8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (2023)

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8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (1)


Umar Naqshbandi

Umar Naqshbandi is ProductNation's resident tech enthusiast, photography expert and video maestro. He is also the host and brains for our YouTube channel as well as the main reviewer for all our tech-related content.

"Picking smartphones these days can be very confusing because of the simple fact that there’s just too many of them. All their specs and feature start melting into one making it very difficult to give a clear distinction and pick the right one. The easiest way to declutter from that mess and pick the right phone for you is by looking at the 5 main factors - Processor, Display, Camera, OS, Battery." - Umar Naqshbandi

Considering the average smartphone lifespan to be about 2 years, it is completely understandable that not many are willing to fork out a few thousand ringgit to get a device only to have it replaced in 2 years. While there are some higher-end smartphones that offer beyond 3-4 years of lifespan, they are generally much more expensive upfront.

Shopping with a budget does not mean that you need to settle for sub-standard phones. Many smartphone manufacturers have started to incorporate fantastic handsets, quality screens, fast internals, and good camera features in their budget range for maximum value.

So, whether you’re limited by a tight budget or just looking for the best bang-for-the-buck, we’ve assembled a list of the best affordable smartphones with great features and specs that you can get your hands on now. Read on below for our take on our top picks of affordable and cheap smartphones on the market.

8 Best Budget Smartphones in Malaysia

Table of Contents

Second best affordable smartphone for camera and video

Redmi Note 9 Pro


8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (2)

Check Redmi Note 9 Pro price below:

Shopee MalaysiaLazada Malaysia

add_circleNice design

add_circleGood battery life

add_circleSide-mounted fingerprint scanner unlocks phone extremely fast

add_circleComes with audio jack

remove_circleLow-light images quality can be better

remove_circleUnsegmented volume rocker may need some getting used to

remove_circleMight be heavy to hold over long durations

While Redmi might not be the pick of choice in the flagship category, the company really excels in the budget smartphones arena. Focused on delivering a value-for-money experience, the Redmi Note 9 Pro brings great performance and good camera capabilities to a price point that many can afford.


The smartphone now comes with an intuitively placed side-mounted fingerprint scanner that is integrated into the power key for a seamless entry into the phone. This is in contrast to their awkwardly placed volume rocker that seems to be a bit too far up and may need some getting used to.

In front, the 6.67-inch display offers a Full HD+ resolution to deliver punchy colours at default settings while the interior features a Snapdragon 720G paired with two Kryo 465 Gold cores and six Kryo 465 Silver cores (total of eight cores) to tackle day-to-day usage with satisfactory performance.


Despite being a mid-range chipset, the Snapdragon 720G has proven to be more than capable of powering through any game you throw at it without any noticeable stutters. However, gamers are advised to opt for the 6GB RAM variant if they plan on holding onto the phone for a few years.

While Note 9 Pro comes with a 5,020 mAh battery to power through a long day of heavy use, it does not feature quick charging. Charging speeds are limited to 18W and may take more than 2 hours to completely fill up the battery from scratch.

Aside from the slow charging, the Redmi Note 9 Pro still delivers the best bang-for-the-buck with its balanced performance in everything. Overall, the smartphone offers a great set of features and hardware for the price.

More: We Attempted the Ugly Background Challenge Using Budget Phone HONOR 20 Lite

Best budget smartphone for gaming

Xiaomi Redmi Note 9


8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (5)

Check Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 price below:

Lazada MalaysiaShopee Malaysia

add_circleImpressive battery backup

add_circleLarge, bright display screen

add_circleGood camera

remove_circlePlastic frame might feel cheap

remove_circleMIUI feels clunky

If you’re after a big-screen smartphone with an affordable price tag, the Redmi Note 9 might just fit the bill. At 6.53 inches wide, the Redmi Note 9’s screen beats the 6.46-inched iPhone 11 Pro Max and is also larger than most other options on our list today.

While the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, the back of the phone is constructed from plastic that may feel a little cheap to some. Moreover, it’s also much more prone to scratches as compared to glass.


Running on a MediaTek Helio G85 with a maximum of 4GB RAM, the Redmi Note 9 delivers respectable performance in real-world daily use. If you’re into mobile gaming, you’d be happy to find that the smartphone is able to support 2D titles with the likes of Valkyrie profile as well as 3D games with the occasional minor judders.

