While we await more mid-range smartphone releases in 2022, now's a good time to celebrate the excellent mid-range phones available right now. Phones like the Oppo A74 5G, Motorola Edge 20 Fusion and Samsung A54, which have all proven capable of delivering functionality that exceeds expectations.
And, while it’s true that they may not have all the bells and whistles of feature-packed phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra, still some with their 48-megapixel cameras, 5000mAh batteries, and Full High-Definition AMOLED displays get pretty close. They also offer tremendous value for the budget-conscious shopper. Here is our list of the best smartphones money can buy for $600 or under.
How we selected these smartphones
Before we jump into our list of the best phones for under $600, we’d like to explain how we made our selections.
- Where possible we’ve relied on the hands-on experience of PCWorld editors, selecting phones that have performed most favourably in our formal review process. Where possible, we’ve linked to those full reviews so you can dig below the surface and get even more information about the model in question.
- But there are a number of compelling new mid-tier smartphones that we have not yet formally reviewed. In such cases our evaluations are based on the phone’s specifications, with special attention paid to the rear-facing camera, display, and battery life, which are key to a satisfying smartphone experience. We’ve also considered online user opinions, weighing carefully the perceived strengths and weaknesses in making our picks.
- Oppo A74 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
- Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
- Samsung Galaxy A52
- Samsung A32 5G
- Oppo Reno 8 Lite 5G
Oppo A74 5G
While the Oppo A74 5G can’t compete with the more premium Oppo Find X3 in regard to its processor speed, it still has an alluring list of features, like a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a large 6.5-inch Full High-Definition Plus display with 90Hz refresh rate that makes it a good value proposition at $349.
In our review we were impressed by the A74’s 48-megapixel Quad camera that produced images with high colour saturation and good depth of field. Battery life was excellent. In our battery tests, this phone lasted more than two days after moderate battery usage during the day.
You can read our full review of the Oppo A74 5G here.
Display has 90Hz refresh rate for smooth video
The 48-megapixel camera takes great images
Excellent battery life
LCD display instead of AMOLED
Heavier than some phones
Processor speed is average
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the Oppo A74 5G outright at the following retailers:
The Oppo A74 5G can be paired with a SIM-only 5G plan via the widget below.
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Admittedly, the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G costs a little over $600 right now, but we've included it since it has dropped below $600 in recent sales events. This newly released handset features the same design as the Samsung Galaxy A52 but adds 5G and a faster processor. It has a lightweight design and a 6.5-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display that also has an Infinity-O notch for its front camera.
Camera-wise the A52s 5G is armed with a quad-array, featuring a 64-megapixel primary sensor. Reviewers are quite complimentary about the quality of daytime photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G which bides well for amateur snappers.
120Hz refresh rate
Newly released so a little pricier than competition
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G outright through the following retailers:
The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G can also be purchased and paired with postpaid 5G plan from major carriers Vodafone, Optus and Telstra via the widget below.
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
Motorola's Edge 20 Fusion is 5G capable and has a 5000mAh battery capacity - the largest of all three of Motorola's new Edge Series smartphones. Its rear-facing camera is primed for snapping detailed pictures with a whopping 108-megapixel camera. It also sports a 32-megapixel front-facing camera.
Under the hood, the Edge 20 Fusion is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 5G-B+ processor with 6GB RAM. It has 128GB of storage which is expandable to 1TB via the phone's microSD card. It also features a large 6.7-inch FHD+ OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth browsing.
Read our full review of the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion.
108-megapixel rear-facing camera
Large 5000mAh battery
Supports Bluetooth 5.0 only
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion outright at the following retailers:
MobileCiti - AU$448
The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion can also be purchased and paired with a 5G postpaid plan from major carrier Vodafone via the widget below.
Samsung Galaxy A52
The A52 has some of the best specs we’ve seen in a phone under $600. It features a 64-megapixel rear-facing Quad camera, which is considerably higher resolution than some smartphones for the same price. The rear-facing camera also has a x10 digital zoom for taking shots at a distance. For taking selfies, the A52 features a 32-megapixel front-facing camera. This smartphone’s Full-High Definition Plus display (1080x2400-pixels) measures 6.5-inches and also has a 90Hz refresh rate. Samsung says the A52's 4500 battery capacity allows it to go for up to two days between charges.
While PCWorld has yet to review the Samsung A52, online user comments have commended it for the quality of its cameras, display, and user interface. The largely positive feedback means it is a hard-to-overlook option in this category.
