Best value smartphone for $500

Tom wants to know which smartphone around $500 is the best value.

Best value smartphone for $500

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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    To make a comment, please register or login
    2nd Jul 2019
    Nokia are far better than Samsung and at a lesser price for entry level smartphones.
    2nd Jul 2019
    Tomorrow Aldi has a Nokia for $199
    2nd Jul 2019
    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 !
    2nd Jul 2019
    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.
    2nd Jul 2019
    Whats the windows phone like ?? I believe its a Nokia (or is it Lumia) ??
    3rd Jul 2019
    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
    2nd Jul 2019
    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
    2nd Jul 2019
    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
    Ted Wards
    2nd Jul 2019
    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.
    2nd Jul 2019
    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.
    2nd Jul 2019
    I wouldn't buy a dead cat from Gumtree!
    2nd Jul 2019
    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.

    2nd Jul 2019
    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

    2nd Jul 2019
    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
    2nd Jul 2019
    I agree with the comments about Nokia. Apart from running Android One, they come with no set of unremovable pre-loaded manufacturer apps. I can recommend the Nokia 7 Plus with good RAM and storage.
    Windows phones were great but are no longer made. My previous phone was a Lumia 640 purchased for AUD 179 in 2014. My new Nokia cost nearer 600 dollars.
    Andy Leucite
    2nd Jul 2019
    The link for the Apple iPhone takes one to a website that announces that there is no stock. Not very useful - so is the recommended model available or not?
    3rd Jul 2019
    You can buy from other places not just Apple. Just don’t buy from gumtree or eBay. Pick a reputable business or go to Telstra.
    2nd Jul 2019
    I just bought an Oppo A3S and love the big battery Also sound is lots better than the Samsung. On the downside the graphics and camera are not as good, but acceptable

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