Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2018: 8 great affordable phones

All the best cheap and affordable phones 2018 reviewed and rated

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.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

How we select the best budget smartphones

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.

best Overall budget phone

Motorola Moto G6

Motorola's Moto G range of phones have become synonymous with punching above their weight, and that very much continues with the latest G6. It's a well-made smartphone that feels and performs better than its price would lead you to believe.


Dedicating all of our time to the device means we can see how it fares in the real world. 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.

Related: Best Android phones

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

Moto G6

Moto G6


  • Fantastic software experience
  • Lovely screen
  • Well built for the price


  • Some performance frustrations, especially with the camera

The best budget phone you can buy right now is the Moto G6. We’ve loved entries in the G series before, and the G6 could be one of the best yet. It has a lovely 1080p screen, fantastic software experience and it feels really good thanks to the glass body and ergonomic curves.

The Snapdragon 450 processor and 3GB of RAM churns through most tasks with ease. There’s 32GB storage as standard, and you can also add a microSD card to expand this further.

Our only real disappointment is with the camera. The actual photos from the 12-megapixel shooter are good, but the slow camera app makes for a frustrating experience.

Buy Now: Moto G6 from Amazon for £219 / $309

Moto G6 Play


  • Fantastic software experience
  • Good looks
  • Well built for the price


  • Slow camera

The cheapest entry in Moto’s 2018 G-series is far from flashy, but if it’s value for money you’re after then you can’t go wrong. Where the Moto G6 Play beats its pricier sibling is when it comes to battery life. The endurance here is fantastic and if battery life and value are your biggest wants then you won’t go wrong.

Buy now: Moto G6 Play from Amazon for £169.99 / $229

Honor 10


  • Sleek design
  • Powerful hardware
  • Good value


  • EMUI Android skin is bloated
  • Some performance bugs

£400 is the upper limit of the affordable phone market, but when it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat the Honor 10.

The phone follows the same strategy as past Honor phones. It aims to offer users the best parts of Huawei’s current flagship, the P20, with a few minor hardware compromises. The end result is a beautiful, feature-packed Android device with features and hardware traditionally seen on significantly more expensive handsets.

Highlights include a stellar 5.84-inch 2280p x 1080p FHD+ screen that’s best in class at this price, a powerhouse Kirin 970 CPU that blitzes through 3D gaming, and an above-average dual-sensor rear camera.

The 24-megapixel and 16-megapixel, f/1.8 dual-camera doesn’t have Leica branding, but it’s one of the best you’ll find for the money. The added AI mode, which auto-optimises the camera settings for “500+ scenarios in 22 categories” in real-time, also makes it an ideal option for those who aren’t particularly clued up on camera tech.

The only slight downside is the Honor 10’s EMUI Android skin, which adds a few minor software bugs and bloatware applications.

Huawei P Smart


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


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

Huawei’s latest budget smartphone, the Huawei P Smart, 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 £199 / $205 from Amazon 

Moto G6 Plus

Moto G6 Plus


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


  • Not water-resistant

The Moto G6 Plus is well-equipped in almost all areas. The 12MP rear-facing camera is reliable, though nothing to write home about, while the Snapdragon 630 CPU and 4GB 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 G6 Plus is that, unlike older models, it isn’t water-resistant. Still, this is a fantastic device with a great screen at a price that can’t really be beaten.

Xiaomi Mi A1


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


  • 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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