64-megapixel rear-facing camera
Rear camera features x10 zoom
The 5G version costs more
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can find the Samsung Galaxy A52 through the following:
The Samsung Galaxy A52 can be paired with a SIM-only plan via the widget below:
Oppo Reno 8 Lite 5G
The Oppo Reno 8 Lite 5G features a Full High Definition AMOLED display measuring 6.4-inches. It's a camera-centric smartphone, boasting a triple rear-facing camera with 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor as well as a wide-angle and macro lens. There's also a 32MP selfie camera on the front.
If you plan on doing lots of shooting at night the Oppo Reno 8 5G is a great option, sporting a dedicated night photography mode that takes life-like shots.
Dedicated night photography mode
Not as powerful as more premium smartphones
It's surface attracts fingerprints
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can find the Oppo Reno 8 Lite 5G through the following:
The Oppo Reno 8 Lite 5G can be paired with a 5G SIM-only plan via the widget below:
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is all about clear, crisp visuals at an affordable price. It features a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display that can produce up to 800 nits brightness, which means you should be able to see your phone's screen even in the glariest daylight conditions.
It also comes armed with a 64MP Quad camera, 5MP Macro camera, 8MP Ultra Wide camera and 5MP depth camera. With a 5000mAh battery capacity, the A32 5G should power on for several days.
Has large 5000mAh battery
64MP main camera
Speakers are average
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can find the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G through the following:
The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is also available on a post-paid plan via the major carriers Telstra, Optus and Vodafone (see the widget below):
Apple iPhone SE (2020)
The iPhone SE (2020) is the second iPhone special edition released by Apple. Although it was the most affordable iPhone at its launch back in April 2020, it wasn't short on features.
iPhone fans were quick to point out their the phone's vibrant 4.7-inch HD Retina display and the convenience of Touch ID security. They also liked the phone's fast A13 Bionic chip and what some users described as the single-camera system ever put into an iPhone.
- Fast A13 Bionic processor
- Excellent camera
- Premium feel
No night mode
In Australia, you can find the Apple iPhone SE (2020) through the following:
The Apple iPhone SE (2020) can be paired with a SIM-only plan via the widget below:
RealMe X3 SuperZoom
The RealMe X3 SuperZoom's big selling point is a 64-megapixel rear Quad camera featuring a 0.5X to 60X wide zoom range which allows you to capture a little more of what you're shooting, whether it's up close or far away.
A range of other decent specs round out the smartphone's hardware offering making it as suitable for games as it is for photography. They include a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor and large 6.6-inch FHD display with a quick 120Hz refresh rate.
Large 6.6-inch FHD display
64MP Quad lens with 60x zoom
Older style design
Camera image quality varies
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can buy the RealMe X3 SuperZoom through:
RealMe - AU$529
The Realme X3 SuperZoom can be paired with a 5G SIM-only plan via the widget below:
Huawei Nova 7i
Huawei’s Nova 7i is targeted at the mid-range user. It features a 48-megapixel rear-facing Quad camera and a 6.4-inch LCD screen with 2310x1080-pixel resolution. Huawei has incorporated a four-sided, curved design that could appeal to those liking the sleek look that we’re more accustomed to in premium smartphones. Beneath the phone’s exterior is a 4200mAh capacity battery that features Huawei’s 40W SuperCharge technology. Huawei claims SuperCharge can charge 70% of this phone’s battery in just 30mins.
A search of user comments online gives this smartphone the thumbs up for its performance for mobile gaming, however a lack of support for Google apps is clearly a sore point for many users.
6.4-inch LCD screen with 2310x1080p resolution
Has fast charge capability
Lacks full support for Google apps
LCD screen instead of AMOLED
Where to buy?
In Australia, you can find the Huawei Nova 7i through the following:
The Huawei Nova 7i can be paired with a SIM-only plan via the widget below:
Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G
The Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G is an affordable downgrade on Oppo's flagship handset, the Oppo Find X3 Pro and for its feature set, it represents great value for money. It's equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The phone's 6.4-inch AMOLED display is slightly smaller than some handsets but it produces a FHD+ (2400x1080-pixel) resolution.
The Oppo Find X3 Lite 5G's display comes in two refresh rate options (90Hz or 60Hz). It also has a touch sampling rate of 180Hz for smooth scrolling. For pictures and videos it sports a 64-megapixel Quad rear camera and a 32-megapixel front-facing camera.
- AMOLED display
- 64-megapixel rear-facing camera
- Snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor
- No wireless charging
- Not waterproof
Where to buy it?
The Oppo X3 Find Lite 5G can be paired with a pre or post-paid plan via the widget below: