Which is the best mid-priced phone? 8 options that deserve your time
You really don’t need to spend upwards of a grand to get an exceptional phone anyway, especially if you plump for something from this list of best mid-range phones.
A mid-range phone is a great option for anyone wanting for flagship-level specs on a budget. If your priority is a fantastic camera, a rich display or next-gen 5G connectivity, shopping in this price range is a great way to save cash.
You can find a list of our top picks at a glance below or scroll down further for more information on each handset, including pros, cons and links to our in-depth reviews.
Every smartphone on this list has been thoroughly tested and reviewed to ensure these are the best of the best when it comes to their price point. Read on to find out which phones made the cut.
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- Best mid-range phone: OnePlus 8T
- Best performance: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
- Best camera: Pixel 5
- Best for cheap 5G: Moto Edge
- Best for Dual Screen: LG Velvet
- Best for Apple: iPhone SE 2
- Best screen on a budget: TCL 10 Pro
- Best for megapixels: Xiaomi Mi Note 10
So what is a mid-range phone anyway? For us, it’s phones that are mid-priced, found neither at the premium and of the market nor in the budget ranges. Created by the sheer volume of competition between modern phone manufacturers, this appealing mid-range space offers impressive bang for your buck from established brands, with models that encompass a range of uses.
Related: Best iPhone Deals
1. OnePlus 8T
Another OnePlus winner
- Great screen
- Charges in 40 minutes
- Secondary cameras aren’t that good
- No IP
- No Qi
There are a lot of great mid-range options available in 2020 – but our current favourite pick is the OnePlus 8T. It’s the perfect mix of price and features, with just about every aspect hitting the mark.
This is a truly fast phone, for a number of areas. First off performance is ace thanks to the Snapdragon 865 chip. 5G and up to 12GB RAM. This phone can game at 90fps with ease and handle everything you throw at it. It has a fast 120Hz OLED screen too and can charge from 0-100% in just 40 minutes.
The main 48MP camera is a capable shooter – though go for the Pixel 5 if the camera is key – and OnePlus has added an ultrawide lens alongside a macro and monochrome. Software is strong with Android 11 onboard and you’ll likely see speedy updates.
Some features have had to be cut to meet the price. There’s no IP rating and no wireless charging. Neither of which are dealbreakers.
- Read our full OnePlus 8T review
2. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
All the best S20 features, just cheaper
- Option of Snapdragon 865 in the UK
- Lovely 120Hz panel
- Nice array of colours
- Secondary cameras aren’t great
£699 might be pushing the definition of mid-range, but when you’ve got flagships costing double that it’s just the situation we have found ourselves in. Thankfully, Samsung has crammed many of its best flagship features into the Galaxy S20 FE without sacrificing too much.
The highlights here include a really nice flat 120Hz OLED panel with punchy colours and deep blacks, 6GB of fast RAM and 128GB storage. You’ll also find a triple camera array on the back, which is headlined by a very good 12MP camera that’ll capture bright, detailed and intensely colourful snaps.
Samsung has also included a bevvy of features often ditched at this price, including Qi charging, an IP68 rating and expandable storage.
The real star of the show here is the Snapdragon 865 chipset (there’s also a 4G Exynos 990 version available for £100 less) which not only gives the FE better performance than other European versions of the S20, but better battery life too. There’s also 5G support.
Finally, you’ve got the design. This isn’t quite as high-end looking as the S20 as the back is tough plastic rather than glass. Still, the matte finish is attractive and it barely picks up any fingerprints. You can also pick it up in a range of nice colours, including a deep blue and striking red.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review
3. Google Pixel 5
A simple Pixel
- Best camera in this price
- Great battery life
- 90Hz screen
- Design a bit bland
- You get faster performance elsewhere
The Pixel 5 might be Google’s flagship product, but in terms of pricing it’s still a mid-range device. This £599 phone isn’t a performance champ like the OnePlus 8T, however it does have plenty going for it.
The camera, for example, is the best on this list. The 12MP main and 16MP ultra wide take ace shots, with lovely colours and fantastic HDR. For the price, this the best camera around.
There’s good, if not class-leading performance, from the Snapdragon 765G chipset and 8GB RAM, 5G and a lovely 90Hz OLED panel. Google has also kept around nice luxuries, like a metal body, IP rating and wireless charging.
- Read our full Pixel 5 review
4. Motorola Edge
A great all-rounder with 5G
- Nice screen
- Great battery life
- Motorola’s software is great
- A little buggy
- Curved screen can be irritating
While it is the Motorola Edge Plus that packs the true high-end specs, it is the Motorola Edge that feels the more interesting device. Like the OnePlus 8, the Edge provides 5G support and it’s one of the cheaper options currently available that offers this.
It’s a striking phone too, with a curved screen that droops heavily over the sides. While the curve is slightly annoying, the screen itself is good: FHD+, HDR10 and OLED.
Inside the phone there’s a very capable Snapdragon 765 chipset, 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. You are missing out on an IP rating and wireless charging, though.
Battery life is great, as you’d expect from a 4500mAh cell.
