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Best Cheap Mobile Phones and Budget Smartphones 2017

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Trying to find the best budget smartphone around? Well you’re in luck, our round-up lists the best cheap smartphones currently available.

2017’s tech headlines may have been dominated by expensive smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 and Huawei P10, but the truth is, these days you don’t have to break the bank to get a top notch handset.

Since Motorola broke the mold with its original Moto G many moons ago, smartphone vendors have been creating increasingly great value for money handsets. Below you can see a definitive list of the best cheap smartphones currently available.

Key features:
  • 5.5 1080p screen
  • True three battery life
  • USB-C

The Lenovo P2 is an extraordinary phone, which is not what you’d expect for a handset costing £200. But it’s not performance, software or the camera stands out. No, it’s the battery, which is absolutely huge.

5,100 mAh is bigger than an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus combined, and its far larger than the 3,600mAh pack found in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. And it’s not like it’s super heavy or thick because of it.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 sips power and was able to keep me going for 51 hours of use, including 10 hours of screen-on time. All other phones won’t get much beyond six hours of screen on time.This phone doesn’t just have true two-day battery life, three days is possible.

How about the rest of the phone? The processor alongside 3GB of RAM is fine; it doesn’t hang or stutter too often and performs in line with phones costing 50% more. The 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen is excellent for the money. It’s bright vibrant and, again, better than you’d expect for the price. Even the fingerprint scanner is good.

The only real shortcoming is the 13MP camera which is merely average. It’s the one reason we didn't give this phone full marks. It’s not bad, it’s just not really good either. Photos in challenging lighting conditions are blotchy and hazy, and you might as well forget shooting at night.

For £200, though, the P2 is stunning. You can get similar performance for a little less with the Moto G4 Plus, or opt for a Huawei 6X for a slightly better camera but worse software. If you have small hands, the 5.2-inch Wileyfox 2X is a decent alternative, although it’s much slower.

At time of review the Lenovo P2 was available for £199.

blu
Key features:
  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • 64GB storage, 4GB RAM
  • DTS Surround Sound

You've probably not heard of Blu, but this American brand might be one to look out for. For less than £200, you get a seriously spec-heavy phone with a couple of interesting features. Under the metallic shell is 64GB storage, 4GB RAM and MediaTek's Helio P10 CPU which all combine to make a snappy device.

We weren't quite so impressed with the 13-megapixel camera though, but then sacrifices have to be made to get a phone in at this price. The software isn't as clean as vanilla Android either, and you'll be stuck on Marshmallow for the foreseeable future.

At time of review the Blu Vivo 6 was available for £184.99.

Swift 2 21
Key features:
  • 5-inch 720p screen
  • Excellent performance
  • USB-C and QC 3.0
  • 16MP camera

After a disappointing first round of phones, Wileyfox – I think they like to be known as the 'British OnePlus' – is back with the Swift 2, and it's a big improvement.

The metal built phone has a 720p 5-inch display, sleek design and Snapdragon 430 CPU that seems to constantly get the job done. If you plump for the slightly pricier 'Plus' model, you get an extra gig of RAM (3GB, rather than 2GB) and 32GB storage. On the back the 16-megapixel Samsung sensor is decent, but not stunning in low-light and battery will easily get you through the day.

At time of review the Wileyfox Swift 2 was available for £159.

Smart Ultra 12
Key features:

    •    5.5-inch 1080p screen?
    •    Locked to Vodafone?
    •    13MP/8MP cameras?
    •    Clean version of Android?

Network-branded phones have really improved recently, and Vodafone is spearheading this push. It’s got three of them currently, with the Smart Prime 7 sitting below £100 and the Smart Platinum 7 making a push for the flagships. But it’s the Smart Ultra 7 that has the best of both worlds.

For £135 you get a seriously capable phone, with a 5.5-inch 1080p display and a 2,950 mAh battery that’ll easily make it through the day.

Under the plastic shell is a MediaTek CPU, paired with 2GB RAM, that gets the job done. Performance is improved thanks to the use of an almost stock version of Android 6.0.1. There are a few apps preinstalled from Vodafone, like a custom Messenger that lets you reply to texts online, which is actually very useful.

The 13MP rear facing camera takes good pictures in daylight, though we found colours a tad muted and there was a lot of processing going on. Budget phones still haven’t quite managed to get fantastic cameras. The 8MP front-facing camera isn’t very good at all, especially when the sun goes down.

The only other major downside is that you’ll have to already be on, or willing to switch to, Vodafone as your service provider.



