Buy one of the best cheap phones under $500 in Australia in 2024 and save a fortune

Buy one of the best cheap phones under $500 in Australia in 2024 and save a fortune
This guide was last updated on 21 May 2024. See more

Today’s flagship phones are more expensive than ever. Fortunately, the best cheap phones available in Australia do a fantastic job at a much more affordable price.

If you wanted to buy the top of the line flagship with the most storage from either Apple or Samsung, you would need to spend over $2,500.

Even if you wanted to get those flagships with the lowest amount of storage, you would be looking at a starting price of about $1,800.

The good news is that there is a pretty good selection of devices available for a fraction of the price. That said, once you start dropping the price, you also start dropping the device’s performance.

Of course, everybody has different needs. So if these models aren’t right for you, we have a guide to help you choose the best cheap phone for you at the bottom of this page. You could also consider buying a refurbished phone as a way to save money.

And if your budget isn’t too tight, see our guide for the best phones in Australia. We also recommend the best Android phones, and the best camera phones.

We’ve also rounded up the best brand phones as well:

These are the best cheap phones under $500 we’ve tested:

Oppo A79 5G in front of a fountain in hand

The Oppo A79 5G is not a phone that competes with the likes of the iPhone 15 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

But it does a remarkably good job for a phone you can buy for under $300.

It’s stylishly designed, has plenty of battery life and supports OPPO’s super-fast charging technology.

The camera isn’t the strongest you’ll find at this price point, and spending a bit more could end up with a phone like the Galaxy A55, which offers a significant step up in performance.

But if your budget is tight (and let’s be honest, whose isn’t?), then this is a solid option.


Showing the back of the Viva Magenta Moto G84 5G

Motorola’s G84 is striking for two key reasons. First is the vegan leather finish on certain versions, which gives the phone a nice, tactile feel rather than the slippery coolness of glass.

The second is the Pantone colour option of Viva Magenta, which is beautiful and striking.

Under the hood you get a solid, if not impressive performer. It holds its own doing regular tasks like browsing the web, scrolling through socials and writing emails, but it’s not designed as a gaming phone.

The camera is maybe a bit underwhelming with its photos, with some washed out colours. It wasn’t bad though, and certainly good enough to upload to social media.

You’ll also only get one year of Android updates, so it’s going to feel pretty dated pretty quickly.

But if you can handle that, this phone looks the part.


Moto G54 on a rock looking at the back of the phone

Like the G84, Motorola’s G54 comes in a vegan leather finish with Pantone colour, though this time it’s a nice Indigo Blue.

That means it’s got the same tactile feel that’s soft and warm to touch. It’s a really nice feature, particularly for a sub-$300 phone.

It’s slower than the G84 – as you might expect – but also cheaper. So a lot of the decision comes down to what’s more important to you: price or performance?

Either way, the G54 is a really good phone for its asking price, and looks like it should cost a lot more.


Also consider:

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Apple is not a brand known to offer “cheap” or “budget” anything. But if you want a new iPhone at an affordable price, this is your only option.

The iPhone SE is a compact smartphone, running the A15 Bionic processor. This is the same as 2021’s iPhone 13.

It has a simple single-lens camera on the back, but comfortably manages the latest version of iOS and Apple’s massive App Store, making it incredibly versatile.

Where to buy:


Samsung Galaxy A15 5G

Samsung knows how to make smartphones. And while it dominates the premium end of town, it also has nuggets of goodness like the A15 5G down at a more affordable level.

The Galaxy A15 5G boasts a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display shining up to 800 nits and with a 90Hz refresh rate.

You get a three lens camera system with a 50MP main camera, a 5MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro lens as well.

Where to buy:


How we chose the best cheap phone in Australia

I’ve reviewed hundreds of phones over my career, and more than 20 since I launched BTTR. In that time I learned that review sites – including this one – are subjective by nature. Everybody has a different opinion of what is best.

