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The best mid-range phones in 2024

The best mid-range phones pack plenty of surprises and few compromises compared to more premium options, netting you a solid device for less than $700.

Custom image for best mid-range phones guide with a OnePlus 12R, Nothing Phone 2, Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Sifting through the market to find the best mid-range phones is more difficult than you might expect, as each manufacturer takes a markedly different approach to cutting costs and hitting a more affordable price point. However, this leads to a more varied market segment with some surprisingly unique devices from startups and big companies alike.

Everyone here at Pocket Tactics is here to help you find the best mid-range phone for you, whatever your priorities and preference of operating system. We’ve put together recommendations from the likes of Apple, Google, and Samsung, but haven’t forgotten about excellent alternatives from OnePlus, Nubia, or Nothing as well. As such, you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your needs down below.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At Pocket Tactics, our experts spend days testing games, phones, tech, and services. We always share honest opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

OnePlus 12R

The best mid-range phone.

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OnePlus 12R specifications:
Chipset Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display 6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED (1,264 x 2,780, 120Hz)
Storage 128GB / 256GB
RAM 8GB / 12GB / 16GB
Battery 5,500mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Fantastic performance
  • Vivid AMOLED display
Reasons to avoid
  • Limited storage options
  • Mediocre cameras

There’s no better poster child for mid-range phones than the OnePlus 12R. Starting at $500, its value is nothing short of staggering with specs that punch well above its price point. Packing a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset paired with a minimum of 8GB of RAM, with 12GB and 16GB options available, the 12R remains competitive with many high-end phones in terms of performance. However, the phone is only available with either 128GB or 256GB of storage, with no support for expansion via microSD.

Its 6.78-inch display is similarly impressive, an LTPO AMOLED panel sporting a resolution of 1264p and a dynamic refresh rate range of 1-120Hz. It’s not just a pretty face, either, as it’s one of the first phones to offer OnePlus’ Aqua Touch technology. This feature aims to combat the frustration of using your phone in the rain or if your fingers are wet with surprisingly compelling results. To top it off, the 12R is also IP64 resistant, so it’s rugged enough for every day use.

A large 5,500mAh battery (100 mAh larger than its flagship sibling, the OnePlus 12) ensures long-lasting screen time on the 12R. It can juiced up from 1-100% in just 26 minutes according to OnePlus, via its included A/C adaptor that charges the phone at up to 80W. Sadly, though, there’s no option for wireless charging.

Photos captured on the 12R’s 50MP main camera lens contain suitably pleasing levels of detail and dynamic range to most eyes. An 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro lens round out the phone’s array but neither is especially noteworthy, with the former specced with a surprisingly low megapixel count. For more in-depth thoughts, see our OnePlus 12R review.

Apple iPhone 13

The best mid-range iPhone

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Apple iPhone 13 specifications:
Chipset A15 Bionic
Display 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (1,170 x 2,532, 60Hz)
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
RAM 4GB
Battery 3,240mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Apple software
  • Great cameras
Reasons to avoid
  • Low RAM
  • 60Hz refresh rate

Don’t let its age fool you, the iPhone 13 remains a smart buy for those in search of a mid-range phone running iOS. The differences between it and the iPhone 14 are minor and with updates promised by Apple until 2027, it’s hard to view it as anything but a great value option both now and for the future at $600.

Apps, games, and general performance on the iPhone 13 are expectedly high given it features the same A15 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 14 (save for one GPU core). The phone is also extremely efficient, with surprisingly strong battery life that can last you most, if not all, of the day despite its relatively small 3,240mAh battery capacity.

Main, ultrawide, and selfie cameras on the iPhone 13 all use 12MP lenses and capture excellent photos but are particularly strong when it comes to video capture. Naturally, all of your snaps and clips look fantastic on the phone’s 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel.

