There are loads of cheap phones on the market that are pretty fantastic – and if you’re looking for the best budget handset for you right now, we’ve got just the list for you.
At TechRadar we don’t just review fancy new powerhouses, we look at mid-range and affordable devices too, and we’ve found that a lot of the time, you can spend less money without getting a rubbish handset.
So we wrote this round-up of the best of the bunch, with all the best cheap phones on the market on the list somewhere, so if you want to get the most affordable smartphone these are the devices you should be looking at.
Don’t be put off by the title of ‘best cheap phones’, as it doesn’t mean ‘bad phones that aren’t as bad as the other bad phones’ as it may once have done, back in the day when it was a warning against poor build quality, slow performance, terrible screen resolution and horrible cameras.
No, now it means fantastic devices without some of the bells and whistles of flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10, iPhone XS, Huawei P30 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro, but with commendable specs and features anyway.
Bear in mind: when it comes to defining a ‘cheap’ phone, we’ve used £200 as the cut off point. That might be a little meaty for some, so we’ve made sure there are some lower-cost models in the list too, but when the above brands all are pushing towards the £1000 mark, you can see that ‘cheap’ means something rather different now.
If you already have a favourite budget smartphone brand that you’re interested in, you might also be interested in our round-ups of the best Motorola phones, Nokia phones, and LG phones as well as this list.
What you need to know about Black Friday 2019
Smartphones are often significantly discounted around Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the UK. It’s unlikely we’ll see any game-changing price differences in terms of budget smartphones as most of the discounts are usually around contracts for flagship phones but you may be able to bag yourself a bargain on one of the devices below if you can wait until the end of November.
1. Huawei P Smart (2019)
The best cheap phone you can buy right now
Weight: 160g | Dimensions: 155.2 x 73.4 x 8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.21-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 710 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8/16MP
Slick design at great price
Only one speaker
Camera can overly process
The Huawei P Smart 2019 is the best cheap phone you can buy right now.
It packs a usable camera, plenty of storage and great battery life as well as a screen and design that punch way above their weight.
There is very little between the Huawei P Smart and the Honor 10 Lite, and they’re practically the same device, but the P Smart tops our list with its slightly sharper design.
Read our full review: Huawei P Smart (2019)
2. Honor 10 Lite
A worthy runner-up to our best cheap phone
Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 154.8 x 73.6 x 8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.21-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 710 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 24MP
Premium look for low cost
MicroUSB port is dated
The Honor 10 Lite is a little unlucky to find itself second in our best budget smartphone round-up, as it can make a strong case for being first as it’s almost identical to the P Smart (2019).
If you’re a frequent Snapchatter or selfie addict the 24MP front-facing camera on the Honor 10 Lite is the one for you.
If you’re thinking “isn’t there a Honor 20 Lite out?” you’re totally right, but there’s very little difference between that and the Honor 10 Lite, save the price tag, so we’re keeping the older device up here for now.
Read our full review: Honor 10 Lite
3. Moto G7 Power
The best cheap phone for battery hogs
Weight: 193g | Dimensions: 159.4 x 76 x 9.3mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1570 | CPU: Snapdragon 632 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
Good gaming performance
Wi-Fi can be patchy
This is the best budget smartphone when it comes to battery, with the Moto G7 Power packing a mammoth 5,000mAh power pack.
It’s also awkwardly big, but for those who want two days (and sometimes more) from a single charge no other smartphone around can match the Moto G7 Power right now.
Read our full review: Moto G7 Power
4. Realme 3 Pro
The Realme 3 Pro makes a great impression for a cheap phone
Weight: 172g | Dimensions: 156.8 x 74.2 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 710 | RAM: 4/6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 4,045mAh | Rear camera: 16MP + 5MP | Front camera: 25MP
Great screen and fast charging
No NFC or USB-C
Sporting an eye-catching and robust design, along with a bright capacious screen, decent speakers, generous specifications and a powerful chipset, the Realme 3 Pro really does have an odd character of its own.