At time of review the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 was available for £135.
note 1
Key features:
  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint sensor
Xiaomi isn’t the biggest name in the UK or the US, but the Chinese brand sells a lot of phones worldwide. And most of them are good, some are even great. We’re huge fans of the Xiaomi Mi5, but the RedMi Note 3 is a good pick if you’re after something even cheaper.

It’s a big phone, but it has a Moto G4 matching 5.5-inch screen with a 1080p resolution and it looks good. It’s a strong performer, too, thanks to the MediaTek Helio X10 CPU and either 2 or 3GB RAM. In our tests it outranked the Samsung Galaxy S6 in benchmarks, which is quite impressive.

Like many of the phones on this list, the camera is one of the biggest differentiators between it and the flagships. It comes loaded with a 13-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture that is capable of taking social media worthy snaps – though colours are often a bit muted and there’s severe shutter-lag when the lights aren’t on.

Software could be an issue for some, especially if you prefer your phone running a light skin. Xiaomi is one of the worst offenders when it comes to completely reworking Android and almost all of Google’s Material Design has been covered up on the RedMi Note 3. It’s not ugly, but it feels more like iOS 9 than Lollipop.

The battery life is impressive and it’s one of the only all-metal phones in this round-up.



At time of review the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 was available for £219.
Oppo F1

6 / 8

Our Score:

8

Oppo F1

Read full Oppo F1 review
Key features:
  • 13MP camera
  • 3GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 616 CPU
  • Great selfie camera
Constructed from metal and glass (oh, and a little bit of plastic), the Oppo F1 manages to far outweigh its meagre price tag.

It’s also one of the only phones on this list to come with 3GB RAM, making for a smooth multitasking experience. Qualcomm provides the CPU, in the form of the 616, and it’s a strong combination for a sub-£200 device.

The camera setup impresses, too, with the front 13-megapixel sensor capturing bright snaps and the 8MP selfie cam proving one of the best during our tests.

So, we’ve got good performance and a strong camera; what’s not to like?

Well, we’re not too fond of the display. It’s 5-inches and 720p, which is starting to get a tad dated, and while pixels can be tough to spot it’s not perfect outdoors and the auto-brightness setting is jarring.

We have some issues with the software, too. Oppo’s heavily skinned custom interface is old-fashioned and full of childish icons, plus it’s outdated and only running atop Android 5.1.1. That’s not good enough when Android 7.0 is coming this summer.

At time of review the Oppo F1 was available for £200 .
Wileyfox Swift 2 X
Key features:
  • 1080p screen
  • Cyanogen OS
  • USB-C
Wileyfox may still be a young player in the smartphone market, but its latest flagship, the Swift 2 X, is one of the best affordable phones around.

The £220 handset may be on the top end of the affordable market, but it ticks all the right boxes specs-wise. For your cash you’ll get a super-clean 1080p screen, all day battery life and capable Snapdragon 430 CPU which is more than powerful enough for regular use.

It’s also one of the prettiest looking affordable smartphones around. The metal chassis makes the Swift 2 X look and feel significantly more expensive than it is and is a marked step up on the polycarbonate used on most cheap phones.

Add to this the fact Wileyfox has confirmed it’s working on a Nougat update for release in the near future for the phone and the Swift 2 X earns its place as one of Trusted’s recommended affordable handsets.

If you are on a shoestring budget, the basic Swift 2 is also a solid option, but will force you to put up with a lower resolution 720p screen.



At time of review the Wileyfox Swift 2 X was available for £220.
Moto G5 5

8 / 8

Our Score:

9

Moto G5

Read full Moto G5 review
Key features:

    •    5-inch, 1080p screen
    •    2/3GB RAM and 16/32GB storage
    •    2800 mAh battery
    •    Near stock Android

The king of budget phones is back, and better than ever. Even though Motorola is now officially part of Lenovo, it hasn’t changed its direction and the Moto G5 still offers unparallelled bang for your buck.

The Moto G5 is well equipped in almost every area. The 12-megapixel camera is reliable and gets the job done, while the Snapdragon CPU and 2 or 3GB RAM is a smooth mid-range combination that ensures there’s very little slowdown. The removable 28000 mAh battery will also get you through the day. 16GB of storage comes as standard, but there’s a microSD card slot, too.

Unlike older models the G5 isn’t water-resistant. This is a shame, but something we can live with. There’s also no NFC, which is a shame especially with Android Pay becoming more and more common. Still, there’s got to be some corners cut to achieve this low-price.