You’ll find three cameras on the back and the 64-megapixel main sensor can take some really good snaps. Motorola continues its run of good software here too, with nice gestures and handy additions.
- Read our full Motorola Edge review
5. LG Velvet
LG’s most tempting phone in ages
- Much improved design
- Big, bright and colourful screen
- Headphone jack
- Only a 60Hz screen
- Some odd performance issues
The LG Velvet is LG’s latest attempt at an upper mid-range device and it’s one of its most tempting in years, thanks to a far improved design and the addition of 5G.
Like many phones we’ve seen this year, the Velvet is powered by the very capable Snapdragon 765G chipset. It’s not the faster around, especially when compared to the Galaxy S20 FE, but it’ll still get the job done. It also offers a 5G modem, so if you have the right network and contract you’ll benefit from those faster data speeds.
Other highlights include a big, bright and colourful display along with an actual 3.5m port for plugging in your headphones.You can even tack on the Dual Screen case to expand your view across two displays.
- Read our full LG Velvet review
6. iPhone SE 2
a fast. and cheaper, iPhone
- Good cameras
- Great software
- Dull design
The iPhone SE 2 is a simple device. It looks very much like the iPhone 7 or 8, but it has the internals of the newer iPhones. It’s fast, packs a good camera and ok battery life.
What really sets it apart from other phones on this list in the size. This is a small phone, with a screen that’s easily controlled by one hand. There’s a physical TouchID home button too. It’s IP67 rated, packs wireless charging and comes in a lovely red colour.
- Read our full iPhone SE.2 review
7. TCL 10 Pro
- High-quality design
- Feels fast
- Nice OLED display
- Fairly poor low-light images
- TCL interface needs tweaks
- Battery underperforms
While the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge are two great phones, if you want to spend less the £399 TCL 10 Pro is a good choice.
This is one of the slickest phones on our list thanks to the great design and it’s also winner thanks to its strong OLED panel. The screen has vibrant colours, superb contrast and excellent brightness levels. It really is one of the best phone displays you’ll find at this price.
Not all is perfect with the TCL 10 Pro. We weren’t too impressed by the battery life and the software requires a little bit of tweaking to make it feel normal.
- Read our full TCL 10 Pro review
8. Xiaomi Mi Note 10
A lot of hardware at a value price
- Smoothly curved glass front and back
- Great zoom cameras
- High-quality 108MP main sensor
- Camera is slow
- Protruding camera housing
- Some software quirks
- Low-light images aren’t best in class
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is a mid-range phone with some high-end device design traits. It packs five cameras, a main 108-megapixel sensor and a generously sized battery that lasts pretty well.
In some areas, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is made to the same standard as a phone costing twice as much. Its sides are metal, and both the front and rear of the device are substantial, curved pieces of glass. There’s no plastic border between the metal and glass, which is highly unusual for a phone costing less than £600.
The Mi Note 10 has a 6.47-inch screen, an OLED panel with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution – excellent for the money. You may find larger, but you won’t find much better, particularly if the curvy front appeals.
Day-to-day performance is technically sound, as you’d hope from a device with a good CPU and 6GB of RAM.
Most of the cameras that feature on the Mi Note 10’s rear are impressive. There’s a 2x zoom, a 3x zoom lens the phone crops into for 5x images, an ultra-wide and a dedicated macro. The macro sensor is the only real dud – in almost all situations the other cameras offer better results. Normal shots are packed full of detail; 108-megapixel shots even more so. The camera is unusually good at dealing with the light levels of tricky scenes such as sunsets. However, the camera is where you’ll discover the Xiaomi Mi Note 10’s most significant performance issues. It’s slow. There’s shutter lag of around half a second, and image processing takes a long time.
This isn’t the most polished smartphone on the market. The camera is slow, it isn’t the most attractive phone despite all that curved glass, and fingerprint scanner performance is poor. However, you do get plenty of hardware for your money and, despite its flaws, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 offers good value.
- Read our Xiaomi Mi Note 10 review
How do we select the best mid-range smartphones?
As with any of our other best mobile phone rankings, this list reflects the best that the current smartphone market has to offer, taking into account constraints such as price and feature set. To earn its place in our line-up, each phone undergoes a TR review – we slip in our SIM cards and use each phone as our main device solidly for a week at the very least.
We test claims on performance and battery life with both real-world and artificial benchmarks, trial new features and cast a careful eye over every advantage and flaw that these phones possess, to provide a clear, concise review of the latest smartphones and make your buying decision as easy as possible.
If you’re still unsure, check out our list of the best budget phones.
Still not sure what to buy?
Check out our comprehensive list of buying advice and ranked lists:
- Best mobile phone deals – our guide to the best savings and prices across a range of phones and contract types
- Best Android phone – our guide to the latest and best Android-specific phones
- Best Samsung phone – our guide to what’s what in the world of Samsung
- Best camera phone – the best phone snappers ranked for you
- Best Apple iPhone – our guide to the right iPhone for you
- Best phablet/big phone – our guide to the best of the bigger phones
- Best smartphone – our guide to where to start