Other than that, the phone is also equipped with a 48MP pixel count combined with an f/1.8, 26mm wide-angle lens, an 8MP ultra-wide 118-degree field of view and an f/2.2 lens to deliver sharp and crisp images with high clarity in well-lit conditions. It even has an included night mode to let you take decent shots in the dark.


In terms of battery, you get a massive 5,020 mAh battery that can power the Note 9 for the whole day without any issue. Despite the large screen, many users have found that this smartphone’s screen on time rather impressive. One can get through a few episodes of video streaming, Wi-Fi hot-spotting and gaming without having to suffer a sharp drop in battery life.

With its large screen, big pixel count, and impressive battery capacity, the Redmi Note 9 is certain to scratch your flagship itch without burning a hole through your wallet. While it won’t stack up to the more premium models in terms of design, camera zoom, and performance, the Redmi Note 9 is still a winner for the price.

Best vivo budget smartphone below RM 500

vivo Y15s


8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (8)

Check vivo Y15s price below:

Lazada MalaysiaShopee Malaysia

add_circleLong-lasting battery

add_circleMassive display

add_circleTriple card slot design


remove_circleSlow charging

remove_circlePoor performance


The vivo Y15s boasts a huge 6.51-inch display, allowing you to see everything clearly on screen. This smartphone is also lightweight as it weighs only 179g, making it a breeze to carry around. And lastly, with a triple card slot design, you can fit in up to two SIM cards and an additional SD card to add more storage space.

Vivo Y15s Specifications

  • Processor: MediaTek Helio P35
  • Display: 6.51-inch IPS LCD screen
  • Memory: 3GB/4GB RAM, 32GB/64GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: 13MP wide camera, 2MP depth camera
  • Front Camera: 2MP depth camera
  • Battery: 5000 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery
  • Operating System: Android 12
  • Weight: 179g
  • Dimensions: 164 x 75.2 x 8.3g

Who Is This For?

The vivo Y15s is more suited to those who are looking for a smartphone with a widescreen so they do not have to squint their eyes when using a smartphone. And with the long-lasting battery, you can enjoy watching YouTube videos for long periods.

More: Play Mobile Games Anywhere with These Top 7 Gaming Smartphones

Best budget smartphone - great for basic use

Oppo A16


8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (11)

Check Oppo A16 price below:

Shopee Malaysia

add_circleGood battery life, long battery runtimes

add_circleBright, vibrant display screen (LCD display)

add_circleLight and simple design

remove_circleAverage camera quality

remove_circleNo NFC support

Looking for something that meets your daily basic functions and isn’t too much of a hassle to learn? The OPPO A16 is a budget alternative you can consider!


Powered by a MediaTek Helio G35 chipset, you can be sure to receive an improved user experience as well as reduction instances of lagging in this model generation.

In terms of supporting your daily usage, the OPPO A16 has a 5000mAh long-lasting battery, which is able to keep up with you as you go about your day. It has a smart AI Eye-Care feature that automatically adjusts the brightness of your screen based on the dimness or brightness of your surroundings. This provides comfort for the user experience!

The OPPO A16 comes with three different rear camera actions (AI Triple Camera): the 13MP Main Camera, 2MP Depth Camera, and 2MP Macro Camera. It also has an 8MP Front Camera and comes with different filter functions, suitable for your selfies and pictures with friends!

The OPPO A16 has a Charging Temperature Control function, which prevents your device from overheating when you are charging it.


The OPPO A16 is a good entry-level smartphone which has a solid display screen and battery life. For its basic functions, users have commented on the affordability for its price. However, for those who are searching for 5G-compatible phones or a phone with more advanced features, this model may not be suitable for you.


  • Year Released: 2021
  • Chipset: MediaTek MT6765G Helio G35 (12 nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4x 2.3 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.8GHz Cortex-A53)
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8320
  • RAM: 3 GB or 4 GB RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB or 64GB
  • Display: 6.52-inch, IPS LCD 480 nits (typ)
  • Camera: (Rear) (Front)
  • OS: Android 11, ColorOS 11.1
  • Battery: Li-Po 5000mAh

Best affordable mid-range smartphone

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S


8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (13)

Check Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S price below:

Lazada MalaysiaShopee Malaysia

add_circleDecent performance

add_circleFast charging

add_circleGood camera quality

add_circleMinimalistic design

remove_circleNo 5G


Using the latest MediaTek Helio G96 chipset, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S can handle the newest performance-intensive apps and games in the store. It will be an immersive visual experience as this smartphone has a 6.43-inch AMOLED screen. Aside from the screen, you can guarantee a good crisp picture with great details with its stunning 108MP AI Quad Camera System.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S Specifications

