If you do not want to spend more than 500 euros for a really good smartphone, you will quickly find what you are looking for, as there are a number of powerful devices in this price range. ntv.de presents his five favorites.
Smartphones are now so mature that the expensive flagships of the manufacturers actually only differ from the middle class in terms of extras that many users do not need at all. If you want a really good device, you don't have to spend more than 500 euros.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (Fan Edition) was launched earlier this year as a descendant of the Galaxy S21. For around 450 euros you get a smartphone with it, which is powered by a chip with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, which was working in numerous top devices in 2021. The main memory is 6 gigabytes (GB), the flash memory is 128 GB at this price.
In addition, the device has a battery that holds 4500 milliampere hours (mAh) and a magnificent 6.4-inch AMOLED display that offers refresh rates of up to 120 Hertz (Hz). Another advantage of the Galaxy S21 FE is that Samsung promises four major Android updates.
The biggest differences to the standard S21 can be found in the camera equipment. Both devices have 12 MP main and ultra-wide-angle snaps. However, the telephoto camera of the FE only has 8 megapixels (MP), that of the S21 with 64. That doesn't make a big difference, according to test reports the Galaxy S21 FE produces almost as good pictures as the standard model. When it comes to the front camera, the FE has the edge with 32 MP to 10 MP.
The Pixel 6 was not only the most interesting, but also one of the best smartphones presented in 2021. Its design is refreshingly different and Google has equipped the device with its first proprietary chip, enabling some useful AI functions without cloud connectivity. This includes an interpreter function and the "magic eraser" that removes disturbing objects from photos.
The Tensor chip has access to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of flash memory. The 6.4-inch OLED display offers only 90 Hz, but it is still excellent.
The camera equipment is strong with a 50 MP main camera and a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, although it does not include a telephoto lens.
The Google Pixel 6a will even continue to receive firmware updates until at least July 2025 since it only came out last summer. With the quality rating of 2.1, the product testers did not perform as well as the normal 6 series. And because you can currently find it online for around 345 euros, it is a real price-performance hit.
The device is also powered by the first Tensor chip, which also masters some AI tricks here. The processor is supported by 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of flash memory. The 6.1-inch OLED screen may only offer 60Hz, but it's otherwise excellent.
On the back is the same ultra-wide-angle camera as in the Pixel 6. The 12 MP main camera, on the other hand, is from the predecessor, but it still delivers really good photos.
Like ntv.de, Stiftung Warentest really liked the Nothing Phone (1), which is currently available from 400 euros. With an overall rating of 2.0, the smartphone newcomer even made it into the top 10.
The device not only stands out from the monotony of androids with its flashing back, but also has a lot to offer technically. Its very good 5.55-inch display reaches up to 120 Hz, it has a solid mid-range chip with 8 GB of RAM and has a long lasting battery with a capacity of 4500 mAh.
The cameras of the Nothing Phone (1) also did well in the test. Above all, the 50 MP main camera was able to convince with many details as well as strong colors and contrasts. She has an ultra-wide-angle camera on her side, which also produces very decent pictures with 50 MP.
ntv.de has not tested the Xiaomi 11T Pro itself, but has read and heard a lot of good things about the Chinese smartphone, which currently costs around 430 euros. Among other things, it received the same quality rating as the Nothing Phone (1) from Stiftung Warentest.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro also has a great OLED display with 120 Hz and has a powerful inner life with a Snapdragon 888, which has 8 GB of RAM on the side. A special feature of the smartphone is Xiaomi's quick charging technology, which makes it possible to pump up a completely empty battery with 120 watts in just 20 minutes. This is not absolutely necessary, with 5000 mAh the Xiaomi 11T Pro is very enduring.
The smartphone boasts a main camera that offers 108 MP, but which ultimately produces similarly good photos as the Nothing Phone (1) snaps. In the product test, both devices received a grade of 2.4 for their camera performance. According to most test reports, the 8 MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5 MP camera that is responsible for macro and telephoto shots are not highlights, but they are okay.