Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2018: Top 10 most affordable phones

This is why you should trust our list of the best cheap phones:

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Best Overall budget Phone

Huawei P Smart

The Huawei P Smart is our best overall pick for budget smartphone. It proves just how much you can get without spending a vast amount of money. Its 5.7-inch 18:9 screen in particular is a real standout, and puts it above other phones for this price point.

£179.95
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A number of great affordable smartphones ventured onto the market in 2017, with many more scheduled to launch as we move further into 2018. That doesn’t mean now isn’t a good time to pick up a new smartphone, though. The tech market is constantly changing, so now’s as good a time as any to score an upgrade.

How we select the best budget smartphones

best value budget phone

Honor 9 Lite

The Honor 9 Lite is our value pick. It's a budget smartphone aimed at mobile photographers and manages to pack in a dual-lens camera setup in a premium body. All for a very wallet-friendly price.

£169
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But before we dive into our top picks for the best budget smartphones, we thought it would be best to explain how we came to selecting them. It all comes down to practice. We used each of the smartphones as our main handset for a week, moving all of our data across, locking our go-to device away in a drawer.

Dedicating all of our time to the device means we can see how it fares in the real-world – something most reviewers don’t do. We’re able to get an accurate reading of how long they last on a single charge, how much strain you can put on the processor before it starts to break a sweat and how good the camera is on a whim.

So now you know how we select the best budget smartphones, let’s take a look at our highlights.

Huawei P Smart

Pros:

  • Great 18:9 screen
  • Plenty of value
  • Slick design

Cons:

  • Annoying EMUI software
  • No fast-charging
  • Some issues with build quality

Huawei’s latest budget smartphone has a lot going for it – with the most notable feature being its stunning 5.7-inch 18:9 screen. It also sports a fast Kirin 659 CPU, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, as well as a 12MP dual-camera setup. That’s an awful lot of bang for a handset that costs a mere £229 outright.

Buy Now: Huawei P Smart for £229 from Amazon 

Honor 9 Lite

Pros:

  • All-screen design for less than £200
  • Crisp 5.65-inch 18:9 screen
  • Camera reasonably proficient

Cons:

  • EMUI interface doesn’t show Android at its best
  • Glass back questionable design decision
  • Second camera only partially successful
  • No NFC

The Honor 9 Lite is a budget smartphone aimed at budding mobiles photographers. It sports a 5.65-inch 18:9 Full HD screen, a dual-lens camera setup (13MP + 2MP) on both the front and rear, and a “mirror-like” premium glass finish – an incredible amount of tech for a smartphone that costs less than £200.

Buy Now: Honor 9 Lite for £169 from Carphone Warehouse

Moto G5

Pros:

  • So much tech for your cash
  • Good performance
  • Jazzed-up design

Cons:

  • A Moto G4 downgrade in some ways

The Moto G5 is well-equipped in almost all areas. The 12MP rear-facing camera is reliable, though nothing to write home about, while the Snapdragon 430 CPU and 2GB or 3GB of RAM – depending on the storage variant you opt for – is a smooth mid-range combination that ensures minimal slowdown.

Our main qualm with the Moto G5 is that, unlike older models, it isn’t water-resistant. It’s also missing an all-useful NFC chip, so it can’t be used for mobile payments (think: Google Pay). If those are both things you can live without, the Moto G5 is a fantastic smartphone that’s bound to impress.

Buy Now: Moto G5 for £119 from Amazon

EE Hawk

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Smart glass-backed design

Cons:

  • Mild performance blips
  • Low-resolution screen
  • Locked to EE

If you’re on EE, or are willing to switch, and don’t want to spend more than £150, the Hawk is a great pick. It’s armed with a 5-inch 720p screen that, truth be told, isn’t the best on the market; a MediaTek MT6750 CPU; 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable internal storage (via microSD) – overall, a recipe for success.

Other notable internals include a 13MP rear-facing camera, an 8MP selfie shooter and a 2500mAh cell, the latter of which sounds quite small when a lot of high-end smartphones have more than 300mAh, But, thanks the Hawek’s smaller, low-resolution screen, its more than capable of surviving 24-hours on a single charge.

Buy Now: EE Hawk for £119 from EE

Xiaomi Mi A1

Pros: 

  • Stock Android
  • Dual cameras
  • Fast fingerprint scanner
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • No water- or dust-resistance
  • Missing NFC
  • Lack of OIS on the camera

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi’s latest budget handset, featuring a 5.5-inch IPS screen, a Snapdragon 625 CPU and 4GB of RAM, in addition to a 12MP dual-camera and 64GB of expandable (once again, via microSD) internal storage. Like the Moto G5, however, it isn’t water-resistant.

Its sub-£200 price tag should make that news much easier to stomach, though, as should word that the Xiaomi Mi A1 is on the list to receive the much-anticipated Android 8.0 Oreo software update in the not-too-distant future – something to bear in mind if you’re after the latest flavour of Android.

Buy Now: Xiaomi Mi A1 for £189.16 from Toby Deals UK

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