Întrucât devine un standard (ciudat) pentru această clasă de telefon, A51 are un unghi larg regulat, un ultra-larg, un senzor de adâncime și o cameră macro. Și, așa cum este standard, unghiul larg obișnuit vă va oferi cele mai bune imagini. A51 nu poate învinge Pixel 4A pentru calitate, dar diferitele opțiuni ale obiectivului ar putea fi mai distractive pentru dvs.

Samsung s-a angajat recent să furnizeze A51 trei generații de actualizări de software Android, ceea ce este o veste minunată. Mai puțin grozav este că Samsung durează, de obicei, mai mult decât v-ar plăcea pentru a obține actualizări de software pe linia A de telefoane. Samsung a început, de asemenea, să dezmembreze interfața software One UI, elegantă anterior, cu reclame și alte junkware, așa că fiți pregătiți să faceți ceva curățare.

În general, totuși, ceea ce vă oferă A51 este un ecran foarte mare, foarte frumos. Dacă aceasta este cea mai mare prioritate – și pentru mulți oameni, este – A51 este o alegere solidă.

Samsung Galaxy A51

Prețurile luate în momentul publicării.

Samsung Galaxy A51 are un ecran OLED mare și frumos.

Moto G Power 2021 oferă performanțe ale bateriei de câteva zile, dar face multe sacrificii pentru aceasta.
Fotografie de Allison Johnson / The Verge

Telefonul cu o durată maximă de viață a bateriei

Moto G Power face exact ceea ce spune: va oferi zile și zile de alimentare la o singură încărcare, datorită bateriei sale mai mari decât media de 5.000 mAh. Aceasta este o versiune ușor diferită a telefonului de anul trecut cu același nume și începe la un preț mai mic de 200 USD.

Prețul mai scăzut vine cu compromisuri. Acesta include doar 32 GB spațiu de stocare încorporat, astfel încât adăugarea unui card microSD pentru spațiu suplimentar este o necesitate. Există, de asemenea, un procesor ușor mai lent la bord și, deși este suficient de capabil pentru toate nevoile dvs. zilnice, este puțin sărind între aplicații și deschiderea camerei.

În ceea ce privește camera: este în regulă. Motorola a eliminat ultrawide-ul din modelele din acest an, așa că veți lucra doar cu camerele macro standard de 48 de megapixeli cu lățime standard și 2 megapixeli, pe lângă o cameră selfie de 8 megapixeli. Fotografiile în lumină strălucitoare în aer liber arată bine, cu multe detalii, deși culorile pot fi puțin spălate. Camera se luptă cu scenele cu contrast ridicat și cu lumină scăzută, dar toate lucrurile luate în considerare sunt bine pentru un telefon de 200 USD.

Dacă performanța bateriei de top este o caracteristică extrem de importantă pentru smartphone-ul dvs., atunci Moto G Power ar trebui să fie pe lista dvs. scurtă. Este capabil și veți obține cu adevărat mai multe zile de viață a bateriei la încărcare. Dar dacă te descurci bine cu o baterie care este doar medie, atunci credem că vei fi mai fericit cu un dispozitiv mai bine rotunjit.

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