The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was one of the most anticipated smartphone releases of 2018, but there are quite a few glaring reasons not to buy one. As noted by out sister site CNET, it is similar to the Note 8, slow to receive updates, and has a dedicated Bixby button that can’t be reassigned.
Then, there’s perhaps the biggest deterrent–the price. A 128GB Note 9 costs $999, while the 512GB model will set you back $1,250. That’s a heavy cost for any smartphone user.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
Thankfully, there are plenty of top-tier Android smartphones that come in around half that price. While you likely won’t be able to get all the same features of the Note 9 without spending big, you can find a phone with a few of the same features at a fraction of the cost.
Here are the five best Samsung Galaxy Note 9 alternatives for under $500:
1. Essential Phone
The 128GB Essential phone–created by Android founder Andy Rubin–features a 5.71-inch edge-to-edge Quad HD Display and all-day battery life. It has a 13MP rear camera and it runs purely Android, so it will get updates faster than the Note 9. Currently, the Essential Phone is $355 on Amazon.
2. Huawei Mate 10 Pro
For a rival phablet experience, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro can be purchased for $550 on Amazon at the time of this writing. Available in 64GB or 128GB versions, it has a massive 4000 mAh battery and a 20MP intelligent rear camera, besting the 12MP camera of the Note 9.
3. OPPO R15 Pro
The OPPO R15 Pro features an AI-powered camera with 3D lighting effects and other enhancements similar to flaw detection in the Note 9. It has a 6.28-inch full screen and is water resistant. It is offered with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. It’s also pretty easy to find on eBay for under $600.
4. Honor View 10
Another option with 128GB of storage and 6GB or RAM is the Honor View 10 from Huawei. It has a 24MP AI camera, face recognition to unlock, and Honor SuperCharge for faster charging. The 3,400mAh battery should last a while, too. The Honor View 10 is $529 on Amazon.
5. OnePlus 6
The OnePlus 6 is a dual-SIM phone, so it’s great for business travellers. It also has 6GB of RAM and a 16MP rear camera. It also won a CNET Editors’ Choice Award.