Home / Product Round-ups / Mobile Phones / Best Cheap Mobile Phones and Budget Smartphones 2016

Best Cheap Mobile Phones and Budget Smartphones 2016

by

bq 1

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?

Related: Best Android Apps

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.

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.

comments powered by Disqus