The only major shortcomings of the iPhone 13 are its refresh rate and RAM capacity. While the 60Hz refresh rate does sting a little, Apple is yet to give any subsequent iPhone an upgrade in this regard, with the iPhone 15 still unbelievably rocking 60Hz. Meanwhile, 4GB of RAM still feels like plenty for most apps today, but Android alternatives and more premium iPhones offer 6GB/8GB, and are worth considering if this spec is a priority for you.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

The best mid-range Samsung phone.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 FE specifications:
Chipset Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Display 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (1,080 x 2,340, 120Hz)
Storage 128GB / 256GB
RAM 8GB
Battery 4,500mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Premium build
  • Multiple colorways
Reasons to avoid
  • Average battery
  • Thick bezels

Samsung’s Galaxy Fan Edition series has classically been an ideal way to get a phone that provides the lion’s share of a flagship experience at a more modest price point and the Galaxy S23 FE is no exception. Starting at $600 via carriers (or $630 unlocked) Samsung has crafted a premium that’s as performant as it is pretty.

Side-by-side with the more expensive Galaxy S23, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two if not for the larger bezels and overall size of the Galaxy S23 FE. These increased dimensions naturally make the phone more weighty, which adds to the already premium feel of its build, but also creates room for its big and bright 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display.

Despite the Galaxy S23 FE featuring a larger 4,500 mAh battery, relative to the Galaxy S23’s 3,900 mAh capacity, battery life is nothing exceptional. This is due in part to Samsung’s decision to use a less-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset but it does at least keep all apps and activities smooth during everyday use. It’s as snappy as it is snazzy too, with plenty of colorways to choose from.

Camera comparisons between the Galaxy S23 FE and S23 reveal there’s not much in it between the two phones when it comes to photos which is no surprise given how similar their lens specs are. However, there is a more noticeable difference when it comes to video capture, with the S23 naturally coming out on top.

Google Pixel 7

The best camera on a mid-range phone.

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Google Pixel 7 specifications:
Chipset Tensor G2
Display 6.3-inch AMOLED (1,080 x 2,400, 90Hz)
Storage 128GB / 256GB
RAM 8GB
Battery 4,355mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Great cameras
  • Elegant design
Reasons to avoid
  • Middling performance
  • Tricky fingerprint sensor

For those who prioritize camera quality above all, the Pixel 7 is the phone for you. Google’s phone is well-renowned for its frankly sublime point-and-shoot capabilities, capturing the best shots you’ll snap on an Android. Better still, its successor, the Pixel 8, only provides minor improvements in this regard, making the value of the now-$600 Pixel 7 all the better.

Equipped with 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, and 10.8MP selfie lenses, Google has packaged the Pixel 7 with a strong camera array from which to work its trademark post-processing improvements. The lack of a telephoto lens is unfortunate, but the quality of the phone’s digital zoom is more than enough to get you by in most cases.

As part of the Pixel series, the Pixel 7 is also one of the first phones to receive the latest versions of Android. Right now, it’s upgradable to Android 14, but Google has promised to bring updates to the device until October 2025. Meanwhile, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be due security patches with the Pixel 7 until October 2027.

The main weakness of the Pixel 7 is its Tensor G2 chipset, which can struggle under load, particularly in demanding games. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it does pale in comparison to the likes of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Then there’s the annoyingly inconsistent optical fingerprint sensor, which Google is still using in its latest flagship, but at least the phone supports face unlock as an alternative. Check out our Google Pixel 7 review for more details.

Redmagic 9 Pro

The best mid-range gaming phone.

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Redmagic 9 Pro specifications:
Chipset Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Display 6.8-inches AMOLED (1,116 x 2,480, 120Hz)
Storage 256GB / 512GB
RAM 8GB / 12GB / 16GB
Battery 6,500mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Top-tier performance
  • Massive battery
Reasons to avoid
  • Lackluster cameras
  • No IP rating

Gaming on a mid-range phone doesn’t have to come with performance compromises, as proven by the Redmagic 9 Pro. This perky device comes loaded with the latest generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, paired with 8GB of RAM at minimum, topping out at 16GB.

