Best value smartphone for $500

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YourLifeChoices member Tom wants to know which smartphone at around $500 is the best value from a trusted well-known brand.

Q. Dear Drew,

I would like to buy a new smartphone close to $500 in value, preferably a well-known and trusted brand.

Could you please list your top five recommendations (with star ratings) and the places for the best deal?

Thank you


A. Hi Tom,

Until recently, I would have included a Huawei brand phone in my recommendations, but with the recent US trade bans on the company, I would be avoiding all Huawei smartphones.

In no particular order, I’ve listed below the top five options around $500 currently available in Australia.

Samsung Galaxy A8 32GB – RRP $549

A consistent performer from a well-known brand, integrated with top of the line parts, the Samsung Galaxy A8 32GB is a solid choice.

This smartphone with a solid 16MP camera can be the go-to for all your travels and has a battery life of up to 24 hours’ talk time.

If you are interested in an Android device from a well-known brand at around $500, then this is the choice.

Google Pixel 3a 64GB – RRP $649

A new release from Google, this is the company’s attempt at introducing a budget-friendly smartphone to the market with a fast processor, great camera and decent storage capacity.

Google promises three years of Android OS and security updates with the Pixel 3a, making it among the best long-term support propositions you can get from an Android device.

Apple iPhone 6s 32GB – $489  

Old faithful, you know what you are getting with an iPhone. A simple, easy to use, well supported smartphone with decent battery life, a good camera and access to the Apple App store.

If you are looking for something a little newer than the 6s, you should consider purchasing a used iPhone from trade websites such as Gumtree or eBay.

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 18
  1. 0

    Nokia are far better than Samsung and at a lesser price for entry level smartphones.

    • 0

      Tomorrow Aldi has a Nokia for $199

    • 0

      I’m with you on Nokia, maelcolium, my wife and I both have Nokia 6.1 phones. Worth mentioning that Nokia phones are in the Android One programme and therefore receive regular security updates for three years, and Android OS updates for two years, unlike Samsung whihc receive OS updates every 99 years !

  2. 0

    Smart phones should not be considered in isolation. If family and friends are part of the Apple tribe, there are major advantages to joining the Apple family.

    Find Friends and other location Apps only work between Apples. Also FaceTime provides free calls and video conferencing internationally to other Apples.

    Plus the reduced susceptibility to viruses is worth the extra cost alone.

  3. 0

    Whats the windows phone like ?? I believe its a Nokia (or is it Lumia) ??

    • 0

      Nokia Lumia 1320 have had it for ages you can still get updates from microsoft now and again but I don’t bother it still makes and takes calls and reasonable photo’s. great screen and I can cast to a smart tv with it. later Models came out as Microsoft

  4. 0

    If you have kids and grandkids, they are the best value. For some reason they like to update their phones every year. I stand in line and claim them before the bottom drawer in the kitchen does. Just got a nice Samsung Galaxy. Free of course, just chuck in my Aldi prepaid sim card, and good to go for another 12 months

  5. 0

    I have had a lot of leading brands of phones. all failing, I have now done a great deal of research on value and peformance to lead me to a Phone thats is braking into the Austrakian market, its a Redmi note 7 by Xiaomi you can read the reviews on You Yube
    not one bad thing to say about this phone, My Wife is an Apple person, however she is now wanting one of these, At $271, Iam delighted to have chosen this budget phone

  6. 0

    I was at a very interesting talk last week where three of the top executives from companies in Australia were speaking. Hold on to your hats, phones will become obsolete in the next 5 years! The replacements are already being designed and made now.

  7. 0

    I bought a refurbished iPhone so that it connects to my iPad. I chose the iPhone 6s and I am happy with that purchase. The new phones are far too expensive. You need to buy from a reputable place though not from gumtree or eBay.
    We have cast offs too and that works sometimes. Only one of a couple needs a really good phone as when travelling is the time it is needed most.
    Buying a new phone every year is ridiculous for people with limited funds as well.
    Use birthdays and xmases to get phones and iPads, etc.

  8. 0

    I have always happily owned HTC phones and wanted to upgrade 12 months ago. Researched prices – Harvey Norman (just down the road from where I live) was $999, other stores not much cheaper. Researched, and found an Australian online store selling for $525. HN had to match, which they did. Weren’t totally happy about it, but had to.
    So does pay to shop around.

  9. 0

    I turn my phone off at midday fri and don’t turn it on until midday Monday,I,m not a materialist so would rather talk to the trees
    Don’t ring me ,I,ll ring you

  10. 0

    I turn my phone off at midday fri and don’t turn it on until midday Monday,I,m not a materialist so would rather talk to the trees
    Don’t ring me ,I,ll ring you

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