On the hunt for a new smartphone but not sure how much you need to spend on your shiny new blower?
Well, you’re not alone. Knowing how much to spend on a phone is tricky business these days as the answer’s largely determined by what you want to do with it, and what wider ecosystem of apps you’re embedded in.
But as a rule of thumb…
The days where you needed to spend oodles of cash to get a smartphone that lived up to its high IQ branding are well and truly gone. So if you just want a phone to take and make calls, sporadically browse the web and check in on social media there’s no need to remortgage your house.
Equally, there’s a growing number of mid-range phones with stellar specs that a few years ago would have been considered flagship. So if you’re a little more demanding and want to watch movies or game on your phone this may be the sweet spot for you.
But, as always the age old adage; you get what you pay for comes into play when you buy a phone. Though they’re complete overkill for most people, if you absolutely want the best of the best then you’re going to want to invest in a flagship smartphone, which these days are a serious luxury item.
Still confused? Don’t worry, below we’ve created guides detailing how much specific types of user should spend on a phone.
What’s the cheapest amount you can spend for a ‘good’ phone?
Cheap phone used to be a dirty word as it meant you’d get a device that was smart in name only. But Motorola changed that many moons ago when it released its Moto G line. Since then a number of great phones have emerged that won’t break the bank.
If you’re on the strictest budget possible, but don’t want to have to buy yet another handset in a year’s time, we’d recommend looking to spend around £150-£200 on your next blower.
This is a sweet spot in the market with a variety of solid performers that offer surprisingly developed specs and feature sets, just don’t expect them to come from Apple or Samsung. Highlights at the moment include things like the Honor 10 Lite and the Trusted Reviews Recommended Xiaomi Mi A2. You can see a full breakdown of all the best value smartphones we’ve reviewed in our best cheap phone guide.
The only downside to these phones is that many don’t currently have 5G connectivity, NFC, wireless charging or IP water resistance ratings. 5G is a particular concern given that the new networking tech is rapidly rolling out across the UK and offers radically faster data speeds than 4G.
How much is a decent camera phone?
Getting a decent camera phone isn’t as expensive as you’d expect. Thanks to stellar work from Google with its line of Pixel a-series phones it is possible to pick up a solid camera phone for less than £500.
The Pixel 4a is currently our pick of the best affordable camera phone. What’s more, the phone’s about to get an upgrade, with Google having announced a new Pixel 4a 5G variant alongside the Pixel 5 earlier this month.
However, if you want a truly top end camera phone with all the trimmings, you’re looking at a pretty hefty price tag. The cameras with the top features generally cost in-excess of £800 at the moment. Current highlights include the Huawei P40 Pro, Galaxy S20 Plus and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
You can get a more detailed breakdown of the latest and greatest handsets for budding photographers in our best camera phone guide.
How much should you spend on a kids’ phone?
Kids will always ask for the most expensive handset possible, but the truth is you can get a perfectly good phone that’ll meet their needs for less than £200 these days.
If they’re truly ickle, Motorola’s E series and its ilk are more than good enough and cost less than £150, though if you want to keep older kids looking to game or take selfies happy, you’ll likely have to pay a little more.
This is a radical mark-up, but the phones come with better cameras, more powerful processors and usually get software updates to new versions of their respective OSes. This means they should be fine for your tween offspring for at least a year or three.
You can see a more specific breakdown of the best mid-range smartphones in our detailed guide.
How much should you spend on an iPhone?
Apple tech is never cheap and if you want to get top end, current gen’ iPhone you’ll be looking at spending between £700-£1000.
However, if that sounds a little too flush there are a number of other options The iPhone SE 2 doesn’t have the best camera but it’s far cheaper retailing for as little as £419. Apple’s also expected to unveil a next gen’ iPhone 12 Mini next week that will be cheaper than the main family of new iPhones.
You can see a full list of the Apple phones we recommend in our best iPhone guide.
How much is a flagship phone?
Flagship phones have become radically more expensive in recent years. These days the top phone in most companies lines retails for in excess of £1000.
This is true for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, iPhone 11 Pro Max and Sony Xperia 1 II. There are some notable exceptions however. The Pixel 5, Nokia 8.3 5G and Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro are cheaper, though each comes with some hardware compromises.
We don’t recommend anyone but serious power users invest in a true, top-line flagship, as a result. If you are undeterred and absolutely want the best of the best you can see a breakdown of the latest and greatest handsets we’ve reviewed in our best phones guide.