The best 5G phones for Back to School under $500

Jake Mauchline

android phone

Returning to school is on the horizon, and you’ve got enough purchases to worry about.  Many books and other school supplies require a specific brand to meet requirements which can get expensive.  Luckily, I can save you money in at least one area for your back-to-school experience.  I will highlight the best 5G mobile devices under $500 that will help you in your personal or professional life.  Prices displayed will be based on Unlocked phones on Amazon or directly through the manufacturer, but your preferred carrier may have promotional back-to-school deals.

Samsung A54 5G

The Samsung A54 5G is an excellent mid-range phone that sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, 6GB of RAM, 128GB storage (expandable up to 1TB via an SD card), 32MP front camera, 50MP/Ultra-Wide 12MP Rear camera, Android 13 and a 5000mAh battery supporting a 25W Fast Charge.  Like all Samsungs, all the standard applications apply like Samsung Wear, Samsung Wallet, Samsung Smart Switch, and even a Samsung store.  The A50 series Samsungs is an impressive suite of devices for your money.  I am personally familiar with the Samsung A52 5G, my personal experience was very pleasant, and it genuinely felt more premium than what I paid for it.  Currently, it is $449.00 USD on Amazon.

Google Pixel 7a

Another great mid-range Android device is the Google Pixel 7a.  It is equipped with a 6.1 FHD 90hz display, 64MP wide – 13MP Ultrawide rear camera, 13 MP front camera, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage with no expandable storage options, and 24-hr battery life that does support wireless charging.  If camera functionality is essential, The Pixel 7a has a wide array of camera features such as Photo Unblur, Magic Eraser, Real Tone, Super Res Zoom, and Night Sight.  Pixel offers other features like a built-in Virtual Private Network (VPN) for online safety, Language translating options spanning from messaging to photos, and Call Assist to aid in making phone calls or blocking spammers.  Keep in mind that the Pixel family of devices are Androids, but they do have a custom layout which may seem a little different to other Androids.  Overall, it’s a great device if you don’t mind the lack of expandable storage.  It currently sits at $467 USD on Amazon.

Apple iPhone SE

If the Android platform isn’t something you fancy, Apple does offer a 5G device that’s affordable.  The Apple iPhone SE 3rd generation 128GB model is $479 USD unlocked.  It contains a 4.7-inch Retina display, 12MP primary camera, and iOS 15.  I have personally compared the iPhone SE 3rd Gen 2022 to an iPhone 13 base model.  Outside of the apparent camera upgrade and display, the general performance of the iPhone SE 2022 seemed on par with the iPhone 13.  The camera on the iPhone SE is still capable.  Like with most Apple products, their budget selection is very limited.  This device is a perfect budget device to get you into the Apple ecosystem if you are okay with a smaller display and less advanced camera features.

Apple iPhone SE on Amazon