  • Processor: MediaTek Helio G96
  • Display: 6.43-inch AMOLED screen, 90Hz refresh rate
  • Memory: 6GB/8GB RAM, 64GB/128GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: 108MP wide camera, 8MP ultrawide camera, 2MP macro camera, 2MP depth camera
  • Front Camera: 16MP wide camera
  • Battery: 5000 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery
  • Operating System: Android 11
  • Weight: 179g
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 73.9 x 8.1mm

Who Is This For

Even though this is a budget phone, it still holds up to be a good phone with its wide megapixel camera that captures every little detail and aside from that, you can definitely be immersed in the games you’re playing in the smartphone.

Best budget Samsung phone

Samsung Galaxy A23


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Check Samsung Galaxy A23 price below:

Shopee Malaysia

add_circleQuad camera

add_circleLong-lasting battery

add_circleEfficient performance

remove_circleSubpar display


The Samsung Galaxy A23 runs smoothly even with performance-intensive apps and games because of its 6GB RAM and with its 5000 mAh battery, you can enjoy using it before having to charge it. The smartphone also sports a Quad camera, giving you multiple options to choose from when taking a picture.

Samsung Galaxy A23 Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G
  • Display: 6.6-inch PLS LCD screen, 90Hz refresh rate
  • Memory: 4GB/6GB/8GB RAM, 64GB/128GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: 50MP wide camera, 5MP ultrawide camera, 2MP macro camera, 2MP depth camera
  • Front Camera: 8MP wide camera
  • Battery: 5000 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery
  • Operating System: Android 12, upgradable to Android 13
  • Weight: 195g
  • Dimensions: 165.4 x 76.9 x 8.4mm

Who Is This For?

The Samsung Galaxy A23 is perfect for those looking to run performance-intensive apps and games. Combined with a long-lasting battery that lasts for 2 days, you can guarantee an optimised performance from the smartphone. And if that’s not your style, the smartphone comes installed with a Quad camera so you can take the best picture possible.

Best Android budget smartphone

Samsung Galaxy A04


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Check Samsung Galaxy A04 price below:

Shopee Malaysia

add_circleWide design

add_circleMinimalistic design

add_circleLong battery life

add_circleGood camera quality

remove_circleNo NFC

remove_circleLacking fingerprint sensor


Coming with a minimalistic look, the Samsung Galaxy A04 has a 6.5-inch display that provides a much wider look for the smartphone. Aside from that, it comes with a 50MP main camera, which will allow you to see every detail captured in the camera. And with a massive 5000 mAh battery, you can take as many photos as you like before charging it.

Samsung Galaxy A04 Specifications

  • Processor: Octa-Core
  • Display: 6.5-inch PLS LCD screen
  • Memory: 3GB/4GB/6GB/8GB RAM, 32GB/64GB/128GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: 50MP Wide Camera, 2MP Depth Camera
  • Front Camera: 5MP Front Camera
  • Battery: 5000 mAh Li-Po non-renewable battery
  • Operating System: Android 12, upgradable to Android 13
  • Weight: 192g
  • Dimensions: 164.4 x 76.3 x 9.1mm

Who Is This For?

The Samsung Galaxy A04 is suitable for those that are looking for a budget smartphone that comes with a good camera and a long battery life. With a minimalistic design, it will definitely be attractive to some.

Budget smartphone under RM 500

Oppo A17k

8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (20)

Check Oppo A17k price below:

Shopee Malaysia

add_circleClear display

add_circleFast charging

add_circleWater resistance

add_circleLong-lasting battery

remove_circleSmall storage space


The Oppo A17K is safe from water and dust as it comes with an IPX4 water resistance rating, so your glass of water will not affect or shortcircuit your smartphone. Besides that, the smartphone uses a 6.56-inch screen. Using the All Day AI Eye Comfort technology, you can stare comfortably at the screen without having to worry about eye strain.

Oppo A17K Specifications

  • Processor: MediaTek MT6765 Helio G35
  • Display: 6.56-inch IPS LCD screen
  • Memory: 3GB RAM, 64GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: 8MP camera
  • Front Camera: 5MP camera
  • Battery: 5000 mAh battery, 10W Fast Charging
  • Operating System: Android 12
  • Weight: 189g
  • Dimensions: 164.2 x 75.6 x 8.3mm

Who Is This For?

