Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2017: 8 of the most affordable phones

Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2017: 8 of the most affordable phones –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.

Related: When will my phone get Android Oreo?

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.

Related: Google Pixel 2 – everything you need to know

 

Lenovo P2

1 of 9

Score

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.

Buy Now at Amazon

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

Read the full Lenovo P2 review

Score

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.

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

 

Read the full Wileyfox Swift 2 review

Score

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

Score

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

5 of 9

Score

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

7 of 9

Score

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

8 of 9

Score

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

9 of 9

Score

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.