Ensuring your phone has plenty of juice, especially for games, the Redmagic 9 Pro comes with an enormous 6,500mAh battery. You’ll have more than enough room for all your favorite titles and apps too, thanks to its roomy 256GB capacity, or 512GB if you splurge for a more expensive set of specs.

Pair all of this with a massive and responsive 6.8-inch screen and you’ve got a surprisingly premium package. While the 1,116p resolution AMOLED panel isn’t the sharpest around, everything you throw up on this screen still looks fantastic, with the 1,600nits peak brightness further amplifying the screen’s poppiness. That’s not forgetting its smooth 120Hz refresh rate, which benefits games as well as general usage.

Unfortunately, while the Redmagic 9 Pro is an exceptional gaming device, it naturally makes compromises elsewhere to achieve its $650 starting price. Camera quality takes a big hit, despite the triple array of lenses, with the under-screen camera fairing particularly poorly. The phone also lacks any IP water and dust resistance rating, so be sure to take extra good care of it on your travels to avoid any upsets.

Nothing Phone (2)

The best design on a mid-range phone.

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Nothing Phone (2) specifications:
Chipset Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Display 6.7-inch LTPO OLED (1,080 x 2,412, 120Hz)
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
RAM 8GB / 12GB
Battery 4,700mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Glyph interface
  • Highly customizable
Reasons to avoid
  • Disappointing cameras
  • Poor IP rating

In the face of homogenous smartphone designs, the Nothing Phone (2) is the midrange maverick that many have been waiting for. Its transparent chassis, light strips, and bespoke Nothing OS 2.0 all come together to make a $600 device unlike any other on the market.

Flashy as the Nothing Phone (2)’s light strips are, they’re actually useful too. Dubbed the ‘Glyph Interface’, it provides a visual cue for volume, battery percentage, timers, and more, as well as the ability to flash when specific contacts, set by you, or apps create a notification on your phone. Glyph Composer also gives you the tools to create your own custom ringtones with sound packs that play in tandem with the light strips.

Customization with NothingOS 2.0, the Nothing Phone’s custom Android launcher. In addition to carrying a unique Nothing aesthetic, there’s a surprising amount of tinkering that you can do with app and widget sizes and colors. Naturally, all your existing apps will work with the Nothing Phone (2) but just prepare yourself for some to potentially spoil your curated color scheme (as is also the case with Material You on stock Android).

Outside of its unique visual flairs, the Nothing Phone (2) hits all the right bases when it comes to mid-range smartphone specs. Its Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset is still plenty fast by today’s standards, and it’s one of the few phones in this price category to sport an LTPO OLED display, prolonging the charge provided by its 4,700mAh battery. Cameras are a weak point for the Nothing Phone (2) but aren’t by any means terrible, although its biggest problem is its relatively low IP54 water and dust resistance. For the full lowdown, see our Nothing Phone (2) review.

How we chose the best mid-range phones

In order to narrow down our selection for the best mid-range phones, we defined a price range of $500-$700 and identified devices with unique strengths that don’t forget to skimp on other important specifications.

We prioritized recently released phones but also included older devices that you can still buy new from manufacturers, to ensure that any device you buy comes with a suitably long period of software and security updates. However, it’s worth mentioning that you may be able to find a great deal if you don’t mind buying a used phone.

Drawing on our reviewing experience where possible, we’ve fallen back on our expertise and wider critical receptions to fill any gaps and will update our list accordingly as and when we go hands-on with each phone. Suffice to say, our shortlist is full of entries that are of verifiably high quality.

There you have it, our picks for the best mid-range phones on the market. If you’d rather check out some devices from specific brands, see our guides to the best Samsung phones, the best Xiaomi phones, the best Google Pixel phones, and the best OnePlus phones.