So for this guide, I’ve recommended my top cheap choices from the models I have tested. But also done extensive research to identify the top devices I may not have tested yet.

This research involved combining the products recommended by leading review sites across Australia, and consolidating those recommendations. You’ll find them in the “Also consider” section.

As I continue to test more budget mobile phones, I’ll update this guide to ensure it is regularly up to date.


What to look for when choosing the best cheap phone

A cheap phone on a table with coffee and notebooks looking a budget

Whether you’re after one of the models listed above or something completely different, the decision factors you need to consider when buying a new cheap phone is the same.

Price

When you’re shopping for a new cheap phone, price is obviously the biggest factor. The cheapest phones start at around $79, though to be brutally honest at this price the phone isn’t good for anything much beyond making and receiving phone calls.

The more money you are prepared to spend, the better the phone’s performance. If you want a more affordable device that won’t let you down, you could end up paying somewhere between $500-$750.

And if you want an iPhone for under $500 your only option is to buy an older model, potentially one that has been refurbished.

Performance

Buying a cheap phones means sacrificing performance. It’s not a 1:1 relationship, but typically the cheaper the phone the slower it will be at even basic tasks.

Understanding how you plan on using your phone is key here. You don’t want to buy a device that can’t meet your requirements.

Consider benchmarks in reviews as a good way to get an idea of how the phone will perform. Reviews will also help.

Design

Choosing a phone that matches your personal style is something you need to consider. Your options aren’t as varied at lower price points though.

Screen size, shape and colours are all important considerations.

Camera requirements

The camera is almost always one of the elements sacrificed by manufacturers looking to make cheaper phones. But that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer with a terrible snapper.

At the pricier end of the “budget” phone market you can still find cameras with multiple lenses and software to help you take advantage of them.

Be aware that they may not be as quick to fire or save the photo though because of processor and memory limitations.

Battery life

Battery life isn’t just a case of sticking a bigger battery in a phone, although that can have a significant impact.

The processor, software and display can also have big impacts on how quickly a phone’s battery will drain.

When it comes to cheap phones, the lower quality processors that help save money off the price are also less efficient with battery life.

What this means is that your cheap phone’s battery life could vary, regardless of the battery’s capacity.

Display

The screen of your phone is what you’ll end up looking at every day.

Size is important because it will impact the comfort of the phone.

But also look at things like the resolution of the screen and its refresh rate.

Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the screen. The more pixels there are, the clearer the picture will be in most cases.

Refresh rate could be important if you plan on using the handset to play games or stream sports. Typically a higher refresh rate the better the phone will be at displaying fast moving objects.

In budget phones, expect both the resolution and the refresh rate to be lower than a flagship device.

FAQ

My soundtrack for this guide:


Update history
  • 14 February 2023 – First Published
  • 9 March 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations for products. Lowered the number of mentions required to 4. Added the Oppo A54 5G.
  • 5 April 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations for products. Lowered the number of mentions required to 3. Added the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G.
  • 2 May 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations for products. Removed the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G.
  • 2 June 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations. Added the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G.
  • 3 July 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations. Added the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G and the Motorola G62 5G. Removed the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G and the Oppo A54 5G.
  • 7 August 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations. Added the Google Pixel 7a.
  • 11 September 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations. Removed the Google Pixel 7a.
  • 3 October 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations. Added the Google Pixel 7a.
  • 6 November 2023 – We reran the research, but there was no change to recommendations.
  • 8 December 2023 – Updated the number of recommendations.
  • 8 January 2024 – Updated the number of recommendations. Removed the Motorola Moto G62 5G.
  • 5 February 2024 – Updated the number of recommendations.
  • 8 March 2024 – Updated the number of recommendations. Swapped Finder for Whistleout as a recommendation source due to outdated data. Added the Motorola Moto G54 5G.
  • 8 April 2024 – Updated the number of recommendations
  • 21 May 2024 – Updated methodology to be based on first-hand reviews, rather than external recommendations.