Best Compact Smartphones under $500 dollars in 2024

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Finding a compact smartphone in 2024 is hard. But what’s even harder is finding compact smartphones under $500. Every smartphone manufacture has embraced larger screens as default and only a few still cater to users looking for compact smartphones. And even those make mostly compact smartphones for the premium end.

Now, it is even harder to find modern compact smartphones under $500. Extremely difficult. By compact, I mean smartphones with displays that are 6.2 inches or smaller. There are a handful of them, but most have such limited availability that they practically do not exist for the majority of mobile phone users.

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The Best Compact Smartphones Under $500

Easily the most popular modern compact smartphone under $500 is the Google Pixel 7a. It is a 2023 model but it is quite up-to-date and powerful. You are also getting a solid camera, IP67 dust/water resistance allowing it to be submerged for up to 1 meter and no more than 30 minutes. The display has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and there is a pair of stereo speakers, as well. Of course, you get Google’s timely software updates for 3 years.

Google Pixel 7a is one of the best compact smartphones under $500 dollars in 2024
Google Pixel 7a

One issue I have with it, as with almost all other Pixel phones, is the heat issue. Google needs to fix that. Another is the relatively slow fast charging (18-20W). If these issues don’t bother you, though, the Pixel 7a is good value for money. You can find it on Amazon and elsewhere for around $375.

Sony Xperia 10 V is less popular than the Pixel 7a, but the Sony brand is well known. Like the Pixel 7a, its 6.1-inch display makes it a compact smartphone. And with a $330 price tag, that makes it a compact smartphone under $500.

Sony Xperia 10 V is one of the best compact smartphones under $500 dollars in 2024
Xperia 10 V

It was released in 2023 and uses the now dated Snapdragon 695 chipset. But it has great battery life and is a solid all-round device. And there is stereo speakers, a side fingerprint scanner, and IP68 dust/water resistance, allowing you to keep it submerged for up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

The Xperia 10 V will also get 3 years of software updates. It is available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Australia.

Other Compact Smartphones Under $500

There are a few other phones that make the cut for compactness under the $500 mark. They include: TCL 403, TCL Ion X, Oukitel WP32, Ulefone Power Armour 16S, and BlackView BV5300 Pro. In most places, you have to order these from AliExpress, BangGood, and other online platforms, and have them shipped to you.

If you are in Japan, do check out the Sharp Aquos sense8 and Sharp Aquos sense7. Sharp phones are no longer found much elsewhere outside of Japan. Of course, if you want one badly, I imagine you can order it online and have it shipped to you, just as with the other models I mentioned above.

The Cheapest Compact Smartphones Under $500

If you are on a tight budget and want the cheapest conpact smartphones under $500, you have to be willing to pick a model that is a few years old.

For example, the Google Pixel 6A is available for $349. The Apple iPhone SE 2022 is available for $300. You will have to be able to deal with the dated design of the latter. Otherwise, it is a powerful compact smartphone that is worth the money.

Lovers of compact smartphones have it hard in today’s world in which the general direction of users and manufacturers is bigger devices. Clamshell foldable phones don’t meet the need either, because once you open them up to use them (when you actually want the convenience of a compact form factor), they transform into 6.9-inch, tablet sizes. And then, you have to stretch to reach the farthest ends of the display. See? I own one and it doesn’t meet the need for compactness during actual usage.

Note that there are more compact smartphones available at more expensive prices. Apple, Samsing, and Xiaomi, for example, all have premium flagship devices that are compact. Specifically, you should be looking at the Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S24, and Xiaomi 14 (though with a 6.36-inch display, that is crawling outside of compactness). But you will have to fork out $1000 and above for those. If you can afford it, why not? Here is a list of the top small smartphones for you.

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