With the All Day AI Eye Comfort Technology implemented into the smartphone, the Oppo A17K is made for those who are worried about damaging their eyes by staring at their screen for too long. You can also get a better display image and some fast charging with this smartphone.

Are Budget Phones Worth It?

The short answer is that it’s always worth it. But, it’ll depend on your needs.

Intend of use:

Opting for a budget phone will depend on the purpose you intend to use it for (basic or advanced features), the quality you expect, and the brand that manufactures these phones.

Say if you would like to use your phone to practice your photography or gaming with your friends, a budget phone may not have the best processor for your needs.

Simplicity of phone:

Choosing a budget phone also depends on the user/audience using it. For example, it may be complicated to get a high-end, complex phone for your older relative who may not be able to adapt to using it as easily as you do.

Brand of phone:

Though the outset impression may be that cheap smartphones aren’t worth it, that is not always the case. Over the years, some models of budget phones were updated with new features that were available on the brand’s higher-priced models.

Because brands play a role in manufacturing the phone’s build quality, so it’s always worth checking out the budget models from them. If a model is dirt cheap but simple in features, it’s a safe bet in our books to get it.

Keep in mind, there are also flagship phones that are sold at budget prices as well.

What cheap smartphone brands are popular?


Samsung is a pretty notable brand, especially around Asia. From a global scale, Samsung smartphones are known for their premium and sleek design, bright display that makes the colours pop on your screen, and a pretty solid battery life.

As we are on the topic of budget smartphones, Samsung’s Galaxy A series is the brand’s entry-level lineup.In other words, this line features the brand’s best affordable devices in comparison, with general feedback on the lineup just as great as the brand’s flagships.

Another area that puts Samsung up the pedestal is the reliability of Samsung Galaxy’s interface, a common feature for all its lines. This is also followed by Samsung’s constant improvement to their OS software, though some users have commented that certain hardware (audio and microphone) can be worked on.


Xiaomi is pretty notable for its extremely value-for-money offerings. The brand is also quite a popular brand in Asia. In fact, they are one of the largest phone manufacturers behind Samsung!

Another hing about Xiaomi is that they have a huge list of series and sub brands, with one of them being the popular budget-friendly Redmi series. This line up is widely known for its entry-level or mid-range smartphones. They are commonly equipped with a combination of great hardware and price.

If we’re going to talk about Xiaomi strictly, the brand’s Mi series is known for their upper-range and flagship phones. They are offered at competitive prices with performance that go head-to-head against other premium brands. In general, users often praise the brand for its budget-friendly series, but are mixed on its higher-end offerings.


Another relatively well-known brand is Vivo, also originating from China, has marked and made itself known on the tech market with its affordable smartphones. Vivo has several popular lines, with their Y series being popular due to their budget-friendly smartphone options.

While there have been mixed reviews by users on Vivo phones, overall, Vivo has produced not just reliable and durable smartphones, but also good-looking smartphone, all with a keen eye for including interesting innovations.

Best time in the year to buy a smartphone

Just as how people in USA look forward to Black Friday sales (we have it too!), Malaysians can also look forward to big sales/discounts available on Shopee or Lazada!

In Malaysia, users can expect to easily find good deals almost every month with the two top marketplaces having double-digit sale, notably 11.11 or 12.12 on Shopee and Lazada. Another time to buy products is usually on year-end sales occur, particularly in November and December. Sales include 11.11, Black Friday, 12.12, Christmas and even a New Year Sale.

Additionally, there are now PayDay sales every month-end, with discount promos offered by various banks up for grabs so you can use them for your monthly shopping needs.

How long should a budget smartphone last?

There’s no specific answer to the lifespan that a budget smartphone should lasts, but we can talk about the lifespan of smartphones generally.

Based on many articles online, the average length a smartphone can last (before its performance deteriorates) is between 2-3 years. A longer length of time is possible, depending on how you use and take care of your smartphone as well. And that’s also depending on the brand’s OS supports as well as build quality.

Lucky you, there are several tips on how you can preserve the life of your budget smartphone.

  • In terms of the physical condition of your phone, getting a screen protector helps to protect your screen from fingerprints smudge or further damage if you drop your phone.
  • Keeping your phone clean also plays an important role. Cleaning the charging port of your phone can prevent dust or lint from blocking the charge from your charger going to your phone’s battery sensor.
  • Mind the storage usage on your phone too. The amount of storage you use can also affect your phone’s performance. Technically, the more apps you have (depending on how much energy it uses), it might lead to more lag on your device.

