Best 2017 mid-range phones below $500

Visitors are seen at the Huawei stand during the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China.
Visitors are seen at the Huawei stand during the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China.PHOTO: REUTERS

If you don't need the bells and whistles of flagship phones, check out these affordable Androids with decent specs

Flashy flagship smartphones tend to grab the most attention from consumers, as they sport the latest and newest trends in mobile technology that everyone wants a piece of.

But mid-range smartphones are a good compromise between performance and price since manufacturers have begun churning out very competitive mid-tier phones at lower price points.

These phones now sport specs and performance which are more than adequate for most everyday tasks, but still manage to cost about or less than half the price of today's flagships.

As is expected, there are some compromises made because of lower prices, such as camera performance, processor speed and display.

But several flagship trends - such as dual rear cameras - have started to appear in mid-range phones, albeit in a stripped-down, less high-end fashion.

Full-HD displays have also become more common, along with useful features such as expandable storage and the adoption of USB-C ports.

The Straits Times Digital team has picked out five of the best mid-range Android phones below $500, selecting them based on price, specs, design and performance.

Battery life was determined using a video-loop test with the phone's display brightness and volume turned up to the maximum, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth switched on.

We also ran tests on GeekBench 4, an app designed to work a phone's processor through a variety of stress tests to see how it performs. A higher score generally correlates to better and smoother performance in cases like multi-tasking or running intensive gaming apps.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'Best 2017 mid-range phones below $500'. Print Edition | Subscribe