Though its software design might be divisive, it has no major issues. It has a class-leading camera for the price point, along with dependable stamina and the handy option of very fast charging.
Read our full review: Realme 3 Pro
5. Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
A great mix of features for an attractive price tag
Weight: 186g | Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.2 x 8.1mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 660 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 5MP | Front camera: 13MP
Stellar battery life
Big, vibrant screen
Camera could be better
Xiaomi should be proud, the Redmi Note 7 is a real achievement – one that puts many other smartphone manufacturers to shame.
It’s difficult to find many other phones than can offer what the Redmi Note 7 does at its price point, and as long as you can look past the software with a few minor niggles and the services it tries to push, you’ll be happy with your purchase.
Read our full review: Redmi Note 7
6. Moto G7 Play
Moto’s new entry-level smartphone is a top budget buy
Weight: 149g | Dimensions: 147.3 x 71.5 x 8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1512 | CPU: Snapdragon 632 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP
Great battery life
Occasional gaming lag
No NFC for payments
You’re unlikely to find many more compelling phones than the Moto G7 Play at its rock-bottom price. It’s well constructed, slim, has zippy internals, the camera is good when you factor in all the shooting modes and it lasts a full day.
The lack of NFC is a bit of a disappointment, but if that doesn’t phase you and you’re not put off by the clunky looking notch and practical design, go forth and pick one up, you won’t regret it.
Read our full review: Moto G7 Play
7. Moto G6
This former best cheap phone is still a good buy
Weight: 167g | Dimensions: 153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 450 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 5MP | Front camera: 8MP
Premium design for the price
Bright and clear display
You can get the Moto G6 for less in the UK right now, with this great Amazon Prime Day deal.
The Moto G6 is no-longer the best budget smartphone, but it’s still a great buy for those looking for value for money.
It may not feel or run like a flagship phone, but it’s not pretending to be one. The Moto G6 offers a lot of solid features, plus extras including some fun camera features, fast charging and it all adds up to make one of the best budget handsets on the market.
Motorola has been a class-leader at the budget end of the mobile for a few years, and the pure Android software and solid build of the Moto G6 ensures you get a top smartphone experience without having to break the bank.
Read our in-depth Moto G6 review
8. Nokia 5.1
Pure Android with Nokia build-quality
Dimensions: 151.1 x 70.7 x 8.2mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: MediaTek Helio P18 | RAM: 2/3GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 2970mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP
Handy fingerprint scanner
Not the slickest performance
If you’re after the best design and screen you can get for under £150, the Nokia 5.1 is best cheap phone you can buy.
The rest of the specs are fine, it’s not going to dazzle you with performance or camera quality, but it’s how it feels and looks that make it stand out.
Read the full review: Nokia 5.1
9. Moto E5 Plus
A big screen, long lasting battery and low price
Weight: 196.6g | Dimensions: 160.9 x 75.3 x 9.4mm | OS: Android 8.0 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 425 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 5000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
A big, big battery
Some slow loading times
Feels cheaper than it looks
The Moto E5 Plus offers up a big screen, long lasting battery and a low price tag, making it an excellent contender for the best budget smartphone on the market.
It just misses out on a top three spot thanks to its slightly weaker performance and lower resolution screen versus – but this is still a top budget buy.
Read the full review: Moto E5 Plus
10. Motorola One
A cheap phone with iPhone X looks
Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 149.9 x 72.2 x 8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.9-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1520 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 8MP
Fast, fluid Android OS
Display only 720p
Doesn’t feel premium
The Motorola One is a smart, well-balanced phone with few glaring weaknesses.
While its design largely holds its own with rivals, there are a couple of shortfalls. The phone’s display isn’t sharp enough, while it also runs on a slightly outdated chipset.
The presence of Android One is a plus point, but even then it’s not a massive departure from Motorola’s usual software efforts. All in all, a decent phone.
Read our full review: Motorola One