Now that it appears that all of the big phone brands have announced their flagship phones for this year, what does one do if you don’t want to spend $800 and up for a phone?

Rest easy, dear reader, there are still lots of great phones out there that can be had for less — in some cases much less. Check out CNET’s latest picks for the best phones you can get for less than $500.

Google Pixel 3

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (outstanding)

The cost: Starting at $459

The good: The Pixel 3 takes brilliant photos, even in super-low light, with its single rear lens and it can capture wider selfie photos. It’s water resistant, has wireless charging and it can screen unwanted calls.

The bad: The phone doesn’t have expandable memory or a headphone jack. The shot-to-shot camera delay can be sluggish in certain modes.

The bottom line: The Pixel 3’s truly exceptional cameras and AI-powered call screening give it an edge on the other great phones on this list.

The LG G8 ThinQ is a great phone, but has no standout features. (Angela Lang/CNET/TNS)
The LG G8 ThinQ is a great phone, but has no standout features. (Angela Lang/CNET/TNS)

LG G8 ThinQ

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (excellent)

The cost: Starting at $390

The good: The LG G8 ThinQ has a bright, sharp screen, a second wide-angle rear camera and a fast processor. It’s also water-resistant and has a headphone jack — a rarity among premium phones.

Advertising

The bad: The phone’s touchless hand controls are annoying to use. Portrait mode for video isn’t very smooth or natural-looking.

The bottom line: The LG G8 ThinQ is an objectively great phone but has no real standout features.

The iPhone 8 has plenty of power under the hood, but lacks the extra camera features and design upgrade of the better iPhone 8 Plus and X. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)
The iPhone 8 has plenty of power under the hood, but lacks the extra camera features and design upgrade of the better iPhone 8 Plus and X. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)

Apple iPhone 8

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (excellent)

The cost: Starting at $449

The good: The iPhone 8 offers wireless charging, lightning-fast performance and small but solid upgrades to its camera, screen and speakers. Its starting storage size is a roomy 64GB, double that of the iPhone 7.

The bad: This phone has the same pedestrian design, missing headphone jack and battery life as the iPhone 7 — and no dual camera either. It comes only in black, silver and a new shade of gold.

The bottom line: The iPhone 8 has plenty of power under the hood, but lacks the extra camera features and design upgrade of the better iPhone 8 Plus and X.

The Galaxy A50 has a quality camera and long-lasting battery. (Angela Lang/CNET/TNS)
The Galaxy A50 has a quality camera and long-lasting battery. (Angela Lang/CNET/TNS)

Samsung Galaxy A50

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (excellent)

The cost: $234.10

The good: The Samsung Galaxy A50 has a solid camera, an in-screen fingerprint reader, a headphone jack and a long-lasting battery — all at an affordable price.

The bad: The phone can be buggy at times, its maximum video resolution is only 1080p and the speaker quality is tinny.

The bottom line: Though not water repellant like the Moto G7, the Galaxy A50 is worth paying a little more for due to its superior camera and enduring battery.