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

Trying to find the best budget smartphone around? You’re in luck, as our guide has the very best cheap smartphones available right now, with some well under £100/$100.

2017’s headlines were hogged by super swish, but ultra expensive phones, like the iPhone X, Galaxy S8 and Pixel 2. But a number of great affordable smartphones also hit the market. These included stellar value handsets from established names, like Motorola and its Moto G line, to young upstarts like Wileyfox (RIP) with its Swift series.

Best Honor 9 Deals

Honor 9 (Blue) SIM free | Now £276.99, save £103

The excellent Honor 9 is our favourite mid-range phone with a fantastic design and solid performance.

View DealBuy fromAmazon

Enter 2018 and things are looking better than ever, with a number of fantastic options coming soon, including the STK X2. That said, we may have to wait a little longer to find out what budget market titan Motorola has up it sleeve – as the much-rumoured Moto G6 remains nowhere to be seen.

Related: When will my phone get Android Oreo?


Xiaomi Mi A1

1 of 11


Key features:

  • Snapdragon 625
  • 4G RAM
  • Android One
  • 64GB Storage
  • Price: Around £200

Xiaomi is turning out budget phones at a rapid pace, and the Mi A1 is the latest. This 5.5-inch device ships with Android One giving you a clean UI like a Pixel. It’s still on Nougat though, but there’s an Oreo update coming soon.

There’s also a 12MP camera, decent Snapdragon 625 CPU and 4GB RAM. 64GB storage comes as standard, but there’s no water-resistance.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 offers stock Android and a dual-camera setup for under £200, making its minor omissions easier to stomach. This is the phone with which the Android One initiative should have launched.

Read the full Xiaomi Mi A1 review

EE Hawk

2 of 11


Key features:

  • 5-inch 720p screen
  • Locked to EE
  • 4G CAT 6 support
  • USB-C 
  • 13MP camera

EE’s branded phones have been attractive propositions in the past, and the Hawk remains so. If you’re on EE, or are willing to switch, and don’t want to spend more than £150 then this is a good pick.

The best thing here is the design, which is metal and feels great. There’s a 5-inch 720p screen, MediaTek CPU and 2GB RAM. Internally there’s 16GB storage, plus a microSD slot for expanding that.

The screen and CPU are fine for the price, and the software isn’t heavily bloated, but the camera’s HDR mode could with some improvement.

Read the full EE Hawk review


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.

Buy Now at Amazon

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


Read the full Wileyfox Swift 2 review


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.

Buy Now at Amazon

At time of review the Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 was available for £135.

Read the full Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 review


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.

Buy Now at Amazon

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

Read the full Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review

Oppo F1

6 of 11


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 .

Read the full Oppo F1 review


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.

Buy Now at Amazon

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

Read the full Wileyfox Swift 2 X review

Moto G5

8 of 11


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.

Buy Now at Amazon

At time of review the Moto G5 was available for £179.99.


Read the full Moto G5 review

Xiaomi Mi 6

9 of 11


Key features:

•    5.15-inch, 1080p screen
•    6GB RAM,  128 storage and Snapdragon 835
    •    3350 mAh battery
•    Dual 12-megapixel cameras

    •    Price: £342

Easily the most powerful phone on this list, the latest flagship from Xiaomi is great value for money if you can actually buy one.

Xiaomi doesn’t sell its flagships in the UK and America, so you’ll have to import it. But, you do get a great phone with dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back and a lovely 1080p display. We’re annoyed by the lack of a headphone jack, but at least there’s huge amounts of power and storage to get you by. There’s also a 3350 mAh battery, which easily makes it through the day.

Read the full Xiaomi Mi 6 review

Vodafone Smart V8

10 of 11


Key features:

•    5.5-inch, 1080p screen
•    3GB RAM,  32GB storage
    •    3000 mAh battery
•    16MP camera

    •    Price: £160

Vodafone has branded some decent devices recently, and the Smart V8 continues that lineage. It’s a 5.5-inch 1080p display toting device that packs in a Snapdragon 435 CPU along with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The 3000 mAh battery makes it through the day and while there is plenty of Vodafone bloat software, the basic UI is actually quite nice.

We were impressed by the 16-megapixel camera, but not so much by the slow performance.

Huawei P Smart

11 of 11


Key features:

•    5.7-inch, 1080p screen
•    3GB RAM,  32GB storage

•    13MP camera

 •    Price: £229

Huawei’s latest budget phone has plenty going for it, notably a 5.7-inch 18:9 display. There’s a Kirin 659 CPU running the show, 3GB RAM and 32GB storage plus a 12-megapixel camera.

It looks great for the price, but we would prefer if the Android 8.0 software wasn’t quite so covered up in EMUI.

Read the full Huawei P Smart review