Over time, the battery life of your smartphone would deteriorate. Some users may opt for replacing the battery instead of buying another phone.

Budget vs Mid-Range vs Flagship Smartphones

Budget Smartphones:

Frankly speaking, budget smartphones are designed for those who are on a strict budget or those who are getting a smartphone just for its basic use.

In terms of reliability, many are manufactured by reputable brands so there shouldn’t be an issue in getting support. But this will depend on which line of phones (budget, mid-range, flagship, high-end) the brand’s focus/expertise is on. So there’s a chance you might not get the best value.

Moreover, budget smartphones tend to adopt software that are not the latest but still relevant in the industry.

Mid-range smartphones:

Of course, they are more expensive than budget smartphones. However, they definitely have a place in a smartphone brand’s hierarchy. Often, they are cheaper but have less advanced technology in comparison to a brand’s flagship smartphones. Usually, great software is included and that they are a very popular range to go for many ordinary users.

Though mid-range smartphones perform quite well, but their prices also mean that sacrifices were made to the quality of the smartphone hardware, paling in comparison to higher-priced smartphones. In general, expect good performance but compromises on their build quality.

Flagship smartphones:

As you may have know; the term “flagship” is used to describe a “leading product.” In other words, it is the top-of-the-line leading product or series that many consumers know a brand for.

These phones have the latest hardware and can get pricey, but not necessarily the most premium hardware and software. In fact, they are generally designed to give you the best of everything, save for features that would benefit advanced technological enthusiasts better (in the premium line).

How to choose a smartphone?

You think you know what you want in a smartphone, but lifestyle and usage patterns may change that entirely. Long gone are phones that just pick up calls and send messages. Today, they become your entertainment, news, social and emergency tool. Before you fork out money to buy the next flagship model, consider these quick pointers:

What do you usually do on your phone?

We tend to buy phones for a specific feature, only to not use them as often.

  • Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note series are expensive because you're paying partially for the S pen!
  • So, understand what you are paying for and if it's worth the money.
  • If you'd love to experience vivid visuals, find a phone with an AMOLED screen.
  • Game a lot? Make sure the phone's processor and RAM can handle it.
  • If you don't do much in particular and just want a simple, reliable phone for general purposes, you'll find that your options become more budget-friendly.
8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (22)


Quite an odd thing to recommend, but we mean it! More often than not, our phone actually becomes part of our daily accessories.

  • Love the comfortable, innovative design? You'll find yourself proud of the money you invested in it.
  • Uncomfortable and unfriendly to use? It will inevitably push you into changing phones sooner.
  • Other things to look at are the body's durability and accessories that suit the phone.
8 Best Affordable Smartphones That Offers Great Value from Just RM500 (23)


Let's skip the "Android vs iOS" talk. Brands are equally important as the hard and software of a phone. The last thing we'd want is a phone to die so quickly. A quick review; we recommend researching through forums and testimonies on a brand's specific prowess and well-known bugs.

  • For example, Samsung is well-loved for its beautiful screen.
  • Whereas iPhones are touted for their smooth and seamless performance.
  • Xiaomi is known as the budget brand and Huawei just makes headlines for its camera innovation.

By knowing a brand's prowess and also its history, you can pinpoint the exact phone that's right for you.

How much RAM does a smartphone needs?

Understand that most budget smartphones will not feature as much RAM as higher-end ones which will commonly have about 12GB RAM.

  • At a minimum, with the exception of iPhones, most smartphones would feature a minimum of 6GB or even 4GB RAM.
  • iOS tend to use less RAM as everything has been optimised. The latest iOS system will use just 1GB RAM seamlessly on an iPhone from 2016.
  • Meanwhile, many Android phones have their own added skins and systems to run, which will usually take 2-3GB RAM.

To help you picture it clearly:

  • Most social media apps will use about 100 to 300MB of RAM.
  • Browsing the internet and watching videos such as YouTube would be about 500MB.
  • Games alone can use up more than 1GB of RAM when running.
  • From here, you can gauge that for simple uses, 4GB of RAM is enough. If you'd like to play some games, 6GB of RAM may be better.

Related recommendations:

  • Best Smartphones in Malaysia
  • Best Mid-Range Smartphones
  • Best Small-Size Smartphones
  • Best 5G Smartphones
  • Best Smartphones under RM 700
  • Best Gaming Smartphones in Malaysia
  • Affordable Smartphone Brand WIKO Launches New Smartphone, the WIKO 10


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