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Best Cheap Mobile Phones and Budget Smartphones 2016


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If you're looking for a cheap mobile phone or the best budget smartphone, you've come to the right place. Our round-up features only the top examples, so you can choose in confidence.

Over the last four months we’ve seen all manner of awesome, but bank-balance-busting smartphones hit the market.

These have ranged from superb all-rounders like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10, to interesting beasts, like the modular LG G5 and Leica camera-equipped Huawei P9.

Given how great these top end smartphone are, it’s easy to forget you don’t have turn your wallet into a barren wasteland to get a decent smartphone anymore. In store there are a variety of great value for money smartphones that will meet 99% of people’s needs.

Here to help buyers on a budget pick which is best for them and created the definitive list detailing the best value for money smartphones currently available.

Hit the 'Next' arrow or use the dropdown to start viewing the list, or read on for more buying advice.

WATCH: What's the difference between a cheap phone and a flagship phone?

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Cheap Smartphones vs Flagship Phones

Flagship smartphones are becoming more expensive by the year, but finding a good mobile is actually cheaper than ever. What’s more, cheap phones aren’t anywhere near as basic as they used to be. That said, what are the real differences?

Related: Best Mobile Deals: Top Smartphone offers this month

Design isn't necessarily one of them. Thanks to design and build quality improvements, you won’t feel like you’re carrying a brick around with you. Manufacturers such as Huawei, Motorola, Asus and ZTE have really raised the bar in this regard. What’s more, you don’t have to sacrifice features like 4G and NFC if you don’t want to.

There’s a lot to smile about in the photography department, too. Several of the smartphones in this list are equipped with HDR-enabled cameras, which could previously only be found on more expensive models. Cheap mobile phones tend to struggle more in challenging conditions, such as low light and in action scenes, but the ones in our round-up are all good general-purpose camera phones.

However, there are certain things you'll have to make do without, like a QHD display, for instance. Instead, 720p or 480p screens are the order of the day. They're not as sharp as what you’ll find on the LG G3 or similar, but they’re still clearer than most laptop screens and more than good enough for basic smartphone duties.

Processing power is another department that usually takes a hit, but several of the smartphones in this round-up are still great for playing high-end games on.

Read more: Mobile Phone Buyer's Guide

Crucially, cheap smartphones get access to the same app stores as their more expensive counterparts, so you can download as many apps and games as your hardware can handle. If you do plan to download lots of apps, though, make sure you get a phone with a microSD card slot as many cheap phones have limited built-in storage.

The one thing you won't find, however, is a cheap iPhone – not unless you buy second-hand. If you must have an iPhone, we'd recommend getting an iPhone 5S at a minimum.

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