Price: £169.99

xtvst

May 16, 2015, 5:27 pm

Moto G has an incredibly fragile display. Mine fell off of my pockey while I was sitting for dinner. The lcd display inside cracked. I had never dropped the phone before. Although there are tons of users facing the same problem, Motorola wont take responsibility by their faulty project and warranty won't cover it.
Wont fix it because 1. it will still be fragile and will obviously crack again at any smaller impact, 2. Theres a big chance I will get a chinese quality lcd display/touchscreen replacement while paying half of the phone's price for the fix up.
Is it a good device? Absolutely. But only buy it if you're Neil Armstrong (RIP) planning to use it in mission. Otherwise the budget you invested for the lots-of-benefits provided by MotoG turns to nothing.

leadpb

May 18, 2015, 3:20 pm

Got my Moto G last September. Thought it was excellent until charging problems occurred. had to go through a process of holding power and volume buttons to resume charging. This kept on happening over a couplle of weeks. Customer services were good but told to run phone down to zero power which I did. Phone died completely. Online comments reveal that others have suffered similar problems so maybe mine is not an isolated problem and a fault with the phone which others had complained about. Maybe updated models wouldn't have this flaw but shame as its ruined what I thought was an excellent and good value phone.

ElectricSheep

May 27, 2015, 2:43 pm

I think that at £200, the Nokia 830 should be considered. I've been using one after my Nexus packed up. Whilst I still dislike the WP8.1 tiles look (vastly improved with active tiles and folders), the OS is excellent these days and the hardware and build quality are second to none. The camera is superb. I thought i'd hate it and go back to Android in days, but I actually like it!

Phil_C

May 29, 2015, 11:44 am

Seriously, you guys need to check out the Prestigio 8500 duo. We have 3 of them in my household. They are £100 each, battery lasts 2 days plus and down slow down or break down in our experience. I had never heard of them before a Windows Server offer from ebuyer, but now they are a firm favourite.

ichuck7

June 1, 2015, 5:17 am

Where would the Sharp Aquous Crystal fit on this list? It's one of the only budget smartphones that looks really cool.

Amy

June 21, 2015, 5:40 pm

My daughter got that phone she said it was crap and took it back

ichuck7

June 21, 2015, 6:21 pm

Why did she say it was crap? I'm genuinely curious. Were her expectations too high? Did she compare it to a $700 iPhone?

Robert Daniels

June 24, 2015, 3:20 pm

My general advice for budget devices is to buy last year's flagship on the secondhand market. You can pick up something like the DROID Turbo or HTC M8 for ~$200. Much better values, in my opinion.

EDIT: and maybe even a two year old flagship for the ultra budget conscious, but only if the battery is replaceable.

Jared Jeanquart

September 9, 2015, 5:06 pm

It runs well and holds a huge sd card, and has more ram than usual for stuff in its class. Earpiece Phone calls sound slightly tinny, and you have to mash the phone to your ear; a problem for old people. I know someone who has one, and I've sold a few. One was returned.

Battery's unexceptional.

It's a very serviceable phone for the budget-conscious. The huge SD card potential is a big deal; you could fit a huge music/video library on it.

It's intended for the Asian market. The components are very reliable; needs a screen protector, but will last for a LONG time.

iFrank

March 19, 2016, 1:04 pm

May be referenced in the full review but the Honor 5X has a rare attribute, that is a Micro SD slot as well as dual sim provision.
I didn't find the overlaying skin a problem but an asset, just like Touchwiz is on some older Samsung's despite reviewers, who mostly do not live with these phones constantly declaring their love for naked android.

I returned mine because of not having NFC and the bother of two sizes of sim card being needed. One micro, one nano.

I hate nano even more than C type plug leads.
Apart from being smaller (a probable DIS advantage) there are no discernable advantages for the existence of nano sim cards. Unless you think the blessings by Apple is a Pro.
Cat- pidgeons.

Islam

April 18, 2016, 4:25 pm

Best budget phone is Huwaei Honor 5X from amazon £160.

fcabanski

May 8, 2016, 10:32 pm

These are expensive. Oh well, what can be expected from RT euros?

H Baker

May 31, 2016, 1:55 pm

Personally I would recommend a Ulefone Paris.

Cosmin Dinu

June 21, 2016, 3:38 pm

Cubot, Xiaomi, Umi those phones are cheaper and better. Where are they?
Moto G phones are awesome indeed, but a bit too expensive imo.

