Best Mid-Range Phones You Can Buy Right Now
Mid-range smartphones are designed to offer flagship-level functionality at a lower price. You may have to give up a little on one or more features, such as the camera or build quality, but saving hundreds of dollars is often well worth it
Although not everyone can afford a flagship phone like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12 Pro, the good news is that there are many less expensive options that provide an outstanding experience.
Don’t panic if your bank account is looking a little bare and you need a new smartphone; some are half the price or even less. The top mid-range phones available today have been tested and ranked.
On a SIM-free basis, a mid-range phone costs between $350, the upper limit of our even cheaper budget phones chart, and £600/$850, making it ideal for pairing with a SIM-only plan.
Anything more expensive will be found in our overall best smartphone list, which focuses on flagship phones, as well as our pick of the best Android phones.
Mid-range smartphones are designed to offer flagship-level functionality at a lower price. You may have to give up a little on one or more features, such as the camera or build quality, but saving hundreds of dollars is often well worth it - and some of the phones at the top of the price range are flagships in their own right.
Realme, Xiaomi, and Poco phones are excellent alternatives, but keep in mind that many of these don’t release in the United States or Canada, where OnePlus, Motorola, and Google are stronger options. For additional information on buying a mid-range phone, continue reading past our rundown.
OnePlus 8T - Best cheap flagship
- Excellent software
- Flagship specs
- Wireless charging
Expensive for mid-range Nord is better value $749 (12GB/256GB)
The OnePlus 8T is a touch more expensive than the Nord, but it comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, a more powerful CPU, and twice the charging power with 65W wired rates.
Individuals changes are difficult to justify at full price, but now that the 8T has come down in price since launch, it makes a lot more sense for those whose budgets can stretch a little higher than the Nord’s.
The more modern OnePlus 9 is also available, but we recommend the 8T instead because the 9 costs a lot more and has just minor upgrades other than wireless charging. Save money by sticking with the 8T.
Realme X50 5G - Best for cheap 5G
- Strong specs
- Cheap 5G
- Excellent camera
- No headphone jack
- Divisive design
- LCD display
- Unavailable in the US
Both the Realme X50 and the somewhat more expensive X50 Pro provide excellent value for the specifications they provide.
The X50 is a considerably better phone than you’d think at this price, with to a 120Hz display, the fantastic Snapdragon 765G chip, 5G, good battery life, and a surprisingly capable main camera.
In some ways, it even outperforms the OnePlus Nord and Google’s Pixel 5 in key areas.
Google Pixel 4a - Best camera
- Amazing main camera
- Great Google software
- Excellent value in US
- Only 60Hz
- No 5G
If you’re looking for a decent mid-range Android phone in the United States, the Pixel 4a is one of the best options. It’s a truly outstanding handset from Google, with so much to offer at such a low price.
Outside of the United States, rivals with features like 5G support and higher refresh rate screens face far stiffer competition if those are crucial features - but the larger Pixel 4a 5G does offer competition when it comes to connection.
Aside from that, this is a delightful phone with a unique tiny shape, fluid speed, superb cameras, and simple-to-use software that will be updated for at least three years.
With news that the Pixel 5a would not be available outside of the United States and Japan, the 4a is expected to remain the finest cheap Google phone for the foreseeable future.
Also Read: How to Make Money When You Are Retired?
OnePlus Nord - Best overall
- Excellent software
- Great design
- Strong all-rounder
- Middling specs for 2021
- Oldest phone on our chart
- Unavailable in the US
With fantastic performance, 5G, OnePlus’ unique Oxygen OS user experience, and a more diversified camera system than the company have ever utilized on a phone, this is an outstanding reasonable buy from 2020. What’s not to like about that?
What the OnePlus Nord really shows is the company’s ability to prioritize the features that users want right now and offer them in a stylish design with competitive pricing.
The Nord’s sole significant flaw is that it’s about a year old, and newer phones have outperformed it in some areas. There’s also the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, which is a stripped-down version of the Nord that costs a little less.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro - Best budget option
- Astonishing value
- 120Hz AMOLED display
- High-resolution camera
- No 5G
- Big camera bump
- Not our favorite software
At its price point, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of the best phones you can buy, with Xiaomi giving exceptional value.
The first highlight is the stunning screen with AMOLED technology and a 120Hz refresh rate, followed by a superb set of cameras. The main draw is the 108Mp image, which is complemented with a passable ultra-wide and a shockingly good telemacro.
The core features are sufficient, with the Snapdragon 732G providing smooth operation. On the other side, the Redmi Note 10 Pro does not support 5G, which could be a deal breaker.
MIUI also has a flaw in its extremely complex interface, which isn’t as elegant or easy to use as many of its competitors - even though you can make it a lot better than default with a little tweaking.
Things to consider when buying a mid-range phone
Because it’s impossible to define a mid-range phone by its specifications, we’ve instead used a pricing bracket.
Some mid-range phones will take an all-around good-value approach, with capable specs in each area; others will focus on a key trait, such as the camera or display, and promise flagship-rivaling capabilities in that one area; and still others will have been flagships in the past, so will offer fantastic specs at a fantastic price, but may be running on slightly older hardware.
One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll almost certainly have to forego features like wireless charging or waterproofing, which are still reserved for the most costly phones on the market.
Chinese phones are a terrific mid-range option since they combine excellent specifications with a lower price than you’d expect - but unfortunately, just a few are available in the United States. You may have heard of Xiaomi, Realme, and OnePlus for their incredible prices, but there are a slew of other lesser-known Chinese brands that can also deliver.
There is one mid-range iPhone on the market - the iPhone SE from 2020 - but we don’t believe it offers excellent value when compared to Android competitors. Consider it if you know you’ll need an iPhone, but stay away from it otherwise.
Keep in mind that it’s not always about the numbers. Although these phones may not be as speedy as the latest flagships, they will almost definitely satisfy the majority of consumers. Choose a phone that strikes a mix between price, performance, features, and design that appeals to you and your needs.