Awesome Bryner

July 11, 2016, 3:35 am

People do not know what cheap is. Cheap is not expensive. Some people like me can't pay more than $50. How stupid.

Dorothy Skoland

August 1, 2016, 6:29 pm

I had the same type of problems Only had phone 3 months

apuk101

August 8, 2016, 9:28 pm

The Moto G4 Plus is a lovely phone, but the battery life is unbelievably poor. I've returned mine because of this. Staring with a full charge, all background activity off and it being left for 24 hours (i.e. not used for ANYTHING), it had only10% battery left after the 24 hours. My old iPhone 5s - and no, I'm not an Apple fan - will do the same for 8 days,, and my iPhone SE - which I actually use as my main phone - lasts 2 days between charges.

So the Moto G4 Plus is fatally flawed, in my opinion, which came as a real disappointment to me.

Kent Bayley

September 9, 2016, 12:51 am

This presenter cannot speak properly and rushes his words so he is almost incomprehensible. I strongly suggest he gets some on camera tyraing.

GravitySucks

October 21, 2016, 9:52 am

Try yourself first before criticizing atleast he trying to provide some useful information that too free. Common this is not fair to be critique always.

GravitySucks

October 21, 2016, 9:54 am

Two year old is way too bad choice bec software upgrades will kill them that's a new mantra of these google and apple of the world.. :)

Dennis Durkop

October 23, 2016, 8:06 pm

ZTE ZMAX Pro is a killer phone for the price!

Loganberry

October 31, 2016, 1:29 am

I hear you -- it's so frustrating when you're looking to see what you can get for £50 (I'm in the UK) and 90% of roundups say something like "going for the [whatever] at £150 really is worth it". Well, yeah, I'm sure -- but that's precisely zero use if you need a phone quickly and don't have £150! If a site did a "What's the best phone for £50?" roundup that didn't repeatedly hammer you with how you need to spend more to get anything usable, I'd be all over it.

I mean, I bought a ZTE Blade Q Mini back in 2014 for £50 from Argos, largely because it was the only phone I could find at that price that had an IPS display. For my needs (simple browsing, Google Maps, Twitter, MP3s, the odd video or casual game) it was absolutely fine once unlocked. I want a roundup comparing the 2016 equivalents of that phone, not one telling me I should be spending three times as much!

rastech

November 10, 2016, 3:00 pm

I lost my BlackBerry phones when my boat went down (along with everything else) and needed to get two usable phones fast (one in America, an LG flip from K-Mart, another as soon as back in the UK) and ALMOST in your price range, I managed to get a SIM free Moto E 2nd gen from Tesco on offer. It was £79.99 if I had it with a Tesco sim (and locked to Tesco), and £57 SIM free (grins).
This has turned out to be a cracking phone, well built, great battery life if you turn off unnecessary power hogs, and I easily get 2 days with wifi constantly on. It's also small enough to be good in the pocket, and has an excellent screen with gorilla glass. It auto updated to Android 6.0.1 as soon as I got it, and runs it smoothly. Batteries are removable (I later bought a spare, but have never run out of power and needed to use it), and it has a microSD card slot.
Good cheap phones ARE out there, around the £50 mark, and it would be really nice to not have to stumble over them by accident. I think at the time, the Moto E 2nd gen list price was £109 though, so having guide prices may be a really tough challenge on being able to find what we need. Audio with it is very good too (I am almost completely deaf, so this is important), and, it has REAL GPS (also very important to me for Sailsafe anchor watch software and backup Navigation software).
My only actual real dislike with the Moto E 2nd gen, applies to all Android and Apple phones though - their touchscreen keyboards really suck big time,especially if you have finger joint problems. So when I am back in a position to get a much better spec phone again, I'll be getting a BlackBerry DTEK 60, to get that fantastic touchscreen keyboard again. With luck, it'll perhaps be a Christmas present.
Good luck finding a good phone.

Loganberry

November 10, 2016, 4:40 pm

Thanks! That Moto E is one I've considered -- annoyingly, I missed a very brief window in which a local Asda had it for £59. Sadly, I haven't seen it for anything like that price since.

Richard Lloyd

December 2, 2016, 12:36 pm

If you bought it between Black Friday and Cyber Monday from Amazon UK, then the best sub-200 quid phone in 2016 was the Blu Vivo 6 at 184.99 (since gone back up to 239.99). Mostly better specs than the Moto G4 Plus and a cheaper price too.

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